Chennai: The country as a whole as well as the state of Tamil Nadu are witnessing a huge spike in the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections. The country’s tally in terms of the total number of infections has risen to 2.87K, and the state tally rose to 36,841 on June 10, exposing the failure of the measures pursued “to flatten the curve”. The plight of many migrant workers and rural daily wage labourers remains unaddressed with paltry or no relief measures. In order to hide its failures, the Union government has seemed to have resorted to tactics to divert people’s attention. However, Left parties and mass organisations have stepped in in a bid to raise crucial issues and demand that the government acts proactively.
AIKS OPPOSE ORDINANCES AND AMENDMENTS
The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) took to the streets and burned the anti-farmer ordinances and acts brought in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on June 10. Defying the threat of the increasing COVID-19, farmers across the state took part in large numbers.
The AIKS has opposed the Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
R Ravi, Kanyakumari district secretary of AIKS, said “The BJP government is literally betraying the farming community as a whole by bringing in such ordinances and acts. The Narendra Modi government is planning to corporatise the farming sector by bringing in such ordinances and amendments. We want the implementation of the M S Swaminathan Commission's recommendations so that the farmers can get a minimum profit amidst an increase in the input cost.”
PROTEST OF DIFFERENTLY ABLED DEFERRED
The joint action committee of the Association for the Disabled Persons had resolved to begin an indefinite protest from June 10 in all taluk headquarters. However, the umbrella organisation decided to postpone the protest in the wake of increasing COVID-19 positive cases in the state. S Namburajan, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Association for the Right of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC), said, “The joint platform has been demanding a cash relief of Rs 5,000 to all the differently abled persons. Most of them are severely affected by the lockdown, which confined them to their homes, losing jobs and livelihood.”
TARATDAC had earlier held a sit-in protest at taluk offices on May 7 for their demand. The officials’ apathy continues to haunt people suffering from disabilities, unable to find income, owing to the lockdown.
AIDWA DEMANDS RELIEF FOR WOMEN WORKERS
The All India Democratic Women's Association participated in the protest on June 10 across the state. Its major demand focused on relief for the women workers stranded in urban and rural areas without jobs and wages due to the lockdown.
Many women in rural areas work as agricultural labourers while women in urban and semi-urban areas depend on their job as domestic help. The cash relief announced by the central and state government has barely helped them, said AIDWA. The women workers, who primarily work in the unorganised sector, remain one of the most vulnerable sections among the working population.
LEFT PARTIES HOLD PROTEST FOR COVID-19 RELIEF
Left parties ran a campaign on June 9 for demands including cash relief for families who have lost their livelihood due to the unplanned lockdown. Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India (Marxist- Leninist) [CPI(ML)] took part in the protests held across the state.
The demands include cash relief of Rs 7,500 for six months to families not paying income tax, 10 kg of rice to each member of the family free of cost, and relief for the migrant workers. The demands to increase the number of working days from 100 to 200 in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and increasing the wage to Rs 600 per day were also raised.
CPI(M) also plans to organise a massive nationwide protest on June 16.