Congress on Wednesday launched its agitation against the land acquisition ordinance with a meeting of farmers in Bhatta Parsaul and accused the Narendra Modi government of “snatching away all the rights” given to the people by the erstwhile UPA regime.
Addressing the gathering, former Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said the Congress-led UPA government had given the farmers rights to their land but the BJP regime was reversing the measures.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi >started the party's protests in 2011 , from this village in Greater Noida, against farm land acquisition, leading to the enactment of the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, many of whose measures have now been repealed by the ordinance.
“Our law had said the acquired land would be given back to their owners if it remains unused for five years. But the BJP government has done away with it... They believe in ‘ghar wapsi’ not ‘zameen wapsi’ (return of land) to farmers,” Mr. Ramesh said, in an apparent swipe at religious conversion programmes of various Hindutva outfits.
The ordinance has given absolute power to the government, he said and refuses to give any say to the villagers in the land acquisition process.
“We had taken away rights from district collectors and given them to you. The BJP government has again snatched them from you and given them to collectors,” he told farmers. This is an atrocity against farmers and democracy as well, he said.
Mr. Ramesh is part of the three-member group set up the party to finalise its strategy on the land ordinance issue. The other two members are former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and former Food Minister K. V. Thomas.