Assam: Farmers and Workers Gear up for All India Mahapadav from November 26-28
Guwahati: Campaigns for the Mahapadav called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) and the Joint Platform of Trade Unions between November 26 and 28 have gained momentum in Assam. Farmers’ organisations and trade unions have been conducting campaigns in various districts of the state, aiming for large mobilisations against the anti-farmer and anti-worker policies of the state and central governments.
Speaking to NewsClick, Tapan Sarma, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) Assam secretary, stated that there would be large-scale gatherings at five centres across Assam: Dibrugarh (Upper Assam), Tezpur (Middle Assam), the capital city of Guwahati, Bongaigaon (Lower Assam), and Silchar in the Barak Valley. “We are aiming for a gathering of 10,000 people in Guwahati,” he added.
Tiken Das, the state secretary of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and the convener of SKM, Assam, spoke of a similar goal. The demonstration in Guwahati will involve a march to the Raj Bhavan on November 26.
The organisations have divided districts into five centres, each comprising various districts. For example, Guwahati comprises 11 districts, Dibrugarh nine districts, while Silchar covers all three districts of the Barak Valley.
“Apart from the Raj Bhavan Jatra in Guwahati, the leaders of the organisations are expecting gatherings of over 3,000 people in all five centres where the protests will be held,” said Sarma.
In addition, all the centres plan to organise a separate one-day program, apart from the three-day protest.
“The paddy harvesting season has started in Assam, and many farmers are completely occupied in their fields. That’s why calling for days of continuous programs may be a little difficult at this time. Nevertheless, farmers and workers are intensely engaged in campaigns, and they are ready to register their protests against the anti-worker and anti-farmer policies of the governments,” said Das speaking to NewsClick.
Das also mentioned that several meetings have been organised in Tamulpur and Nalbari districts in view of the Mahapadav, apart from postering and leaflet distribution in market areas and factories everywhere. “These meetings focus on local issues like attacks by the pest armyworm in thousands of hectares of paddy crops across the state,” he said.
However, the latest notification from the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led BJP government in Assam, stating that any organisation or political party wanting to organise any meeting, gathering, or procession will have to obtain prior police permission by submitting fees, has concerned the organisers. Terming this latest step as a way to scuttle the democratic right to protest, Sarma said, “We have applied for permission, but we still don’t know whether it will be granted or not. Regardless of the situation, we will continue with our programme. The fighting farmers and workers are not afraid of jails.”
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