Farmers, workers march to Parliament

Farmers, workers march to Parliament

Tens of thousands of farmers and workers marched to Parliament on Wednesday with a demand that the Narendra Modi-led BJP government ensure measures to address farm distress and unemployment as well as controlling price rise and ensuring minimum wages for workers.

The first-ever joint farmers-workers Parliament March comes against the backdrop of a series of agitational programmes organised by CPI(M)-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha, CITU and All India Agriculture Workers' Union (AIAWU). The protesters said they want "either change in policies or we will change the government".

The protest march started from the iconic Ramlila Maidan, where at least thousands of protesters had camped since three days, and reminded the recent AIKS-led 'Long March' in Maharashtra in March when farmers walked hundreds of kilometres to Mumbai to press for their demands. On August 9, the AIKS had organised a 'Jail Bharo' andolan supported by CITU and other organisations.

Farmers and workers from across the country were joined by students, academicians and activists in the march and at Parliament Street where their protest reached. Among the protesters are around 5,000 farmers from Maharashtra's Nashik who participated in the 'Long March'. The Nashik group had hired a train to reach Delhi.

The 'Kisan-Mazdoor Sangharsh Rally' has put out a 15-point charter, which includes curbing price rise, measures for employment generation, minimum wage of Rs 18,000 per month and remunerative price for peasants among others.

Other demands include stopping anti-labour amendments, debt waiver, comprehensive legislation to address concerns of agricultural workers, implementation of MNREGA in all rural areas and extending it to urban areas, ensuring food security, health and education for all, universal social security, redistributive land reforms and stopping forcible land acquisition among other things.