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OVER 100,000 farm workers marched on the Indian parliament in Delhi today demanding higher pay, an end to privatisation and price controls.
The rally, organised by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), saw demonstrators from across India march from the main train station to Parliament Street “in a very disciplined and orderly manner taking care not to cause inconvenience to the people,” organisers said.
“This rally is expected to pave the way for a strong alliance of the workers and peasants and to intensify the struggle to decisively defeat the neoliberal policies” of the Narendra Modi government, the party declared.
“Such joint struggles of two major sections of people, who produce the wealth of the country, alone can defeat the divisive and disruptive agenda of the RSS-guided BJP government.”
The RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is a Hindu supremacist paramilitary organisation that predates the existence of the ruling BJP party and acts as its street thug wing.
Industrial workers from many of the capital’s major factories cycled in formation to join the rally, waving communist flags and carrying placards highlighting 14 key demands, ranging from a ban on forward trading in essential commodities, an 18,000 rupee (£195) monthly minimum wage, higher guaranteed prices for farm produce and an end to forcible land acquisitions to equal pay for women and men and the reversal of privatisation in state-owned companies.
All-India Farmers Group joint secretary Vijoo Krishnan said that the BJP government had “betrayed” people who backed it to end the neoliberal policies of the Congress Party.
“They said they would ensure a better life for the working class,” he said.
“It is a show of anger against this government and their policies that are only pro-corporate.”
Because of the gigantic scale of the march, the CPI-M set up two huge camps near the New Delhi and Sahihabad railway stations for attendees to stay at from from Monday onwards.
The march was preceded by a women’s march through the capital yesterday led by the All India Democratic Women’s Association, which saw thousands of women from 23 states rally against “the unprecedented rise in communal and other forms of violence against women.”
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