Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar on Thursday asserted that it is wrong to take away land from farmers without their consent.
Kanhaiya’s comments come in the wake of a recent ruling of the Supreme Court striking down the acquisition of 997.11 acres of land by the then CPI(M)-led Left Front government in Bengal’s Singur (in Hooghly district) for setting up the small car factory of Tata Motors.
“As far as the question of taking away land goes, I am not totally against it because if land is not given then factories will not be built but the question is without farmers’ consent their land should not be acquired,” Kumar told a TV channel when asked about the Singur land movement and the CPI(M) forcibly acquiring land.
“It was indeed (wrong),” he said, explaining, “If you do anything without the consent of the community (whether it is the farming or tribal community) which has ownership over it, then it is wrong.”
Asked about West Bengal Chief Minister Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s support to the movement (then the state’s principal opposition leader) and on her stint as the state chief minister, Kanhaiya maintained he does not support a specific person.
“The ownership of a revolution and struggle is dangerous. Only the public (the janta) has the ownership over the revolution, not a leader or an individual. Changes in society are brought about through a collective effort so I do not support a specific individual,” he added.
Banerjee had undertaken a 26-day hunger strike in Kolkata in December 2006, against the “forcible land acquisition” in Singur, and demanding 400 acres taken from farmers unwilling to part with their land be returned to them.
She later travelled to the rural pocket and laid siege to the factory for 14 days in 2008.
The Tata group then moved the project out of the state and finally set it up in Sanand in Gujarat, on land assigned to them by the state’s then investor-friendly Chief Minister Narendra Modi.