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Preeti Sampat

Land acquisition for large-scale infrastructure projects is rife with inequalities and conflicts over meanings and implications of development, infrastructure, economic growth and the costs of dispossession. This chapter examines the legal frameworks for land-grabs and dispossession in India historically, and draws insights from contemporary struggles over infrastructure land-grabs. This chapter traces the evolution of private property rights and situates this in the larger framework of capitalism and colonialism. It also examines the land acquisition in India in the post-independence, post-globalization era from a legal perspective and the consequent resistance by people and movements. This chapter argues that the legal framework plays a facilitative role for contemporary capitalism-facilitating land-grabs and emphasizes the need for a legal framework premised on non-capitalist forms of development.