Anna Hazare launches protest against land ordinance

Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare today launched his two-day protest against the land acquisition ordinance at Jantar Mantar, on the day the budget session of parliament got under way.

Hazare is holding the protest to demand the withdrawal of the anti-farmer amendments to the Land Acquisition Act, 2013.

Threatening to launch another movement at the Ramlila Maidan after four months, he called upon the people of India to help him take his movement forward.

"When I was 25 years old, I decided that I will commit my life to the welfare of the country and its society. I don't fear death. That's why I fight such goondas (thugs)," he said.

"Around 5,000-6,000 farmers have gone on the padyatra and will reach here. More people will reach this place. This andolan (agitation) will grow," said Anna. "We request the government to withdraw this law and bring back as well make additions to the 2013 law.''

He added, "Small farmers and women in villages don't know what this law is. We have to start a padyatra (march) in every village and district to enlighten them," he said. "And after four months, we will launch a protest at Ramlila Maidan.

But he said he would not this time undertake a hunger strike, as he has done earlier. ''I will not go on a hunger strike at Ramlila Maidan. I have to stay alive for my farmers. Instead, a jail bharo andolan (fill the jails movement) will be launched at Ramlila Maidan."

He asked the Modi government what was the difference between it and the previous Manmohan Singh-led government.

"The government is now taking decisions on the basis of its own whims. What is the difference between the Congress government and you (NDA) then? Today, you are doing the same things they did," he said.

"For acquiring land, an industrialist now needs the permission of the government. Why take the permission of the government? What is the government? Who made the government? Does the government itself know this?" he wondered.

"The sevaks (servants) who had chosen their maliks (masters) will now have their lands snatched because of their maliks. Isn't this injustice?" Anna said.

Earlier, Hazare had met his former comrade and now Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who reportedly supported the new movement.

Speaking about why he was not going to the courts instead of staging a protest, Anna Hazare said, "If there was any injustice against the farmers, there was earlier a provision which entitled one to go to the courts. Now, they've removed this provision. That's why I have to protest."

Anna also said that this Ordinance had removed a provision on irrigated land, which was present in the 2013 law. "The law earlier stated that irrigated land could not be taken from the farmers. Now, the government will take over irrigated land and give to industrialists," he said.

"Achche din kiske liye aaye hain? Udyogpati ke liye (For whom have the good days come? For the industrialists)," Anna said.