19 opposition parties call 11-day nationwide protests from September 20 | India News

19 opposition parties call 11-day nationwide protests from September 20 | India News

NEW DELHI: Leaders of 19 opposition political parties including the Congress, which held a virtual meeting on Friday, gave a call for national protest from September 20 to 30 to press for their 11-point demand from the Modi government. The demands include holding immediate Supreme Court-monitored judicial enquiry into the use of Pegasus Spyware for surveillance of people, repealing the three farm laws and withdrawing unprecedented hikes in Central Excise duties on petroleum and diesel.
The 18 parties led by Congress president Sonia Gandhi were TMC, NCP, DMK, Shiv Sena, JMM, CPI, CPM, NC, RJD, AIUDF, VCK, Loktantrik Janta Dal, JDS, RLD, RSP, Kerala Congress Mani, PDP and IUML.
The leaders of these opposition parties issued a statement after an online meeting, which said, among other things, “We strongly condemn the manner in which the central government and the ruling party disrupted the monsoon session of Parliament, refusing to discuss or answer the illegal usage of Pegasus military spyware to conduct unauthorised surveillance, repeal of the three anti-farmer laws, gross mismanagement of Covid-19 pandemic, runaway inflation and price rise as also spiraling unemployment. All these and many other issues affecting the country and the people were deliberately ignored by the ruling government.”
The report alleged that Parliament witnessed unprecedented scenes where MPs, including women MPs, were injured by Marshalls deployed to disrupt opposition protests. The government steamrolled legislation through the din of the disruption caused by its handling of both Houses of Parliament, it said.
It accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not not focusing on a single issue concerning people’s miseries in his Independence Day address. “The speech was full of rhetoric, empty slogans and disinformation. In fact, it was a repackaging of earlier speeches given in 2019 and 2020.”
The statement said alleged that there was massive mismanagement in handling the Covid-19 pandemic which resulted in imposing severe pain on a large number of people, particularly families who lost their beloved members. “The instances of under-reporting, both the number of infections and the deaths, have been noted by many International and National agencies, who estimate that the actual figures are at least five times more than what is being officially stated,” it said.
Talking about economy, it said the destruction of the Indian economy, with deepening recession, is pushing crores of our people into joblessness, escalating the levels of poverty and hunger. The run-away inflation and price rise is adding to people’s woes and destroying livelihoods.
The statement mentioned about the ongoing farmers’ protest and said, “The historic struggle by our farmers continues into the ninth month now, with the government being obdurate in not repealing the three anti-farmer laws and compulsorily guaranteeing and giving MSP to the farmers. We reiterate our support to the struggle launched by the farmers under the banner of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha.”
On Pegasus military spyware issue, it said its procuring by the government for surveillance of people is extremely alarming. “The government refuses to answer one straight question – has it, or any of its agencies purchased the Pegasus Spyware from the Israeli firm NSO, known for cyber military surveillance? The government must answer and come clean.”
The opposition parties demanded from the central government marshalling and augmenting all vaccine production capabilities in India, procuring vaccines globally and speeding up the free universal mass vaccination drive immediately.
They asked the cCentral government to implement free cash transfers of Rs 7,500 per month to all families outside the income tax bracket.
They demanded withdrawal of “unprecedented hikes in Central Excise duties on petroleum and diesel, reduction of prices of cooking gas and essential commodities, particularly cooking oil and inflation”.
They also demanded repeal of the three “anti-agriculture laws” and compulsorily guarantee MSP to the farmers.
The parties have demanded prioritisation of vaccination of teachers, staff and students to ensure early re-opening of educational institutions.
They also demanded release of all political prisoners in Jammu and Kashmir and restoration of full statehood including J and K cadre of central services. “Conduct free and fair election at the earliest,” they said.
“The undersigned parties will jointly organise protest actions all over the country from September 20 to 30. The forms of these public protest actions will be decided by the respective state units of our parties depending on the concrete conditions of the Covid regulations and protocols existing in the state. These forms, amongst others, may include dharnas, protest demonstrations and hartals,” they said.

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