Over 2 Lakh Farmers And Workers Rally In Delhi For Their Rights; Known About It
Lakhs of farmers and workers from the different parts of the country reached New Delhi and took out a march from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament Street on September 5. Called the Mazdoor-Kisan Rally, this is dubbed the largest ever combined rally by outfits like Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and All India Agriculture Workers Union (AIAWU). The organisations participating are affiliated to CPI (M). Their main demands are that of minimum wage for workers, debt waiver for poor workers, better employment opportunities and stopping forcible land acquisition, among others.
Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh rally
— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) September 5, 2018
Over two lakh protesters from as many as 23 different states have arrived in the national capital. They have been chanting slogans against the “government’s anti-worker, anti-people and anti-national” policies, as reported by The Sentinel. Distances and hardships have not dissuaded people from pouring in different locations to rise together for the cause.
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) September 5, 2018
As reported by The Wire, a group of 5,000 farmers from Maharashtra who also participated in the Kisan long march also joined this march, along with a group which arrived all the way from Kerala on motorbikes. A group of people from Nagaland, notwithstanding the threats issued by the local police against participating in the rally, arrived.
The main demands of the march are a minimum wage of not less than Rs 18,000 per month for all workers; generation of employment opportunities; universalisation of Public Distribution System; proper and complete implementation of MGNREGA and amendment to cover urban areas as well; food security, health, education for all; stopping forcible land acquisition; relief and rehabilitation of those affected by natural disasters; reversal of neoliberal policies.
Heavy rains did not dampen spirits
In the days leading to the march, Ramlila Maidan, where people were planned to be put found itself submerged under water due to incessant rains. Vijoo Krishnan, the joint secretary of AIKS said, “We could only manage to ready about 40% of the ground. So then we arranged for some people to stay in gurdwaras, others in a camp in Sahibabad and some in guest houses.”
The volunteers sprung into action and placed wooden boards and covered them with yellow plastic sheets and erected tents over them. With over two lakh people participating in the rally, the committee had to make alternate arrangements.
As reported by The Hindu, the group of Maharashtra was asked to stay at large halls at the railway station.
— Vijoo Krishnan (@VijooKrishnan) September 4, 2018
Arrangements for those coming from Punjab and Haryana was made in three large gurudwaras, RakabGanj Sahib, Sis Ganj Sahib and Bangla Sahib.
Manoj Kumar Sirswal, one of the AIKS coordinator said, “We originally expected to house 80,000 people here in Ramlila. Now we will have to reduce it to 50,000 and squeeze them into the remaining space.”