Monday, October 19, 2015

INDIA: MAY A SPARK TURNING INTO A PRAIRIE FIRE IN PUNJAB AFTER HEROIC RAIL ROKO PROTEST.-- SUPPORT HISTORIC PROTEST ON OCTOBER 23RD ALL OVER STATE AND ANTI-COMMUNAL MOVEMENT AGAINST RELIGIOUS FANATICISM BY HARSH THAKOR



From September 4th there has been a massive peasant agitation in Punjab. What is significant is that peasant organizations belonging to different trends of the Communist movement united together.Such a protracted united struggle has great significance for the peasant movement in Punjab .

Today there is debate whether economic relations have reached the capitalist stage in Punjab.Groups like B.K.U.(Dakaunda) term it as 'capitalist' while Kirti Kisan Union,P.M.K.U,B.KU (Krantikari) and B.K.U (Ugrahan ) term it as semi-feudal.

The demands represented those of the landed peasantry and were supported by organizations of the landless peasantry or agricultural workers.Such agitation narrows the bridge between demands of the landed peasantry and the agricultural labourers.

What is significant in this agitation is that it redress the demands of both the landed peasantry and the landless agricultural workers for compensation.

In Punjab there is a tendency of agricultural labourer organizations tailing behind the organizations voicing demands of the rich peasantry.

It is significant that this protest jointly united peasant organizations supporting various streams of Naxalite groups..A member of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union was martyred on the 1st day.

The protest had a huge mobilization in Bhatinda and was supported by the youth organization, Naujwan Bharat Sabha.

The rally represented the broad aspirations of the Punjab peasantry like compensation for suicides .

The apathy of the Punjab govt is shown which is completely incorporating the pro-rich policies of the centre

This protest ia significant sequel to a series of earlier protests for similar demands in various districts.The report on the neglect of the dalit community for potable drinking water is significant.etc.

The peasant agitation struggle has reached proportions of phenomenal depth being one of the most protracted and militant protests n recent years.

A massive rail rook was launched which reached heights  of intensity seldom reached before. The hearts of the ruling class party leaders and their supporters were trembling.

They are an example to the peasantry of the entire nation in rising up against the pro-imperialist ruling class policies supporting globalization and creating the base for merciless enslavement of the peasantry leading to suicides

.A Kisan Morcha has been formed in Punjab getting vehement support from all rungs of society. An impact of a tornado has been created by the peasantry of Punjab like a spark turning into a prairie fire.

The peasant activists fought with great determination and tenacity like a military battalion breaking an impregnable blockade and emerging as a thorn in the flesh to the administration defending the ruling class parties.

The peasants indirectly represented the aspirations of the toiling peasantry nation-wide whose hearts are inflamed  with anger against the pro-rich policies of the current Narendra Modi B.J.P. government.

Such struggles sow the seeds for a major organized agrarian movement.Significant support has been given by the youth organization-Naujwan Bharat Sabha .In various corners of Punjab solidarity has been built up to the agitation.

At the maximum level of intensity the agitation lit up the roads like a huge bonfire lit.Several marches were held all over. Great response is taking place for the rally all over Punjab.

On October 22nd the 8 peasant organization s have decided to gherao the ministers,ruling party MLA’s .

A major anti-communal agitation is also taking place in Punjab protesting against the nefarious communal politics  raised by an incident of 2 religious activists killed in a firing

A relic of Guru Grant Sahib was attacked which incited people of the Sikh community and resulted in the killing of 2 sikh youth.

hSikh activists tried to give a communal colour to the incident.which has had an effect on the entire state.




Democratic organizations like B.K.U, N.B.S,P. M.K.U have taken out peace marches in various blocs of  Punjab protesting the communal incident and vying for communal harmony.

The nefarious communal politics of the ruling class parties was exposed.

Roads and buses have been blocked all over Punjab with fury raging in the hearts of the masses.

It has been one of the most organized united protests ever in Punjab with solidarity from all sections.

It conveys the significance of mass political resistance.

REPORTS ON THE STRUGGLE
1ST PROTEST IN SEPTEMBER

Tribune News Service Bathinda, September 20 A number of farmers who protest entered fourth consecutive day here under different eight farmer unions of Punjab got shot in the arm with getting compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the family of a victim farm labourer, Mandar Singh. Mandar had died of heart attack on the first day before reached the protest venue.




The farmers had kept the dead body of victim at the Civil Hospital and refused to conduct the autopsy until the government gave compensation and a job to victim's kin.

On Sunday, the cremation of the victim farm labourer Mandar Singh of Killianwali village was done while the farmers claimed that cheque of Rs 5 lakh was handed over to victim's wife.

Demanding compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre for every cotton farmer who faced damage of cotton crop this season due to whitefly, farmers continued with their protest in Bathinda.

Today, the BKU (Ekta –Ugraha) state president also spoke on the stage among the other key speakers. Farmers, however, didn't not move a step away from the protest site despite heavy rain.

Women farmers, too, participated enthusiastically in the protest and spoke onstage against the state government for ruining the condition of farmers. 

As many as eight farmer unions, including BKU Dkaunda, BKU Ugraha Union, Punjab Kisan Union, BKU Krantikari, BKU Kirti Kisan Union, Jamhuri Kisan Sabha and two different sangarsh committees, who had, earlier, announced to stage protest here against the state government to raise their demand for compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre to each cotton farmer who witnessed damaged due to whitefly attack in cotton belt of Punjab today stage protest.

The farmers are also demanding that the government should provide the compensation of Rs 20,000 to all those labourer families who had got unemployed due to cotton crop damage this time.

Hundreds of farmers from Mansa, Muktsar, Fazilka, Faridkot, and Bathinda are protesting at the site round-the-clock and many ‘farmers Jathas’ daily reach here near the district complex to stage the protest on GT Road in Bathinda.

It’s noteworthy that on September 10, around 35 farmers, including 17 women were injured and hospitalised after a raging bull entered and charged at protesting farmers who had staged their protest near the district complex. President of the Bharitya Kisan Union Ekta-Ugraha Bathinda, Shingara SIngh Mann, said, “Compensation of Rs 5 lakh has been given to the victim's family while a job has been promised by the Bathinda Deputy Commissioner.

Our six vans are moving in villages to create awareness among the farmers about their rights and are motivating them to participate in the protest which is round-the-clock and for indefinite period. The participation of women can be seen at large level. The farmers who faced loss of cotton crop are committing suicides as the state government had failed to compensate them while even now the government had announce a meager compensation to farmers.

About Rs 3,800 crore is needed to compensate farmers of around 9.5 lakh acres that faced loss due to whitefly attack. The government this time had cheated the farmers badly by providing the duplicate pesticides.” Tribune News Service Bathinda, September 2 Seven farm and labour unions under the banner of the ‘Pendu and Khet Mazdoor Union’ today staged a protest near the District Complex in Bathinda.

The round-the-clock protest will be continued till September 4 raising their demands related with the protection of interests and rights of Dalits and agricultural labourers in the state. They demanded that the alleged police oppression against the Dalits and labourers should be stopped.

Other demands include increase in wages under MNREGA up to Rs 500 per person per day and the work under it should be given for all 365 days to all, increase in old age and widow pensions, potable drinking water for people belonging to the Dalit and labour class, possession and allotment of 10 marla plots to homeless and landless labourers,

Rs 3 lakh each for construction on these plots, implementation of the old PDS system where the Dalits and labourers could get ration, Rs 5 lakh compensation and government job for kin of those labourers who had committed suicide due to debt burden, implementation of law that supports giving of 1/3rd of the panchayati land to Dalits for cultivation and no anti-labourer amendments favouring the industry should be made by the Centre. Mahipal, senior leader of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha, said:

 “Allotment of plots to the Dalits and labourers and possession over it is one of the demands we are seeking from the state government since long time.

The Badal-led state government in 1997 gave letters of plot allotments to a number of Dalits and labourers who were homeless and landless but the possession is still awaited.” “A number of times we had raised the issue and held protests but to no avail. This time, we will also highlight the issue of shortage of potable drinking water for Dalits.

Most of the schools are unable to provide potable water whereas a number of schools still rely on hand-pump water that is hazardous to health.

Drinking water is a basic need and the right of every citizen but the state government had failed to provide the same to the Dalit community,” said Mahipal. Bathinda, 

September 21 A large number of farmers protesting under eight farmer unions of Punjab today took out a protest march from their protest venue to the Agriculture Department in Bathinda and returned after protesting there for half an hour. The protesters shouted slogans against the state government.

The protest of the farmers entered the fifth consecutive day here under different eight farmer unions of Punjab. Yesterday, the farmers had got a shot in their arm after the kin of a farm labour, Mandar Singh, got compensation of Rs 5 lakh. Mandar had died of heart attack on the first day of the protest. Earlier, the farmers had kept Mandar’s body at the Civil Hospital and had refused to get conduct an autopsy until the government gave compensation and a job to the kin of the victim farm labourer. Mandar’s body was cremated was on Sunday.

Farmers are demanding compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre for every cotton farmer who has faced damage of cotton crop this time due to whitefly. Farmers are continuing with their protest in Bathinda. As many as eight farmer unions, including BKU Dkaunda, BKU Ugraha Union, Punjab Kisan Union, BKU Krantikari, BKU Kirti Kisan Union, Jamhuri Kisan Sabha and two different Sangarsh Committees who earlier had announced to stage protest here against the state government to raise their demand for compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre to each cotton farmer who have witnessed damaged due to whitefly attack in the cotton belt of Punjab.

The farmers are also demanding that the government should provide compensation of Rs 20,000 to all those labourer families who had got unemployed due to cotton crop damage this time. President of the Bhartya Kisan Union Ekta-Ugrahan Bathinda, Shingara Singh Mann, said, “We took out a protest march to the Agriculture Department but all officials left their offices locked after they came to news about our protest march.

We raised anti-government slogans and came back to our protest venue in front of the district complex in Bathinda. About Rs 3,800 crore is needed to compensate farmers of around 9.5 lakh acres that faced loss due to whitefly attack.

The government, this time, has cheated the farmers badly by providing the duplicate pesticides. We are demanding an enquiry against the officials and minister.

Our six vans are moving in several villages to create awareness among the farmers about their rights and are motivating them to participate in the protest which is round-the-clock and for indefinite period.” —





RAIL ROKO PROTEST

Chandigarh, October 11

Rail traffic remained paralysed in Punjab for the fifth consecutive day today with protesting farmers, seeking higher compensation for crop loss, continued their stir, causing inconvenience to the passengers and financial loss to railways.

Railway authorities said movement of 73 trains were today hit, taking the total number of trains being affected to 336 so far in the five-day long farmers' protest.

Out of 73 trains, 29 including mail/express trains were cancelled because of the agitation, Railway officials said.

According to Divisional Railway Manager, (Ferozepur Division), Anuj Prakash, the ongoing farmers' 'Rail Roko' agitation in the state has caused whopping financial loss of Rs 100 crore to Railways.
Yesterday, eight farmers' outfits, which are spearheading the agitation, rejected the appeal of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to call off their protest and extended their agitation till tomorrow.

"Our protest will go on till October 12 and the next line of action will be decided after meeting the Punjab CM in Chandigarh," BKU Etka (Dakunda) General Secretary, Jagmohan Singh said today.
The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal yesterday invited protesting farmers to hold talks with the Chief Minister on October 12 for resolving their issues.

Badal yesterday said his government was ready to accept every genuine demand of the farmers and would leave no stone unturned to bail the distressed agriculturists out of the severe crisis.
SAD's appeal to agitating farmers to call off their protest came even as the ruling party had accused them of playing politics over the peasants' issues.

While agitating farmers have blamed SAD-BJP led state government for its "apathetic" attitude towards farmers' genuine grievances.

As many as eight farmers' organisations, including BKU Ekta (Dakunda), BKU Ekta (Ugrahan), BKU (Krantikari), Kirti Kisan Union, are participating in the 'Rail Roko' agitation which began on Wednesday.

Initially, the agitation was for two days - October 7 and 8 but it was later extended for another two days till October 10.

The ongoing farmers' protest has hit the movement of 336 trains in the Ferozepur division of Railways. Out of 336 trains, 157 have been cancelled so far while rest of trains were diverted, short terminated and short originated.

Protesting farmers continued to block rail traffic at Mansa, Rampura, Shergarh, Pathrala  (Bathinda), Dagru (Moga), Mucchal (Amritsar).

Due to which, tracks, including Ludhiana-Ferozepur, Ludhiana-Amritsar, Bathinda-Ambala, Ambala-Ferozepur were hit, railway officials said.

Agitating farmers have been demanding Rs 40,000 per acre compensation for those farmers whose crop got damaged by whitefly attack, Rs 20,000 per family compensation for farm labour, Rs 4,500 per quintal rate for Basmati PUSA 1509 variety, and Rs 5,000 per quintal for Basmati PUSA 1121.
Besides, they are also seeking payments of sugarcane dues by private mills, debt relief and Rs five lakh financial assistance to the family of farmers who commit suicide. While 18 trains were diverted, 26 trains were short terminated or short originated by the railway authorities.

Out of 336 trains, 157 trains have been cancelled so far while rest of the trains were diverted, short terminated and short originated.

Other trains cancelled were Nangaldam-Amritsar Express, New Delhi-Amritsar intercity, New Delhi-Jalandhar intercity, Dehradun-Amritsar Express, Chandigarh-Amritsar intercity, Shan-e-Punjab, Jalandhar-New Delhi, Ferozepur Cantt-Delhi Sarai and some passenger trains. —PTI






CONCLUSION OF PROTEST AND PLAN FOR AGITATION ON OPCTOBER 23RD ALL OVER PUNJAB

Protesting farmers in Punjab on Monday decided to call off their seven-day 'rail roko' stir, which has crippled rail services in the state, but said their agitation against the Parkash Singh Badal government would continue in support of their demand for higher compensation.

Instead of blocking tracks, the farmers have now decided to gherao all state ministers, ruling party MLAs, other party leaders at all the district headquarters on October 22.

"We have decided to call off our 'rail roko' agitation. We will lift our blockade at different places in the state at 2 pm," BKU Ekta (Dakunda) general secretary Jagmohan Singh said.

However, he said their agitation against the SAD-BJP led state government would continue for non-acceptance of their demands, including higher compensation for cotton-crop loss.

"Our agitation will continue. We will now change the format of our agitation. We have decided to gherao all the state ministers, ruling party MLAs, other party leaders at all the district headquarters on October 22.

We will also show black flags to ministers, ruling party leaders at village-level regularly," Singh further said.

Agitating farmers arrived at the decision after holding their core committee meeting, which continued till late night at Kisan Bhawan here.

The farmers' agitation, which began on October 7, paralysed rail movement in Punjab with over 1,100 trains being affected because of the protest in Ambala and Ferozepur divisions of railways, causing inconvenience to passengers and heavy financial loss to railway authorities.

Railway officials said it will take a minimum of 24 hours to restore normalcy as railway would carry out inspection of tracks where protesting farmers had put up blockades.

The crucial talks between protesting farmers and Badal failed to break the deadlock over peasants' demands yesterday, following which farmers announced to continue with their agitation till today.
"Our meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was a failure despite some positive results (for farmers)," Singh said.

The BKU leader lashed out at Badal for expressing "inability" to raise the quantum of compensation for cotton-crop loss and basmati prices.

"During the meeting, Badal told us that state government has nothing to offer. But said our demands are genuine and farmers are in pain. Badal said his government's financial position was worse than the cotton crop, which has been extensively damaged by the whitefly attack," Singh said.

"Should such kind of response be given by a CM to protesting farmers," asked Singh. Singh said the state government was not ready to pay more than Rs 8,000 per acre as compensation for crop loss and the government also did not accede to their demand of giving higher rates for PUSA 1121 basmati variety.

"The state government told us that PUSA 1121 basmati crop will not be purchased at MSP by state agencies. We were demanding higher rates for PUSA 1121 variety which is in great demand in overseas markets like Iran," he said.

However, he said Punjab Police DGP Sumedh Saini, who was also present in yesterday's meeting of farmers with Badal, had assured them that police would inquire into alleged fleecing of farmers by arthiyas who had been paying "lower rates" to farmers for PUSA 1509 basmati variety.

Protesting farmers have been demanding Rs 40,000 per acre compensation for farmers whose crop got damaged by whitefly attack, Rs 20,000 per family compensation for farm labourers, Rs 4,500 per quintal rate for Basmati PUSA 1509 variety, Rs 5,000 per quintal for Basmati PUSA 1121.

Besides, they are also seeking payments of sugarcane dues by private mills, debt relief and Rs 5-lakh financial assistance to the family of farmers who committed suicide.

Asked what the farmers got from the state government, BKU leader said the state government has offered to pay Rs 64 crore compensation to farm labourers.

On the issue of debt waiver, Singh said that the CM has assured that he would take up the matter with RBI while for cooperative loans, the state government would come out with a policy.

To check exploitation of farmers by commission agents (arthiyas), Singh said the state government would come out with a Money Lending Act in this regard.

He said Badal had also assured that land ownership would be given to those who had been cultivating land for long and land was in their name as Girdwari.

After the meeting with representatives of farmers remained inconclusive yesterday, Badal had again appealed to them to lift their rail blockade while assuring that he was ever ready to resolve any issue related to agriculture through mutual dialogue.

Badal had termed as "very unfortunate" and "agonizing" the inconvenience caused to various section of people particularly women, children and students, due to the rail blockade.
Farmers' organizations along with farm labour outfits, including BKU Ekta (Dakunda), BKU Ekta (Ugrahan), BKU (Krantikari), Kirti Kisan Union, were participating in the 'Rail Roko' agitation which began on October 7.

Initially, the agitation was for two days - October 7 and 8 but it was extended for two days till October 10, and extended for another two days till October 12.

The peasant agitation struggle has reached proportions of phenomenal depth being one of the most protratcted and militant protests n recent years. They are an example to the peasantry of the entire nation in rising up against the pro-imperialist ruling class policies supporting globalization and creating the base for merciless enslavement of the peasantry leading to suicides .

A Kisan Morcha has been formed in Punjab getting vehement support from all rungs of society. An impact of a tornado has been created by the peasantry of Punjab like a spark turning into a prairie fire. The peasant activists fought with great determination and tenacity like a military battalion breaking an impregnable blockade and emerging as a thorn in the flesh to the administration defending the ruling class parties.

The peasants indirectly represented the aspirations of the toiling peasantry nation-wide whose hearts are inflamed  with anger against the pro-rich policies of the current Narendra Modi 

B.J.P.government.Such struggles sow the seeds for a major organized agrarian movement.Significant support has been given by the youth organization-Naujwan Bharat Sabha.In various corners of Punjab solidarity has been built up to the agiation.At the maximum level of intensity the agiation lit up the roads like a huge bonfire lit.Several marches were held all over.Great response is taking place for the rally all over Punjab.On October 22nd the 8 peasant organization s have decided to gherao the ministers,ruling party MLA’s .

The blockade, however, was reduced to one location in each district from Sunday instead of several locations.

Protest leaders said the road blockade would be from 10 am to 1 pm so that ordinary people, particularly motorists, do not suffer much inconvenience.

The protesters carried black flags and placards and brandished swords and sticks.

The blockade, in the past week, had affected life in Malwa region. The worst hit were Moga, Faridkot and Bathinda districts, the police said.

SIKH AGITATION

A series of protests have been taking place all around Punjab promoting communal harmony and opposing Sikh communal politics.It is significant in light of secular peasant agitation.Such marches oppose policies of rulers to rule and divide.Background of incident below which provoked communal response .None of the peasAnt organizations joined the Sikh comunal organizations.Supporting Martyr Bhagat Singh’s secular politics these organization sconfronted the sikh separatist and communal politics which is engulfing the state of Punjab.

Background of incident in report below from Tribune news.

Sikhs protesting against the desecration of a ‘bir’ of Guru Granth Sahib continued their agitation on Sunday, blocking roads at several spots in Punjab’s Malwa region.

The blockade, however, was reduced to one location in each district from Sunday instead of several locations.

Protest leaders said the road blockade would be from 10 am to 1 pm so that ordinary people, particularly motorists, do not suffer much inconvenience.

The protesters carried black flags and placards and brandished swords and sticks.

The blockade, in the past week, had affected life in Malwa region. The worst hit were Moga, Faridkot and Bathinda districts, the police said.

protestation at 11 locations in Moga district, blocking major national and state highways. However, shopkeepers started opening shops in Moga city after a joint appeal was made by the Deputy Commissioner and the Mayor.

Meanwhile, Sikh activists in Moga city damaged the vehicles of SGPC member Satpal Singh who had reportedly come to attend a "seceret" meeting of the Akali Dal to discuss the current situation.
The revised protests will continue till October 25, when the bhog of those killed in police firing will be held. The protests, called by radical Sikh groups, are against the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib. The protesters want action against those involved in the desecration.

A ‘bir’ (holy book) was desecrated in Bargari village, 15 km from Kotkapura, leading to tension on October 12. Over 100 pages of the Sikh holy book were found scattered on a street near a gurdwara. The holy book had been stolen from a gurdwara in June.

At least two persons were killed and nearly 70 injured, including police officials, on Wednesday in clashes between the police and Sikhs near Kotkapura town in Faridkot district, 230 km from here.
The two victims are yet to be cremated.

In Amritsar, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday offered prayers at ‘Harmandar Sahib’, popularly known as Golden Temple, for peace and communal harmony.

Congress leader Amarinder Singh on Saturday visited the families of the two persons killed in police firing. (With inputs from IANS)

BKU (Ekta) Ugrahan Condemns Kotkapura Firing
Launches Communal Peace Campaign

BKU (Ekta) Ugrahan President Joginder Singh Ugrahan and general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan strongly condemn the police firing in Kotkapura yesterday which took two lives. The peasant leaders demanded a judicial inquiry, strong punishment for responsible police officials and compensation to the families of the deceased. It has expressed sympathies for the two families on behalf of the entire rank and file of the organization.

Taking note of the serious implications of the police action in already charged atmosphere both the leaders appealed for protection of communal peace and goodwill among different communities and sections. The largest peasant organization of the state is going to gear up its machinery to actively intervene the grave situation and launch a Communal Peace Campaign.

A poster has already been issued on the social media and 25000 printed copies of the same will soon be wall-pasted.the sequence of events, they said that the sacrilege Sri Guru Granth Sahib deserve to be strongly condemned. The instigating act is to serve the vested interests of those anti-people forces who wish to destroy the communal peace and restore the dark decades of communal terrorism and state-terrorism in the state.

The peasant leaders further elaborated that in Punjab peasants, agricultural laborers, industrial workers and employees are in the midst of struggles for their just and burning issues which are getting intensified day by day. In these struggles further ties of unity are being forged and strengthened. The anti-people rulers, politicians and communal lords seek to eradicate the very roots of this unity.

The leaders further urged that people belonging to all sections must see through the conspiracy, remain firm in their struggles on burning issues and maintain communal peace. They called upon peasantry and agricultural laborers to go ahead for the “Gherao Action” on October 23rd targeted at ministers and legislatures of the ruling alliance in Punjab.

Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan (94174-66038)
General Secretary, BKU (Ekta) Ugrahan