New Delhi: Inspired by the Kisan Mukti March, thousands of youth from various student unions, youth organisations, and movements came together from across India to create a national platform against the Narendra Modi-led BJP’s Central Government. The organisations constituting the platform, which included All India Students’ Association (AISA), Chatra-Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS), Youth for Swaraj, Students for Society (SFS), Yuva JDS, Samajwadi Chattra Sabha, and others, started the Young India Adhikar March from Red Fort and concluded at Parliament Street.
Thousands of youth marched in protest against the four-and-a-half years of Modi regime under which students in dozens of campuses, including JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University), FTII (Film and Television Institute of India), BHU (Banaras Hindu University), and Punjab University, have braved through sedition cases, brutal crackdowns by the administrations, and rustications. At the same time, the government’s anti-youth and inefficient policies have led to a further increase in the unemployment rate all over the country, which in turn led to a rise in the movements by students applying for jobs in the public sector, they said.
Several youths were seen holding banners like “Selling Paan and Pakora is not employment”, “Is it wrong to dream of a Government Job?” “Laakhon padd khali par yuva berozgaar!” (lakhs of job-vacancies but the youth are still unemployed).
The All India Railway Act Apprentice Association’s Vice President, Chandan Paswan, told Newsclick, “We need a one-time settlement from the government. After 10th grade, we have to do a two- year course of ITI, then we have to sit for an exam and then we have to go through an interview. After the interview, we have to go for training. There are 18,000 apprentices and 1.5 lakh vacancies, but only 20% are regularised. Under the previous Government, we had regular jobs. We request Modiji to regularise us.”
Another person from the Railway Apprentice Association said, “I am from Punjab and we have been coming to Jantar Mantar since the last four years. They say that the 20% criteria for regularising jobs is an order from the Supreme Court, but RTI reports show no such order. We are here to warn the Modi Government that we youth can also vote them out of power if we have brought them to power. Our lives are no joke. We spend so much of our time and resources to clear this exam and get no jobs despite vacancies.”
Addressing the crowd, Deepak from Banaras Hindu University, said, “Padhaai ke saath saath ladaai par majboor kiya (while getting higher education, students are forced to fight for their rights). The stalled National Sample Survey report shows the rate of unemployment in this country. But the main question is, why aren’t the vacant posts being filled? Instead, the Prime Minister says selling pakodas is employment. This time when the youth of the country goes to vote, we will make sure we don’t vote for this fascist Government. We will leave a pakoda in the booth as a message to our Prime Minister.”
Kanimozhi, Rajya Sabha MP from DMK, congratulated the students for standing up for their rights and showing the ‘fascist’ government that despite their attempts, they could not fool the youth of this nation. “It is imperative for India to free itself from this fascist Government”, she said.
Other youth leaders, such as Jignesh Mevani and Kanupriya also addressed crowd and spoke about growing unemployment. The youth warned the government that if their demands for jobs, filling of vacancies etc were not fulfilled by the end of February, the students and youth of this country would “flood the streets of the entire nation and show this government what the youth is capable of doing when they are denied their rights.”
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