Putting forward a list of demands that included universal vaccination against COVID-19, repeal of anti-farmer and anti-labour laws, guaranteed job for 200 days a year under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and expansion of the job scheme to urban areas, seven Left and secular parties held an online protest in Kalaburagi district on Tuesday.
Hundreds of leaders and cadres were found holding placards that displayed the demands in their respective places and the live protest was shared on social media platforms.
“Instead of making preparations for containing COVID-19, the Union and State governments were busy fighting elections and holding Kumbh Mela that attracted a large number of people. These mass gatherings and rallies paved the way for the second wave of COVID-19. It is because of negligence that millions of people had to suffer and thousands of people died of the pandemic. The governments should, at least now, take up universal vaccination on a war footing to protect people from the pandemic,” district secretary of Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) H.V. Divakar said, after the protest.
District secretary of the Communist Party of India Bhimashankar Madyal blamed the governments for imposing what he called “unscientific lockdown” as a measure to contain the spread of the pandemic but adding to the woes of the masses, especially the working population living from hand to mouth.
“The lockdown should have been imposed after a thorough preparation such as offering special packages to protect workers, farmers, self-employed and petty businessmen from financial crunches that it was going to create. The lockdown imposed without any such preparation pushed a large section of the toiling masses into deep crisis and starvation. The governments have completely failed to handle the pandemic,” Mr. Madyal said.
The other demands of the protest included augmenting oxygen production to match the growing demand, taking steps to ensure that RT-PCR test reports are given within a day, expanding medical infrastructure to ensure that every COVID-19 patient gets bed, oxygen, ventilator and proper medication, ordering a judicial enquiry into the bed-blocking scam and making preparations for a possible third wave.
District secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist) Sharanabasappa Mamshetty, State president of RPI (Ambedkarvada) B.B. Hosamani, district committee office-bearer of RPI (Karnataka) Sharanabasappa Heruru and leader of Swaraj India Shivakumar Reshmi were among those who participated in the online protest.
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