Workers, farmers across India mobilised as a united front in response to the clarion call set for November 26, 2020. Peasant organisations joined forces to decry anti-labour, anti-farmer and anti-national policies of the central government as well to stop the privatization of the public sector.
While the Samyukt Kisan Morcha and the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) estimate more than 50,000 farmers standing at Delhi border by Thursday evening, a press release from Central Trade Unions has said total numbers of strikers exceeded a strength of 25 crore people.
Hundreds of farmers were arrested, not only in Haryana, Rajasthan and UP, but also at the Gurudwara Majnu ka Tila in Delhi in an attempt to pre-empt farmers’ action. Nevertheless, farmers continue to march towards Delhi for the “Chalo Parliament” programme on November 27, when workers will also stand alongside them.
“The continuing detention of Medha Patkar, Pratibha Shinde, Yogendra Yadav, Krishnaprasad and all other farmer leaders is denounced and condemned and their immediate release is demanded,” said the AIKSCC in a press release.
Incidentally, a large number of locals joined the stand-off near Agra, where farmer leaders Medha Patkar, Pratibha Shinde and others were barred from moving. The area is currently blockaded.
Trade Union leaders such as Ashok Singh of INTUC, Amarjeet Kaur of AITUC, Harbhajan Singh Sidhu of HMS, Tapan Sen of CITU, among others gathered near Jantar Mantar crossing to register their protest. Large number of farmers also managed to reach Delhi around the same time despite inhuman attempts by the anti-people RSS-BJP-led Haryana government to stop Punjab farmers by using lathicharge, water cannon, tear gas.
As per AIKSCC reports, farmers acted unitedly and peacefully to remove police barricades. The organisation further informed that the Haryana government tried to prevent several jathas in villages, but protesters persevered and planned to join the protest at Delhi, or at the border.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of farmers crossed the Shambhu border at Ambala, past Kurukshetra, Pipli Mandi. The gathering is expected to swell through the night as thousands of tractors and trolleys carrying farmers, women and children from Punjab’s interior areas travel to Delhi.
Regarding workers strike, Punjab and Haryana reported that state road transport buses did not leave their depots in the morning.
As the day continued, trade Unions sent reports of successful strikes in coal and copper mines and other mineral resource mines. Employees of the postal, telecom and steel sector were also in action and gramin dak sevaks observed complete strike. In several places oil sector unions also observed strikes. Picketing was resorted to in some parts of the country.
“This situation has arisen because the incumbent BJP Government is following in the footsteps of Britishers, using unconstitutional means to sacrifice workers’ and the farmers’ interests for corporates. It is the duty of workers and farmers to beat them back for asserting their own constitutional rights,” said Central Trade Unions.
Massive protests were observed from farmers and industrial workers in east Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Kerala, Puducherry, Odisha, Assam and Telangana reported complete shutdowns. Tamil Nadu also observed complete shutdown in 13 districts, while industrial strikes continue in the rest of the state.
Rural India observed Grameen Hartals and demonstrations on Thursday. Moreover, Kisan Sangharsh Samitis started cropping up in villages near Delhi. Farmers are preparing for massive protests in their villages.
Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh reported a “100 percent” strike including in BALCO. Scheme workers, electricity employees, domestic workers, construction workers, beedi workers, hawkers, vendors, agricultural workers, self-employed people in rural and urban areas continue to hold demonstrations at various places, even defying police restrictions.
Maharashtra protesters in Mumbai and various districts formed human chains. At many places, auto and taxi drivers remained off of roads. Railway and defence employees held demonstrations in support of the strike, at their respective places of work. Financial institutions such as banks, insurance remained closed. State government employees, central government employees including all income tax department personnel and other public sector undertaking (PSU) workers participated in a big way.
Over 2000 farmers were stopped at Bilaspur turn, Rampur in Uttar Pradesh. State police prevented them from moving to Delhi. However, they intend to continue protesting at the Nainital–Delhi highway.
The gathering mass of protesters advised the Union government to give up its machinations against farmers and workers and stop using brutal police force to curb democratic movements, especially on the Constitution Day of India.
Some images from the nationwide protests may be viewed here:
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