New Delhi: Members of several farmers' unions from across the country on Tuesday marched to Parliament House to register their opposition to the government's land ordinance with social activists Anna Hazare and Medha Patkar joining the protesters here.
Raising slogans like "Scrap land acquisition ordinance, ensure land rights" and "bhoo adhigrahan nahi, bhoo adhikar chahiye" (we want land rights, not land acquisition), members of several unions of farmers and agricultural workers marched from Kerala House at Jantar Mantar to Parliament Street.
Hazare -- who himself launched a two-day stir here yesterday against the ordinance -- and Patkar were greeted at the protest venue on Parliament Street by MDMK leader Vaiko, CPI leader and All India Kisan Sabha general secretary Atul Anjan and CPI(M) leader Hanan Mollah.
"We are meeting the President (Pranab Mukherjee) at 6 pm today. He had supported the law when he was a minister. We will request him to not sign on anything which is not in the interest of farmers and, hence, of the country," said Mollah.
It is an-eight member delegation comprising the leaders of various farmers' unions which will be calling upon Mukherjee.
"The Narendra Modi government is acting only in favour of corporates and not farmers. The law which was brought after years of struggle, deliberations and discussions, it only took nine months for the BJP-led government to do away with it," he added.
Slamming the Prime Minister's Jan Dhan Yojna, Anjan said, "Modi ji, you became Prime Minister by promising to deposit Rs 15 lakh in everybody's account in 100 days. However, we are giving you one year's time. If you fail to do so, we all countrymen will cordon off Parliament. The day you would call a joint session, all opposition would join hands and you would face your worst-ever defeat."
A leader of the Bhartiya Kisan Union said, "In the past nine months, the Modi government has not taken even a single decision to benefit farmers; rather it has taken all decisions to benefit only the corporates."
CPI's All-India Kisan Sabha, Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Union and CPI(M)'s All-India Agricultural Workers' Union have also written an open letter to all MPs and political parties urging them to unite against the land ordinance in Parliament.
"We appeal to you to rebuff the BJP-led government's undemocratic move to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, through an ordinance.
"It goes against the established norms of parliamentary democracy and is clearly aimed at promoting profiteering and real estate speculation by corporates and land mafia," the letter says.
P Krishna Prasad, treasurer of All-India Kisan Sabha, said," The ordinance is merely an instrument for speedy appropriation and facilitation of land acquisition in a quick, cheap and easy way with little concern for consent, just compensation, effective rehabilitation and resettlement of land owners and the others dependent on land."