Kolkata: The day Indian farmers at Singhu, Tikri, Gazipur borders and in Rewasan district held tractor rallies as a rehearsal to their proposed parallel Republic Day parade on January 26, activist groups in Kolkata and some other districts today held sit-in demonstrations, street corner meetings and marches in support of the ongoing farmers’ movement to repeal three farm laws.
In Bengal, the protest was against Narendra Modi government’s three anti-Farmer, anti-People black laws as well as burning issues of Farmers of West Bengal.
All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), the umbrella organisation of the peasant bodies which is now spearheading the 43 day-long farmers’ siege on the central government has called for solidarity campaigns across the country as the regime is still refusing to repeal the pro-corporate laws.
The nationwide campaign will culminate in the people’s celebrations of the Republic Day on January 26, commemorating the nation’s formal acceptance of its secular democratic constitution in 1950. These celebrations will be organised in parallel to the government’s Republic Day parade in Delhi which has been traditionally marked by the gala show of the country’s military might in addition to cultural tableaux from states, increasingly being forced to be in tune to the central ruling party’s dictates.
Watch a protest rally by BSM in Birbhum district
The Bengal chapter of AIKSCC will launch a continuous dharna or sit-in protest, named Annadatader Sanghotite Bangla (In support to the foodgivers) at downtown Kolkata from January 9. All trade unions, mass & cultural organisations have been requested to join. The all India coordination body of central trade unions has already expressed its solidarity to the AIKSCC programme and its state units to join.
Meanwhile, Bangla Sanskriti Mancha, a cross-faith youth forum active in multiple districts took out a public march against the farm bills at Rampurhat town in Birbhum district. The Manch has begun an indefinite sit-in support of the farmers. Its cultural teams have been visiting villages with Baul singers and street darma performers to spread awareness about the reasons behind farmer s’ opposition to the farm laws.
In Kolkata, members of No NRC Movement, Mukto Bangla, APDR and other civil society forums held similar dharnas at Moulali crossing.
Speakers counted the series of sweeping constitutional and legal amendments by the BJP-RSS regime in pursuance of its fascist agendas to impose majoritarian bigotry and monopoly of crony capitalists.
They recalled how the hard-earned rights of farmers, workers and other toiling people have been snatched away by the regime using its brute majority in the parliament or the executive fiats during Covid lockdown months. Instead of giving respite to the poor and middle class from the soaring price-rises in food and other essential items, it’s farm laws are meant to allow crony corporates like Ambani and Adani groups to hoard food grains and vegetables and jack up market prices, they pointed out.
Another rally was held by the minority groups and others commemorating the anniversary of the women’s-led protest in Park Circus maidan against the communal Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens. The protest site had become known as Kolkata’s Shaheen Bagh before the prolonged lockdown forced the growing opposition to the countrywide to lose momentum.