New Delhi: Renouncing the “repressive” measures being taken against farmers and workers on the eve of the general strike in the capital, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has said that the “autocratic and repressive measures have only multiplied the anger and increased the determination of the workers and peasants in the country to intensify their struggle.”
In a statement released on Wednesday, CITU added that in its “desperation the government seems to be under the illusion that they can suppress mounting discontent and anger against its policies among the mass of the toiling people, the workers and peasants.”
Multiple states have attempted to clampdown on the general strike called by farmers organisations and workers unions on November 26 and November 27.
On Tuesday, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) said that 31 leaders from farmers groups and trade unions had been arrested or detained in Haryana. The farmers’ body attacked the government for its “attempts to use the excuse of COVID-19 to thwart the democratic right of citizens to protest against anti-people moves.”
In Madhya Pradesh, Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) member Shikha Joshi said that district collectors had cancelled permission for their rallies. “We had planned to organise a Mashal Julus with a rally on November 24 in nearly 10 districts of the state to create awareness about the strike. However, the district collectors cancelled all the permission in view of COVID-19 spread,” she told NewsClick.
Almost 500 farmers’ organisations, led by the AIKSCC have called for a ‘Delhi Chalo’ programme on November 26 and 27 to intensify their struggle against the controversial agriculture reforms. The ten Central Trade Unions have given a call to observe a general strike on November 26 to press for their charter of demands, including a cash transfer of Rs. 7,500 to all non-income tax payee families among others.
In its statement, CITU criticised the “repression let loose” by the government on farmers and workers. It said that an “unnerved” BJP government is “resorting to desperate measures to prevent mobilisations.”
“The BJP government in Haryana has announced sealing of the borders between the state and Punjab, Delhi etc to prevent the peasants who have already started from their villages to participate in the protest demonstrations in the national capital, from entering Delhi. It is totally unlawful, unconstitutional and autocratic. Police have raided the houses of peasants at midnight and arrested hundreds of peasants in Haryana,” the statement said.
CITU added that the Odisha government declared the Essential Services Maintenance Act in the state to “scuttle” the strike. “Strikes have been banned by the government in several sectors; managements have been threatening of action for participating in the strike,” it added.
“In their desperation the government seems to be under the illusion that they can suppress mounting discontent and anger against its policies among the mass of the toiling people, the workers and peasants. But these autocratic and repressive measures have only multiplied the anger and increased the determination of the workers and peasants in the country to intensify their struggle. Similar repressive measures on workers and peasants are being reported from many other states,” the statement said.
The union warned the BJP government that the “anger of the people against its disastrous and destructive policies resulting in the deterioration of their conditions cannot be suppressed by such dictatorial measures.”
It further asked the government to desist from “such suppression of the basic right of the people to raise their demands through collective actions. It calls upon all sections of people, to all democratic and progressive forces to strongly condemn the repression on the workers and peasants, and support their most genuine demands.”