Organisations Launch Campaign as India Completes 75 Years
A demonstration was staged at Mandi House in New Delhi as part of the 'Save India' campaign. Image clicked by Dipesh. Representational Image.
New Delhi: At a press conference held in the city on Friday, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), and All India Agricultural Workers’ Union (AIAWU) informed the media of plans to conduct a “joint countrywide campaign” against the various “anti-people” policies of the Union government.
The three class-based organisations will conduct a fortnight-long campaign from August 1, 2022, reaching the workers, peasants and agricultural workers up to the grass root level.
The joint movement has been charted keeping in mind the “high-decibel campaign” by the Modi-led Centre, which is celebrating India’s 75th anniversary of independence under the slogan of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. Its aim is to expose and fight the policies of the Centre that “negate the workers and other sections of people who have sacrificed all that they had, including their lives in the Independence struggle against British colonialism.”
The press meet was addressed by Hannan Mollah, former Lok Sabha MP and general secretary of AIKS, Tapan Sen, former Rajya Sabha MP and general secretary of CITU, and B Venkat, general secretary of AIAWU.
According to Mollah, "Under the present Modi regime, the conditions of the workers, peasants, agricultural workers, artisans and all sections of toiling people have been continuously deteriorating. It has utilised the Covid pandemic as an opportunity to put more burdens on the people rather than take measures to protect their health, lives and livelihoods."
He added, "Instead of providing any relief to the people, it has utilised public money to provide ‘incentives’ and concessions to the big corporates including foreign monopoly companies and helped them amass huge wealth."
Mollah pointed out the dire straits of freedom of expression in the country currently. He said, "Journalists, intellectuals, social activists, human rights activists are all harassed, attacked, arrested and thrown into jail without bail. Dissent is sought to be literally ‘bulldozed’. The recent case of Md Zubair from Alt News is a sufficient example."
He added that attacks on dalits, Adivasis, minorities and women who form the vast majority of our toiling people, have increased, particularly in the BJP ruled states.
Mollah sharply came out against the phraseology of the ruling party, saying that policies of the government had turned the 75th-anniversary celebrations into "poison" for the "toiling people", a far cry from it being an "Amrit Mahotsav".
Tapan Sen too emphasised on this aspect, accusing the BJP-led Centre of injecting poison in the veins of the country through its communal and polarising rhetoric, riots, and "bulldozers".
Sen touched upon the economic consequences of the Centre's policies. "Prices of all essential commodities, including agricultural inputs, have increased. The real wages of the workers have come down. Agriculture has become unviable for the farmers, particularly for the poor farmers. Workdays in rural areas have declined. Agricultural income declined drastically to call a total bluff on the much-touted promise of the Modi Govt to double their income. While the demand for MGNREGA work has increased, the government has reduced allocations for the scheme."
"Unemployment has reached alarming levels. Lakhs of micro, small and medium enterprises have closed, resulting in the loss of crores of jobs. Despite all the concessions and incentives announced by the Modi government, no new employment generating investment is forthcoming in the private sector," he added.
It is in this context that CITU, AIKS and AIAWU have decided to conduct joint campaigns and action programme to develop a strong countrywide resistance against neoliberal policies as well as the "communal divisive agenda" of the "RSS guided Modi led BJP government."
The presser released states that the campaign will focus on the major common demands of workers, peasants and agricultural workers, including curtailment of price rise, employment, health for all, housing, free education, minimum wage, MSP and assured government procurement, loan waiver for small farmers, stopping of privatisation including the National Monetisation Pipeline, scrapping of labour codes. The campaign will call upon all sections of people to uphold their unity and emphatically defeat the communal divisive forces of all hues and colours.
This campaign will culminate in massive joint mobilisations and vigil programmes at district headquarters on August 14evening and the hoisting of the national flag on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the country's independence.
The three organisations will mobilise people and conduct demonstrations at district headquarters on August 8, 2022, to commemorate the ‘Quit India’ Day.
As a follow-up to this campaign, CITU, AIKS, and AIAWU will conduct a joint national convention at Talkatora Stadium in the national capital Delhi on September 5 to chalk out the future campaign and action programmes, the presser noted.
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