Why do they protest being looted when it’s for their own good?

Rohini Mohan in Yahoo News India (h/t Chapati Mystery):

B7ac6bb0-c18c-11e4-96ae-0dabae4789fa_1Landing-Image-Nirupabai-from-Barkuta-and-Lalubai-from-Vidyanagar-protest-against-mining-expansion-at-the-public-hearing-in-Korba-Chhattisgarh-Photo-by-Rohini-Mohan-In the last week of February, the first week of Parliament’s summer session, Delhi was festooned with protest. Men in white dhotis and women in several colors of bright marched around the roads, emerging like spokes from Mandi House, finally settling on Parliament Street. Their banners said “Kisan hai Bharat ka anna daata” (The farmer is India’s food provider). When the crowd chanted this, the words ‘kisan’ and ‘Bharat’ were the most emphatic. Farmers’ unions led the protest, joined by fishermen and laborers from villages in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Punjab, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, and West Bengal…All of them demanded the removal of the Narendra Modi government’s Land Ordinance promulgated last year, which amended the existing Land Acquisition Act, so that governments can acquire land for certain “important national projects” without seeking consent from the person who owns it…

Because several armchair commentators on TV and social media claimed that the protestors were “ignorant” and unaware of what they were opposing, I walked around the protest arena asking one simple question: What have you come here to protest? Sometimes, I followed it with two other questions: Where are you from, and have you had personal losses? In their answers, the protestors were cynical, upset, exhausted, and enraged, but most of all, they were informed.

“The compensation might still be four times the market value,” says Bhagwat Singh from Sambal, Uttar Pradesh, referring to the unchanged compensation clause that those favorable to the ordinance highlight as a good deal that makes the amendment a win-win for both corporates and farmers. “But if you give me no say, and add that even my fertile multi-crop field can be acquired, and not only for dams and power plants but also for factories where I’ll never be employed, then this is a raw deal for me, no?”

Read the full piece here.