Anti-Privatisation Day: Over 1 lakh protests, video message to UNHRC and more

On March 15, farmers, trade unions and workers held protests, demonstrations and grassroot-level meetings across the country

privatisation of the public sector Image courtesy: PTI

Farmers and workers in over one lakh locations across India protested the privatisation of the public sector on March 15, 2021, by observing ‘Anti-Corporatisation, Anti-Privatisation Day’. Peasants assembled in front of offices and railway stations in rural areas and suburbs areas as well.

Farmer leaders addressed gatherings in cities. In Delhi, Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) members highlighted increasing petrol, diesel and cooking gas prices. Trade union leaders and farmers alike spoke about the decreasing budgets for education, health, water resources, sanitation, and MGNREGA while rising petrol and diesel prices impact the cost of all essential commodities touching all aspects of life. Later, participants across India submitted memorandums addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to district collectors and sub-district magistrates.

Meanwhile, SKM leader Darshan Pal addressed the forty-sixth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in a video message on Monday. He stressed how the three farm laws – the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance & Farm Services Act, the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act – violated the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas of which India is a signatory.

Farmers at Sunehra-Jurehra border commemorated the martyrdom day of late King Hasan Khan Mewati with a mahapanchayat. Participants, who came from nearby Mewat district, pledged their continuing involvement in the movement. A large number of women were present during the event that honoured the sacrifices of people who died during the battle with Babar.

Similarly, mahapanchayats were carried out in Jakhal district of Haryana. A Kisan Mazdoor Jagriti Yatra that started in Uttarakhand crossed Palia city in Uttar Pradesh. The yatra is attracting huge public support. In Karnataka, a padayatra started from Basavakalyan to Ballari is holding meetings at various villages along the route while forming committees.

Later, on March 19 – the Muzara Lehar Shahadat Diwas commemorating the struggle of Punjab tenant farmers – the SKM plans to express its resistance to the changed norms for quality standards and procurement norms being laid down for Kharif Marketing Season 2021 by the Food Corporation of India. SKM alleged that these are tactics by the central government to dismantle the procurement regime.


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