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We won't let bombs flower over farmers' graves

The resentment against the progressively deteriorating condition of the common person under the impact of liberalisation was strongly voiced once again on the streets of Delhi. CPI (ML)-Liberation joined five other left organisations belonging to the third stream, in a massive demonstration in front of the Parliament on 15 July.

For more than 3 hours, a colourful demonstartion of about 10, 000 people laid seige to the central area in front of the Parliament. The demonstrators came from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Bihar, UP, Delhi, Haryana, West Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Kerela. The gathering was diverse in the regions it represented and as well as the various fronts of struggle the participants belonged to. Majority of participants were farmers. Many participants belonged to tribal communities and carried traditional weapons. The other five organisations in the joint programme were CPI (ML)-New Democracy, CPI (ML)-Red Flag, CPI (ML)-Janashakti, COI (ML) and MCPI. In the sea of red with hundreds of banners, festoons, flags etc., demonstrators shouted slogans against the WTO, the new economic policy and feudal-criminal gangs like the Ranvir Sena. The main issues raised in the joint demonstration included the withdrawal of anti-people policies like the New Exim Policy, the new agricultural policy, etc. The issue of WTO and patent laws was also an important issue. Other issues raised in the demonstration were: providing full protection to farmers against crop damage and usury; implementing land reforms and opposing their reversal; smashing killer armies like Ranvir Sena; and checking the steep hike in the prices of essential commodities.

New Initiatives with Agricultural Workers

Agricultural workers form the most important section of our political movement. For long our Party has laid stress on mobilising them in an independent organisation. This effort found concrete shape in Bihar with the formation of the Khet Mazdoor Sabha (Agricultural Labourers’ Organisation) in the three districts of Nawada, West Champaran and Jehanabad. A convening body has also been formed and an elected body will be constituted in due time through a block level conference. In other districts, similar initiatives have been taken.

The main demands put forth by the Sabha for agrarian labourers are: fixing the minimum wage by the state government for agrarian labourers at Rs.50 , immediate passage of the bill for central legislation for agrarian workers pending in the Parliament, ensuring the safety and social dignity of agrarian labourers against the attacks made by landlords and their private armies, etc.

In Andhra Pradesh where an organisation of the agrarian workers already functions – AP Agricultural Workers’ Union (APAWU) – more than 200 agricultural workers in East Godavari demonstrated under the APAWU banner at the headquarters of the Kothapalli Mandal on 6 July (above). The demands related to enforcing implementation of agricultural wages, distributing surplus land and providing house-sites, ration cards, old-age pensions etc. A memorandum in this regard was sent to the Mandal Revenue Officer.

Ram Naresh Ram, Polit Bureau Member of CPI (ML) and President of the All India Peasant Coordination Committee, while addressing the gathering said that the spate of suicides in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Punjab, has exposed the adverse effect that liberalisation is having on agriculture and the economy. He asserted that the people of India will not allow nuclear bombs to flower over the graves of farmers.

The other speakers were Yatendra Kumar, General Secretary of CPI(ML)-New Democracy, KN Ramachandran, General Secretary of CPI(ML)-Red Flag, Gananath Patra, member of COC, CPI (ML)-Janashakti and M.Omkar, member of CC, MCPI. Apart from these speakers, a few others from left organisations that expressed solidarity with this demonstration, also spoke. The speakers strongly criticised the BJP’s plans to divide the people on communal lines by reviving plans to construct the Ram temple at Ayodhya.

Street-play groups and cultural troupes from various states added more zest and colourfulness to the proceedings. The success of the programme has provided momentum to the joint initiatives of ML parties that have been going on for some time. It is also a valuable addition to the series of multifarious left-democratic struggles being launched against the anti-people and fascist BJP government.

Home > Liberation Main Page > Index August 1998 > ARTICLE