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Kerala: Farmers and Workers Hold Marches, Demonstrations Supporting Grameen Bandh

Neelambaran A |
The SKM and CTU leaders accuse BJP-led union government of failing to fulfil its promises during the historic farmers' struggle and continuing its pro-corporate policies, affecting the farmers, workers and agricultural labourers.
SKM and CTUs marched to the Raj Bhavan, Thiruvananthapuram, as part of the national-level agitation called by the organisations.

SKM and CTUs marched to the Raj Bhavan, Thiruvananthapuram, as part of the national-level agitation called by the organisations. 

The Samyuktha Kisan Morcha (SKM) and the Central Trade Unions (CTU) in Kerala held protest marches and dharna as part of the national-level agitation program called by the joint platform of the organisations. The organisations held a dharna in front of the Raj Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram, while marches were taken out to central government offices in 13 other districts, followed by a protest gathering.

Thousands of workers, farmers, and agricultural labourers protested against the union government's anti-worker and anti-farmer policies. The organisations accused the union government of betraying the farmers by not fulfilling the promises made during the historic farmers' struggle, besides leaving the workers in distress by privatising, contractualisation and corporatising the public sector organisations of the country. 


Inaugurating the dharna in front of the Raj Bhavan, Elamaram Kareem MP, the state general secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), accused the union government of betraying all sections of the population, including the farmers and the workers. 

“We have been holding numerous struggles in the last 5 years on various demands, including Minimum Support Price (MSP) for agricultural products and against the codification of labour laws. But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led union government is aggressively pursuing its pro-corporate policies, much to the workers' dismay,” he said. 

The SKM has demanded the union government fulfil its promises made by the government in 2021 after the year-long historic Kisan struggle on the borders of the national capital, including the announcement of MSP for agricultural products, compensation to those farmers who lost their lives during the struggle and refrain from amending the Electricity Act. 

“The three farm laws were formulated to facilitate the growth of the corporations in the agricultural sector, including the Adani group, Reliance Enterprises, and others. This is in total contrast to the BJP’s promise in 2014 on implementing the M S Swaminathan Commission recommendations on implementing the MSP,” Kareem said. 

The CTUs have consistently opposed the codification of labour laws, fixed-term employment, contractualisation of works and increased working hours. Kareem criticised the interim budget for not speaking a word about workers and workers' welfare. “The workers have submitted various demands in the last few years. The government has not even invited us for talks on the disastrous policies favouring the corporates. We have to doubt if the democracy functions like this,” he said. 


Presiding over the protest, M Vijayakumar, the state president of the Kerala Karshaka Sangham (state unit of the All India Kisan Sabha), denounced the new promises of the union government and the prime minister for the farmers, workers, youth and women. 

Referring to the promises made by the BJP-led government in 2014, he said, “They promised to implement the M S Swaminathan Commission recommendations and assured them they would double the income of the farmers by 2022. Now, the prime minister is speaking of Modi’s Guarantee. His words and promises have no value now. From 10 years of experience, we know Modi has guaranteed growth only for the corporates.” 

Vijaya Kumar also condemned the interim budget for being anti-farmer, anti-worker and anti-people. The reduction in budget allocation for agriculture was strongly condemned by various farmers' organisations, considering the continuous sufferings of the farmers, leading to an increase in debt and suicides. 

“The way the union government is oppressing the farmers' struggles reminds us of a war-like situation. The interim budget has reduced allocation for the agriculture sector by Rs 1.5 lakh crore by reducing allocations for food and fertiliser subsidy,” Vijaya Kumar said. 

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