RED to yellow, blue to white- flags of many colours have merged in procession, as people’s jatha is walking through the streets of West Bengal. ‘Adhikar Jatra’, the march of Bengal Provincial Mass Organisations has started from Coochbehar on September 11. The main jatha will crisscross through northern Bengal and will culminate in a rally in Maldaha on October 1. Another jatha will start from Baharampur and finally reach Kolkata on October 3. Apart from these, jathas will march in every district; in fact in every area. The target is to touch every booth, take up local issues and merge it with larger state issues. 117 class and mass organisations have participated in this march.
Inaugurating the jatha in Coochbehar, AIKS general secretary Hannan Mollah noted that more and more people are coming out on the streets to protest against government policies. Peasant organisations have come to a platform overcoming their political affiliations. The Mazdoor Kisan Rally in Delhi was the largest in decades. In November, kisans from all over India will march towards Delhi. Trade unions have also advanced with joint movements.
Convenor of BPMO, Shyamal Chakraborty said in the inaugural public meeting that there was simmering anger among the people. In West Bengal, the economic hardship has been compounded by attack on democracy. The people will burst out.
In the jatha, peasants, tea garden workers and youth have raised their demands. In Northern Bengal, the jatha marched despite rain. While Atabul Islam, the elected panchayat member of Coochbehar who survived an assassination attempt, resulting in martyrdom of Ramjan Mian participated in the march, tea garden worker Birsa Lakra of Alipuduar joined in with the demand of minimum wages. On the way, the leaders of BPMO addressed street corner meetings. The jatha has already evoked strong response from the people as their problems and issues are being raised.