Kolkata: Tractors are not commonplace in West Bengal’s rural landscape like Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh. Nevertheless, Rampurhat in Birbhum district today witnessed an impressive tractor rally in support of the one and half month long farmers’ movement at Delhi borders.
Decked with national flags and rings made of vegetables around flex posters demanding the rollback of pro-corporate farm laws, the rally organised by Bangla Sanskriti Mancha moved on wheels through the lanes of the sub-divisional town.
The BSM, an anti-communal cross-faith youth forum that has been active in some south Bengal districts is now at the forefront of campaign against the farm laws in the district. It has begun a sit-in demonstration in solidarity to the farmer’s siege on Narendra Modi’s Delhi Durbar since last week at the town along with an outreach programme in outlying villages.
As the Supreme Court apparently asked the government to keep the controversial laws in abeyance, young rallyists on board the tractors raised slogans against the regime’s arrogance for still refusing to listen to the farmer’s demands to scrap the laws. These laws have been passed in haste by bulldozing the parliamentary opposition and without any discussions with the farmers’ bodies, they pointed out.
Watch tractor rally in solidarity with protesting farmers at Delhi borders
The political points apart, their youthful mood was also evident from the satires: Modi tumi kharap lok, tomar mathay ukun hok (Modi you are a wicked man, let there be lice on your head), originally a coinage by Kolkata students which has now travelled to districts.
Local Adivasi women who joined the rally sang traditional songs to the beats of Dhamsa- Madol, a regular feature of BSM programmes to underline the demographic and cultural pluralism of the district and Bengal. Some activists from Kolkata also joined them. Performers from lower castes groups also joined the march.
Meanwhile, the sit-in demonstration organised by the state chapter of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) at downtown Kolkata has continued. Leaders of different peasants organisations spoke there explaining aspects of the farm laws. Groups of students and cultural activists performed criticising the corporate-communal agendas of Modi government in complete disregard to post-lockdown miseries of the masses.
Films on people’s miseries and their struggles were screened at the protest site in the evening by young film maker groups including those from Cinema for Resistance.
The Trinamool Congress government has reportedly extended the permission to hold the Dharna till January 15, albeit after some hiccups. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee may be at loggerheads with the Modi regime at the Centre as the assembly polls are round the corner, but she hardly leaves any room for other non-BJP forces including Lefts.
Solidarity rallies and indoor meetings were held in parts of the city as well as in Hooghly, North 24 Parganas and Nadia districts during the day.
Video and picture courtesy: Md. Ripon, groundzero.in, Dalit Camera, Sankar Das