May 10, 2015
Massive Rally against Land Acquisition Ordinance

THE Bhoomi Adhikar Sangharsh Rally on May 5, 2015 saw thousands of peasants, agricultural workers, adivasis and toiling masses marching to the parliament with the demand that the Land Acquisition Ordinance 2015 be fully scrapped and warned the BJP-led government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi that they will not allow the loot of land and deliberate destruction of peasant agriculture. The massive rally began with a minute of silence in memory of the thousands of lives lost in the earthquake in Nepal and India, the farmers who had been forced to commit suicide due to the neo-liberal policies and government apathy in the wake of unprecedented crop losses due to unseasonal rains and hailstorm as well as Gajendra Singh, the farmer who committed suicide at a rally in Delhi recently. The massive rally is a display of the resolute nature of the issue-based unity built across the country involving over 40 organisations of the peasantry, agricultural workers, adivasis, forest workers, fishing community and toiling masses. There have been nation-wide protests and united actions including the complete bandh in Jharkhand on May 4, 2015, massive mobilisations in different parts of India pointing to the future of united resistance against anti-peasant neo-liberal policies and struggles for land, water as well as community rights. The speakers at the rally said that the BJP government was pursuing the pro-corporate Land Acquisition Ordinance despite massive protests according to the diktats of the corporate houses and land mafia. The prime minister is bent upon selling cheaply the land, forests, minerals and water to Indian as well as foreign multinational companies and this will have to be unitedly resisted they said. Speaking at the rally, Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) general secretary, and Rajya Sabha MP said that the draconian Land Acquisition Ordinance would be stalled in the Rajya Sabha and the Red Flag would not allow forcible acquisition without adhering to the principle of prior-informed consent, social impact assessment, safeguarding food security, adequate compensation as well as ensuring that all affected persons are properly rehabilitated. He said the struggles outside strengthened the struggle in the parliament and through struggles inside as well as outside parliament, the Land Acquisition Ordinance would be defeated. Hannan Mollah, general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha and Polit Bureau member, CPI(M) said that the united struggles had built a nation-wide momentum and the Jharkhand bandh on May 4 was an indicator of the kind of resistance the Modi-led BJP government will face. Hinting that the struggle would be taken to the next level, he said there would be efforts for a nation-wide hartal if the government does not relent. He said it was “pay-back” time for Narendra Modi and the BJP whose election campaign was heavily funded by the corporate sector and land mafia. Amra Ram, president, AIKS addressed the rally and said that the unity across peasant organisations and people’s movements will defeat the pro-corporate policies of the Narendra Modi led government as well as the Rajasthan state government led by the BJP which was going ahead with anti-worker and anti-peasant policies. Suneet Chopra, joint secretary of the All India Agricultural Workers’ Union addressed the rally and said the agricultural workers will be in the forefront of the united struggle against land acquisition and for land rights. Atul Kumar Anjaan general secretary of AIKS (Ajoy Bhavan) made a scathing attack on the pro-corporate ordinance and warned the government that their moves will face more intense protests in coming days. Medha Patkar, NAPM national convenor said that the Gujarat Model, which was against peasantry, agricultural workers, adivasis, dalits, minorities and women and pro-corporate, was a failed model which will not be accepted. Rajya Sabha MP and national secretary of CPI D Raja, Pawan Verma, JD(U) MP, Dola Sen, Trinamul Congress MP, G Devarajan, secretary, All India Forward Bloc, Pran Sharma, SUCI(C) Dayamani Barla, activist, Pratibha Shinde, Lok Sangharsh Samiti, Roma Malik, All India Union of Forest Working People, Ashok Choudhary, AIUFWP, Satyavan, All India Kisan Khet Mazdoor Sabha, Madhuresh, NAPM and others addressed the rally. Vijoo Krishnan, joint secretary, AIKS conducted the proceedings along with others. NK Shukla, joint secretary, AIKS and P Krishnaprasad, finance secretary, AIKS were present. Rebuff Divisive Ghar Wapsi; We Demand Zameen Wapsi and Haq Wapsi