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Farm Laws, Labour Codes: Countrywide Protests by Workers, Farmers Mark ‘Save India Day’ on August 9

Dharnas, demonstrations demand repeal of farm laws, labour codes, amendment to Electricity Bill, among others. Protesters submit memoranda in all district headquarters.
Save India protest, Tamil Nadu

A trade union protest in Chennai. 

New Delhi: Countrywide protests were held on Monday by trade unions, farmer organisations and other sections of the society demanding repeal of the three farm laws, labour codes, the Electricity Amendment Act, among other demands.

The call to observe Bharat Bachao Diwas’ or ‘Save India Day’, was jointly given by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, the All India Kisan Sabha and the All India Agricultural Workers Union, to mark the day the Quit India Movement began against the British colonisers.

UP: Protests Against Centre, Yogi Govt Policies

Pledging to continue thier struggle against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government's policies and misrule, trade unions and farmers held demonstrations across 45 districts of Uttar Pradesh, raising slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and corporates on the anniversary of Quit India movement of 1942.

In every district, a memorandum to the district magistrates, addressed to the PM Modi chief minister Yogi Adityanath. 

"On this very day (August 9) several years ago, Indians had called for the British to quit India under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, today we are calling for the BJP to leave (the seat of) power,” said Mukut Singh, general secretary of AIKS, UP chapter, referring to the 1942 Quit India Movement.

He said the demonstration was to condemn the looting of public wealth in India. "Every policy of the Modi government is anti-people, anti-farmers but corporate-friendly," Singh, who led the demonstration in Etawah district, sadi.  

In the memorandum, the protesters also demanded 10 kg ratio per person during COVID period, ensuring 200 days work in addition to making MNREGA daily wages at Rs 600, as also security from stray cattle menace. 

Brij Bihari, general secretary of Mazdoor Kisan Manch, said: "The ruling government is completely in denial mode and is rather twisting facts to paint a picture of everything being normal and that the economy is reviving at full scale. But unemployment and rising prices including food, have crippled the poor sections of the society."

He said this is why "workers, farmers and agriculture labourers, who are the wealth creators of the nation, have come together to intensify their struggle against the Modi government's neoliberal policies."

Demanding the cash support of Rs 7,500 to all non-income taxpayers, Prem Nath Rai, general secretary of state CITU, alleged that ever since 2017, the income of people in UP in the informal had dwindled sharply.

He said that CITU would run a public awareness campaign in every village and in tehsil and town against the “anti-people measures” taken by the Central government, such as the three farm laws passed by the Centre, unemployment, inflation and the new labour codes. 

Meanwhile, on the call of the National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers, over 15 lakh power employees across said they would resort to a one-day strike/work boycott on August 10 in protest against the Indian Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

Abdul Alim Jafri in Lucknow

TN: Thousands Join 'Save India' Campaign 

Thousands of workers, women, peasants and agricultural labourers joined the 'Save India' campaign day in Tamil Nadu. Human chains and demonstrations were held, even in remote towns across the state, condemning the “anti-worker, anti-peasant” policies of the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. 

Demonstration by central trade unions in Ramanathapuram

Demonstration by central trade unions in Ramanathapuram

"The BJP government is trying to privatise the farm sector for the benefits of a select few corporate players. The three farm laws will deal a heavy blow for the farmers already suffering due to the wrong policies of the government", said P Shanmugam, state general secretary of AIKS. 

Save India protest, Tamil Nadu

A large number of women participated in the protest held in Salem.

S Kannan, deputy general secretary of Tamil Nadu unit of CITU accused the BJP government of exploiting  workers to satisfy the demands of the corporates. 

"The labour law codification and fixed term employment are against the workers and the youth of the country. These policies will have a lasting adverse impact on the workers and the employment seeking educated youth of the  country", he said. 

Save India protest, Tamil Nadu

Protest in front of BSNL office in Pollachi, Coimbatore district

Unions have been raising their voices against the privatisation of public sector undertakings. 

"The railways, banks, insurance and defence public sectors have not escaped the privatisation move of the government. After speaking volumes about swadeshi and love for the country, the Modi government has gone to the extent of privatising the defence manufacturing sector", Kannan said. 

The other demands include the reduction of prices of the petroleum products and ensuring manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines in the public sector vaccine manufacturing industries. 

Neelambaran A in Chennai

Assam: Protests Held in All Districts

In Assam, central trade unions including, CITU, INTUC, AITUC, HMS, AICCTU, AIUTUC etc., five farmer organisations, students and youth organised protests in all districts  -- from both Brahmaputra and Barak valleys.

In total, over 20,000 people are estimated to ahev participated in the protests.

In the state capital, Guwahati, over 500 protestors came out on the  streets to protest against the draconian labour laws and the farm laws, and  demanded immediate scrapping these laws as also reviving the paper mills of Assam and stopping privatisation of oilfields in the Northeastern state.

Save India protest, Assam

Protest in Guwahati.

Save India protest, Assam


In Bongaigaon district, AIKS, CITU and AIDWA took out a protest march voicing the demands of the all India ‘Bharat Bachao’ protest day.

In Barpeta district, a huge protest demonstration was led by CITU, AIKS, DYFI and SFI.

Going down south to Barak valley protests were held in Karimganj, Hailakandi districts. In Hailakandi district the protest was led by ‘Sadou Asam Nirman Shramik Union’, the union of the construction workers.

Speaking to NewsClick, Tapan Sarma, general secretary of CITU, Assam , said: “The BJP governments both at the Centre and in Assam are hell bent on handing over natural resources to capitalists for their profit making. On the other side, they are putting people behind bars for questioning them.”

“In the context of Assam, the BJP governments at state and Centre have done a criminal offence by selling off the two paper mills, which were well functioning and revenue generating. Many people have died by suicide, but the governments have no times to listen to them”, he added.

“The Guwahati airport, named after Gopinath Bordoloi , has been handed over to Adani. Who gave them the right to replace Gopinath Bordoloi’s name with Adani?”, he asked

Nirangkush Nath, the state secretary of SFI, Assam, told—“Today students have joined hands with the workers and farmers of the country in their fight to reclaim their rights.”

Sandipan Talukdar in Guwahati

Save India protest, Assam

Protest at Kalgachia, Barpeta district, Assam

MP: Protests in Over 30 districts

With red flags and banners of Bharat Bachao Diwas, members of the Madhya Pradesh Trade Union Sanyukt Morcha protested across the state, including Bhopal.

The MP Trade Union Sayukt Morcha is an umbrella organisation of 12 affiliated trade unions which have joined hands to protest against the ‘anti-people’ policies of the Union Government. They handed over a 12-point demand charter to the district officials and to the Governor in Bhopal.

In Bhopal’s Neelam Park, dozens of trade union workers gathered and raised slogans against the Union Government against skyrocketing inflation, scrapping of three farm laws, privatisation, amendment of Electricity Bill and labour codes among others.

Save India protest, MP

In the letter to the Governor, the trade unions said over 18 nation-wide protests had been held in the past two years, including of November 26, 2020, in which over 25 crore workers and labourers participated, yet, the government was neither ready to scrap these laws nor open aAm dialogue.

The Bharat Bhacho Diwas was largely observed in over 30 districts, including Gwalior-Chambal, Vidhya Region and in a few districts dominated by tribals.

In Gwalior, Rewa, Morena, Bhind and Guna, farmers’ unions walked hand in hand with trade unions.

Save India protest, MP

“The protest took place in over 30 districts of the State and in a few districts farmer unions extended their support. We handed over memorandums without demands to the officials concerned and demanded immediate implementation of our 12-points demands,” said PN Verma, convenor of MP Trade Union Sanyukt Morcha.

Many speakers in Bhopal’s Neelam Park attacked the Union government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “massive mismanagement” of the pandemic and the changes were made in the laws during the pandemic.

“If our demands are not met or the Union Government does not invite us for dialogue, we will intensify our protests,” said RD Tripathi, President of Congress’ trade union INTUC in Madhya Pradesh.

Kashif Kakvi in Bhopal

Kolkata Observes August Kranti  Day

Kolkata resonated with the farmers protests in Delhi with a major street in Moulali blocked by a dharna by members of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee of AIKSCC, CITU, AIKS etc. Among those who addressed the two-hour dharna were AIKS State President Sanjoy Putatunda  and  CITU  Kolkata district secretary Debanjan Chakraborty ,  Farid Mollah ( Agragami Kisan Sabha ) Basudeb Basu of AICCTU,  Samir Putatundu (PDS.   

Save India protest, West Bengal

In his speech, AIKS state chief  Sanjoy Putatunda said the time has come to oust “looters” from the country as was done during pre-Indepndence when the British were thrown out.

CITU leader  Debanjan Chakraborty  said that “the fight of farmers and workers has converged into a single fight with the demand to repeal the three farm laws  is also a demand of the workers movement and likewise  the demand for repeal the labour codes  is also being backed by farmers.”

Save India protest, West Bengal

He said “two crore organised sector workers of the country and the 42 crore unorganised sector workers were now unitedly leading a larger movement for their demands”, adding that the “time had come to  consolidate more sections into the joint  action mechanism of workers and farmers.”.

Protests were also held in Burdwan, Medinipore, Krishnangar, Raiganj   Malda and almost all district headquarters.

Sandip Chakraborty in Kolkata


Kerala: Left Parties Join Protests in Solidarity

As part of the ‘Save India Day’, protest meetings were organised across Kerala, following COVID protocols, by trade and farm unions, with Left parties coming out in solidarity with them.

CITU State Secretary TK Rajan led the protests in Kasargode, and Vice President CK Manisankar inaugurated the protest meeting led by the Kerala Petroleum and Gas Workers Union in Ernakulam and CITU National Secretary K Chandran Pillai in Kaloor.

Save India protest, Kerala

Anathalavattom Anandan, President of the Kerala State Committee of CITU, said that the “anti-people corporate-friendly moves of the Union government amounted to ceding the sovereignty of the country to the interests of big business and international finance capital.”

He said the “Union government was working at the behest of corporates and were passing black laws aimed at facilitating the loot of public assets by corporates at a time when the people have not been able to resist properly due to the spread of the pandemic.”

Save India protest, Kerala

Anandan also accused the Union government of discriminating the state in the distribution of COVID vaccines. “The state was being punished for the uncompromising position it had taken against the anti-people and communal designs of the Union government,” he added.

Azhar Moideen in Kerala

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