Anna Hazare announces a 1100-km foot march against Land Acquisition Bill

Pune,Atikh Rashid(Indianexpress): Social activist Anna Hazare has now announced a 1,100-km foot march – on the lines of the historic Dandi March by Mahatma Gandhi – to put pressure on the BJP government at the Centre to stay clear of amending Land Acquisition Act.

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In a statement issued to the press, Hazare said that the foot march will begin from Gandhi Ashram in Wardha, Maharashtra and will end at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi. Hazare said that the march will take up to three months to cover the distance.
In February, Hazare staged a two-day protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi as Parliament was in Budget Session. This protest was organised under the banner of Hazare’s organisation Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Andolan Nyas and was supported by several other farmers’ groups.

Although this protest – coupled with other factors – forced the Narendra Modi led government to take a softer stance on the bill and PM himself expressing his willingness to discuss the bill, the support and enthusiasm among Hazare’s among the protesters was nowhere to be seen.

While making the latest announcement, Hazare has expressed his displeasure over the response given by Prime Minister to the February protest by him and other farmers’ groups.

“After farmers’ groups from various states stages protests on February 23,24 and 25 2015, the Narendra Modi government had to promise the farmers that if the land acquisition ordinance was doing injustice to farmers he was ready to change it. The Modi government has now brought in the new bill. A look at this draft bill tells us that there are no difference between the ordinance and the bill. The new bill was only a ploy to confuse us,” said Hazare.

Hazare said that after holding deliberations with the peasant leaders and farmers’ unions it was decided that a foot march be held to put pressure on the government.

“The march will start from Sevagram in Wardha and will end at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. The march will educate farmers about the anti-farmer policies of the Centre Government will reach Delhi in approximately three months. We are planning to stage a jail bharo andolan in Delhi. The schedule of this march will be decided at a meeting on March 9 2015 at Sevagram. We will also appeal the farmers across the country to court arrest at the local level,” said Hazare.
Hazare has appealed youngsters who want to work at various levels in this protest to contact his office.