In a series of statewide protests over the Union government's Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, the All-India Jat Mahasabha on Wednesday held a protest outside the office of the deputy commissioner here.
A similar protest was also organised at Tarn Taran by the mahasabha, which is led by former chief minister and Amritsar member of Parliament Captain Amarinder Singh.
In Amritsar, the protest rally was addressed by mahasabha's district president Bhupinder Singh Randhawa, state senior vice-president Gurjeet Singh Aujla and a number of other leaders. They later submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner.
In the memorandum, the organisation urged the Union government to withdraw the land acquisition bill as it was anti-farmer and aimed at depriving the farmers of their land. Terming the bill as a draconian law, the mahasabha said it was unacceptable in a democratic state.
"Amending the 2013 land bill is not acceptable as the new bill aims at taking away a farmer's land without his consent. In a democratic state, no one has the right to acquire land without the consent of its owner or owners and such a law will not be accepted," the memorandum stated.
The mahasabha also asked the state government to reject the bill. The state government should not give its consent to such draconian laws, the memorandum said. The organisation said that already large chunks of precious and fertile land have been acquired by private companies.
"If the new bill is passed, a time will come when we will not have enough agricultural land. There will be a huge shortfall of foodgrains in the country to feed the growing population," the memorandum stated.
The memorandum also described as unfortunate the supreme court ruling striking down the UPA government's decision to include Jats in the other backward castes category. As this ruling will also affect the Jats of Punjab, Jat Mahasabha president Capt Amarinder Singh will challenge the verdict of the apex court.
The mahasabha also demanded adequate compensation to farmers whose crops had been destroyed due to recent rains and hailstorm.
The organisation also opposed attempts being made by the Union government to dismantle the minimum support price regime. If this is done, the farmers will be at the mercy of private traders and commission agents, the mahasabha said.