What The Protesters At The Kisan-Mazdoor Sangharsh Rally Want To Tell The Modi Government

What The Protesters At The Kisan-Mazdoor Sangharsh Rally Want To Tell The Modi Government

Caravan Magazine |
September 7, 2018

The farmers' demands include proper implementation of government schemes, including increasing the minimum wages under the MGNREGA, as well as better access to health, education, housing and food security.

As I made my way towards Ramlila Maidan on the evening of 5 September, the red flags kept growing in number. It was nearly 8 pm, and the daylong farmers’ protest in the national capital was drawing to a close. Many of the farmers were gathering their belongings and rushing to the nearby New Delhi railway station. But Ramlila Maidan was still buzzing—a few thousand of the estimated three lakh protesters still remained, having made plans to leave the following day. People were huddled together in groups, chatting at the end of a tiring day. Some were queuing up for dinner, being sold at Rs 20 per head, or at a water tanker provided by the Delhi Jal Board. A man in a red shirt shouted slogans about the government’s lies as he left. Many protesters had already dozed off.

A sea of red tents had been erected to house the protesters for the night. Walking through them, I met a group from Nashik district in Maharashtra. “The government won’t let us work in the forest,” Dileep Garay, a 34-year-old daily-wage agricultural worker who lives near the Ahmednagar forest range, told me. He used to cultivate forest land in the past, but the state’s forest department has restricted the efforts of the local agricultural workers to access the area to supplement their meagre incomes. “We are all labourers. How will we earn our living?”

Credit by - Caravan Magazine

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