NEW DELHI—Extending solidarity with farmers protesting against doing away with the minimum support price(MSP) in the three amended farm-related bills passed by the Narendra Modi government and allowing corporates to hoard the agricultural commodities, representatives from dozens of trade, human rights and farm organisations from all over the country organized a protest “बोल के लब आज़ाद हैं तेरे” (Bol ke lab azad hain tere; Speak, for your lips are free) under the banner of “If We Do Not Rise” campaign outside the Constitution Club here on Tuesday.
Criticising the NDA government led by BJP which did not allow division of votes on the farm bills in the Rajya Sabha and suspension of eight Opposition MPs who raised their voice against the Rajya Sabha deputy leader allowing passage of the bills without division of votes on Sunday, the NGO representatives termed it as the “Black Day” for parliamentary democracy in India.
They said, “The government under Modi has become totally authoritarian and is using draconian laws like Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and sedition to curb the voices of dissent”.
The participants displayed their charter of demands on placards. The demands covered 13 thematic areas: Democratic Rights, Transparency & Accountability, Institutional Autonomy and Integrity, Right to Life and Safety, Food Security, Right to Education, Right to Work, Right to Political Participation, Right to Health, Access to Natural Resources, Technology and Surveillance, Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Media. It contained a total of 110 demands.
The organisations that took part in the protest included AIDWA, AIDMAM, Anhad, Indian Christians for Democracy, Mazdoor Ekta Committee, Mother Teresa Foundation, NFIW, NTUI, Pehchan, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Rehabilitation Research initiative, Satark Nagrik Sangathan, United Christian Forum and Unity of Christ. Those, who participated, included Annie Raja, Dipti Bharti from NFIW, Mariam Dhavle, Maimoona Mollah, Asha Sharma from AIDWA, Abirami Jothee from All India Dalit Adhikar Manch, Minakshi Singh from Unity of Christ, Suchitra from Purogamini Mahila Samiti, Birju Naik from Mazdoor Ekta Committee, Shabnam Hashmi, Tarun Sagar from Anhad , Gauhar Raza , poet, scientist and many others.
Earlier, the charter of demands was also submitted to several MPs and political leaders including Kanimozhi Karunanidhi (DMK) , D Raja ( General Secretary CPI) , Binoy Vishvam (CPI), Sanjay Singh (AAP), Manoj Jha (RJD), Kunwar Danish Ali ( BSP), Javed Ali (SP), Shaktisinh Gohil( INC), Elamaram Kareem (CPM), Kumar Ketkar ( nominated member) and KK Ragesh (CPM).