More than ten thousand peasants and peasant leaders assembled in Allahabad from different parts of the country. It The third national AIKMS conference is the first national conference of a peasant organisation in Uttar Pradesh. Peasant leaders from various parts of the country called for solidarity against feudal and corrupt forces that is gnawing the basic structure of the nation. Here’s a report.
The third national conference of the All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) took off to a grand start with an impressive rally of over ten thousand peasants and peasant leaders who have assembled in the city from different parts of the country. It is worth noting that the AIKMS conference is the first national conference of a peasant organisation that is happening in Uttar Pradesh.
The rally started from the Chandra Sekhar Azad Park and wound its way in a colorful and disciplined procession passing through the streets of Allahabad. The rally in its three kilometer route passed through the Vivekananda and Subhash crossings before reaching the C.A.V. Inter College grounds where it culminated in a mass meeting. Braving the summer heat the Sikh peasants from Punjab with their colorful turbans mingled with hundreds of peasants from the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh from southern India; and thousands of peasants from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Odisha and other states. Delegates from as many as eleven states of India have come to Allahabad to participate in the conference.
Festooned with red banners and flags the rally rent the air with revolutionary slogans. It was for the first time in many-many decades that the city of Allahabad has been witness to such a big gathering of a revolutionary organization. Prominent slogans raised were:
• Jo jameen ko jote boye, so jameen ka malik hoye (Ownership of land be transferred to the tiller.
• Samant-goonda-police uthpidan murdabad (down with oppression of feudal-goons and police combine).
• Seeliing ki seema kam karo (reduce the limit of land ceiling).
• Khet mazdoori ke rate badhao (increase the agricultural wage rates).
• Majhion ko balu khanan ka ravanna do (give the license for sand mining to the boatmen).
• Patthar mazdoron ko khanan ki chhooth do (permit mining for stone quarry workers).
• Jo Jamuna se balu nikale, so balu ka malik ho (Those who mine sand should be the owners of sand).
• Gareebon ko awas ke patte do (distribute residential plots to the poor).
• Jabran visthapan murdabad (down with forced displacement).
• Kisanon, mazdoron ke sabhi karz maaf karo (Waive all loans of farmers and workers).
• Garib kisanon ko saste krishi auzar do (give farm implements at low prices to poor farmers).
• Krishi vyapar mein videshi kampaniyon par rok lagao (Ban foreign companies in farm business).
• Sabhi faslon ke labhkari mulya do (give remunerative prices for all crops).
• Fasal nuksaan ka pura muavza do (give full compensation for crop failure).
The rally culminated into a grand mass meeting in the C.A.V. Inter College grounds. The stage for the speakers had been decked with huge banners announcing the conference and with revolutionary slogans written on them. Similar banners had been put up all along the boundary of the meeting area. The banners also displayed the photographs of anti-mafia sand mafia movement continuing in Allahabad for last twelve years and the anti-displacement movement of Karchana and Kanti. Among those who addressed the meeting were the leaders of the AIKMS national committee and the chief guest of the meeting Com Aparna.
IFTU National President Com Aparna, a veteran revolutionary trade union and women’s movement leader, began her address with revolutionary greetings to the thousands of farmers. In her rousing address on the occasion Dr Aparna dwelt at length over how the grave economic and agrarian crisis prevailing in the country is a result of the policies pursued by the different ruling class parties over the years. She said that the reigning agrarian crisis in the country is destroying millions of farm households in India resulting in distress migration of small and marginal peasants and landless agricultural laborers to the cities where they end up working as casual laborers on the construction sites or in industrial areas under inhuman conditions. This, she pointed, is an important link between the movements of industrial working class and the peasantry in India as unorganised workers is none other than uprooted and displaced peasants and tribals.
She emphasised that 94 per cent of India’s industrial working class is deprived of even legal protection even the prevailing laws themselves give little protection to the workers. She attacked the Modi government for pursuing the policy of freedom to hire and fire for ensuring the profits of the companies. The BJP government has utter contempt for ensuring income of India’s working masses and developing their purchasing power to rejuvenate Indian market. Its drive for ‘Make in India’ is only to sell of resources of Indian people to the multinational companies and pursue foreign markets.
Dr Aparna also condemned all ruling class parties that have deliberately allowed the state machinery, including the judiciary, to be complicit in the various atrocities committed on women including rape and physical assault. Emphasising that real revolutionary transformation of the society is not possible without liberating the women, she appealed to the gathered peasants to take up the issues of women in a forceful manner through their organisation.
Com Ashish Mittal, National Secretary criticised the RSS and BJP for demanding shouting of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ while promoting selling Indian mineral and water resources to corporate and foreign capital, increasing their penetration in agriculture, building of Smart Cities and Thermal Power Plants on farm lands, as in Allahabad. They have no regard for the survival of peasantry. They are attacking Dalit rights to education, particularly higher education and promotion. They are killing Indian Muslims. They are attacking right to oppose. They are attacking progressive and scientific thought and killing progressive thinkers. Their policies like that of previous govt’s has rendered Indian peasants indebted, 3.5 lacs have committed suicides, workers are dying in lacs of starvation, crores of Indian youth are jobless. Their Jai-Jaikar is only for MNCs, dalals, Landlords, Mafia and the super rich.
GS Sushanto Jha had earlier called for struggle for land distribution, increased wages, end to corruption after congratulating the UP committee for successful organization of the rally.
AIKMS President Com H S Sandhu drew upon the recent peasant struggles in Punjab for increase in minimum support price and for forcing the government to provide compensation to farmers for crop loss at the rate of Rs 40,000 per acre.
Speaking on the occasion the main speaker from Telangana, Com V Venkatramaiah (V. V.) spoke in glorious terms about the Godavari valley resistance struggle that has been consistently fought over almost five decades against the exploitation of tribal peasantry in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Com. V V criticised the previous UPA and the present Modi government at the centre for supporting the oppression on tribals by state governments of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Com Bhalachandra Shadangi, AIKMS Central Committee member from Odisha, elaborated at length about the anti-displacement movements in Kalinganagar, Niyamgiri and POSCO in the state. He talked of how the tribal and non-tribal peasantry of Odisha has waged determined struggles against the Central and State government’s designs of enforced displacement of farmers to allow the loot of state’s natural resources by multinational companies.
The revolutionary songs presented by cultural teams from different states kept the farmers enthralled throughout the meeting. The meeting ended with revolutionary slogans and a call to the peasants for developing the revolutionary peasant movement in the country against the anti-people and anti-farmer policies of the ruling classes. The delegate sessions of AIKMS conference shall start form the morning of 3 April, at the Rajarshi Tandon Mandapam.
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