September 27, 2020

Week-Long Campaign and Protests held

ON the call of the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M), national-level protest week was observed in the country from September 17-22. In some states these protests were held by the mass organisations of the people. The following issues were highlighted in the campaign:

Issues such as the intensification of communal polarisation; targeting of minorities; largescale attacks on democratic rights and civil liberties of our people; against the mounting brutal attacks on women, Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections, loot of national assets through privatization and the scrapping of labour laws will be highlighted along with demanding that the BJP central government urgently address the immediate needs of the people.

During the course of time, the three farmers’ bills became one of the foremost issues being raised in the campaign and protest demonstrations throughout the country. The major demands that were highlighted during the week-long campaign include:
•        Immediate cash transfer of Rs 7,500 per month for the next six months to all families outside the income tax bracket.
•        Immediate distribution of free food grains of 10 kg per individual per month for the next six months for all the needy.
•        Expand MGNREGA to ensure at least 200 days of work a year with enhanced wages.  Promulgate an Urban Employment Guarantee Act. Announce unemployment allowance to all the unemployed.
•        Safeguarding the Indian Constitution and its fundamental guarantees of liberty, equality and fraternity for all our citizens.

Below we present reports of a few states; the remaining state’s reports will be covered in the next issue:

THE people’s wrath against the anti-people measures of central government spreads across the state of Kerala as the CPI(M) mounts its struggles. Lakhs of people while observing the Covid-19 protocol gathered in almost all the area centres as part of nationwide struggle on September 22, against the corporatisation of the farm sector. The protests were held on the same day on which the opposition MPs of Rajya Sabha had begun an indefinite strike in Parliament premises.

The dharnas were staged in front of central government offices in district centres and post offices in rural areas.

While inaugurating the protest held in the premises of general post office at Thiruvananthapuram,  CPI(M) state secretary, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said that the farmers and people have joined this huge struggle since they realised the central legislations are death warrant to the farmers. The central government is playing with fire. Even the constituents of NDA have also joined the protests against these legislations. Though the opposition members of Rajya Sabha demanded voting on the bills, the central government strategically evaded the voting process for the smooth passage of bills. This is an unprecedented move in the history of Indian Parliament, he said.

Kodiyeri reiterated that the Left movement is leading the struggle both inside and outside of the Parliament against the corporatisation of the farm sector. The farmers will be deprived of their land due to this draconian law. Congress never took this as a burning problem of the millions of people who depend upon the farm sector. The main opposition party could have managed a joint struggle of the opposition. They have done nothing to coordinate the opposition members to ensure the defeat of the bill in Rajya Sabha. Same Congress party is hand in glove with BJP and other communal organisations to topple the LDF government in Kerala, he said.

West Bengal
INSTANT and spontaneous protests took place in all parts of West Bengal against anti-farmer bills. Rallies were held in all districts, demanding the withdrawal of these dangerous bills. Apart from AIKS, other mass organisations and Left parties came on the streets. Large and spontaneous demonstrations took place in East Burdwan, East Midnapore, Hooghly and Purulia.

In Bankura, rallies and demonstrations took place simultaneously in 21 blocks of the district. Apart from protesting central bills, local and district level demands were raised. Thousands of people participated in these rallies with red flags. This was the biggest mobilisation in recent times.

As part of a nationwide protest call by CPI(M), rallies and meetings were organised from September 17 to 22. On 22nd, two large rallies took place in Kolkata. These rallies were taken out from the South and Northern part of the city. The rallies highlighted attacks on peoples’ livelihood,  attacks on democracy and against attempts of polarisation. Biman Basu participated in one of the processions.

On 23rd, central trade unions demonstrated in Nizam Palace against the labour code bill. Trade unions took out rallies in district towns, street corner meetings were held as soon as the labour code was passed in the  Parliament.

The Delhi state committee of the CPI(M) organised protests in several areas of Delhi on September 21 on the call of the Polit Bureau for nationwide protests against the anti-people policies of the government.

Addressing the central gathering at Vithalbhai Patel House, state secretary K M Tiwari, while attributing the economic crisis to the RSS-BJP government policies demanded 10 kg food grains for individuals and Rs 7,500 for every family outside the purview of income tax for the next six months.  He said allowance needs to be given to the unemployed as well. Anurag Saxena, a state secretariat member of the Party demanded the withdrawal of the anti-farmer bills of Modi government. Rajiv Kunwar, a state committee member while exposing the communal face of the government, demanded that all activists of the democratic movement against whom false cases are charged should be immediately released.

Demonstrations were held at Sonia Vihar, Mangolpuri, Jahangirpuri, Narela, Metro Vihar, Shahabad Dairy, Indrapuri, Mithapur Chowk, Dakshin Puri, etc., in Delhi.  Apart from this, huge demonstrations were held at the DM office of Ghaziabad and at the municipal magistrate office of Noida.

THOUSANDS of farmers descended to Bengaluru on September 2,  protesting against six (three each pushed by central and state BJP governments) anti-farmers bills.  The three bills already issued as ordinances by the state government are - proposed amendments to the Land Reforms Act, Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act and Electricity Act. These are likely to be passed in the ongoing monsoon session of the state legislature starting on September 21.  They were also protesting against the three anti-farmer bills related to APMC, Essential Commodities and Contract Farming (also already issued as ordinances) being proposed by the central government. In fact, they were passed in Rajya Sabha by most undemocratic means.

Taking out a massive protest rally from Bangalore City (Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna) Railway Station to Vidhana Soudha, the farmers were stopped near Freedom Park by the police. It culminated in a public meeting at Freedom Park. The united protest rally was organised by 14 farmers, workers, dalit organisations. Karnataka state units of  All India Kisan Sabha, AIAWU, CITU participated in a big way. This is the first major rally and march to Vidhan Soudha of farmers after Covid pandemic outbreak.  It was a rainbow of colours with a sea of red, green, blue flags fluttering together.

Ashok Dhawale, AIKS president, Yogendra Yadav, U Basavaraj, Maruti Manpade general secretary and vice president respectively of AIKS state units and leaders of several farmers, workers, dalit organisations led the rally. Ashok Dhawale, Yogendra Yadav, Justice Nagmohan Das (retired Karnataka High Court judge), Kamareddy and many other leaders addressed the gathering at Freedom Park.

The movement will continue till September 30 with a ‘People’s Session’ being held in parallel with legislature session.