Tags: India | politics | economy | land | farming | protest

Police Clash With Protesters in Indian Capital Over Land Reform

Monday, 16 Mar 2015 06:45 AM

Police on Monday baton-charged and fired water canon at demonstrators rallying in the Indian capital against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's land reforms, which they say will harm the country's millions of farmers.

Hundreds of protesters, led by the opposition Congress party, attempted to break through barricades erected to stop them marching on the national parliament over the controversial land bill, one of Modi's key economic reforms.

"It [the bill] is anti-farmer and it also endangers the food security of the country," senior Congress party spokesman Anand Sharma told TV channels as supporters waved party flags behind him.

"This government has opened the door to acquire farmers' land, multi-crop land for the private sector, which is unacceptable," he added.

Armed with large wooden sticks, police beat back the protesters and sprayed water at small groups together on the road after they jumped over the barricades.

The draft law would make it easier to acquire land for critical infrastructure projects as part of right-wing Modi's pledges to reform and revive India's economy after storming to power at elections last May.

The bill overhauls legislation passed by the previous left-leaning government, which Modi supporters say has held up billions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects.

It last week passed parliament's lower house, where Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies hold a majority, after Congress and other opposition lawmakers stormed out of the chamber in protest during voting.

The new bill exempts businesses buying land for defense, housing and power projects from needing 80 percent of affected landholders to agree to a deal and to compensate tenant farmers at up to four times the market price.

Opponents say the law favors businesses too heavily at the expense of farmers, millions of whom are mired in poverty.

The bill, which must still pass through the upper house, where the BJP lacks a majority, was a key initiative of the Congress party's decade in power.

© AFP 2017

 
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Police on Monday baton-charged and fired water canon at demonstrators rallying in the Indian capital against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's land reforms, which they say will harm the country's millions of farmers.
India, politics, economy, land, farming, protest
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2015-45-16
Monday, 16 Mar 2015 06:45 AM
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