1 Year of Modi
Growing People’s Resistance
Mahesh & Savera
Unlike what Modi” cheerleaders would have the world believe, Modi’s orchestrated NRI shows in foreign lands do not reflect what the Indian people are thinking. The pro corporate, anti people policies of his Government and the increasing role of the RSS at all levels of governance are leading to disillusionment and discontent. Over the last year protests and resistance struggles are taking place both at the national and local levels. Here is a glimpse of some of the ways in which big protests have taken place in the past one year.
Land Acquisition Bill
Rural areas across the country have been convulsed with determined and persistent movements by farmers against the amended land acquisition law imposed by Modi through an ordinance.The wave of protest led by the Left and also unitedly with many kisan and agricultural workers organisations, culminated in a massive joint rally at the Parliament on 24th February 2015 while protests involving lakhs of farmers and agricultural laborers took place in 400 districts. The issue is not yet settled and the people are ready for battling it out with the increasingly desperate govt. which had thought that it could get away with anything.
Different sections of the working class have held a series of actions, including strikes, to protest against the Modi govt.’s drive for privatization and disinvestment of public sector units, changing labour laws propping up private entities to take over more and more sectors and generally suppressing workers economic demands.
On 26 Feb 2015, on the call of central trade unions thousands of workers held a protest rally at the Parliament and courted arrest against the proposed amendments to labour laws. This marked the starting of widespread protests across the country in whichlakhs of workers participated in protests rallies, dharnasetc. all over the country. The basic demand of fixing a minimum wage Rs.15,000 was also raised.
Since the govt. is indifferent to the demands, allcentral trade unions (including the BJP affiliated one) have called for a historic general strike on 2 Sept 2015. Large sections of the society are preparing to join the general strike to make it a big success and major mass action.
On 7-8 January 2015, around seven lakh coal workers including the contract workers went on a two days near total strike against proposed denationalisation/ privatisation of the coal sector. The striking workers braved police repression and attacks by the contractor-mafia combine. Some other unions had backed off from the strike after accepting the minister’s reassurance.
Over 2.25 lakh employees of BSNL, the govt.’s own telecom service provider, went on a countrywide 48-hr strike on 21 and 22 April 2015 to protest against favoring of the private players and discrimination against the public sector telecom enterprises.
Thousands of construction workers held a rally in New Delhi on 6 April 2015 to demand better working conditions and protective measures. The workers have now given a call for a one day national strike on June 1, 2015.
Lakhs of insurance employees went on a one day strike on 9 March 2015 across the country to protest against the new law passed by the Modi govt. allowing FDI hike from 26 percent to 49 percent.
Around 2 crore transport workers of public transport corporations, private people and goods carriers and workers of repair workshops etc. went on a countrywide strike on 30 April 2015 for the first time in history, demanding withdrawal of the draconian law proposed by the Modi govt. to dismantle existing 54 State Road Transport undertakings and handing over the transport sector to private operators.
IN one of the biggest ever mobilisation of women workers in the capital, on 21 November 2014, 23,000anganwadi workers and helpers from 21 states/UTs marched to Parliament demanding regularization, payment of minimum wages and protesting against large scale privatisation of the ICDS.Mid-Day Meal workers held a similar march on 5 August 2015, demanding better pay and regularisation of nearly 26 lakh such workers.Thousands of ASHAs(women health workers) held a huge demonstration on 1 March 2015 in Delhi demanding better pay and regularization.
The squeezing of the rural job guarantee scheme (MNREGA) by the Modi government was a continuation of the UPA govt.’s policy in its final years, but in a much more unashamed form. After ministers and bureaucrats openly called for limiting the programme there was a wave of protest from the poorest sections of rural India, for whom the scheme had become the only assured source of income in an otherwise bleak economic scenario. At the national level the CPI(M) organized a sit-in outside Parliament on 26 November 2014 led by Tripura Chief Minister ManikSarkar whose State was denied its due share. Similar protests took place in most State capitals. Relentless opposition from political parties to economists, NGO’s, Social Movements and landless labour organizations forced the govt. to publicly assure that it would not destroy the scheme. But this was a ruse, and the govt. went back to the UPA trick of squeezing funds and thus paralyzing implementation.
Adivasi communities have been mobilisng in different places protesting against displacement and lack of consultation in projects in adivasi dominated areas. Ranchi in Jharkhand saw a big united protest in May 2015 against the so-called master Plan which will affect hundreds of adivasi villages. In Maharashtra, thousands of adivasis held a central rally under the leadership of the CPI(M) and the AdivasiAdhikarManch and KisanSabha in May 2015 to demand implementation of Forest Rights Act. In the contiguous areas of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana which will be adversely affected by the Pollavaram projectadivasis have been holding meetings and public hearings against displacement March 2015.
Against Price Rise
Across the country, dozens of protests have been held against unrelenting price rise of essential commodities, especially vegetables, milk, edible oils and cooking fuels, and petrol/diesel. Women’s paricpation in these protests has beensignificant. The govt. has been trying to hide behind statistics of wholesale prices while deregulating the marketing system. Protests were also held in various state capitals and Delhi against the railway and freight fare hike announced in the Rail Budget.
Thousands of women participated in public hearings on the anti-people measures of the budget in May 2015 specifically against the impact on the welfare of women and children.
Against Rising Communalism and Safronisation
Hundreds of students marched to the Parliament in Delhi on 26 February 2015 to condemn the government’s avowed attempts towards saffronisation of education and its commercialisation. Several protests have been held across the country against communal polarizations on the name of love-jihad, gharwapasi and other Hindu fundamentalist machinations.
Hundreds of women held demonstrations on the slogan “right to choice , right to love” in many States. Against Increasing Collaboration with US Imperialism
Hundreds of people marched in rallies and staged demonstrations in the national capital, state capitals and district headquarters across the country on 24 Jan 2015, protesting against the Modi government's decision to invite President Obama to grace the Republic Day event, and to enhance ties with the US imperialism and make India a subordinate ally of America's strategic plan.
People’s anger and resistance is visible in the society against the policies of Modi Government. In the coming days, as these pro-corporate anti-people policies unfold further, people’s organisations, led by the Left are preparing for bigger battles and wider mass movements so that the Modi govt. is uprooted.
1 Year of Modi Growing Resistance
1 Year of Modi