Veteran social activist Anna Hazare has announced a 1,100-km padyatra (foot march) to put pressure on the Central government against 'anti-farmer' provisions in the Land Acquisition Act.
The foot march will begin from Gandhi Ashram at Sewagram in Wardha, and will end at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi, Hazare said in a statement today. The march, on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi's historic Dandi march, is anticipated to take around three months to cover the distance till Delhi.
The schedule of the march will be decided in a meeting at Sewagram on March 9, 2015, he said. Hazare had last month staged a two-day protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi during the budget session of Parliament, under the banner of Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Andolan Nyas.
Several farmers' groups had supported the stir. Expressing his displeasure over the response given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his last month's protest, Hazare said , "Farmers' groups from various states staged protests on February 23 to 25 last month , after which the central government had to promise the farmers that if the land acquisition ordinance was doing injustice to farmers they were ready to change it."
"The Modi government has now brought in the new bill. A look at this draft bill tells us that there is no difference between the ordinance and the bill. The new bill was only a ploy to confuse us," he said.
The decision to launch 'padyatra' was taken after holding talks with peasant leaders and farmers' unions in order to put pressure on the government, Hazare said. "We will also appeal to the farmers across the country to court arrest at the local level," Hazare said.