Free Press Journal

RSS affiliates oppose changes in Land Bill


New Delhi: RSS affiliates BMS, BKS and Akhil Bhartiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram today vehemently opposed amendments to the Land Bill before a Parliamentary panel, asserting that land of farmers should not be acquired without their consent.

Former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav and Amnesty International also came out against the Land Bill while the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) supported the amendments brought by the Narendra Modi government when they appeared before the Joint Committee of Parliament which is examining the contentious measure.

Making a strong pitch to bring back consent clause and social impact assessment, which have been done away with in the amended bill, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh said the interests of farmers must be protected at all costs.

The two organisations, along with Akhil Bhartiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, flagged the issue of tribal rights and food security in the light of the amendments, while deposing before the panel, sources said.

The Sangh affiliates also sought more clarity on the way and how much land will be acquired for industrial corridors. They also wanted to know the definition of industrial corridor for greater clarity. Sources said representatives of the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram expressed concern over the compensation to be extended to tribals in case their lands are acquired.

Some questions were raised by members of the panel on how the government proposes to fix the rate of tribal land and whether safeguards have been put in place to ensure that the land owners are not cheated when their monetary compensation is settled.

The affiliates also sought clarification on the definition of ‘private entity’. It was earlier believed that the Sangh affiliates would dilute their opposition to the amended bill after meeting BJP chief Amit Shah, but going by their deposition in today’s meeting, they appeared unrelenting.

Amnesty International representative insisted that there should be “no forceful evictions” in case of land acquisition. Swaraj Abhiyan’s Yogendra Yadav who appeared before the panel, later told reporters that NDA’s land bill is not a Land Acquisition Ordinance, but a “land grabbing” one. “They have changed the language in the Ordinance, which will only help the governments to acquire land for the industrialists. Today even the RSS affilaites like the Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) is opposing the bill,” Yadav told reporters after his deposition.