Highlights of National Protest Day

Here’s a summary glance at the happenings of September 25 – the National Protest Day of the peasants.

Lakhs of Indians came to the streets on September 25, the Pratirodh Diwas called by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) against the Anti-Farmer Bills passed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -led Government.

“The massive response to the Pratirodh Diwas is a clear warning to the arrogant Narendra Modi led BJP Government and the message is loud and clear. Peasants and workers will build the broadest possible unity to resist with all its might the efforts of the BJP to facilitate corporate loot and profiteering at the expense of farmers,” said an All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) press release.

Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Rasjasthan witnessed widespread bandhs.  According to AIKSCC, many leaders were arrested in these states. In Karnataka, farmers groups courted arrest after blocking the busy Tumkur road near Yeshwanthpur in Bengaluru. In Haryana, photos of farmers observing sit-ins on the road, forming human chains circulated on social media. Meanwhile, Punjab’s farmers erected temporary shades on railway tracks while they blocked the trains. On the roads, traffic police supported the farmers’ efforts by diverting traffic as the peasants continued their movement.

On the other hand, Bihar protesters had to fend off a group of armed men who attacked the demonsrators with chants of “Narendra Modi Zindabad!”

Similarly, thousands of farmers blocked the Mumbai Delhi Highway near Maharashtra’s Dahanu. President of the AIKS Ashok Dhawale participated in the protest. Over 50,000 pesants in 21 districts blocked national and state highways across the state. All over India, Central Trade Unions, workers organisations, students, women organisations, Dalits and Adivasis marched on the streets despite the threat of COVID-19, sweltering heat and heavy rains.

In West Bengal, the National Highway was blocked at 92 places while State Highways were blocked at 89 places. According to farmer organisations, more than six lakh people participated in West Bengal alone.

In the south, Tamil Nadu witnessed protests in hundreds of spots. As per reports, over 100 protesters were arrested during “rail roko” demonstrations at Villupuram. Similarly, AIKSCC TN Coordinator, K Balakrishnan, AIKS (CPM) State Secretary Shanmugam, AIKKMS All India Vice-President Dr Rengasamy arrested in the afternoon.

Kerala’s protesters observed Dharna and protests in front of 250 Central Government offices and many places across the State. The AIKS Vice President S. Ramachandran Pillai inaugurated the protest in Trivandrum.

The Northeast states also made their voices heard as massive protests in Tripura braved police repression and attacks while protesters in Assam burnt mock papers as a sign of dissent. In most States the Highways were blocked. Northern railways even had to cancel trains due to agitations.

In the evening, rural affairs journalist P. Sainath talked to human rights activist and journalist Teesta Setalvad talked about the farmer’s anger and the media’s treatment of the issue. As a testament to the peasant’s anger, hashtags such as #ScrapAntiFarmerActs even started trending on social media platforms like Twitter.

Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh witnessed spontaneous response from farmers and workers. Effigies of Narendra Modi and the Bills were burnt in numerous places.

In Delhi, members of various Central Trade Unions, national women’s organisations, civil society groups, student organisations and MPs who were suspended for speaking up against the Bills in Parliament were present in solidarity with the farmers.


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