Report by correspondent of Mazdoor Ekta Committee
Trade Unions and workers’ organisations in Delhi, together with women’s organisations, jointly held a rally at Parliament Street on June 1. Youth and students joined the rally in large numbers.
The rally was organised to express solidarity with the protesting wrestlers and to condemn the violence inflicted by the state on them. On May 28, the protesting wrestlers were ruthlessly dragged out and beaten up at the protest site, then shoved into police vans and taken away and locked up in police stations in different, remote corners of the city. This was done with the intention of isolating them, intimidating them and breaking their morale.
Heavy police barricades were placed to confine the rally within a very restricted area. The police had at first refused to grant permission for the rally. However, the anger and determination of the hundreds of people who had gathered, ensured a successful, militant rally.
The protestors militantly raised slogans – “Down with the attack on the struggling Women Wrestlers!”, “Unite in Support of the Women Wrestlers’ Struggle for Justice!”, “Down with Violence on Women!”, “Stop sexual harassment of women at the workplace!”, “Down with the attacks on our livelihood and rights!”, and so on. They held banners and placards, with these and other slogans.
The rally demanded immediate arrest and prosecution of the BJP MP accused of sexual harassment of the women wrestlers. The rally also strongly condemned the curfew-like situation imposed on May 28 at Jantar Mantar, where organisations of workers, kisans, women and youth were prevented from joining the “Mahila Sammaan Mahapanchayat” in defence of the protesting wrestlers and many of the activists were detained by the police for several hours. The attempts of the state to prevent this rally were also condemned.
The rally raised a powerful voice against sexual harassment and violence on women, at the workplace and in the society.
Representatives of the participating organisations, who addressed the rally, condemned the all-sided attacks on the livelihood and rights of the workers, kisans, women and youth, by the Indian state. All institutions of the state clearly defend the interests of the biggest monopoly capitalist corporate houses. The rights and interests of the people are violated at every step. The right to protest is being crushed.
The rally concluded with the call that — united struggle by all sections of the people oppressed and exploited under the present system, with the perspective of building a new system oriented to fulfil the needs of the toiling people – this is the only way forward.
The trade unions and workers’ organisations which had given the call for the rally were – Mazdoor Ekta Committee (MEC), AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC, ICTU and IFTU.
The women’s organisations which had jointly given the call for the rally were – AIDWA, NFIW, AIPWA, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, AIMSS, Saheli, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan, CSW and ICWM.