Agricultural workers across India will protest on January 7 and 8 in solidarity with the ongoing struggle of farmers against the contentious farm laws.
As part of the call given by All India Agricultural Workers' Union (AIAWU), president A Vijayaraghavan and general secretary B Venkat have appealed to the agricultural workers to hold protests at the village, panchayat, block and district levels as well as at the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme workplaces.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and recently joined by farmers from Maharashtra, have been protesting against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act at five borders of the national capital for over a month.
“Farmers, tenants, agricultural workers and other people living in connection with the agricultural sector have joined the struggle. The Central Government, however, is campaigning against the peaceful agitation. They even try to mislead the country using media,” the AIAWU leaders said in a statement.
“Agricultural workers, since the beginning, have been involved in the movement. It may be a surprise for many as it is a general perception that several contradictions exist among farmers and the agricultural workers. It is also true to some extent. Recently, these contradictions reflected in the state of Punjab and Haryana in the form of wage rates for paddy plantation. However, if one looks at the composition of protesters at the protest sites on the borders of Delhi, a large number of agricultural workers are participating in the struggle. The basis of this unity is the impact the three laws would have on this section of society. This needs immediate discussion as the three farm laws, clubbed with the electricity amendment bill will change the lives of more than 14,43,29,833 (Census 2011) agricultural workers in India,” Vikram Singh, joint secretary of AIAWU, wrote in NewsClick.
Also read:Agricultural Workers an Integral Part of Ongoing Historic Struggle of Farmers
Farmers and agricultural workers have been together in the battle field against the farm laws across the country. In places like Kerala, it has transformed into a people’s movement. Kerala Samyuktha Karshaka Samithi, a joint platform of farmers’ organisation in the state, launched a relay protest on December 12 at Martyrs’ Column in Thiruvananthapuram. The continuing protests have drawn huge support from all sections and on December 23, the Samithi launched relay protests at all district centres across the state.
Meanwhile, the BJP-led Centre has been trying to dismantle the struggle by dividing the farmers, but the farmers have stayed united. In fact, the ongoing struggle is intensifying with more and more sections of the society joining with farmers. The number of protesters has increased at Singhu, Gazipur, Tikri, Chilla and Shahjahanpur borders. The opening of toll booths and boycotting of Reliance Mobile Tower continue across the country.
On Tuesday, December 29, massive rallies were held in Bihar’s Patna and Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur as part of the ongoing struggle. The rallies were held under the banner of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC). On December 30, such rallies will be held in Hyderabad and Manipur.
As part of intensifying the struggle, the farmer unions said they will hold a "tractor march" from Singhu border on December 30 if the government is not ready to repeal these laws during the proposed talks on December 29. Also, the farmers have given a call for a nationwide protest on January 1, New Year's Day. The farmers have urged the public to take a pledge to support their struggle and demand the repealing of the three farm laws.