Hundreds of workers, peasants, women, youth and children marched from the Mandi House circle to Parliament on July 6, 2004 to unveil the People’s Agenda for struggle.
There were workers from the Modern Food Industries, Fruit Juice Bottling Plant Rasika, the Okhla and Wazirpur Industrial Areas as well as other industrial areas of Delhi. Their were peasant activists as well as teachers and youth activists from Rajasthan and Haryana. There were large number of youth and school children from the slums and resettlement colonies of Delhi like Sanjay Colony, Madanpur Khadar Vistaar, Indira Camp and Giri Nagar. There were women activists and college students as well as trade union leaders and rights activists from Kanpur, Manipur and other regions. Dozens of banners and hundreds of placards gave the demonstration an extremely colourful picture.
Over 24 organisations had come together to put forth the People’s Agenda for immediate action in front of parliament and the Indian people during the budget session. They had decided to organise a Massive Demonstration on July 6, 2004.
The organisers of the demonstration included the Lok Raj Sangathan, All India People’s Resistance Forum, Jan Pratirodh Manch, All India Federation of Trade Unions, General Kamgaar Union, Pragatisheel Mazdoor Trade Union, Nepali Jan Adhikaar Suraksha Sangathan (India), Indian Council of Trade Unions, Bhartiya Kisaan Union (Haryana), Sandhaan, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, National Alliance of Peoples Movements (Delhi), Yuva Bharat, People’s Union for Democratic Rights, Ankur, Jagori, Purogami Mahila Sangathana, Hind Naujawan Ekta Sabha, Mazdoor Ekta Committee, Bhagat Singh Disha Manch, Chelmsford Club Employees Union, Fruit Juice Plant (Rasika) Employees Union and the Modern Food Industries Employees Union and the Bigul Mazdoor Dasta.
Right from 9.30 am, people began gathering at the Mandi House Chowk with banners and placards. At the head of the march, activists held aloft the banner "Janata ka Saanjha karyakram lekar 6 July ko Sansad par vishaal pradarshan". Behind this were banners declaring "Mazdoor Kisaan ne lalkara Hai, Hindostaan Hamara Hai! Jal, jangal aur jameen, saara hamara hai!", "Roji roti, ghar, pani, bijli, shiksha aur swasth, hamara janamsidha adhikaar hai!", "We will punish the murderers of 1984 and Gujarat! Unite against state terrorism and all the black laws!", "Step up the struggle to defeat the liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation program of the bourgeoisie!", "Fight to reverse the privatisation of Modern Foods, BALCO and other enterprises!", and "We reject the alliance with US and Israel"!
As the march passed through the busy areas of Connaught Place, the working people and office goers in the area eagerly took copies of the resolution being distributed by the youth participating in the march. At Parliament Street Police Station, where the government had put up barricades to prevent the protestors from marching to the gate of parliament, the march turned into a public meeting.
The Convenor of the Lok Raj Sangathan, Prakash Rao, conducted the public meeting. Cultural workers sung songs of struggle and sacrifice. Prakash Rao then briefly addressed the gathering. He pointed out that the UPA government was continuing on the same anti-social course of globalisation through liberalisation and privatisation that was initiated by the Narasimha Rao regime in 1991 and then continued by successive governments including the NDA government of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The economics reforms program was intrinsically anti-worker, anti-peasant, anti-youth, anti-women and anti-national. No amount of window-dressing or giving it a "human touch" can hide this fact. The people of India have not fought to replace one government of exploiters by another. They are fighting for fundamental, and not cosmetic, changes in the orientation of the economy.
The urgent need of the moment is to step up the struggle to assert the people’s agenda, declared Prakash Rao. The Convenor of the Lok Raj Sangathan highlighted the significance of so many organisations coming together to fight unitedly for the advancement of the peoples independent agenda at this crucial moment. He congratulated the workers, peasants, youth and students, and the women as well as all the organisations for making the demonstration a resounding success. We have not come here to beg of the government this or that concession, he declared! We have come here to declare our intention to fight for our rights! Giving a preview of the "peoples agenda", Shri Rao declared "We will fight to make the right to livelihood as a justiciable right, as also the right to education, health, housing, water and electricity. We demand and fight for guaranteed procurement at remunerative prices to all tillers and an end to displacement and dispossession of millions in the name of economic development. We will carry forward the struggle for a complete halt and reversal of the privatisation liberalisation program including the privatisation of MFIL and BALCO. We will step up the struggle to repeal all black laws including the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the release of all detainees under any of these fascist laws like POTA, TADA, and other such laws. We demand and fight for exemplary punishment for all those guilty of communal massacres, including the massacres of 1984 and Gujarat. The dismantling of the apparatus of state terrorism is high on the people’s agenda. Today, we workers, peasants, women, youth and working people and intellectuals will put forth clearly our own program distinct and in opposition to the program of the corporate houses and the multinationals."
Prakash Rao then called upon Bijju Nayak, the Prime Minister of the Hind Naujawan Ekta Sabha to read out the "Declaration of the People in front of Parliament". This was received with great enthusiasm by the people.
Sucharita of the Lok Raj Sangathan addressed the rally. Speaking on different aspects of the people’s agenda, she highlighted the importance of stepping up the struggle to defeat the liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation program of the bourgeoisie. She hailed the struggle of the workers of Modern Food Industries as an epic struggle and declared that all the fighting people of India were one with the workers of Modern Food Industries in their glorious struggle.
Others who spoke at the rally included Jagdish of the Jan Pratirodh Manch, Jagdish of AIFTU, Guruji Hanuman Prasad on behalf of the fighting peasants of Rajasthan, Arun Kumar from Indian Council of trade Unions, Suraj Bhavishwar from Nepali Jan Adhikaar Suraksha Sangathan (India), Naresh Sharma on behalf of the Samaajwadi Jan Parishad and National Alliance of People’s Movements, Vishwa Vijay Singh from Fruit Juice Bottling Plant, Govind Singh Yadav from Modern Food Industries Employees Union and Arvind Sinha from Bigul Mazdoor Dasta.