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Congress, Communists, Narmada Bachao Andolan form front to fight against "draconian" land bill

By Our Representative
In an important political development, Congress, Communists and senior activists fighting against the Land Acquisition Bill, pending clearance of the Rajya Sabha, joined hands on Thursday to form Bhoomi Adhikar Sangharsh Andolan (BASA) as a “movement of land rights” and declared their intention for hold a well-represented rally at Parliament Street, New Delhi, on May 5.
Calling it continuation of “the joint movement against the draconian Land Acquisition Bill, 2015”, the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), apex body of rights-based organizations in India, said, this will be third “massive protest” and will be bigger than the one held on February 24. “We discussed the way forward”, it added.
The NAPM said, it was a “strategy meeting” for uniting forces to launch “protests with massive participation in all states, adding, “Various protest actions have been planned by different unions and people’s organisations. All those protesting against the Bill will undertake a signature campaign against the ordinance aiming to collect 5 crore signatures. A Massive Bhoo Adhikar Sangharsh rally will be held on May 5, 2015 at Delhi.”
Among those who decided for the joint movement included Jairam Ramesh (Indian National Congress), Sitaram Yechury (Communist Party India-Marxist), D.Raja (Communist Party of India), K.C.Tyagi (Janata Dal-United), and all the splinter left parties.
The NAPM said, all of them “expressed solidarity with the struggle against the Land Acquisition Bill”, adding, “They decided not to allow the Bill to be passed in the Rajya Sabha. They will struggle inside Parliament and join hands with movements to struggle outside on the street. Together we can defeat this design of NDA government.”
“A comprehensive strategy with the immediate aim of mounting a robust opposition against the new Land Acquisition Bill as well as to move towards the long-term objective of achieving land rights for all was arrived at”, the NAPM said, adding, “Farmers’ unions, people’s movements and political parties from across the country came together to form a strong opposition force against this historic challenge.”
Others participating in the meeting were Narmada Bachao Andolan's Medha Patkar, All-India Kisan Sabha's Hannan Mollah, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti's Dr.Sunilam, All-India Agricultural Workers' Union's Suneet Chopra, the All India Union for Forest Working People's Ashok Choudhary and Roma, Insaf's Dayamani Barla and Virendra Vidrohi, Yuva Kranti's Rakesh Rafiq, Sarvahara Jan Andolan's Ulka Mahajan, and Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch's Smita Gupta.
A Resolution was passed at the meeting said the programmes to be held would include burning of the Land Acquisition Ordinance, once promulgated, as decided by NDA government, April 6; Bhoomi Adhikaar Sangharsh rally in Delhi at Parliament Street on May 5, 2015; state-level conventions, mass mobilisation, padayatras, rail roko, rasta roko and human chains in all states and districts; 5 crore signatures across the country; Zameen Wapsi campaign and a state-level mobilisation against the Land Ordinance on April 9 at Vijaywada, on April 10 at Bhubaneshwar, and April 11 at Patna.

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