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Land Acquisition Bill: Anna Hazare to flag off protest march from Haryana today

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New Delhi: Veteran social activist and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare will flag off a protest march from Haryana against the Centre’s ordinance on Land Acquisition Bill on Friday.
The march, which will see the participation of around 12000-15000 farmers, will be led by P V Rajagopal.

Hazare will also participate in a two-day agitation at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on February 23 and 24 to demand withdrawal of the anti-farmer amendments to the Land Acquisition Act, 2013.

The veteran Gandhian activist had earlier warned that an indefinite agitation would be launched at Ramlila Maidan if the Union government fails to retract the concerned ordinance.

In a statement issued from his native village Ralegan Siddhi, Hazare said a mass movement will be launched against the amendments.

“On February 23, over 20,000 farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra will assemble at Jantar Mantar for a token dharna. A march from Haryana led by Rajagopal will reach Delhi the next day. Activists like Medha Patkar, Govindacharya, Rajendra Singh and representatives of about 80 organisations will join the dharna thereafter,” Hazare had said in the statement.

It will be a symbolic movement which would urge the Union government to withdraw the amendments to the land acquisition act, he added.

Hazare said the activists will wait for some time to see how the government reacts. “If the government does not take the right steps, an indefinite agitation will be launched at Ramlila Maidan,” he said.

The Gandhian said the condition of farmers is already bad. “The anti-farmer amendments could lead to a massive conflict between the farmers and the government,” he said in his letter.

Hazare had on Thursday slammed the Centre for removing the provisions which called for taking the farmers’ consent before acquiring their land.

“The main issue is that in the year 2013, the Congress and BJP together brought the Land Acquisition Bill. According to that bill, if any industrialist wants to acquire a farmer’s land, then 70 percent of people’s consent is essential; until then the land cannot be acquired. The new government has deleted this provision. Is this democracy? Then what is the difference between the Congress and your governance,” Hazare told the media.

“If any industrialist acquires the land from a farmer and if no industry is built up till five years, then it was mentioned that the land would be returned to the farmer. It also has been deleted,” he added.

Ahead of Hazare’s press conference, the ruling BJP hit out at the Congress for supporting his agitation on the Land Acquisition Bill, terming it pure hypocrisy on the part of the party.

“But as far as the Congress party supporting the movement for farmers is concerned, we are unable to understand as to how a party which was responsible for devastation of agricultural sector in India is concerned is taking up the issue of farmers today. This is pure hypocrisy on part of the Congress,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra was quoted as saying by the ANI.

Patra, however, added that his party respected Hazare and would take view of the suggestions made by him.

The new law, which came into effect from January 1, 2015, will see the owners of land acquired via laws exempted under the act being eligible for a similar compensation.

The ordinance is being brought as the government failed to amend as many as 13 central legislations to bring their rehabilitation and resettlement and compensation provisions at par with those of the new Land Acquisition Act for buying land across the country.

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