Below we publish the reports from the states that we have received as we go to press.
ON August 9, the entire country witnessed a massive civil disobedience of the peasantry with active support from the working class, rural workers and the democratic people from all walks of life on the burning issues of the grave agrarian crisis. But what Tripura witnessed was something unprecedented in the last 25 years. The AIKS, CITU and Tripura Khet Mazoor Union (affiliated to AIAWU) had gathered peacefully at Paradise Chowmohoni, Agartala. The leadership had well in advance informed the police that they will take out a procession and then head towards the office of the DM of West Tripura to court arrest as part of their jail bharo programme. But even before the people started assembling, the entire Paradise Chowmohoni was blocked from all sides. Barricades were erected on all the roads leading to it to prevent agitators from coming. The police didn't allow the procession to start. The leadership including Manik Sarkar decided that they will break the barricade, head towards the DM's office and court arrest. But the police responded with water cannons and tear gas shells. At least 10 people sustained injuries including AIDWA leaders Rama Das and Krishna Rakshit. Manik Sarkar was completely drenched. The residents of Agartala cannot remember when they last witnessed police firing tear gas shells on a peaceful gathering. Hardly can anyone remember ever watching the "Vajra" and "Varun", the two water cannons of Tripura police in action, that too on an assembly which was scheduled to court arrest voluntarily. The entire city watched this ugly show of brutal repression, with panic and fear.
In the 25 years of the Left Front government, there was not a single instance of police applying its repressive capacity to obstruct any peaceful, democratic movement. The readers might well remember that in July 2017, IPFT, the junior partner, had blocked the railway and the national highway for 10 consecutive days causing immense hardship to the entire state with a grave threat to peace and harmony. But the Left Front government, following its principled stand of honouring and protecting the democratic rights of opposition, didn't use force to disperse them.
Tens of thousands of people, mostly peasants and workers, fought battles with police and broke through barricades in militant action on August 9. The programme, as part of all India call of AIKS and CITU, evoked huge response in West Bengal.
In all district headquarters of large towns, joint marches of the peasants and workers took place. In Kolkata, a public meeting was held, addressed by Biman Basu and Surjyakant Misra among others. The marchers then went towards police barricades and after some time climbed over them. In South 24 Parganas, the programme was scheduled at Diamond Harbour. As the participants were going towards the town in buses, tempos, the TMC and police blocked roads in many areas. In Usthi, even the car of Sujan Chakraborty was attacked. Bombs and bullets were used. But the villagers came out in numbers and a resistance battle ensued. District police of South 24 Parganas threatened Left leaders on the eve of the programme and said that they would not allow the action to take place. However, defying all strictures nearly ten thousand people gathered in Diamond Harbour and actually gheraoed police forces, who were forced to retard back. In Maldaha, police lathi-charged huge gathering though the agitators successfully broke through police barricades. Pitched battles with police were fought in Coochbehar where nearly 10 thousand people gheraoed district headquarters. In Siliguri too, police charged batons to disperse the procession. Huge gathering took place in Burdwan, Asansol, Siuri and Bankura. Protestors were arrested. In Chuchura, Hooghly, the protest took the shape of a big public rally and the entire town was paralysed. Large gathering and breaking of barricades took place in Midnapore. In many of these protests, youth and student organisations participated.
Kerala faced a different kind of adversary – nature itself! August 9 was the day of unprecedented rains in the state and this claimed over 30 lives. Triumphing over even that, more than 30,000 people took part in the jail bharo stir. Had it not been for the rains, the figure would have easily reached a couple of lakhs.
At Trivandrum, a massive dharna was organised in front of Raj Bhavan, under the leadership of Kisan Sabha. Trivandrum CITU district committee organised a massive rally in solidarity. More than thousand workers participated.
At Quilon, the programme was held in front of Head Post Office. CITU district committee saluted the dharna of Kisan Sabha. 200 workers participated. At Pathanamthitta, dharna was held in front of Head Post Office in which700 workers participated. At Alappuzha, Kisan Sabha organised the programme in front of the BSNL office. In the solidarity action of CITU district committee, 1500 workers participated. At Ernakulam, programme was in front of the BSNL office. In the CITU solidarity programme, 1300 workers participated. At Thrissur, 500 workers from CITU participated in the dharna. At Palakkad, 450 workers from CITU took part. At Malappuram, the programme was held in front of Doordarshan Kendra in which 400 workers participated. At Kozhikkode, 1700 workers participated. At Kannur, 1500 workers participated.
Because of the heavy rains, programmes were not held in Idukki and Wayanad districts. Due to the sad demise of Comrade VR Bhaskaran, programme was postponed in Kottayam.
Maharashtra had seen the participation of 63,437 farmers at 66 centres in 27 districts. Here the mobilisation would have crossed the target of one lakh, had it not been for the state bandh call on the issue of Maratha caste reservations the very same day.
In Bihar, over 50,000 people participated at 35 district centres. Assam, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh had good participation of over 35,000 each. Rajasthan and Karnataka had over 28,000 each. Odisha had over 23,500. Andhra Pradesh with 13,000, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh with 1,100 each, Telangana with 9,500, Jharkhand with 8,496 and Madhya Pradesh with 5,250 followed next. Jail Bharo actions also took place in Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Gujarat and Manipur.
Peasants participated in 8 districts, workers participated in 10 districts, in three districts, only anganwadi employees and ASHAs courted arrest.
In Rampur, Himachal Pradesh, CITU, AIKS and AIAWU jointly organised a 'Samuhik Jagaran' march on the issues concerning workers, peasants and agricultural workers.