Protests by Rural Poor at Block Headquarters Across Country
A large number of people including thousands of dalits and poor protested under the AIARLA banner on 31 August at hundreds of Block headquarters across the country. They raised their voice against the anti-poor policies of the government and demanded answers on the following issues:
1. Lockdown Allowance of Rs 10000 for all workers.
2. Rations and employment for all rural families.
3. Loan waivers for all small loans including Self Help Groups and Jeevikas.
4. Rs 500 daily wages and 200 days minimum work under MNREGA.
5. Revoke the anti-dalit anti-poor New Education Policy 2020.
6. Rs 25000 as compensation to all flood affected victims.
7. Issue ration cards to all poor families who are still left out.
8. Provide smartphones to all dalit-poor students for study during Corona times.
9. Add agricultural work in MNREGA.
10. Unemployment Allowance for the unemployed.
Former MP Rameshwar Prasad said in Bihar that the anger of the people against the governments is at its peak because of the shameful neglect of farmers and workers during the Corona Lockdown. There is a huge shortage of cash in hands of the people in villages and Panchayats. People are either starving or subsisting in a state of semi-starvation. In this situation the government should have guaranteed subsistence allowance for everyone but the Bihar government has busied itself with election preparations and left the people to grapple with the destruction wreaked by Corona and the floods. Today’s protest, they said, is a display of pre-election anger which will be fully expressed in the coming election. Rs 10000 Lockdown Allowance for workers and Rs 1 lakh interest-free loans for women in Self Help Groups is an essential need for the economy today, without which nothing will be possible. Therefore, the government must act immediately on these issues.
Leading the protest in Dhanrua, Bihar, AIARLA Bihar Secretary Gopal Ravidas said that the children of the poor have been pushed out of education for the past 5 months. Therefore the government should arrange to provide smartphones to all children. Participating in the protest at Siwan, MLA Satyadev Ram said that due to the floods thousands of families have taken shelter on embankments or on the roadside, but the government has left them to die of starvation and thirst. Not even polythene or boats are being arranged by the government.
The protests were led at Champaran by AIARLA State President Birendra Gupta, at Raghunathpur by former MLA Amarnath Yadav, at Sahar by Tarari MLA Sudama Prasad, at Muzaffarpur by Shatrughan Sahani, at Samastipur by Jeevach Paswan, at Darbhanga by Laxmi Paswan and Jangi Yadav and other leaders.
The protests were held at 300 Blocks across Bihar including Naubatpur, Maner, Fatuha, Masaurhi, Paliganj, Vikram (Patna), and all Block HQs in Arwal, Jehanabad, Gaya, Nalanda, Nawada, Vaishali, Madhubani, Purnea, Bhagalpur, Gopalganj, Saran, Saharasa, Supaul, Eastern Champaran and other Districts. Dalits and poor participated in large numbers in the protests.
Government’s Failure to address Burning Issues
AIARLA General Secretary Dhirendra Jha said that thousands of people with posters and placards and maintaining physical distancing raised their voice on the question of migrant workers, floods, and other issues facing people, and asked the government to fulfill their demands without delay.
The entire Bihar is reeling under the appalling devastation caused by the Lockdown and floods, but the people have been left to the mercy of the fates. Instead of caring for the people, BJP-JDU leaders are concentrating fully on the election campaign. Instead of giving relief to the distressed people, Nitish Kumar is just announcing one election promise after another and not talking about what he should actually be doing. The people will teach this government a suitable lesson in the coming election.