Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union stages protest  in Bathinda on March 15th

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With resolute determination the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union representing the dalit landless agricultural labour, continues to flash the torch of resistance. The  agricultural labour are merciless victims of the Agricultural bills and engripped by the ruler’s policies which patronise neo-colonial slavery. On the invitation of Punjab Khet Mazdoor  Union State Committee, thousands of farm labourers men and women on March 15th  protested against agricultural laws, amendments in labour laws and oppression on Dalits in the local grain market. Morally the spark of revolutionary resistance against the neo-fascist attacks of the rulers was ignited.

I was present at the rally. In my view the gathering was not so large comprising around 5000 people, but still had important qualitative impact. For two weeks meticulous preparations were made for this event, particularly in the Malwa region. It is significant that a separate rally only for the landless agricultural labourers was staged as distinctive from the landed peasantry. The wrath the participants had against the present rulers was written on their faces as though a flame was burning within. They clearly understood the fascist nature of the bills introduced by prime minister Modi which made them hapless victims of the Corporates.I was impressed with the lucidity or cogeal nature of the speeches which at the very root explained the deep penetration of neo-fascism in the Indian economy, giving striking emphasis to the proto-fascist policies of the current Modi led Bharatiya Janata party.It continued the pattern of several qualitatively impactful protest rallies conducted by the PKMU in Bathinda at state level, in recent years. Another aspect that touched me was the intensive participation and great presence of women, who looked like holding half the sky.

Also on a call given by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha a separate protest was also organised by different unions including contractual workers from government departments farmers and labourers in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Bathinda. A march was held after a public meeting in  a nearby park opposite the Bathinda civil courts.

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In the view of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union secretary, Laxman Singh Sewewala the present bills and policies of the BJP were a virtual continuation of the incorporation of liberalisation ad globalisation by Narasimha Rao led Congress in 1991 itself. He very firmly emphasised that semi-feudalism was still a predominant feature in India with crores of acres of land still in possession of landlords.Sewewala highlighted how the Urban ceilings act declared in 1970 was virtually a scrap  of paper with 0ver 17 lakh acres still vacant or in possession of absentee landlords. Caste politics in his view was a weapon in the hands of the rulers to divide or beak the genuine struggles or issues of the agricultural labour. He narrated how today the Hindutva forces patronised by Modi left no stone unturned in patronising upper caste monopoly .In no uncertain term she condemned the arrests of the ‘Urban intellectuals’ and summed up how Bhima Koregaon was a conspiracy of the Fascist BJP to crush to the ground any democratic assertion of the dalit community. Sewewala with total conviction felt that 1947 was virtually a transfer of power and no moral victory against colonialism.

Significant that the secretary of the BKU(Ugrahan) which represents the landed farmers was one of the speakers. It was significant in light of solidarity of the landed peasantry with the demands of the agricultural labour and wedging or bridging the gap between the landed and landless peasantry. It was also address by mass political platform Lok Morcha secretary Jagmel Singh ,in light of  the neo-colonial slavery engripping the nation., who connected the asserted that the movement against agricultural bills should be integrated or incorporated within the revolutionary democratic movement as a whole chartered by Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Progressive that sections of the contract industrial workers also participated .

Arguably what was missing was participation from leaders of other organisations of agricultural labour within the revolutionary democratic camp like Kranitikari pendu Mazdoor Union or Zameen Prapt Sangarsh  Commitee  who were busy in their organisational work. There was also no presence of democratic intellectuals. Maybe more light could have been thrown on the oppression faced by dalits.

Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Union State President Zora Singh Nasrali, General Secretary Laxman Singh Sewewala  Finance Secretary Harmesh Malri said that the agricultural laws brought by the Modi government in the name of development should further deter the employment of farm labourers, the public distribution system Black marketing of food and food items will become means to increase inflation through responsibility which will end in the hunger of farm labourers and urban poor. They said that the Modi government is betraying the people of the country by handing over the country’s richest natural resources to corporate houses, including the agriculture sector. He said that after the BJP and RSS’s fascist central government took over power, there has been a tremendous increase in incidents of caste discrimination and oppression on Dalits and people’s democratic rights are being killed.

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Labour leaders said that for the real development of the country, including farm labourers and farmers, withdrawing amendments in agricultural laws and labour laws by implementing sharp land reforms, removing the landslide of farm workers and poor farmers, privatization of agricultural based employment chief Steps like arranging permanent employment need to be taken by cancelling policies and governmentizing all institutions.

On this occasion Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, State General Secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta Ugraha, praised the effort taken by the farm labourers, including the return of current agricultural laws, the joint movement of farmers and farm labourers to waive the loans of farmers and establish these pugat Unveiled the importance.

The Punjab Khet Labour Union and Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta Ugraha invited the youth to attend the youth conference in Dana Mandi Sunam on 21 March in the memory of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Rajguru Sukhdev.

Lok Morcha Punjab’s general secretary  Jagmel Singh said in his address that the people of the country including farm laborers and farmers are facing problems like unemployment, inflation, poverty, debt and suicide, the real reason for the thieves of the imperial forces in the country is still slavery.. To solve all the problems of those people, Indian rulers should cancel the privatization and  trade with imperialist  countries. He said that according to the words of Shaheed Bhagat Singh for the liberation of farm labourers and farmers, here we have to create a society abolishing the loot of man.. He said that such a society has to be created not by votes but by fighting for genuine people’s democratic revolutionary resistance.

The gathering was also addressed by the leader of the Contractor Employee Morcha, Jagroop Singh, State Committee member of the Khet Labour Union, Harkhwan Singh Munak and Gurpal Singh Nangal.

Solidarity was also given by Naujwan Bhrat Sabha and Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa)The BKU (Ugrahan) took care of the eating arrangements ,delivering rice packets.

On this occasion, after passing the resolution, the accused police officers were sought to file a case against the police, condemning the force of the Anganwadi workers in Bathinda last day. Another resolution was demanded to withdraw amendments in agriculture law and labor laws, eliminate loans on laborers farmers, waive off electricity bills, end land distribution and stop force on Dalits.

Harsh Thakor is  a political commentator or freelance Journalist who has toured India ,particularly Punjab and written articles on democratic blogs like ‘Ottos War Room’ and ‘Democracy and Class Struggle.’ and ‘Frontier weekly’ on a range of topics. Email-thakor.harsh5@gmail.com



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