INTRODUCTION: Nearly half a million Indian farmers, farmworkers and industrial workers took part in a mass rally in New Delhi on Thursday (26 March)/ Then they presented a 12-point charter of demands to their representatives in the Indian Parliament.
GV & SV Large crowd of demonstrators march forward with banners. (4 SHOTS)
SV Party leaders seated on dais.
GV Large crowd seated listening to speech. (2 SHOTS)
REAR V & CU Prakash Singh Badal addressing crowd. (2 SHOTS)
GV Communist Party leader addressing crowd.
SV & CUs Crowd listening. (3 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Nearly half a million Indian farmers, farmworkers and industrial workers took part in a mass rally in New Delhi on Thursday (26 March)/ Then they presented a 12-point charter of demands to their representatives in the Indian Parliament.
SYNOPSIS: India's two Communist parties and several other left-wing groups had organised the rally. Those taking part came mostly from the north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan, and many of them had travelled a long way to join in the March. their demands included better prices for their crops for peasant farmers, and relief from their debts; a minimum farm wage and better housing for farm workers; reform of landholding laws; fair price shops for customers; decentralisation of power and an end to preventive detention without trial.
Leaders of seven opposition parties had led the marchers on their way through the streets of the city to the New Delhi Boat Club. There, the huge crowd massed on the lawns to listen to a series of speakers.
One of the principal speakers was Mr. Prakash Singh Badal, a former Chief Minister of the Punjab. He is a farmer himself, and headed the contingent from his state.
There were complaints that the police had harassed the demonstrators, stopped some taking park, and made two thousand arrests. When these reports reached Parliament, members of the two Communist parties walked out in protest.
Last month, Mrs Gandhi's "Congress-I" Party organised an even larger farmers' rally. But the organisers of this rival one said it was quite different: it was not sponsored; there were no special trains; the people were spending their own money on fares and food; and they had definite demands which needed urgent action.