WOMEN’S NATIONAL RALLY CALLS FOR BJP-RSS HATAO, MAHILA BACHAO, DESH BACHAO!
Seven thousand women from all walks of life from 23 states in India marched hand in hand raising their voice against the multiple injustices inflicted upon them by the BJP-RSS regime. The massive rally and public meeting at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi was held on October 5, 2023 by the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA).
BROAD MOBILISATION AND CAMPAIGN
There were migrant labour, Self Help Groups, those affected by the loot of the Micro Finance Institutions, MGNREGA workers, women farmers, scheme workers, agricultural labourers, teachers, lawyers, employees, unorganised and domestic labour, home makers, victims of violence, youth and girl students, old and young, all religions and castes, Adivasis, Dalits and minorities in this vibrant rally exhibiting unity in diversity which is the real essence of India.
The women hailed from West Bengal, Delhi, Haryana, Kerala, Bihar, Punjab, Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, Telangana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Assam, Odisha, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Puducherry, Manipur and Gujarat. This protest was also watched and shared by thousands of people throughout the country as it was streamed live through Facebook.
The call for “Chalo Dilli” was given by AIDWA in the month of April this year. Women have been preparing for this protest by holding thousands of meetings in thousands of places in which thousands of women have participated. Hundreds of jathas, padayatras and street corner meetings were held in villages and bastis throughout the country. Tens of thousands of leaflets were distributed by AIDWA units to every house in their areas. Women enthusiastically took part in the bike, tractor and jeep rallies in some states. Numerous posters, stickers, videos were shared widely by the AIDWA social media team through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp channel and YouTube.
The police did not give permission for a march. Yet, women came to Jantar Mantar from all directions of Delhi, marching in groups with banners, flags and placards, shouting slogans and singing songs from the railway stations and other places. Hundreds of them came in jeeps and buses too. Neither the police nor the blazing sun could stop this flow of determined women fighting for a place under the sky and the right to live a life with dignity. They sang songs of liberty and of a world free of exploitation and violence.
More than 200 volunteers of the Delhi AIDWA, CITU, DYFI and SFI worked hard for the success of the rally. 5000 posters and 5000 stickers were plastered in all the districts of Delhi. The Jan Natya Manch sang revolutionary songs before the public meeting.
ENTHUSIASTIC PUBLIC MEETING
The public meeting was presided over by AIDWA president P K Sreemathi and it was addressed by AIDWA general secretary Mariam Dhawale, vice president Subhashini Ali and joint secretaries, Kaninika Ghosh, C S Sujatha and Ramani Debbarma. The leaders of the fraternal organisations, namely, Ashok Dhawale (AIKS), A R Sindhu (CITU), B Venkat (AIAWU), Himaghnaraj Bhattacharya (DYFI) and V P Sanu (SFI) addressed the public meeting and stressed on the importance of united struggles. Ritu Kaushik of the AIMSS also expressed solidarity with AIDWA.
The speakers criticised the Modi government for the economic onslaught on the people, especially women. The speakers held the BJP government squarely responsible for the uncontrolled price rise, stoppage of the distribution of subsidised food grains through the PDS, non-availability of livelihood opportunities and work under MGNREGA, loot of the MFIs leading to suicides of women, denial of rights of Anganwadi, ASHA and midday meal workers, unprecedented increase in violence against women with the accused roaming scot-free with impunity, attacks on Muslims and Dalits and destruction of the social fabric of secular India through its politics of hatred.
The speakers also condemned the blatant repressive attack on ‘NewsClick’, and demanded the immediate release of Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakraborty and the return of all the electronic gadgets confiscated by the police from scores of journalists. The government must stop its vindictiveness and false propaganda against ‘NewsClick’. They called upon all women to reject the pro-corporate policies and Manuwadi ideology and resoundingly defeat the BJP-RSS in the coming Assembly and Parliamentary elections.
Renu from Bihar questioned the slogan of ‘Sab ka Saath Sab ka Vikas’ of the Modi government as the poor were suffering badly under his regime. Asha from Manipur condemned the BJP for its support to CM Biren Singh and refusal to dismiss him for his failure to stop the violence. Women from Vishakhapatnam determinedly spoke of their struggle against privatisation of the Vizag steel plant. Meena from Uttar Pradesh narrated the horrible situation of women in the state and was angry with the support given to criminals by the Yogi government. An ASHA worker Neela from Haryana was dismayed at the insensitivity of the central government. She said that, “we are told to live with the meagre wage of Rs 4000. We demand that first the prime minister, MPs and MLAs decrease their wages to Rs 4000, then advise us”.
Sheela, a victim of the MFI in Odisha, was upset about the permission given to the MFI to loot poor women. Some have committed suicide as they could not bear the harassment and humiliation that they were subjected to by the dalals (agents) of the MFIs. Farida from Delhi condemned the Narendra Modi regime for upsetting the lives of daily earners during the G20. The houses of the poor were covered up and people were not allowed to go out to hide poverty in our country, a result of the policies of this government. A woman, who is a victim of the communal violence in Mewat, Haryana, said that she along with others from the region will continue to oppose the politics of hatred and fight to preserve the unity of women, regardless of religion. The list is endless. Women, in one voice, exhibited deep displeasure against the BJP-RSS regime for its unfulfilled promises and the jumlas of the PM.
RESOLVE TO DEFEAT BJP-RSS AND SAVE INDIA
The AIDWA rally resolved to carry on its campaign and mobilise women to defend the hard-earned rights won through intense struggles. The AIDWA centre will bring out a booklet listing the sins of commission and omission of the Modi-led BJP-RSS central government in the last nine years. AIDWA called upon women from all sections to unitedly come together to defend our democratic and secular traditions. This authoritarian, repressive, communal and Manuwadi BJP-RSS regime will destroy India. That is why the rally stressed that it must be defeated in 2024 at all costs. The rally ended with an enthusiastic rendering of “We Shall Overcome” and amidst resounding slogans of “Inquilab Zindabad!”