May 29, 2022

Maha: Protest against Price Rise, Unemployment

A MEETING of the Samyukta Shetkari Kamgar Morcha (SSKM) that took place on May 18 at the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) office in Mumbai gave a clarion call for large statewide protest actions from May 25 to 31, 2022, at all district and tehsil centres in both urban and rural parts of Maharashtra against the thoroughly anti-people and pro-corporate policies of the Modi-led BJP government.

It may be recalled that the SSKM was formed in Maharashtra one and a half year ago to support the nationwide farmer's struggle, and two huge statewide mahapanchayats were held in Mumbai, along with many other actions. The SSKM comprises over 100 organisations of peasants, workers, agricultural workers, women, youth and students.

Unprecedented price rise and unemployment has made the life of the people miserable. The prices of petrol, diesel, cooking gas and all other essential commodities have hit the roof. The biggest culprit is the Modi regime which has slapped massive surcharge/cess on petroleum products. Lakhs of youth have no jobs. In the World Hunger Index, India is 101st out of 116 countries.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) under the United Nations has estimated that 47 lakh people in India have died in the last two years due to the Covid pandemic. This is the highest number of Covid-related deaths in the world. But the central government's official figure of Covid deaths is only 5 lakh. In spite of such a massive attack on the health of the people, the public health system is being undermined by further privatisation. In the monsoon session of parliament, the government is bringing in a disastrous bill on public health. Due to the thrust of commercialisation, centralisation and communalisation of the New Education Policy, the future of lakhs of students and teachers is at stake. 

The Modi regime has refused to repeal the four labour codes which impose slavery on the working class. The historic one year long farmer's struggle forced the BJP regime to repeal the three farm laws. But it is not ready to give legal guarantee to MSP at one and a half times the comprehensive cost of production. In Maharashtra the issue of excess sugarcane and crop insurance have become grim. By slashing the outlay on MGNREGA, the BJP regime is leaving agricultural workers in the lurch. 

The most shocking aspect is that of the BJP regime putting up the entire country for sale to domestic and foreign corporates at a pittance. The IPO of LIC is the latest example of this. 

The SSKM meeting also came down heavily on the authoritarianism and communalism of the BJP-RSS government. It was decided to strongly resist the centre's policy of using agencies like the ED, CBI and IT, and draconian laws like Sedition, UAPA and NSA against political opponents, not filing charge sheets against the Bhima Koregaon detenus for over three years, and hatching all conspiracies to intensify communal polarisation to divert attention away from people's real problems. 

All the above issues will be raised by the people in a big way all over Maharashtra in the SSKM protests from May 25 to 31. The SSKM meeting was attended by Justice B G Kolse Patil, Ashok Dhawale, Vidya Chavan, ex-MLC, Prakash Reddy, Pratibha Shinde, Raju Korde, S K Rege, Prabhakar Narkar, Dhananjay Shinde, Vijay Kulkarni, Feroze Mithiborwala, Janardan Jangle, Vishal Hiwale and others.