On the call of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), thousands of farmers, farm labourers, women, youth and students thronged to Amritsar to protest and hold demonstration against the on-going propaganda for the G-20 summit to be held in Delhi in September this year, demanding that agriculture, industry, education, health, electricity and water etc. should remain free of the tyranny of the imperialist powers.
The meeting also demanded scrapping of “the anti-people” agreements signed with the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Addressing the gathering at the occasion of the protest demonstration, leaders Jogindar Singh Ugrahan and Sukhdev singh Kokri Kalan classified the G-20 platform as one for mortgaging the country in the hands of imperialists, adding, various conferences being organised in India, including the one in Amritsar, were being held to carve a strategy for plundering the country and Punjab.
They said that during G-20 summit, schemes are to be designed for further intensifying of exploitation by the imperialist countries by mercilessly subordinating open education sector fully to the big powers. It would seek further amendments in labour laws so as to strangulate the toiling masses.
They termed the claims of the state government about development of Punjab with the help of foreign investment as false and misleading. They affirmed that chief minister Bhagwant Mann was repeating the history of the colonial era by betraying martyrs Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru and giving sanction to imperialism by literally inviting them to the doorsteps.
According to them, foreign investment paves the path for the plunder of the rich natural resources and exploitation of labour in order suit the needs of the imperialists. It will be an instrument of destruction rather than that of development.
The dwindling industry of Punjab and the crisis-ridden agriculture are in turmoil under the sins of the new economic and industrial policies implemented under the agreements signed through such platforms, they opined, adding, the black agriculture laws were by the Central government were under pressure of imperialist organisations WTO.
The move too get rid of government-controlled agricultural markets, privatisation of state electricity boards, import of foreign wheat, opening of private universities, ruining the state education system by introducing new education policy, privatisation of water distribution – all these, they said, are part of the strategy of imperialist control.
They further said that on one hand the Punjab government is claiming to work out ways to retrieve agriculture from crisis, but on the other hand its policies are pushing the state agriculture into crisis. They demanded that state government should design a new agriculture policy in accordance with the draft given by the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan).
The design is to plunder the natural resources and labour power of the country through the platforms supported by G-20 countries
Another senior leader Shingara Singh Maan said that the group of 20 countries are currently in a leading role in working out exploitative formulations of WTO, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, in order to impose them on backward countries in name of development.
Agreements are sought to be signed for further strengthening the power of multinational companies in agriculture, industry and trade of countries, said Maan, adding, the design is to plunder the natural resources and labour power of the country through these platforms. In fact, G-20 is the platform to mortgage the country in the hands of the imperialists.
Woman leader Harrinder Kaur Bindu, while summarising the role of valiant women like Gulab Kaur and Rani Jhansi, in the struggle against the British colonial rule, declared the support of women agriculturalists against the new imperialist policies and decisions sought to be supported by the government.
Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union leader Lachhman Singh Sewewala, Hushiar singh Salemgarh, leader of PSU Shaheed Randhawa and Ashwni Ghudha, leader of the Naujvan Bharat Sabha pledged support to the protest. They insisted that issues like unemployment, debt, suicides and pollution being faced by workers, farmers, youth and common people have their roots planted in foreign lands – those who are members of the f the G-20 group.
*Freelance journalist who has covered mass movements across India and has frequently toured Punjab