Srinagar, August 9: As part of nationwide demands day, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) held protests across Jammu and Kashmir on Monday.
The workers, farmers, and agriculture labourers – the wealth creators of the nation – came together under the campaign to intensify the struggle against the Narendra Modi-led government’s neoliberal policies.
The CITU’s J&K unit held protests in Srinagar, Jammu and other district headquarters in J&K while maintaining social distancing norms.
The charter of demands of the protesters included a cash support of Rs. 7,500 to all non-income tax payee families, ration support to all those in need, universal free vaccination, price rise, unemployment, job losses, compensation to the families of people who died due to Covid 19 along with withdrawal of the three farm laws and the labour codes among others.
While addressing the protest demonstration at Srinagar, Gh Nabi Malik Kisan leader, Ab Rashid Pandit, Mohd Ayoub Ashmundri Trade union leaders said ever since August 2019, the incomes of people in J&K associated with the informal sector, consisting of low wage workers have dwindled sharply due to a major unemployment wave. Some of the severely affected people include construction workers, auto and bus drivers, small shop owners and daily wage labourers. ASHA and Anganwari workers are not being paid their meager wages on time in J&K.
Countrywide, they said, it is estimated that 23 crore people have been pushed to below minimum wage level poverty since Covid-19 pandemic began as 170,000 people lost their jobs every hour in April 2020. Hunger and poverty have risen while malnutrition, particularly among children, has increased to alarming levels.
Sham Prasad Kesar, Om Prakash Sharma, Kishore Kumar CITU leaders addressed the protest demonstration at Press Club Jammu. They said, the wealth of Indian billionaires increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period. The increase in wealth of the top 11 billionaires of our country during the pandemic alone, could sustain the NREGA scheme for 10 years. They said despite the advances made in several fields, the result of the hard work of our workers, peasants, and other toiling people, the fruits of this advance remain beyond their reach.
Thus it has become imperative for the people of our country to rise in unity and come out again to save the country from the disastrous policies that destroy our economy, our self-reliance and heap miseries on our people. The workers and the peasants who produce the wealth of our country have a key role in this struggle to save the country from disaster, the CITU leaders said.
The unemployment rate which had been the worst in 45 years in 2019 is rising with a speed never seen before. The government is totally in denial mode rather twisting the facts to paint a picture of everything being normal and that the economy is reviving at full scale. Double whammy of unemployment and rising food prices have crippled the poor section of the society.
Ab Rashid Najar, Jahangir Ahmad trade union leaders, Mubeena Anganwadi leader, Aamina ASHA leader addressed the protest demonstration at Kulgam.