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Anna Hazare throws weight behind anti-Posco stir

Saturday - Dec 01, 2012, 02:33pm (GMT+5.5)
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Anna Hazare throws weight behind anti-Posco stirJagatsinghpur -  Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Friday took up cudgels for villagers opposing the Posco project and decried the state government's attempts to hand over 4,000 acre of land near Paradip to the South Korean steel major.

"Instead of a policy to ensure the rights of farmers and make use of our natural resources, the government is busy appeasing and promoting foreign companies," Anna told a farmers' rally organised by Nava Nirman Krusaka Sanghathan here.

He also criticized the Centre for allowing FDI in retail and called for a review of the decision. Hazare said the British had come as traders to India and ruled over us for 200 years. After independence, we accepted democracy. And if the people of this country are opposed to FDI in retail, the government should respect their wishes. Problems faced by farmers cannot be solved by bringing foreign currency into India, he said, adding that laws need to be changed for their betterment.

He exhorted the youths to participate in the second freedom struggle. "Be prepared to go to jail and fill up all prisons in the country," Anna said.

He urged farmers to organize themselves and compel the government to make laws for their welfare. "My agitation is not against a particular political party. The common man is finding it difficult to survive and there is an urgent need to curb corruption. We will never accept a weak Lokpal. What is the use of a law that will fail to eliminate corruption?" he questioned.

Anna also called for strengthening the peasant movement in the run-up to the next Parliament election. "I will canvass for the clean candidates of Aam Adami Party formed by Arvind Kejriwal in the ensuing election," he said.

Criticising Prime Minister for his alleged pro-capitalist policies, he said Dr Manmohan Singh 's policies seem inclined towards appeasing big companies as a yardstick for measuring economic development, while Gandhiji had put thrust on rural economy.

Anna said he would tour the country extensively for one-and-a-half years from January next year and awaken the people to the need to stand up against corrupt politicians and practices.

Anna expanded the ambit of his fight on the Lokpal Bill to include electoral reforms and a farmer-friendly land acquisition law. Anna said: "This fight should not stop at Lokpal. We have to remove the faults in the present electoral norms which allowed 163 criminals to reach the Parliament. There is a need for a law that ensures permission of gram sabhas before acquiring farmers' land." More than 15,000 peasants had flocked to ground for a glimpse of Anna.





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