People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 04, 2007
CPI(M) Holds Countrywide Protests Against Prise Rise
Police using water canons on CPI(M) protestors in New Delhi.
HUNDREDS of CPI(M) activists and people expressed their anger against rising prices of essential commodities by staging a militant demonstration at Parliament Street in New Delhi. The demonstration organised by the Delhi state committee of the CPI(M) was part of nationwide protests called by the Party against price rise and skyrocketing inflation.
The protestors gathered at nearby Jantar Mantar sported placards calling for ending the loot of poor by curbing inflation. “Stop Blackmarketeering”, End Speculation in Foodgrains” “Rising Prices, Where is the govt?” were some of the slogans rendering the place. As the protestors marched on the Parliament Street, the huge posse of policemen resorted to indiscriminate use of force. In blatant excesses, they used water cannon on the peaceful protestors, injuring four activists, including the CPI(M) Delhi state secretary P M S Grewal. Three of the injured were hospitalised. Hundreds of CPI(M) activists courted arrest as part of their protest.
Earlier, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and MP Sitaram Yechury addressed the demonstrators at Jantar Mantar. He criticised the government for failing to take effective measures like curbing futures trading in foodgrains and other essential commodities, revising the tax structure for petroleum products, strengthening the Public Distribution System etc in order to check price rise.
After courting arrest, the demonstrators were subsequently addressed in the Parliament Street police station by nine CPI(M) MPs including Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, Hannan Mollah, Tapan Sen, Prashant Chatterjee, Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, Matilal Sarkar, Tarini Roy, Saman Pathak and P Madhu. They held the faulty polices of the UPA government responsible for the 7 per cent rate of inflation resulting in a steep increase in the prices of food grains, dals, vegetables and edible oil. They criticised the government for the belated step of reducing petrol and diesel prices to pre-June 2006 levels. They made the following demands:
Curb futures trading in foodgrains and other essential commodities, revise the tax structure for petroleum products, ensure adequate procurement of foodgrains at prices fair to farmers, strengthen the public distribution system and ensure price control of essential drugs.
Below are reports received so far of the agitations conducted by CPI(M) units in various states protesting against price rise.
Sharing the strong feeling of the countrymen lynched by spiraling price-hike, Tripura people observed civil disobedience movement in more than 42 centers before the central government offices like bank branches, post offices, BSNL offices including doordarshan kendra and akashbani bhavan in Agartala. The people registered a thundering protest against price-hike, which is the outcome of the anti-people policies pursued by the UPA government at the centre.
Later the police arrested 15,341 persons for breaking the barricades and marching ahead in the rally. Mobilisation in all the centres surpassed the expectation of the organizers. More than 2.5 lakh people comprising men and women, workers, students, youths, Jhumias, landless agricultural workers, and peasants rocked the streets of the state and courted arrest in protest against price-hike. The rally was addressed by Bijan Dhar, Central Committee member of the party and Gautam Das, state secretariat member.
The Tamilnadu state committee had given a call for conducting a picketing programme in front of the central government offices on February 26, 2007. Throughout the state in 219 centres about 25000 people participated in the jail bharo movement. One fifth of the participants were women. Right from the morning there was milling crowd in front of the Mount Road Post office, on the main arterial road of Chennai city. Led by V Meenakshisundaram, K.Balakrishnan and Selvasingh, all state secretariat members and about thousand cadres of the CPI(M) blocked the road and demonstrated against the rising prices of essential commodities. While addressing the demonstrators, Meenakshisundaram, criticised the UPA government and its policies of procurement and distribution of cereals and pulses. He demanded of the government’s immediate intervention to check the price rise and warned that bigger agitations would follow if the government’s response is not adequate. All those who had assembled there were arrested. In North Chennai too, men and woman came in their hundreds and picketed the Kuralagam office led by another secretariat member A Soundararajan. Reports received from districts show that thousands of comrades participated in the movement. In major centres like Madurai, Coimbatore, Trichy, and Nagercoil state level leaders participated and led the picketing programme.
Hundreds of activists of CITU organised a protest demonstration and burnt the effigy of Price hike and Wall Mart to protest its entry in retail sector in the India market.
A Sawhney, general secretary of CITU Chandigarh, addressed the demonstration and said that the wage earners and the urban and rural poor are finding it difficult to provide food for their families and held the UPA government responsible for the present state of affairs.
Rakesh Kumar, convener of the Co-ordination committee of the M C and government employees also addressed the protestors.
ANDAMAN & NICOBAR
At the call of the CPI(M) central committee, South Andaman Zonal Committee of the CPI(M) has organised a procession and public meeting on February 27, 2007 at Port Blair to protest against the soaring prices of essential commodities. The procession which started from the premises of Crusade House at Phoenix Bay, culminated in a public meeting at Tiranga Park. The participants in the procession raised slogans against the anti-people economic policies being pursued by the central government which lead to abnormal increase in the food items in the country. They also condemned the A & N administration and Port Blair municipal council for their inability to provide drinking water to the residents of Port Blair/South Andaman areas even after 60 years of independence and after spending hundreds of crores of rupees for the water supply sector.
The meeting was addressed K G Das, B Chandrachoodan, S B Chatterjee, P Banerjee , A Rajan and H N Parial presided.
The Gujarat state committee of CPI(M) picketed the central government offices in various centres protesting against the price rise. In Ahmedabad, police arrested 221 workers. In Bhavnagar, hundreds of workers, women and youth joined the protest. More than 350 workers were arrested. In Himmatnagar, rasta roko was organised and traffic was blocked for almost two hours, police arrested 71 workers. At Baroda, more than 100 workers demonstrated near collector ofice .Demonstrations were also held at Rajkot, Junagadh and Dahod. Arun Mehta, state secretary of CPI(M), Nalini Jadeja, Satish Kumar, Prajibhai Bhambhi and others led the demonstrations. (INN)