Thousands rally in CPM-backed Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally in Delhi, demand food security, minimum wage
Thousands of protesters thronged the streets of Delhi on Wednesday to demand for a change in Centre's labour laws and better food security for the workers.
Thousands of protesters thronged the streets of Delhi on Wednesday to demand a change in Centre's labour laws and food security for the workers. In a mega 'Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally' organised jointly by CITU, AIKS and AIAWU — organisations and unions affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist), farmers and labourers from across the country participate to lodge their protest against a host of issues as they marched from Ramlila Maidan towards the Parliament Street.
The protesters demanded that all workers should be given a minimum wage of at least Rs 18,000 per month and there should be food security for the workers. The other demands of the protesters included effective implementation of labour laws, more employment opportunities and recognition of one crore Anganwadi and ASHA workers as an organised workforce, The Indian Express reported. The protesters further sought the complete implementation of the Swaminathan Committee recommendations and debt waiver for all farmers and agricultural workers. The congregation also sought for a ban on forward trading on essential commodities and demanded that the government should curb the increasing prices of essential commodities.
Tapan Sen, general secretary of CITU, addressed the farmers and labourers at Parliament Street and announced that CITU workers will join the Kisan Long March, which is due in November. "This is the first time...after Independence that farmers and workers have jointly participated in a rally against the government," Sen said. But, he remarked, that this will not be the last one of their efforts. "We will announce the second phase of our struggle and war against the government, whose anti-people policies are affecting the poor people of our country. This government is only making policies keeping in mind the interests of the corporate and the rich," Sen said. CITU president Hemlata also addressed the gathering at Parliament Street.
Last week, the organisers had said they were expecting more than three lakh people from across the country at the rally.
People part of the "Farmer Long March" from Nashik to Mumbai earlier in 2018 also participated in this rally. "I have come to Delhi to raise my voice against the anti-farmer policies of the Centre. I will not stop till I get the right price for my crops," one of the protester said. "We realised that the state of farmers is seriously bad. The time has come to raise our voice against the government's policies," another protester from Kerala told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, state-wise camps were set up at the Ramlila ground for the protestors. But, Delhi’s late monsoon rainfall inundated it, forcing the farmers and workers arriving for the rally to abandon 60 percent of their tent space, The Hindu reported. Organisers arranged for alternative accommodation at train stations and gurudwaras for the protestors. "We originally expected to house 80,000 people in Ramlila Maidan but now we will have to reduce it to 50,000," Manoj Kumar Sirswal, an All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) coordinator working at the camp told the newspaper. "We have asked those who are coming from Maharashtra to stay in the large halls at the railway station. People who had participated in the Farmers Long March to Mumbai in March would also have to stay at the station for now," AIKS general secretary Hannan Mollah told The Hindu.
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While rolling back the three farm laws, the government gave a written assurance to fulfil the protesters’ demands: a committee to resolve the row over minimum support price (MSP) of produce, the withdrawal of cases, and compensation