NEW DELHI: For the first time, ex-servicemen will join hands with Dalit organisations and the All India Kisan Sabha on August 9 to protest against the NDA government at the Centre, seeking redressal of their grievances.
The Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), which has in the past fought for ‘one rank, one pension’, rues that the government ignored many of their demands.
“Whatever Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised us on ‘one rank, one pension’ has not been delivered. He lied to us. Earlier, we fought separately. Now, we will fight unitedly with farmers’ organisations and Dalits,” Priyadarshi Chowdhury, coordinator for IESM, told PTI.
The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), the farmers’ organisation of the CPI(M), has given a call for ‘jail bharo’ across the country on August 9, demanding action on the agrarian crisis.
“This is the first time ex-servicemen will join a protest called by a Left organisation. We have come together to put forward our demands,” AIKS general secretary Hannan Mollah said.
Though AIKS, Dalit organisations and the ex-servicemen have separate sets of demands, the three organisations will band together to protest the growing incidents of hate crime and lynching.
They are also expected to demand the passage of the Women Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha and scrapping of Aadhaar, which they feel has “wreaked havoc” on welfare schemes.
The AIKS has been pressing for fixing the minimum support price for all crops at 1.5 times the input cost, guaranteed procurement, one-time waiver of all loans of farmers and land to landless farmers.
Chowdhary said that their demands are — “complete OROP as per approved definition of Parliament, pay parity and cancellation of the Cantonment Roads order”.
Dalit organisations have demanded restoration of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 to its original form and establishment of Indian Judicial Service under Article 312 of the Constitution.
They have also demanded that the government withdraw cases against those detained under the stringent National Security Act on April 2, when a ‘Bharat bandh’ was observed by Dalit groups.
While AIKS supporters in 400 districts across the country will hold a ‘jail bharo’ agitation on August 9, the Dalit organisations will observe a ‘Bharat bandh’ on that day.
“We have ex-servicemen all over the country. After their retirement, most have gone back to farming and other jobs. So, we also support the farmers’ demands. We all share the demands made by the Dalit organisations,” Chowdhury said.
Reacting to BJP president Amit Shah meeting former Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag as part of the party’s outreach programme, Chowdhury said such initiatives cannot influence the ex-servicemen who were “deceived” by the prime minister.