New Delhi, August 10 (KMS): In India, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), a joint platform of social NGOs, in the wake of growing authoritarian tendencies, the attacks on basic rights of people and misuse of draconian laws, has formally announced the launch of a year-long, country-wide campaign called Jan Azadi 75: Pathways to Freedom, from 9th Aug, 2021 to 15th Aug, 2022.
The declaration was made at an online Press Conference addressed by NAPM Advisors and Conveners including Medha Patkar, Prafulla Samantara, Faisal Khan, Dr. Sunilam, Sanjay MG and Meera Sanghamitra and attended by Conveners from various state units of NAPM.
The 9th August is observed as International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples across the globe.
Stressing the historic importance of 9th Aug, they said it is time to intensify the efforts across the country to assert the rights of all sections and to make people aware of dangers of communalism and onslaught on constitutional institutions.
Speaking on the occasion, Meera Sanghamitra said that alongside intense repression, use of draconian laws like Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and jailing of activists, the last 7 years have also been testimony to powerful democratic assertions, newer consciousness and mass movements of women, farmers, Muslims, workers, dalits, adivasi, students, transgender persons, public sector employees and other sections that have taken on the Hindutva regime, head on. Popular mandate for the BJP, whose failures and callousness have been fully exposed during the pandemic, has waned as witnessed in multiple state elections.
Highlighting the historical significance of 9th August, Dr. Sunilam said “today, while the constitutional framework is being dislodged brick by brick, we are faced with yet another ‘Company Raj’ of Adanis and Ambanis that is exploiting the farming and working class.” He said it is high time the people of India gave a united call, challenging the political-business nexus that is looting the country.
Medha Patkar underscored the fact that the Farmers Movement is the Freedom Movement of today’s times and the Kisan Sansad (Parliament) is the real Jan Sansad. Lakhs of farmers have been protesting for 8 months, demanding repeal of farm laws and legal guarantee for all crops. Trade unions have been agitating against the anti-worker Labour codes. 93 % ‘unorganized sector’ workforce has faced the worst health and livelihood crisis during the pandemic. Patkar alleged that the past 7 years of the Modi rule has destroyed the economy and ecology in numerous ways while dissenters are being jailed, even killed, like Fr. Stan Swamy. She said the Azadi ki Raah par Campaign is an opportunity for all of us to strengthen the collective struggle to reclaim our freedoms and democracy from the fascists.
Pointing out the importance of 9th Aug as International Indigenous People’s Day, Prafulla Samantara said that the Schedule-V adivasi areas of the country are facing non-stop corporate attacks and increased militarization. He said it is time we intensify the efforts across the country to assert the rights of all sections of the rural and urban economy including adivasis, fisher people, forest dwellers and workers.
Faisal Khan stated that this Campaign aims to connect the hearts of ordinary and peace-loving people, defeat their prejudices and encourage them to empathize with each other’s sufferings at the hands of the system. The Campaign shall oppose economic inequality, demand education, health, employment and social security for all and work to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of our freedom fighters for a truly inclusive society. Our collective resolve will defeat the hate politics of the ruling party and challenge them on the ground, he said.
Sharing details about the launch event, Sanjay MG informed that the Campaign is likely to commence with simultaneous on-ground actions at more than 150 places across the country from 9th Aug until 15th August. Numerous events are planned in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Delhi, Rajasthan and some other states. At different places, veteran freedom fighters shall inaugurate or be part of the actions. In some states, events shall be held at places which were markers of the freedom movement.
All speakers stated that it is indeed the call of the times that we fight unitedly to safeguard the cherished values of our freedom struggle as well as the pro-people laws and institutions that uphold constitutional spirit and have come into force as a result of protracted people’s movements, over 7 decades.