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Farmer unions, Left parties garner support in Bengal for Bharat bandh

left parties

Ashok Chatterjee

Kolkata (The Hawk): The Left activists blocked roads and railway tracks across West Bengal on Monday in support of the 10-hour Bharat Bandh called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), while normal life remained largely unaffected in the state.

Markets and shops were open as usual, while public transport operated almost normally, except for a few hitches.

At a joint rally with the Left Front and Samyukta Kisan Morcha marching together from Entally market to Mallick Bazar, CPI(M) leaders Biman Bose, Surjya Kanta Mishra, Naren Chatterjee, Manoj Bhattacharjee joined in.

In Kolkata, CPI(M) members blocked roads at College Street, Jadavpur and Shyambazar Five-Point Crossing, Chiriyamore, Korunamoyee (Salt Lake) and in the districts like Contai, Basirhat, Hooghly, Jalpaiguri, Kharagpur but were swiftly removed by the police.

The Left activists blocked railway tracks at Jadavpur in Eastern Railway's Sealdah division. Reports of rail blockades from the Howrah division also came in.

At several locations, Congress activists also joined the protesters, demanding repeal of the three farm laws.

All blocks in all districts of Bengal and major towns witnessed mass gatherings, protest meetings, processions and road and rail blockade.

Farmer leaders addressed the gatherings and emphasized that protests and struggle of farmers will continue till the 3 black laws illegally passed by the Union government are withdrawn and till such time a new law to guarantee MSP for all crops of all farmers is passed by the government. The leaders also denounced the efforts of the Centre to undermine constitutional institutions and processes, trample upon democratic rights of people by crushing the voice of dissent, sell national assets and destabilise the federal structure of the nation. The slogan of “Corporate Bhagao, Desh Bachao” was repeatedly raised. The Modi regime was castigated for being pro-corporate, anti-farmer and anti-working class.

All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) expresses its profound happiness and extends hearty congratulations to all sections of the people who made the Bharat Bandh called by Samyukta Kisan Morcha a grand and historic success. Its main slogan was ‘corporate forces hands off agriculture and Modi-Shah quit power’.

The response underlines the emerging pan India character of the farmers struggle. The visuals indicate huge participation of women, elders, youth and even children in the massive protest actions all across the country. Even in the BJP-ruled states of UP, Gujarat and Tripura the impact of the Bandh was colossal and there was total closure of shops and commercial establishments and traffic came to a standstill. In UP Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency witnessed widespread demonstrations attended by thousands of people, largely women. 

“The political direction of today’s Bharat Bandh is that the last few years of joint struggles with the solid class character of worker-peasant unity now paves the way towards building larger people’s united front against corporate exploitation especially in agriculture, industry and services. Those political parties who stand for protecting the corporate interests will face the people’s ire and will be pushed back in the context of the emergence of this movement of people’s resistance,” said Hannan Mollah, general secretary of AIKSCC.

Expressing happiness at the response in Bengal and in rest of India, Avik Saha leader, SKM, said, “The Bharat bandh called by SKM saw a spontaneous and effervescent response in all states, amongst all classes of people. It sent a very strong message through collective protest of people to the Union government. Farmers were joined by students, women and workers. The SKM hopes that the Centre will take serious note of popular demand and stop pretending otherwise.”