CPI (ML), AICCTU and Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha jointly organized a dharna protest at the Durg Manas Bhavan on 30 December on the completion of 50 days of the disastrous demonetization and submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister through the Durg DM on the travails faced by people due to demonetization.
Jansunwai in Darbhanga
A people’s hearing on demonetization was held at Laheriyaserai in Darbhanga under the joint banners of the CPI (ML) AIARLA, Kisan Mahasabha, AICCTU, AIPWA, AISA, RYA, and Insaf Manch.
At the Jan Sunwai, Sheela, who works as a midwife in the hospital, said that she is finding it very difficult to run her household due to the demonetization distress. Kisan leader Pravin Yadav said that whereas earlier he used to sow crops in 5 bighas, this year he could barely sow crops in 1 bigha; farmers and sharecroppers are severely affected; seeds and fertilizers are unobtainable, paddy is not getting sold, and transport is affected due to lack of diesel. Sonu Yadav, a young man who sells fried snacks at Darbhanga Tower, said that his sales have been reduced to 30% after the demonetization disaster. SBI retired managed Akhilesh Kumar Choudhury said that a 56” chest is a requirement for a soldier, not for a Prime Minister. He pointed out that dishonouring a bank cheque is an offence under Section 301 and 321, and further said that demonetization has been done to repay the huge corporate funds Modi had taken for his election campaign. Instead of punishing black money hoarders the Modi government is luring them with offers. Construction worker Mohd. Imtiaz said that he had got only 8 days’ work in the last 43 days and his family is on the brink of starvation.
The jury members included Prof Sarojini Singh of Mithila University, Dr Ajit Kumar Choudhury of the Darbhanga Medical College, Prof Rahat Ali, Mohd Ladlay and CPI (ML) Politburo member Com. Dhirendra Jha.
The 5 member jury announced the following 8 resolutions after hearing the people’s views:
1. We condemn the demonetization step which is equal to economic emergency and demand that PM Modi take steps to relieve the cash shortage.
2. PM should apologize to the country for the Note Ban disaster and for attacking the autonomy of the RBI which has the constitutional right to determine fiscal policy.
3. Arriving at a 50% offer compromise with black money hoarders is treachery against the country. The government must confiscate all back money and bring back the urban land ceiling law, “Only one property in a city and not more than two properties in the country.”
4. Political parties must come under the ambit of public scrutiny and must put their funds and sources on a public website. An independent agency must enquire into the land purchase scams of the BJP.
5. The worst affected by demonetization are farmers and workers. All farmers’ loans must be waived and all poor and rural workers must be paid Rs 1 lakh each as subsistence allowance. Properties of industrialists – whose unpaid debts to Government banks amount to more than 11 lakh crores – must be confiscated and the loans must be recovered. Details of loans given to farmers and workers and capitalists every year must be made transparent. The administration must make special arrangements for making seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and diesel to farmers.
6. Enquiry should be conducted into the black money and income tax theft by people who have registered land purchase of more than 5 kattas and 25 lakh rupees in the past 10 years. A special committee should probe the assets of MPs, MLAs, MLCs and other rich people in Darbhanga district.
7. The government must limit the number of Rs.2000 notes and increase the number of 100, 500, and 1,000 rupee notes, and must stop forcing the people to go “cashless” at the behest of big companies.
8. Bihar is the worst affected State due to demonetization. Migrant workers have been forced to return home. Paddy purchase is at a standstill. Farmers are ruined. Construction work is obstructed. Guardians are unable to pay children’s education fees. In these conditions, Nitish Kumar’s support to demonetization is an insult to the people of Bihar. The Jansunwai strongly condemns this step by Nitish Kumar.
Protests in Guwahati
On 30 December, as part of the national campaign of CPI (ML), a protest dharna was held at Dighalipukhuri Park, Guwahati, against the Note Ban disaster. Hundreds of people participated in this protest.
Pol Khol Halla Bol Protest at Lalkuan
The CPI (ML) Uttarakhand unit held a protest on 30 December at Lalkuan as part of the countrywide campaign to expose the demonetization disaster, ‘Pol Khol Halla Bol, Note Bin 50 Din, Achhe Din Kahan Gaye’.
The protest march started from Shaheed Smarak, went through Lalkuan main bazaar and culminated in a meeting at the railway station.
Pol Khol Halla Bol Campaign in Delhi
The 2nd phase of CPI (ML) Delhi unit’s Pol Khol Halla Bol campaign against Demonetization ended on 28th in East Delhi, with strong resolve of intensifying the struggle against anti-people Demonetization in coming days.
The campaign started from Kondli More. Many comrades from AICCTU and AISA marched the entire stretch from Kalyanpuri to Khoda and distributed pamphlets. Street meetings were organized at Kalyanpuri Terminal, Kondli More, New Ashok Nagar and Khoda.
A middle aged woman in Kalyanpuri said,”With every passing day we feel like going back to our village. But I don’t even have money to travel in train.” Another man who read the pamphlet said “I can’t even pay my monthly house rent as I have no work. The campaign ended with a film screening in Khoda Colony, which was attended by many people.
Protests In UP
A Protest March and public meeting against the Note Ban disaster were held at Lucknow on 30 December. On the same day, a Jansunwai was held at Chandauli. Protest and effigy burning of the PM were also held at Ghazipur, Mirzapur, Deoria, Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Puranpur (Pilibhit), Varanasi, Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Faizabad, Mau, Jalaun, Sonbhadra, Bhadohi, Bareilly, and Banda.
On 30 December, the district committee of CPI(ML) along with AICCTU, AICWF, and AIARLA held a mass contact drive against demonetisation, distributing leaflets and addressing street corner meetings.
Protests were also held in several other places across the country on 30 December. A JanSunwai was held in Bagodar which was addressed by former MLA from the party. Com. Vinod Singh. In Agartala, a protest demonstration was staged outside the local RBI office. In Andhra Pradesh, protests were held in Kakinada and Annavaram.
On 1st January, a Jan Sunwai was held in Ahmedabad. Hundreds of protestors – including adivasi women and men from Valsad, youth and workers from Ahmedabad and other parts of Gujarat marched in Ahmedabad and raised the slogans of “NoteBandhi dhoka hai, Modi ne desh ko loot hai” (Demonetization is a fraud, Modi has looted the country.) Participants included CPI(ML) Politburo members Prabhat Kumar and Kavita Krishnan, CPI(ML)’s Gujarat in-charge Comrade Ranjan Ganguly, senior advocate and CPI(ML) leader Comrade Laxmanbhai Patanwadia, Comrade Laxman C Waria, Comrade Tushar Parmar, journalist Sanjeev Mathur as well as Amit Patanwadia.
A protest march against Note Ban was also held in Pilibhit on 28 December culminating in a people’s convention on the current political situation and the question of women’s freedom. The March was led by CPI(ML) PB Member Kavita Krishnan, CCM Krishna Adhikari, as well as CPI(ML) leaders Debashish Rai, Afroz Alam and others.