IMPHAL: The Communist Party of India as a part of its call to hold nation-wide protests against the central government’s apathy and negligence towards the migrant workers and poor especially in the COVID-19 days, observed a ‘Stand-in Protest’ in the national capital in front of the central party headquarters, Ajoy Bhavan, in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Such protests were already held in most of the state centres by state party units, namely in Patna on May 1, Hyderabad and Vijayawada this week. The programme launched on May 4 will continue till the central government gives up its callous attitude towards the migrants, poor and other needy people, Roykutty, Office Secretary, CPI Central said in a press release.
CPI general secretary D. Raja who led the protest in front of Ajoy Bhavan on the critical issue of inhuman hardships heaped upon the poor and migrants said that the protest is peaceful and strictly in accordance with the norms prescribed by the government viz., wearing of masks, keeping physical distance, etc. He said we have been warning the central government on the miseries of the poor and central government’s refusal to solve them with a human touch, but all those fell on deaf ears.
D. Raja further said that the peaceful protests would continue and hoped that the government would take care not to precipitate further crisis. The migrant labourers and other poor sections have been suffering and facing unheard of hardships since the outbreak of the contagion. The party demands that they should be provided with free ration, free medicines, free masks and also free travel if they want to go back to their native places. He reminded the government that the migrant workers are an essential part of the economy.
Raja pointed out that many migrants are being forced to walk back long distances to reach their native places. There are even reports of deaths of them due to hunger, fatigue, etc. He added that there is a law — The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 enacted to regulate the condition of service of inter-state labourers in Indian Labour Law. Raja wanted the government to respect the Act and implement it without any dilution, while providing all necessary help.
The party members who joined the general secretary were holding placards and raising slogans in support of the migrant workers and other poor sections of people.