Lakhs of people participated in the June 16 protest programme called by the Party demanding relief to the people who are badly hit by the Corona crisis and the resultant lockdown. These protests were held across the country observing the regulations and restrictions prevailing in each area, maintaining physical distancing, wearing protective masks etc.
In Kerala, there was a huge response to the protest programme. A detailed report is carried in the inside pages.
The Polit Bureau had given a call to observe an all India protest day on June 16 demanding the following:
1. A cash transfer of Rs 7,500 per month for a period of six months to all families outside the income tax paying bracket.
2. Free distribution of 10 kg foodgrains, per individual, per month for a period of six months.
3. A minimum of 200 days employment under MNREGA with enhanced wages. Extend employment guarantee schemes to the urban poor. Immediately announce an unemployment allowance to unemployed persons.
4. Stop the loot of national assets, privatisation of the public sector and stop the scrapping of labour laws.
Below we publish the reports from the states on the successfully held all India protest day held on June 16, at the call of the Party Polit Bureau.
OVER 10 lakh people came together in nearly 1.5 lakhs centres across Kerala to protest the unscientific and anti-people approach of the central government in dealing with Covid-19 pandemic in a response to a call made by the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
The protest was noted for the participation of people from across various sections of life. The country has lost over 12,000 lives and seen over 3.5 lakh infections as a result of the unscientific policies of the centre.
“The pandemic is spreading like wildfire. The centre has been a failure in its efforts to contain Covid-19 pandemic as a result of its unscientific approach. At the same time, it has been unsympathetic to the suffering population. It has not released adequate aid to states,” said S Ramachandran Pillai, Polit Bureau member of CPI(M), while inaugurating the state-level protest held at the martyr’s column in Thiruvananthapuram on June 16, 2020.
“In the name of Covid-19 economic stimulus package, the government has been on an aggressive drive for implementing neoliberal economic policies,” he said adding that, “instead of uniting the people to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the RSS-BJP are trying to divide the society by targeting the Muslim minorities.”
The programme was attended by CPI(M) Kerala state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Polit Bureau member, M A Baby, Central Committee member M V Govindan, Thiruvananthapuram district secretary Anavoor Nagappan and other leaders.
Addressing the protest, Balakrishnan said that the opposition is devising plans to destabilise the LDF government instead of joining hands in fighting the pandemic. “The Congress and the BJP are speaking the same language. The approach of the opposition is to obstruct any action by the government in containing the pandemic,” he said.
The protest also ushered in a new era in the history of struggles in the country, by adhering to government's guidelines at the time of the spread of Covid-19. It also delivered a strong message to the centre about the unjust treatment it has meted out to the state.
The protest also reflected Kerala’s strong protest against the daily fuel price hike.
The programmes were organised in front of the central government offices and at the five most noted centres of each Party branch. Party members and mass organisation workers enthusiastically participated in the protest. Other central and state leaders were present at various centres across the state.
In the inauguration of each centre, comrades from the respective local branches, local leaders and state committee members were present. This new form of struggle in the Covid-era was a great victory in every sense. There was massive participation of women in the protest. Posters and boards were installed to convey the message of the strike. The event was held in the form of raising the flags at all the centres and every participant holding placards carrying slogans. There was no protest in containment zones and red zones. (Bipin Chandran)
At the call of CPI(M), people participated in huge numbers in the protest, despite lockdown to raise the five point demands of urgent necessity. On June 16, protest actions across Tripura took place in at least 550 spots.
In Agartala CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Manik Sarkar, Party state secretary Gautam Das and other leaders participated. In Udaypur police prevented the protesting people from assembling in front of the Gomati district committee office.
In Bishalgarh, BJP hooligans attacked the Party office after the programme.
In Kalyanpur block area of Khowai district, BJP hoodlums prevented the Party leaders and supporters in five spots. In Amarpur sub division under Gomati district, the BJP miscreants tried to attack participants of the protest programme. In some places police also tried to prevent the participants. Party workers observed the protest day braving terror and intimidation.
Later, at a press conference, Gautam Das and Central Committee member Jitendra Chowdhury congratulated the people for the participation. Gautam Das said, “The struggle shall continue. Those who are trying to thwart it by use of force should remember that this shall not continue the same way as they are expecting.”
At the call of the Party to observe protest against the policies of the central government in view of Coronavirus pandemic, the Telangana committee held protests in all districts, mandal centres, villages and at the unit level on June 16, opposing the anti-people policies of both the central and the state governments.
Party state committee observed protest activity at Hyderabad RTC Cross Roads with placards demanding the state government to hold rapid corona tests, provide free corona treatment to poor and to bear the burden of electricity bills apart from the four demands raised at the all India level.
Party state secretary, Thammineni Veerabhadram, Central Committee member, G Nagaiah, state secretariat members, T Jyothi, D G Narasimha Rao and Party city committee leaders and cadres participated in the programme.
Protests were held mostly in front of local bodies – ward/panchayat, taluk panchayat, district panchayat, town/city municipality, city corporation offices and a memorandum to state government was handed over to relevant authorities.
Protests were held in Bengaluru, Chikkaballapur, Kolar, Bellary, Koppal, Udupi, Mangalore, Hassan and Mandya districts. A protest was also held in front of the state committee office in Bengaluru, where state leaders participated.
Apart from the four demands, the state committee added another demand of providing PPE and other protective equipments and support to corona warriors
CPI(M) units in different parts of the state held demonstrations on June 16 to protest against the failure of the central government in meeting the expectations of the people during the pandemic of Covid-19. Protests were held in Shimla, Sirmour, Kullu, Mandi, Hamirpur, Kangra, Chamba, Solan and in the tribal district of Kinnaur. The active protests signaled the growing resentment of the people against the poor intervention of both the state and central governments in providing the much needed relief.
Different sections of the people participated in these protests. Workers, peasants, women, young people, students, street vendors and even sections of small business joined the protests. The protests were held taking into consideration both ‘physical distancing’ and wearing of masks.
Slogans were raised and then the protest demonstrations were addressed by the leaders. In Shimla the protest was addressed by Balbir Prashar, secretary of the Shimla town committee. Protests in Shimla district were also held at Sanjaulli, Theog and Rampur. In Sanjaulli the demonstration was held by the local committee Kusumpti; in Theog Rakesh Singha, CPI(M) MLA also participated in the protest demonstration. Likewise protests in Hamirpur were addressed by Kashmir Singh Thakur, state secretariat member of the Party; in Sirmour, Raju the district secretary addressed the protest meeting. In Mandi district Bhupender Singh zila parishad member addressed the protesters in Sarkaghat. Kushal Bhardwaj, district secretary of the CPI(M) participated in the protest demonstration in Jogendernagar in Mandi district. In Kullu district the protest was led by Hottam Shonkhla, district secretary of CPI(M).
Apart from the four demands raised at the all India level, another demand was added in HP. This demand is, waiving off debt of the kisans who have taken loan under the KCC (kisan credit card) upto Rs 3 lakh.
Protests were held in 323 places in 19 districts out of 24. Nearly eight thousand people participated in these protests which were held in 12 subdivision headquarters, 193 panchayats of 89 blocks, and 13 local bodies (nagar parishads and nagar panchayats).
As the Raja Festival, usually observed massively throughout the state fell on June 16, the all India protest day was observed on June 18.
In more than 100 places including in Bhubaneswar, Party comrades and people in general participated in the protest.
Apart from the all India issues, demands raised included: distribution of financial assistance of Rs 2000 as assured to all the migrant workers who have completed 14 days quarantine; engaging migrant worker returnees by opening all the closed loom industries; returning the fare to all the migrant workers who have purchased tickets by paying from their pocket; high level enquiry into the alleged irregularities in purchasing Covid-19 equipment and publishing a white paper on the Covid-19 containment measures.
AT the call of the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) to hold protest demonstrations on June 16, protests were held at 300 places in 38 districts and nearly 3,500 Party activists participated in them. Most of these demonstrations were held by branch committees in their villages and localities. In some of the districts, protests were held at district headquarters and even outside the residences of Party leaders, who held placards and raised slogans.
In Lucknow, the state secretariat members held demonstration in front of the Vidhan Sabha, just outside the Party office.
The National Capital Region (NCR) Delhi held protest demonstrations on June 16. The protests were held at 78 places in Delhi, Ghaziabad and Noida in which activists of mass organisations and Party activists participated. Nearly 1,000 people participated in these demonstrations. A large number of women activists participated in these demonstrations.
Protests were held at the following places: Ghaziabad-20 places, Noida-14, East Delhi-2, Sonia Vihar-1, North East-3, North West-1, North Delhi-7, Outer Delhi-3, South West Delhi-4, South Delhi-14, Karol Bagh-2, University-2, VP House-1, 15 Talkatora-1, C R Park-1, Kamla-Yashpal-1, Janam-1; total 78 places.
The protest day on June 16 was observed in 10 districts. The demonstrations were conducted at 20 spots all across the state. In Dehradun district, protests were held at Mussoorie, Doiwala, Vikas Nagar, Rishikesh and in the district and state headquarter, Dehradun. Protests were held in Chamoli, at Gopeshwar, Ghat and Karanprayag; in Tehri district, at Ghansali and lambgaon; in Rudraprayag, at Ukhimath, Basukedar, and district headquarter Rudraprayag; in Pauri, ; in Uddham Singh Nagar district at Sitarganj; in Bageshwar district at Kanda; and at Almora, Haridwar and Nainital district headquarters. Memoranda were sent to the prime minister via DM/SDM of respective districts. Despite transportation problems, more than 500 Party members participated in this activity. All state committee members participated in the activity.