Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa Wednesday appealed to farmers not to protest on Wednesday and asked them to discuss and solve issues with the government. “I request farmer leaders not to hold protests, yesterday you have done bandh, please cooperate with the government let’s sit and discuss, solve the issues. Our Government and Narendra Modi are doing everything for the welfare of farmers,” he said.
Farmers, labourers and members of pro-Kannada organisations are planning to protest in the city in a bid to intensify their protests against the Karnataka Legislative Council passing the contended Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
.@CMofKarnataka appealed farmers not to protest today. Farmer organisations are holding a protest in the city in a bid to intensify their protests against the Legislative Council passing the contended Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2020. @IndianExpress @DarshanDevaiahB pic.twitter.com/qem5pISBLF
— Express Bengaluru (@IEBengaluru) December 9, 2020
On Tuesday, the BJP government in Karnataka managed to get a land ownership reforms Bill passed in the state legislative council with the support of the opposition JD(S) even as the Congress voted against the Bill.
On Wednesday morning, farmers intensified the protest in the state’s capital. Farmers from various districts arrived in Bengaluru in trains and started protesting in front of Bengaluru railway station.
Few farmers organisation members taking rally towards Vidhana Soudha were stopped by the police to avoid traffic snarls in the city. Meanwhile, Aikya Horata, a coalition of a farmer, labour and Dalit groups, started an indefinite sit-in protest in Bengaluru.
The Karnataka Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2020 had earlier been stalled in the Council despite the legislative assembly – the lower house – clearing it. The Bill sought to remove Sections 79 A, B and C of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961, which restricted farmland purchases only to agriculturists and to those earning below Rs 2 lakh per annum.
On Tuesday, the Bill, which also received the support of the JD(S) in the assembly, was passed in the 75-member council, with 37 votes in its favour.
The BJP is the largest party in the council with 31 members, while the Congress has 28 and the JD(S) 14. There are four Independent members.
The Bill was passed in the assembly in September even as the opposition Congress staged a walkout, calling it a “death warrant” for farmers. It could not be taken up for voting in the council in September as the session was adjourned by the Chairman with discussions not concluded.
Section 79 A of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961, which is now repealed, restricted farmland purchase to persons earning below Rs two lakh per annum while 79 B restricted rights to purchase of agricultural land to agriculturists and Section 79 C allowed investigations of violations of Section 79 A and B of the law. On July 13, the state government had promulgated an Ordinance with the assent of the Governor to amend laws restricting the sale of agricultural land.
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