Hyderabad: Marking the 90th martyrdom day of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, farmers, students and workers held rallies, public meetings, candle and torchlit demonstrations at hundreds of protest sites in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on Tuesday, March 23.
Following the huge turnout at the demonstrations, farmer leaders and trade unionists, who are campaigning for the Bharat Bandh on March 26 against the three new farm laws, are hoping that a large number of people will be joining their agitation this time.
“Farmers’ organisations, trade unions, students and civil society groups in Andhra Pradesh are collectively participating in every nationwide farmers’ protest which are being called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha,” said Y Kesav Rao, president of the Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham.
“Remembering Bhagat Singh, students and farmers are jointly organising public meetings and candlelight rallies marking Shaheed Diwas as part of the ongoing farmers’ struggle. For the next two days, bike rallies and public meetings are planned for campaigning for the success of March 26 Bharat Bandh. There is no resentment among the people whenever unions are calling for bandh as dissatisfaction against the Bharatiya Janata Party regime at the Centre is seen across communities and sectors,” he said.
In Andhra Pradesh, Left parties, Telugu Desam Party, central trade unions and other unions of municipal workers, anganwadi workers, healthcare workers, teachers and Members of Legislative Council (MLCs) have earlier extended their support to the bandh.
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“This will be the third statewide bandh in the last two months. The March 5 bandh against the privatisation of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant was successful in all districts. The public supported the bandh called by banks and insurance corporations against privatisation of public sector banks and enterprises. In the recent local body elections, the Telugu-speaking people have outrightly rejected the BJP. All these factors signify that the saffron party has lost its relevance in Andhra,” said K Uma Maheswara Rao, leader of the Andhra Pradesh Municipal and Employees Federation, affiliated to CITU.
“Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, common people’s dissatisfaction against the BJP in the state has increased for reasons including unemployment, low wages, price hikes on consumer goods and fuel and so on, while farmers and workers are firmly united in opposing the anti-peasants and anti-workers policies of the central government,” he said.
He further added, “A general consensus against the three farm laws across the villages and large numbers of farmers including tenant farmers unionising are the significant developments in the ongoing farmers movement.” He said that the YSRCP party leaders have agreed to tacitly support the bandh on March 26.
“In Telangana, Shaheed Diwas was organised in all district and mandal headquarters where farmers, students and trade unionists held candle and torch-lit rallies remembering the martyrdom of the freedom fighters,” said Sarampally Mallareddy, vice president of All India Kisan Sabha. “Both Telugu states are witnessing decentralised protests on everyday problems among farmers and centralised protests as jointly called by the farmers’ unions,” he added.
Telangana Rythu Sangham and Left parties have been demanding the Telangana Rashtra Samithi-led state government to pass a resolution in the state Assembly against the three farm laws.
Vemulapalli Venkatramaiah, president of the All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha, said that the workers and farmers’ unions are collectively leading the farmers’ protests in the state. “The protests are resulting in spreading awareness on the implications of the farm laws, labour codes, privatisation and the anti-people’s policies of the BJP government,” he said.
“Representatives from 23 farmers’ organisations in the state are holding meetings and deciding on leading the protests. We are trying to rope in all political parties in the state except BJP to intensify the farmers’ protests,” he added, talking about the future course of action.
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