Workers from over a lakh different locations across India answered the call of Central Trade Unions (CTUs,) independent associations and federations working in the field of labour rights, to hold demonstrations against the anti-labour, anti-farmer and anti-national policies of the Central Government, said a joint press release on September 23.
In Delhi, the leaders of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, the All India Trade Union Congress, the Hindi Mazdoor Sabha and many others gathered near Jantar Mantar in Delhi to register their protest.
न योगी,न मोदी,न जय श्री राम
देश पर राज करेगा मजदूर-किसान!!
मोदी सरकार होश में आओ!!
किसान-मजदूर विरोधी बिल वापस लो!!
Today, Central Trade Unions protest at Jantar-Mantar@aicctukar@AICCTUhq @cpimlliberation @kavita_krishnan @Dipankar_cpiml https://t.co/xJQzfV5v1K
— AICCTU Delhi (@AICCTU_tweets) September 23, 2020
The demonstrators had gathered to condemn the three labour codes (now passed in Upper House of Parliament) introduced by the government in December 2019. These labour codes were whetted by the parliamentary committee in the Lok Sabha, empty of major opposition parties.
“The Government, hell bent on getting the codes passed in this session, not only against parliamentary norms, but in opposition to the entire Trade Union movement of the country, so that rights to strike, to form trade unions, to social security etc. can be severely curtailed,” said the joint press release.
Protests took place all over the country with citizens also adding their voice to the dissent.
Tamilnadu : Kanchipuram district
Motherson Automotive Technologies and Engineering(MATE) workers solidarity with striking Magna Cosma workers.#LTUC #magna_automotive_India #employees #protests2020 #protest #Labour pic.twitter.com/zHzdpXUVZA
— Nivi Ra (@ra_nivi) September 23, 2020
From the National Protest Day demonstration called by 10 central trade unions and many worker federations and associations in India. Incoming updates show that there are protests happening in more than 1 lakh places in the country. pic.twitter.com/613fQZozBO
— rikta (@rikta) September 23, 2020
Others reported of incidents where demonstrations were forcefully stopped by the police.
Ahmedabad Police Today cancelled the permission for Dharna to Central Trade Unions under the pretext of “Social Distancing”. While preventing the protest, we can see the “Social Distancing” being openly violated by the Police staff themselves. pic.twitter.com/SYU7HQZgQT
— firstname.lastname@example.org (@Dwarikanathrath) September 23, 2020
The speakers at Jantar Mantar also talked about the forceful passing of anti-farmer Bills. They talked about the pandemonium in the Upper House after the Centre refused to have a proper vote on the bills.
“The Government suspended the opposition MPs and got the Agri-Bills passed in their absence. The spontaneous reaction can be seen in the entire country including Rasta Roko in Punjab and Haryana by Kisans, which even led a SAD minister to resign from the cabinet in protest,” they said.
The press release also condemned the Prime Minister for “mouthing falsehoods such as denying privatisation of railways, when you can see private trains running, bypassing APMCs in the interest of big traders and corporates as being in the interest of the farmer and so on.”
A similar protest regarding the privatisation process also took place in Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, Opposition parties staged a joint protest against the anti-farmer and anti-labour laws near Parliament premises after the Upper House was adjourned without a later date of resumption.
#WATCH: MPs of Opposition parties march in Parliament premises in protest over farm bills. Placards of ‘Save Farmers’ & ‘Save Farmers, Save Workers, Save Democracy’ seen.
Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad, TMC’s Derek O’Brien, and Samajwadi Party’s Jaya Bachch… pic.twitter.com/P3TB8YlpP8
— Shravan Shukla ePatrakaar (@epatrakaar) September 23, 2020
“The speakers recalled how Bhagat Singh and Sir Chhotu Ram had fought the Britishers when they tried to bring in legislation against the interests of the workers and the farmers. The incumbent BJP Government was following in the footsteps of the Britishers, using unconstitutional means again to enslave the workers and the farmers to the interests of the corporates and it was the duty of the workers and the farmers to beat them back for their own constitutional rights,” said the CTUs press statement.
Carrying forward the spirit of solidarity, the CTUS appealed to the workers to stand with their brothers, the farmers, when they go into action on 25th September, 2020.