Dalit agricultural labour wage qualitative protests for rights in Punjab


A qualitative protest of around 500 workers was staged at Rampura Phul today in front of the office of the State district magistrate. The agricultural workers vociferously raised slogan condemning the government betraying their promises. In the last few months through united activity they have waged a sustained struggle for their demands.

The farm labourers left their work to invest every ounce of their energy to protest. The non -issuance of instructions to the officers of the concerned department, caused the non-implementation of demands.

The rally was adressed by Kulwant Singh Salwara of Krantikari Pendu Mazdoor Union,Zora Singh Nasrali of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union,Pritpal Singh Rampura of Mazdoor Mukti Morcha,who spoke about the Chief minister yielding to demands of the agricultural labourers like cancel of debt waiver, allotment of plots, waiver of electricity bill penalties, stern legal action against microfinance companies which have humiliated women due to debts, giving blue card to workers etc They pledged that they would leave no stone unturned in the battle for rights like for increase in pensions, waiver of total debts of workers and cessation of social opression on dalits.

The labour leaders declared to stage a black flag rally on December 30th on the arrival of chief minister Charnjjit Chinna.It would be a highly anticipated event, with 2021 coming to a close, and state elections very soon.

Zameen Prapt Sangharsh Commitee Protest in Amargadh(based on report from Dainik Bhaskar paper )

Of great importance are the sustained struggles of the dalit labourers against upper caste landlords on the very floor level and their integration with movements of landed farmers. Without sustained struggles for plot seizures by dalits, democratic movement for rights can never be sharpened.

A very qualitative protest of around 300 people launched on December 20th in Tolewal village in protest against plots not being distributed as promised in Tolwal ,Amargadh and Jalalgadh by the Zameen Prapt Sangarsh Commitee,outside the gate of the licence office. The leaders of ZPSC addressed issues of panchayat land not distributed which was assured and 5 marlas of land to every dalit family. A demand was also demanded scrapping all the names of ZPSC activists booked for participating in Dalit panchayat rights in Amargadh. The leaders inspired the agricultural labourers to display relentless spirit and never suspend their struggle. Congress Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu launched a truck which was hazardous to the welfare of the workers.Bikar Singh Hoa and Jagtar Singh led the protest. The leaders pledged that if the demands were not yielded by Charanjet Cheeni,they would break every brick in the wall to obstruct the anti-labour programmes of the Congress.

Such struggles illustrate how dalit agricultural workers are challenging the oppressive system at the very base.

Meticulous preparations are being made by the ZPSC for the4th death anniversary of martyr Gurdev Kaur,to be held in January.

Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist. Toured India, particularly Punjab .Written on Mass movements and attended rallies or conferences of organisations of dalit workers of Punjab.

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