India landless begin long march to Delhi

Landless, poor farmers and tribals march from Gwalior to Delhi on 3 October 2012 The protesters plan to march for a month to reach Delhi

Related Stories

Tens of thousands of landless poor have begun a march to the Indian capital, Delhi, demanding their right to land.

The march began on Wednesday morning in Gwalior city in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, organisers said.

The protesters would cover the distance of about 350km (217 miles) to reach Delhi by the end of October, they said.

On Tuesday, the government sent two ministers in an attempt to persuade the protesters to call off their march but they were unsuccessful.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and Commerce Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia met the organisers - a non-governmental organisation called Ekta Parishad - to accept the government's promise that a draft national land reform policy would be prepared in six months, The Hindu newspaper reported.

"Discussion is always a better option than agitation... Go home, we will find the middle path," the paper quoted Mr Ramesh as telling the protesters.

But the protesters, mostly tribespeople and landless labourers, insist that each of them must be given a piece of land.

The participants in the Jan Satyagraha [people's movement] march say welfare programmes like the rural jobs for work scheme are no solution to poverty.

They say only land and sustainable livelihood generation can achieve real poverty reduction and lift tens of millions out of poverty.

The protesters say they plan to hand over a memorandum to the government to highlight the problems of landless poor.

Land has become a huge political issue in India where the government needs land for industry or infrastructure projects, but farmers and tribals say that cannot happen at their expense.

Last year, there were violent clashes between farmers and police in the Bhatta-Parsaul villages of northern Uttar Pradesh state over the acquisition of farmland for road and industry.

And in 2009, the Tata group was forced to abandon plans to set up a factory at Singur in West Bengal to build the Nano - the world's cheapest car - after protests by farmers.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More India stories

RSS

Features

  • Peaky Blinders publicity shotBrum do

    Why is the Birmingham accent so difficult to mimic?


  • Oliver CromwellA brief history

    The 900 year story behind the creation of a UK parliament


  • Image of Ankor Wat using lidarJungle Atlantis

    How lasers have revealed an ancient city beneath the forest


  • TheatreBard taste? Watch

    Are trailer videos on social media spoiling theatre?


  • Agents with the US Secret Service, such as this one, are responsible for guarding the presidentHard at work

    White House break-in adds to Secret Service woes


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.