Wardha (Maharashtra), March 9:
Social activist Anna Hazare on Monday announced a month-long, 1,100-km long ‘padayatra’ from Wardha to Delhi from March 30 against the controversial land acquisition bill.
The 77-year-old made the announcement on Monday evening after meeting farmers’ representatives as well as close associates including Aam Aadmi Party’s Yogendra Yadav and activists Medha Patkar and Rajendra Singh.
The march will start on March 30 and end around April-end or May 1 at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, a favourite venue for political protests, said activist Medha Patkar.
Earlier on Monday afternoon, March 25 was announced as the date for starting the march, and April 27 as the day on when it would end.
Before launching the protest, Hazare will travel to revolutionary leader Bhagat Singh’s village in Punjab and pay homage on his martyrdom anniversary on March 23.
“However, after the Bhagat Singh memorial programme, there are some meetings scheduled in Delhi after which we shall return to Wardha and launch the march from the Gandhi Ashram here on March 30,” Patkar told IANS.
The final details and itinerary shall be further fine-tuned at a meeting of various groups in New Delhi next week, she added.
Speaking to the media, Hazare made it clear that “violence will not be tolerated at any cost, otherwise the march will be suspended”.
He said no politician would be permitted to share the stage at the Ramlila Maidan.
Hazare also lashed out at the central government over its “anti-farmer” provisions in the bill and said it was unacceptable to the farming community.
“There is nothing in the bill which can benefit the farmers. The government is not interested in considering the views of the people and farmers.
“(Prime Minister) Narendra Modi only talks, but does nothing. We are not interested in amendments, we want it scrapped,” Hazare said.
The protest march is likely to wind through Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
It is aimed at building public opinion against the “anti-farmer” provisions in the land acquisition bill.
Several hundreds of farmers groups from Maharashtra and other parts of India have thrown their weight behind the march and plan to send volunteers to join it. IANS