The present crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lack of coherent policies to tackle it has unleashed catastrophic consequences for the poor masses of the country.
Communist Party of India CPI(M) had given a call for an All India Protest Day yesterday to raise demands from the Indian government to help the lives and livelihoods of the masses of the country.
In response to the call for the protests, Protests were undertaken in many places in India while adhering to the precautions and laws laid down by the respective governments for the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The demands put forth by CPI(M) included:
- A cash transfer of Rs. 7500 per month for a period of six months to all families outside the income tax-paying bracket.
- Free distribution of 10 kg foodgrains, per individual, per month for a period of six months.
- A minimum of 200 days of employment under MNREGA with enhanced wages. Extend employment guarantee schemes to the urban poor. Immediately announce an unemployment allowance to unemployed persons.
- Stop the loot of national assets, privatization of the public sector, and stop the scrapping of labour laws.
Com. Sitaram Yechury, Member of the Polit Bureau led the protests from the front. Progressive outfits including AIKS, DYFI, SFI, AISA, CITU, Janavadi Mahila Sanghatane (JMS), Industrial Workers’ Union (IWU), South Industrial Workers’ Union (SIWU) amongst others extended solidarities and forwarded the demands. Large support for the protests were conducted from including Delhi, Kerala, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Tripura amongst others.
Protests in Karnataka:
Karnataka also witnessed mobilizations across the state in support of the demands. In Bengaluru, alone protests were organized in more than 100 wards in the premises of the BBMP Ward Offices. Protests were also organized at BBMP Head Office and the memorandum was served to Anbu Kumar, Additional Commissioner(Administration), BBMP. Demonstrations were also organized all across the state including Anekal, Doddaballapura, Ramanagara, Bellary, Mysore, Tumakuru, Mandya, Chikkaballapura, Kolara, Raichur, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi amongst others. Memorandums were served to government functionaries like Tehsildar’s, Deputy Commissioners, and Gram Panchayat Members amongst others.
In addition to the demands put forward by the Polit Bureau, state issues were also addressed in the memorandum put forth by the Bengaluru District Committee of CPI(M). The announcements earlier made by Karnataka CM B.S Yediyurappa provided assistance to labourers involved in the informal economy and also did not reach the people in need. Demand was put forth to extend such assistance to several other occupations. Other demands also included provisioning of PPE kits and Covid-19 Test kits, repealing of amendments to Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act and Karnataka Land Reform Act, Reduction of Petrol and Diesel prices. Demand was also made to Stop the Loot by schools in the garb of online learning. Payment of full wages for the period of lockdown for all workers amongst was also one of the demands.
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