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Last Updated: Monday, 29 October 2007, 14:12 GMT
Demands of Indian landless 'met'
Indian landless protesters arrive in the capital Delhi
Protesters say rural dwellers are missing out on India's growth

The Indian government says it will set up a panel on land reform to meet the demands of landless farmers and indigenous people.

Some 25,000 protesters converged on Delhi on Sunday demanding land reform and ownership rights laws.

They had been on a march lasting nearly four weeks.

The protesters say they have been left behind by India's economic boom. But they now say that their protest has been a success.

'Clear the hurdles'

"Our demands have been met. We are fully satisfied, now that the rural development minister came here and made the announcement," a protest leader, Bharat Bhushan Thakur said.

"These measures will clear the hurdles in giving land to poor people. We are now ready to go back," the AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

Indian landless protesters arrive in the capital Delhi, 28/10/07
The marchers were prevented from reaching parliament

According to the protesters, the government has agreed that half the seats on the new panel will go to the landless and indigenous.

A government statement said the panel would examine "all land-related issues".

The BBC's Renu Agal in Delhi says that no timetable has been set to for the government to meet the protesters' demands.

Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said that action would be taken as soon as possible.

The protesters are mainly low-caste tenant farmers and landless indigenous people.

Earlier on Monday they were prevented by police from marching to the parliament building.

They then staged a sit-down protest at a large, dusty carnival ground in the heart of Delhi.

For the past month, they have marched across India, hoping to take their protest to the government.

The protesters waved flags and chanted "give us land, give us water", as they marched in long, orderly lines into the centre of the capital.

Their demands included a national authority to oversee land reform and a system of fast track courts to deal with the long delays in resolving land disputes.



SEE ALSO
Delhi marchers calling for change
28 Oct 07 |  South Asia
In pictures: Landless march to Delhi
28 Oct 07 |  In Pictures
India tribals begin massive march
02 Oct 07 |  South Asia
Plight of India's tribal peoples
10 Dec 04 |  Science/Nature
India launches rural aid project
15 Nov 04 |  South Asia
Marble trade sucks Indian villages dry
20 Oct 04 |  Science/Nature
Country profile: India
04 Aug 04 |  Country profiles



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