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100 Days of Demonetisation: Vibrant Resistance in Delhi

Protesters demand whitepaper on impacts of demonetisation

After 100 days of demonetisation, people from different walks of life, representatives of various people’s movements, civil society groups, trade unions and political parties took to the streets.

On 19th February, marching from Mandi house to Jantar Mantar, they questioned the motive and implementation of demonetisation. Highlighting the colossal damage to the lives and livelihood of common people, they pointed out that the ones with black-money managed an easy escape.


It has been over 100 days since the ill-planned decision of demonetisation was enforced. The initial period saw a huge crisis of cash shortage. As time passed, the adverse effects of demonetisation were seen on industries and the working class. Thousands of Informal and small scale industries have either shut down or are on the verge of closure. With the huge amount of job losses, there is reverse migration.

People from Katputli colony, a colony of the world’s largest street performers in Shadipur Depot area of Delhi have been bearing the brunt of demonetisation. They came out for the protest in large numbers. Parts of the colony have already been demolished. On the verge of losing their houses, the colony is under a threat of complete demolition. Adding insult to injury, while the demonetisation left them jobless, the threat of forced eviction, without alternate rehabilitation has put them in a precarious condition.



Even though the issues these people are facing are grave, they chose to take out the march with fervor, passion and dynamism. The march started with a Kachchhi Ghodi dance, an Indian folk dance that originated in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. Residents of Katputli colony specialize in various art forms and chose to express their grievances through songs and dance.


Basanti, a resident of the colony who works as a mehendi artist, talked about how demonetisation affected her household. “We faced a lot of problems after notebandi. I didn’t have work for days, there was not enough cash and the impact can be felt till now”.


The march saw protestors ranging from age 6 to age 70. Two young girls present at the protest spoke to Newsclick on the issue.


Chanda (left) and Bhumika (right) talked about why they thought they needed to be a part of the demonstration. The destruction of their homes by DDA has disrupted their studies and their lives in general. Because the demolition of their colony was not enough, demonetisation made things from bad to worse. The life of these girls along with others like them has come to a standstill.

Domestic Workers Union, Railway Mazdoor Union, Delhi Young Artists Forum, Safai karamchari Union, Jhugi Jhopdi Union, Construction Workers Union and farmers affected by industrialization in Kanjhawala in the outskirts of Delhi, also participated in the protest.

The march culminated at Jantar Mantar where a group of protestors performed kathputli dance.


They expressed their miseries through the beautiful puppet dance, the show was extremely engaging. The puppets were made to dance with such vibrancy, that even the police force became part of the audience, completely engrossed in the performance.


The performance was followed by the political party leaders extending their support, to the struggle.

“Note ban devastated the lives of the poor and unorganised sector, while the rich lose nothing”, CPI (M) leader Nilopal Basu said.

“Demonetisation policy has been proved to be a disaster for the people”, D Raja, Rajya Sabha MP and Communist Party of India leader said.


“Agriculture and informal industry workers have been the worst hit with demonetisation. The government has given no compensation for the job losses, vegetable losses. The economy has suffered a huge downfall because of this policy. If things keep going in the same way, it will take a lot of time to recover from this crisis.” General Secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, Hannan Mollah said.

“With 98% of demonetised currency returning to the banks, the said objectives of the demonetisation failed, while the miseries of common people, and the bank employees who had to face the wrath of distressed people kept growing”, Ravinder Gupta from Bank Officers Association.

A. R. Sindhu, General Secretary, All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers said “Small scale industries have seen 70% job loss, many of them are closing down and as a result there is reverse migration. The government is pushing the concept of ‘Cashless and digital economy’, but there is no infrastructure for this. There are not enough banks or ATMs to accomplish this goal. Even this year’s budget gives nothing to help the working class. Earlier the illusion of ‘catching black money’ was fed to the people, to justify demonetisation. Now, they are not giving any figures, any data or numbers to support their objective. Industrial revival is difficult at this pace.”


Their other demands were “We reject in totality the authoritarian drive to push the UID/Aadhar scheme down people’s throats and demand political and judicial intervention to stop the drive immediately. We demand that the government produce a white paper on the impacts of demonetization on people’s lives and livelihoods and compensate for it. We demand that the corporate driven ‘cashless’ economy plan be immediately withdrawn.”

With a higher percentage of women in the rally, it was a vibrant and determined protest. Their message to reject the corporate driven government, for a pro people government was loud and clear.


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