Over 75,000 attend Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh rally in Delhi amid countrywide communal tension

Amid countrywide communal tension, leftwing unions mobilised 75,000 workers and peasants in the Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh rally held in Delhi.

Over 75,000 workers and peasants attend Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh rally in Delhi

Participants of Delhi's Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh rally. Photo: Collected

Left-wing trade union Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), farmers body All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and All-India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) organised a massive rally—Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh rally—in New Delhi’s Ram Lila Maidan on Wednesday, April 5th, against Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government’s alleged anti-worker and anti-farmer policies.

The organisers of the Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh rally alleged that the Union government of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been working on the behest of big corporates and showing utmost disregard for the workers and peasants of the country. They alleged that the BJP government is bringing forth anti-worker, anti-farmer policies on one hand to appease the corporate houses and striking blows to the unity of the poor by inciting communal violence on the other.

The Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh rally was attended by over 75,000 workers, farmers, and agricultural workers from all over India, as per the AIKS chief and former member of the Parliament (MP) Hannan Mollah. According to him, workers, farmers, and farm labourers from over 25 states participated in the Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh rally to raise their demands. Mollah alleged that the Delhi Police didn’t permit the rally, so the programme was limited to a mass meeting at Ram Lila Maidan.

Mollah informed East Post that the Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh rally placed a 13-point demand list, which was adopted in a meeting of workers and farmers’ organisations on September 5th 2022. He said that the meeting placed the demands before the participants and called upon them to take these demands to each house of the country.

The demands include at least 200 days of work for the rural poor under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), repealing of the alleged anti-worker labour codes, minimum support price (MSP) guarantee for farm products, higher wages for farm labourers and MNREGA workers, etc.

Tapan Sen, the general secretary of the CITU, said in a statement: “The Rally is for expressing resolve in fighting back and resisting the barbarous regime of loot and plunder on the people reflecting through – the relentless rise in prices, job losses, unemployment, worsening working and living conditions, rampant privatisation to hand over our national assets to the private corporates, commercialisation of education, health and all other services, to throw our peasants and workers to the mercy of the monopoly multinational companies, the attacks on the democratic and workplace rights, violation of constitutional and parliamentary norms and practices, the cruel oppression of minorities, Dalits, Adivasis and women.”

“Each and every one of these is linked to the neoliberal regime being adamantly and aggressively carried on by this BJP government; all in a desperate bid to protect the profits and wealth of its corporate masters”, Sen added.

Speaking to East Post, Sen told that the CITU and other left organisations have been working in tandem for the last six months throughout India to mobilise for the Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh rally in the heart of the capital city. He refused to divulge the number of participants who went to the rally from West Bengal, where several working-class localities are affected by violence sparked by Ram Navami rallies.

When asked whether the CITU faced any difficulty in mobilising the workers, especially from West Bengal, amid communal tension fuelled during the recent Ram Navami rallies, Sen said such things didn’t impact the organisation’s programme as the workers and peasants have campaigned extensively for the last six months against the corporate-communal nexus that wants to vitiate the environment in the country.

He told East Post, “The Modi government is in nexus with the corporates and it’s conspiring to sell the country. To continue the attacks on all sections of the people, to snatch the rights (of the workers) through labour codes, and, at the same time, to ensure that the people can’t unite and assemble against these attacks, the poisonous seeds of communalism are sown in the society”. Sen claimed that the CITU will go for a large-scale movement in the future.

When asked by East Post whether his organisation faced any challenge to mobilise the farmers and farm labourers amid the country-wide intense communal tension fuelled during recent Ram Navami celebrations, Mollah said, “Communalism is their sole ‘oxygen’. Whenever their oxygen runs out, they resort to communal riots. Communal riots provide them with oxygen.”

“Can a riot take place in the name of Ram?”, Mollah asked. He said, “Over 100 riots were engineered all over the country on Ram Navami. The Ram Navami celebrations used to take place earlier too, but riots never used to happen.” He alleged that under the guise of the Ram Navami celebration the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)—the parental body of the BJP—workers would march with weapons and will intentionally sneak into a minority area.

Mollah alleged that these riots are a planned event and that “till the next election (general election 2024) comes, this communal flare-up will be organised in different parts of the country again and again”. He alleged that these riots serve the political interests of the ruling BJP and the RSS. The Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh rally organisers said that “the rally was an indication of the surging anger of the working people of this country against the disregard of their basic needs while showering benefits on the big corporate”. They said larger movements would be built throughout the country to force the government to accept the demands and to ensure that the workers and peasants get a dignified life for themselves and their children.

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