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From Ex-Servicemen to DBA Activists, An ‘India Unites’ Protest Against The Modi Govt is Taking Place

According to the organisers, “Deepening agrarian crisis, growing unemployment, and the further marginalisation of already vulnerable communities have shattered India’s development dream.”

Protestors from different walks of life joined hands to fight for their rights on January 30, Wednesday, at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Ex-servicemen, Dalits, Adivasis, and Bahujan activists, farmers’ organisations, women’s rights activists, students and others assembled to protest against the Modi government.

Under the banner of “India Unites“, these groups assembled and raised slogans against the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. This joint agitation will stretch from January 30 to February 7.

According to the organisers of this agitation, “Deepening agrarian crisis, growing unemployment, and the further marginalisation of already vulnerable communities have shattered India’s development dream. Education, particularly higher education, which has never been adequate for the size of our population, appears to be reversing its progress in terms of availability as well as quality, while baseless organisations appear to profit from inexplicable favour to capitalise on the resultant need for capacity. Much was promised on the front of jobs, but the reality is that jobs are disappearing, with small businesses in particular under severe threat, many of them having been driven to extinction through unsustainable policies.”

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Among other things, the protestors have demanded complete OROP implementation as per the definition approved by the Parliament, repealing the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019, which introduces reservations based on economic criteria into the Constitution and payment of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all the crops at one-and-a-half times of cost of production (1.5 times C2) and guaranteed procurement. Besides that they are also demanding reintroduction and the passage of the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill as an urgent measure to tackle the epidemic of hatred and bigotry-driven violence and lynchings across the country, rolling back the use of the Aadhaar number on a purely voluntary basis on par with other identity documents even for subsidies and welfare schemes, in compliance with Supreme Court orders, among other things.

The event was attended by politicians, including Jignesh Mevani and former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat.

According to a News Click report, five jawans sat on an indefinite hunger strike. Hannan Mollah, the general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha, later announced that the farmers’ representatives too would be joining the indefinite hunger strike.

Ex-servicemen led by Major General (Retd.) Satbir Singh had requested the police to let 50 people stay at the Jantar Mantar during the night. The Delhi Police, however, said that they would evict the protestors.

Major (Retd.) Priyadarshi Chowdhury, a coordinator for the joint agitation of soldiers and farmers, told News Click that the Delhi Police said the protestors didn’t get permission to protest at the site, adding, “This is how the BJP prevents citizens from speaking about real issues.”

Those on the indefinite hunger strike, according to the latest updates from the protest’s Twitter account, are being moved to an alternate venue. The “India Unites” agitation, the tweets added, will continue at Jantar Mantar on the next day, i.e. January 31, Thursday, as well.

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