NEW DELHI (dpa) – Indian social activist Anna Hazare Monday launched a protest against the government’s new land acquisition rules that he said were against the interests of farmers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in December passed an executive order changing the law to ease restrictions on acquiring land for large projects. The ordinance needs to be approved by the parliament but Hazare and opposition parties have said it will enable the government to “grab” farmers’ land.
“To cater to the industrialists – how can you betray farmers?,” Hazare said, referring to changes that included relaxing rules which require 80 per cent of the landowners affected by a project to approve the acquisition.
He was speaking at the two day-long sit-in protest in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar area, coinciding with the start of the budget session.
Hazare, who is known for a 2011 campaign that catalysed a national anti-corruption movement, said some 6,000 farmers will join the protest on Tuesday.
The government argues that restrictions on buying land from farmers are holding up public and private infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars in industry, defence, roads, power and housing.