Thousands are expected to gather at every district collectorate office in Maharashtra on the Constitution Day (November 26) following the protest call for the nationwide strike given by multiple organisations to exhibit workers-farmers unity.
Labour unions from the state have planned a complete shutdown in industrial areas on Thursday; whereas, farmers’ organisations will be marching to Delhi. Workers from the organised sectors or those employed by municipalities, too, will be participating in the strike from their job locations.
On Saturday, All India Kisan Sabha’s Dr Ashok Dhavale, farmers’ leader Raju Shetti, social activists Medha Patkar, Kishor Dhamale, INTUC leader Jaiprakash Chhajed, Mumbai union leader Shankar Salvi, trade unionist Uday Bhat, convenor of Jan Andolananchi Sangharsh Samiti (JASS) Vishwas Utagi were present for the meeting in which the course of action was decided.
"We are preparing all districts. The members of unions are mobilising employees, farmers and labourers. The posters and banners are being put up everywhere. They will protest at the collectorate office for the entire day," said Utagi, convenor of JASS.
It was also decided that farmers’ unions will jointly hold protests at every tehsil office in the state. "Thousands of farmers will also go to Delhi to participate in the two-day agitation. At the same time, farmers will protest at every tehsil, every regional office for the two days. They will submit a memorandum demanding immediate rollback of the newly passed farmers act," said Dr Dhavale.
This time, street vendors’ unions, real estate workers’ unions, coolie unions across market committees will also mark their protest. Uday Bhat, leader of Sarva Shramik Sanghatana, told NewsClick, "The unorganised sector has been highly affected due to the lockdown. We are demanding Rs 7,500 for each labourer until the pandemic situation is not over. We hope that the government will take note and accept our demand. This strike is a warning to the Union government. The agitation will get only stronger and wider," said Uday Bhat.
Medha Patkar and other members of the National Alliance for People's Movement (NAPM) will also participate in the November 26 strike. She has also given a call for protest to the people affected by the Narmada dam project. "The economic model of the Modi government is bulldozing the weaker and deprived sections of the society the most. Our fight is against this blatant loot of natural resources, disrespect for labour, weakening the rights of common people as well as communal ideology which is dividing the peace and harmony of India," she said.
Fishermen of the coastal region from the state, too, will participate in the strike and protest against the constant rise in diesel rates. They plan to keep the fishing business shut for one day. Fishermen Action Committee's secretary Mahendra Paradkar said that the fishermen from all of the six coastal districts of state will support the strike. "Like farmers and labourers, we too are facing a number of issues due to policies of the Union government. Apart from diesel price, other issues like persian net, LED fishing, inter-state fishing by breaking laws are also affecting the smaller fishermen," said Paradkar.
Shankar Salvi, who leads the biggest hawkers’ unions in the state capital, said that the current economic situation is hurting the interest of the smaller sections mostly. "There is no business. We keep hearing the number of packages, but where is the implementation? Actual Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) in India is a small-time hawker from a city. Nobody looks after him. This government is hell-bent on breaking the backbone of the hawkers," said Salvi.
Also read: Explained: Why Workers Are Going on Strike and Farmers Are Protesting