People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 12

March 19, 2006


Good Response To Jail Bharo Andolan


THE jail bharo andolan launched by the Punjab state committee of the CPI(M) on a 13-point charter of demands comprising burning issues of all the sections of people, including industrial workers, agricultural labourers, peasants, youth, women, students and employees and also for the fast pace industrialisation and transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab has concluded successfully. About twenty seven thousand satyagrahi volunteers bearing red CPI(M) bands offered to court arrest in all the districts of the state.


The satyagrahis gathered at public places where the state leadership of the Party, including Balwant Singh, Charan Singh Virdi, Lehmbar Singh Taggar, Rachhpal Singh, Raghunath Singh and Vijay Misra addressed the satyagrahis and handed over the CPI(M) flag to the district leadership of the Party who led the satyagrahis.  The satyagrahis carrying banners, flags and dholes, nagaras and bands in the front and led by the district committee leadership marched through the bazaars raising thundering slogans and reached the district courts and presented themselves for arrest. The entire movement inspired the public.


In Sangrur, Ludhiana, Nawan Shehar, Hoshiarpur and Jallandhar districts, the satyagrahis were arrested and released at odd and far-flung places. In other districts, the administration refused to arrest. Around 1200 satyagrahis in Nawan Shehar, 1150 in Bathinda, Mansa, Mukatsar, 850 in Gurdaspur, 2600 in Amritsar, 1500 in Patiala, 1500 in Hoshiarpur, 1200 in Ropar, 1000 in Jallandhar, 4500 in Sangrur and 10,000 in Ludhiana offered to court arrest. Around 10 to 20 per cent of satyagrahis consisted of women.


The peacefully protesting satyagrahis in front of the District Collector’s office in Sangrur were lathicharged by the police in an indiscriminate manner, injuring several protestors, including Party state committee members Major Singh Punnawal and Ram Singh Sohian.


As a culmination to this phase of agitation, massive action was organised at Ludhiana where Party state secretary Balwant Singh and state leaders Rachhpal Singh and Raghunath Singh courted arrest.




The enthusiasm of the satyagrahi volunteers was very high and their actions very militant reflecting the popular discontent among all sections of the people with Amrinder Singh’s Congress government. He broke all the promises made to the people in the assembly elections of February 2002, dismantling public education and government hospitals. There is a feeling among the common people that Amrinder Singh should be taught a lesson in the coming assembly elections which are due in February 2007. The experience of the satyagrahis in all the districts proved that common people feel let down by the main opposition party, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) which did not struggle on any of the issues concerning the people in the last four years and is only banking on anti-incumbency. The common people are looking forward eagerly for a third alternative, a genuine secular, democratic alternative which would take care of their concerns and afford them relief from the anti-people policies along with ensuring good governance, free from corruption.




The main demands during this agitation were:

  1. Immediately fill up all vacant posts in the government departments

  2. Fix Rs 5000 per month as minimum wages of unskilled workers

  3. Stop indiscriminate privatisation of public sector undertakings

  4. Enact comprehensive legislation for agricultural labourers and supply free electricity up to 300 units

  5. Simplify norms and procedures for old age and widow pensions

  6. Write off debt of all common peasants and restore quantitative restrictions on imports to protect the peasantry from crash in prices of farm products

  7. Concrete steps be taken for providing water, electricity, transport, education and health facilities to the people of Kandi, Bet and Border areas

  8. Education be made cheaper and upgrade the standard of education in the schools, particularly in rural areas

  9. Assure 33 per cent representation to the women in assembly and parliament

  10. Check rampant corruption and police atrocities on women and weaker sections

  11. Protect small-scale industry by providing tax relief and take concrete steps for speedy and balanced development and industrialisation of the state

  12. Ensure obligatory use of Punjabi language in government offices at all levels

  13. Chandigarh be transferred to Punjab immediately and just distribution of river waters be done in the frame work of Rajiv-Longowal accord. Overall the centre-state relations be restructured so as to give more powers to states and for strengthening federal structure of union of India.


The next phase of struggle to force chief minister Amrinder Singh to implement the 13-point demand charter will be launched from March 23, 2006. District jathas consisting of 101 activists and leaders of the Party will lead these jathas for a week and then all the jathas will culminate at Chandigarh for a weeklong squatting in front of the residence of Punjab Governor. (INN)