Landless poor march into Agra, express hope for a resolution with Ramesh

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 09, 2012 12:00 hrs

Thousands of landless poor have reached Agra, even as Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh is continuing his talks with protesters to end the impasse.

Hope is driving the 25,000-strong crowd as they walk under an intense sun in daytime temperatures up to 43 degrees Celsius and sleep on the road under an open sky with the mercury falling to 15-20 degrees.

Interacting with reporters on Tuesday, social activist P. V. Rajagopal said a decision on whether the unrest comes to an end would be decided on Thursday after both sides put their views across.

"We had a discussion with the government, and, I think that there could be an agreement in certain matters. After we review the documents, they will again go to Delhi, and, by tomorrow, a report would be made on the discussions. So, day after tomorrow is critical, as the government's stand would be clarified. The signs are positive as of now, and, we would have to work hard to achieve success day after in resolving land issues of a lot of people. We are hoping for an official document that supports the landless and then the key work of implementing decisions would continue," said Rajagopal.

Organisers say the government has shown signs of reconciliation and invited them for talks in New Delhi to find a solution.

Activists added that children are leading the demonstration today to affirm their rights.

"The uniqueness of our campaign today is that we have children are leading us followed by group of intellectuals, women and then men. We are all together, and these women are supporting their children and urging them to fight for their rights, including," said Patel.

The 350-km-long march from Gwalior to Agra gained support from villagers along the route.

Property has become a huge political issue in India where there is a constant fight for land between agencies who want it for economic growth and those who want to provide growth to its population.

Last year, there were large protests by farmers on the outskirts of New Delhi over builders acquiring what had formerly been agricultural land. (ANI)

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