Kashmir Indepth

CITU observes International Labour Day while maintaining social distancing norms

Unity and struggle is real tribute to Chicago, Zaldagar martyrs: Tarigami

Srinagar, May 1: To mark International Labour Day amid prevailing coronovirus pandemic – one of the worst tragedies that has struck humanity in a century – workers of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) unfurled red flags atop their houses across Jammu Kashmir as a mark of respect for the workers, who have lost their life during working across the world. 

In his message CITU J&K President Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami said that as COVID19 lockdown has entered its second month across the country, the condition of working class has been affected the most. In J&K daily wagers, need based, seasonal, casual Labours,  ASHA’s under NHM, Anganwadi workers and helpers, Mid Day Meal workers, CPWs, MGNREGA employees, contractuals, construction workers, artisans are without wages for months and the current lockdown has worsened their financial problems further. The J&K administration must immediately release their pending wages.

Recently J&K administration announced to release Rs one thousand in favour of artisans, who are facing worst crisis as like other daily earners, they too are almost without any work since last year. Rs 1000 is peanuts in present inflation and the government must pay them atleast Rs 7500. Similarly, street vendors, private school drivers who are without work must be paid Rs 7500 so that they can sustain their families amid this pandemic.

Paying rich tributes to Zaldagar martyrs of 1865, he said that they laid the foundation of a struggle against the exploitation and atrocities on the artisans, a prominent section of working class. He said that the Shawlbaff protest launched at Zaldagar against the ruling class has given vent to numerous movements of working class which are awaiting successful culminations.  The contribution of the slain artisans towards Kashmir art was immense as they put up a firm resistance against exploitation of local craftsmen.
Amid the prevailing COVID19 lockdown, it is working class which has maintained the essential services – water, electricity, transport, communication, financial services, milk, groceries, vegetables, medicines, etc while braving huge personal difficulties and sufferings. The CITU expresses its heartfelt gratitude and class pride at the invaluable services being rendered by all the front line health workers, the doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, the sanitation workers and all other workers, risking their lives to safeguard the lives of others.

The CITU also extended solidarity to all the peasants and agricultural workers, who continue to feed the people who are the real wealth creators, the unseen powers that propel the world.

The CITU asserted that the only way to overcome the present crisis due to the Covid -19 pandemic as well as the already existing global economic crisis is for the workers and all sections of toiling people to unite and not to fall prey to communal and divisive policies being pursued by the ruling class. Here in our country, in such a grave crisis, the ruling party encourages groups and elements which are desperately unleashing and promoting hate campaign aiming at dividing the ranks of the people at this crucial juncture. Instead of addressing the livelihood issues, the BJP government is reluctant to concede their legitimate demands.

It is a shame that in this situation when the working class, particularly the unorganised workers are suffering from job losses, loss of wages and incomes, the BJP government reportedly wants to hasten labour law changes to push them into slave like conditions. They want to reverse the gains and achievement of the working class. This is serious challenge to the working class movement. The central government’s move to freeze dearness allowance (DA) of central government employees is drastic and will cause immense financial hardship to employees and pensioners. CITU demands immediate rollback of the decision.

The government must arrange transport for the stranded people owing to lockdown,so that they can reach to their homes without any further delay.  Most of these stranded people have already exhausted their earnings and it is imperative upon the government to provide them free transport. There should be no further bureaucratic hurdles in the smooth movement of these stranded people.

The only way forward is, while maintaining the advisories of the health experts to fight this deadly disease, the working class alongwith toiling section of our society must resolve to continue on this historic day to resist the neoliberal policies and retrogent steps by the government for their better future.

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