Hundreds of protesters gathered at Delhi's Jantar Mantar on Thursday, February 25, to protest against the Modi-government's “anti-people” policies. The protest demonstration was called by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Delhi and was attended by workers, women, and concerned citizens from all over the city.
Several issues were raised by the protesters, including the recent hike in prices of fuel and cooking gas, a historically high unemployment rate in the country, the new labour codes and the Farm Laws.
Speaking to Newsclick, CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat, who was also one of the speakers at the demonstration, said: “We all know what this government wants. In a year when more than 13 crore people lost their jobs, when the poor got poorer, the richest kept getting even richer. These are the people this government caters to. The government is looting the ordinary people and that is why we are protesting against it.”
A woman protester from Wazirpur told Newsclick that the government “does not care about our suffering. During the lockdown my son lost his job. He has been sitting at home for the last ten months because there are no new jobs. I do not know how long we will be able to go on like this. With the recent rise in LPG cylinder prices I don't know if we will even be able to afford gas anymore. How will we survive?”, she asked, mentioning that her neighbours were faced with a situation. They were all running out of money and were struggling to feed their children, she said.
Mariam Dhawale, general secretary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association said that women had suffered the most during the pandemic. Working women have lost their jobs, the women at home have increased housework and the rise in prices have affected them. Karat also added that domestic violence against women had increased during this period.
Talking about the plight of the farmers, Hannan Mollah, general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha said: “Never before has a government treated the farmers so badly. The government stopped the farmers from even entering Delhi as if they were criminals. But this has not discouraged the farmers. They are protesting across the country. And they will continue to protest until their demands are met. They are not scared of the government's lathis and they have made it clear that they will not step back.”
Adding to what Mollah said, Ashok Dhawale, president of the AIKS, told Newsclick: “The workers and the farmers across the country support each other. We have clearly seen that during the farmers' protests.”
He added that from this year forth, February 27, the death anniversary of Chandrashekhar Azad, will be remembered as Mazdoor Kisan Ekta Diwas, and demonstrations will be organised across the country.
Along with leaders of CPI(M) and various other mass organisations, ordinary people also registered their anger at the continuous attack on the poor and on democracy by the Modi-government at Thursday's protest and made it clear that they won’t stop protesting until the
“anti-people” government is removed from power.