The All India Kisan Sabha, All India Agricultural Workers’ Union and Centre of Indian Trade Unions, have called for a Martyrs’ Memorial Farmers-Workers March which will culminate at the farmers' protest sites on the borders of the national capital on March 23, Martyrs’ Day, opposing the Centre’s anti-people and pro-corporate policies of the government.
The three organisations in a press release has appealed to all agricultural workers, trade unions, students, workers, and people from all sections of society to join the farmers and workers in opposing the anti-farmer and anti-labour laws introduced by the Narendra Modi-led central government.
On the occasion of Martyrs’ Day this year, the unions recall the sacrifice made by martyrs Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, and pledged to “bring economic, social and political change in society as dreamed by the young martyrs”, according to the press release. It states that the freedom which these martyrs fought for is under threat today, as the groups supporting the imperial British rule have grabbed power in this country.
As a result, the constitutional values including secularism, equality, democracy and freedom are being destroyed, while civil rights are being snatched. The country has been plunged into economic distress in such a way that while farmers and workers are buried in debt and poverty, a handful of corporates are in control of 80% of the country’s wealth, according to the statement. The unemployment rate in Haryana has reached 32.5%, meaning every third person in Haryana is unemployed.
The press statement by CITU, AIAWU and AIKS also recalled the attack on British Assembly on April 8, 1928, by Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt, in protest against the Industrial Dispute Bill and Public Safety Bill. Drawing parallels with the Public Safety Bill, the release states that the current government also arrests anyone who speaks in support of the farmers and charges them with draconian laws like UAPA and sedition.
Not only that, the government has gone on a selling spree of public sector undertakings, while citizens continue to be plagued by inflation and price rise. Amid this, the organisations alleged, the government and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh are “trying to divide the society on the lines of caste and religion to continue their naked plunder”.
Also see: Farmers’ Movement: Tribute to the Martyrdom of Jawan and Kisan
Terming the three farm laws introduced by the government as “black laws”, they stated that the laws will wrench the processes of agriculture, from production to distribution from the farmers and hand it over to the big corporates. This will wreak havoc not only on the farmers, but on public distribution, food security and self-sufficiency as a whole. The four labours codes, which replaced the existing labour laws, will also effect the workers in a similar way, the farmers’ and workers’ unions alleged.
According to the press release, three jatthas will begin marching from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana from March 18 and reach the border protest sites on March 23. The first big jattha, consisting of farmers from Haryana, will start from the historic Lal Chowk in Hansi district, which was one of the centres of rebellion against the East India Company during the 1857 struggle. They will be joined by another jattha from Jind at Rohtak and reach Tikri Border of Delhi on Martyrs’ Day.
The second jattha consisting of farmers and workers from Punjab will begin from Bhagat Singh’s village Khatkar Kalan. The jattha will reach Kurukshetra and Karnal on March 19 where the marching protesters will be greeted by the local people. On the next day, the jattha will proceed to Singhu border after being joined by farmers and workers from Haryana.
Farmers from Uttar Pradesh will form the third jattha that will begin marching from March 19 and reach Palwal on March 23.
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