By Rakesh Raman
Close on the heels of social activist Anna Hazare’s announcement to begin the next phase of his agitation against the BJP government’s ordinance on Land Acquisition Bill, the opposition Congress party has also stepped up its campaign to oppose the government’s move.
The youth wing of Congress, the Indian Youth Congress, launched Monday a massive protest in Delhi against, what it calls, “BJP’s Land Snatching Ordinance.”
Randeep Surjewala, a Congress leader, said, “If somebody can fight for the rights of the farmers, it’s the Congress party only. Narendra Modi (the Indian Prime Minister) wants to steal land and food from farmers. We will fight against this Land Bill.”
Congress is carrying out its campaign under the banner Kisaan Satyagraha (or farmers’ insistence on truth).
Congress claims that the police used force to stop the protesters’ march toward Parliament house where they intended to demonstrate against the provisions of the Land Ordinance.
“What kind of development does the BJP government want by causing such unspeakable misery to farmers? We will fight for the rights of farmers and take bullets and lathis (batons) on our chest,” said Sachin Pilot, a Congress leader.
To protest against government’s Land Ordinance, the anti-corruption crusader Hazare, who believes in the Gandhian philosophy, will begin a month-long Padyatra (foot march) on March 25 from Sevagram in Maharashtra, where Mahatma Gandhi had his residence.
Hazare has termed the Modi move as “anti-farmer” and an attack on Indian democracy, as, according to Hazare, government is trying to impose its will on farmers to acquire their land without their consent.
In December last year, the Modi-led BJP government had decided to make significant changes in the Land Acquisition Act, which will affect the farmers’ interest in the country.
With these changes, government will be able to grab farmers’ land without even asking them. The BJP government reasons that this land acquisition is required to begin new projects in areas such as industrial development, public-private partnership projects, rural infrastructure, housing, and defense.
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Photo courtesy: Congress
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