Lockdown Diary
Dealing with the Lockdown: Precious Lessons from the Unique Experience of an Unprecedented Phase

THE combination of the Covid19 epidemic and the coercive and chaotic lockdown has led to an unprecedented crisis for large sections of the Indian population. The lockdown has been most unbearable for stranded migrant workers and other toiling people in both rural and urban areas who survive on the basis of their daily earnings and have little savings and food stocks to withstand the resultant loss of work and livelihood. The apathy and brutality with which the state dealt with the migrant workers - non-delivery of ration to people without ration cards, the terrible conditions of most quarantine centres and the virtual collapse of the public healthcare system - have intensified the crisis for these vast sections of our society who have to deal with a whole set of structural injustices, inequalities and disadvantages even in normal times.

In a normal situation in a democracy, we resort to mass protests, assemblies and agitations to raise our voice against such injustice and painful blows of a crisis. But the lockdown and the protocol of physical distancing and personal hygiene mandated to deal with the epidemic have suddenly blocked all these normal avenues, whilst failing to protect the most vulnerable from the virus. The colonial era epidemic control act invoked by the government is particularly draconian. While normal democratic activities became impossible, the state stepped in with its new tools of surveillance and new drills of regimentation. The rumour mills and fake news factories also flooded social media and digital communication platforms overshadowing the dissemination of real information about the spread and nature of the disease.


As the Lockdown stretches on, what little money the common people had in their pockets is dwindling. The worst affected are the Tolas and Mohallas of the poor in cities and villages where empty pockets are common. Government announcements had remained more or less in the realm of propaganda. Things went from bad to worse as money ran short and grocery stores at many places were selling their goods at raised prices. CPIML organised a countrywide protest 'Against Hunger, For Food during Lockdown' with plate-Banging and fasting on 12 April to demand Food for all with Dignity. (in pic - protesting women at Bhubaneshwar, Odisha)

Narendra Modi made the most of this situation with his periodic addresses and calls for public action, all in the name of honouring the doctors and other essential service workers called ‘Corona warriors’. Ironically while the people were asked to clap and clang, light candles and lamps, and the armed forces were roped in to shower rose petals from the sky, many of these ‘Corona warriors’ were having to work without basic PPE and face hostility and stigma including eviction from their own houses. It was against this adverse backdrop that we had to find concrete ways of facing the challenges and shape our emergency response to this completely unprecedented situation.

Looking back, we can now say that we have been pursuing eight main intersecting strategies: (i) spreading mass awareness about the epidemic; (ii) helping migrant workers in terms of food,  shelter and  their journeys back home; (iii) undertaking a relief campaign for the needy; (iv) countering the vicious Islamophobic propaganda and prejudice on the ground on the basis of facts, rationality and solidarity; (V) putting forward our demands and suggestions on different questions before various administrative authorities; (vi) opposing the despotic anti-people measures of the Centre and various state governments, especially the politics of witch-hunt and dismantling of labour laws; (vii) keeping up the fighting spirit and progressive discourse among the people through digital media; (viii) organizing stay-at-home protests and social media campaigns and standing with migrant workers and quarantined people in their struggle for basic amenities and rights.


AICCTU and AIARLA called for a 2-day hunger strike and indoor protests (inside people’s own homes) to express solidarity with the crores of migrant workers stranded in different states deprived of food and basic needs while facing various kinds of repression and exclusion. The workers’ organisations demanded a special Action Plan for migrant workers.  

Arrange free transport for the safe return of migrant workers, transfer Rs 10000 as Lockdown Allowance for migrant workers, weaker sections, women and unemployed youth in their bank accounts, job security and full wage guarantee for the period of lockdown for all workers and to guarantee rations, food, drinking water, medicines, child care for stranded workers. (in pic - workers in Tamilnadu)

The campaign to assist migrant workers took shape from the end of March as we started receiving distress calls from stranded workers. We held coordinated efforts in cities and states with maximum concentration of migrant workers (the southern states, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi NCR) and states where these workers wanted to return (primarily Bihar, Jharkhand, UP, West Bengal, Assam and Odisha). Through our sustained efforts including judicial battles and relentless pressure on various administrative levels, it was possible to ensure supply of ration and arrangement of trains and buses (even reversal of the Karnataka government’s decision to stop trains) to secure safe return of thousands of migrant workers from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra to Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal. The travails of the migrant workers do not end after getting into trains or buses, as they are often stopped on inter-state borders, or even after return as they are put in quarantine centres without any facilities. In several districts of Bihar and Jharkhand, notably Siwan, Katihar, Patna, Bhojpur and Giridih, our comrades have stood by the migrant workers in successfully resolving many of these problems.


Equip and Empower India to Fight Covid-19

CPIML sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister on 12 April asking him to consider on the following points in view of the crisis let loose on the common people during lockdown and for developing appropriate medical requirements.

Consultation and Cooperation Not Coercion

1. Consultation and confidence building and transparency involving all stake holders, including trade unions and representatives of all oppressed sections of society.

2. No police and administrative repression in the name of lockdown: physical distancing must be achieved through patient explanation and sympathetic help, not coercion.

3. Empty the detention centres, stop overcrowding in jails by releasing all undertrials, release vulnerable, disabled and elderly prisoners on parole, release all political prisoners including those arrested in Kashmir, and stop fresh arrests of dissenting voices and activists involved in anti-CAA protest movement and other public causes.

Migrant Workers and Other Vulnerable Sections

4. A Migrant Workers Action Plan, addressing the urgent and unresolved issues of survival and health of migrant workers – (i) drawing up lists of migrant workers and their families in coordination with village panchayats and ensuring direct cash transfer to all, (ii) giving them all support and protection in their current locations, especially ensuring food supply in sealed areas, (iii) ensuring uninterrupted payment of wages and subsistence allowance to all workers including self-employed migrant workers, (iv) fixing the accountability of local administration and employers to ensure strict implementation of the Action Plan.

5. Action Plan for informal sector workers, sex workers, transgender persons, disabled persons, elderly persons and all other sections of people rendered precarious by the lockdown.

Hunger, Housing, and Livelihood

6. Assured Doorstep Delivery of cooked food, rations, fuel, and other essential goods and services, irrespective of ration card, registration in welfare boards, Aadhaar card or any other requirements. Community kitchens in every locality. The government must welcome and back the efforts of workers’ and farmers’ groups, youth organisations and various community/social organisations to build a trained and equipped volunteer force to ensure relief and delivery on war-footing.

7. Commission all unused houses, hotels, marriage halls etc to house the homeless.

8. Waivers of rent and debt, deferment of EMI payments, and payment of pandemic subsistence allowance to all affected families, regardless of presence of documents.

9. Transform MNREGA towards essential services during the pandemic, including delivery of ration and food,with due increase in Risk/Pandemic Pay.

10. Protection against wage cuts, retrenchments, job loss and security of shelter and uninterrupted supply of electricity, water, Internet etc. for the poor. Embargo on termination of employees in IT, ITES, FINTECH, service sector, tourism and MSME industries.


Agrarian Crisis

11. Urgent measures to harvest standing crops and government procurement of all crops at a fair price from farmers, to prevent the brewing agrarian crisis from escalating.

Health Care and Medical Infrastructure

12. Urgently strengthen the public health system - by taking over and bringing all private hospitals, diagnostic labs and other medical facilities and pharmaceutical firms under strict government regulation to provide free and easily available Covid-19 testing and treatment, ensure a sufficient supply of ventilators, PPE kits, and masks.

13. Increase Covid-19 testing widely - test, trace, treat. Ensure free emergency mental health response systems for all.

14. Ensure that regular health services remain available and active during the pandemic.

15. Allocate and invest sufficient funds for urgent creation of medical and quarantine infrastructure in every state. The emphasis must be on care and education, not coercion and criminalisation when it comes to Covid-19.

16. Immediate full restoration of internet services in Kashmir, where lack of adequate connectivity is seriously hampering access to vital information and communications during the pandemic.

Essential Service Workers

17. Ensure that all essential workers and frontline fighters (health, sanitation, delivery workers, ambulance drivers, care workers, (especially for the disabled and elderly), police personnel, workers in Steel Plants, agricultural and other essential sectors), get special Pandemic Pay (amounting to minimum 3 months’ salary) as well as regularisation of jobs, PPE and every manner of protection and respect.

18. Create a 24/7 domestic violence and child abuse hotline in every district in the country, with special teams to respond to distress calls from survivors; include sanitary pads in kits of essential items to be delivered to every home; immediately withdraw the order lifting the ban on sex determination during the lockdown.

Curb Communalisation and Stigmatisation

19. Take prompt action, and also widely create awareness, against communal targeting of minorities and stigmatisation of Covid-19 cases and caregivers. There are disturbing reports of Muslims facing social boycott, exclusion and violent attacks, racist targeting of people from the North-East, and eviction and harassment of suspected Covid-19 sufferers. Prompt and exemplary action must be taken to stop these crimes and ensure full compliance with WHO directives and the belatedly issued government advisory in this regard.

Accountable and Transparent Funding for Health, Pandemic and Lockdown Relief

20. Instead of suspending funds for Local Area Development and state shares in welfare schemes, immediately stop all plans for Bullet Train, Central Vista, military procurements, government advertising, and foreign travel of the PM and members of Government; recover loans and taxes from super-rich, divert all this towards Covid-19 and lockdown relief.

21. Ensure speedy disbursal and proper utilisation of relief funds ensuring full transparency and accountability about the deposit of donations and utilisation of funds, especially the newly launched PM-CARES fund which has being declated as a dedicated fund to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.




The relief campaign also began at the end of March. From distribution of food packets to serving of meals through community kitchens, the campaign succeeded in enlisting the support and participation of many donors and activists and reaching out to thousands of households on a regular basis. In several centres of Rajasthan (Udaipur and Jaipur), Uttar Pradesh (Varanasi), Bihar (Siwan, Muzaffarpur, Patna, Bhojpur) and West Bengal (Kolkata and adjoining districts), the campaign ran on a daily basis while in many other states and districts periodic campaigns were undertaken.

Protest actions like banging of plates, sit-ins, fasts, poster displays involving thousands of activists and members of various mass organisations across the country became a regular feature during these two months of lockdown. On April 12, people observed a ‘food for all’ all-India demand day by banging their plates and raising slogans outside their houses. On April 14, at the joint call of CPI(ML), CPI(M), CPI, Forward Bloc and RSP, Ambedkar Jayanti was observed in a big way and pledges were taken to defend Constitutional rights and defeat the spread of communal rhetoric and social stigma centred around the epidemic. On 18-19 April, protests were held primarily through organizing sit-ins and fasts to demand an Action Plan for Migrant Workers ensuring their safe return and payment of lockdown sustenance allowance. On May 5, activists of all Left parties staged joint sit-ins across Bihar demanding the safe return of migrant workers.


Thousands of women across India turned their homes into protest sites on April 23 for responding to the call by All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) for a one-day fast against hate and hunger.

Ambedkarite activist Radhika Vemula, as well as JNU student Najeeb Ahmad's mother Fatima Nafees, AIPWA National President Rati Rao, General Secretary Meena Tiwari, Secretary Kavita Krishnan, and AIPWA presidents and secretaries of all States led the way by observing the fast in their own homes, holding placards and posters against the hate, untouchability and violence being unleashed in the name of Covid-19, and calling for women's rights and the rights of the poor and marginalised to be safeguarded during the lockdown. They sent letter to PM to demand action on a demand charter.




Letter to PM Submitted by AIPWA units all over India

Subject: In the context of women’s rights, nutrition and safety during the second phase of Lockdown

The Prime Minister,
Govt of India.

Yesterday you announced an extension of the Lockdown till 3 May 2020 in order to control the Corona pandemic. While you were announcing the second phase of the Lockdown, we were hoping that you would also announce appropriate measures to resolve the problems faced by women during the past 21 days of Lockdown. Unfortunately, however, your address did not contain any such steps. The guidelines issued today speak of starting some economic activity from 20 April but even in these guidelines women have been ignored.

Sir, over the last 25 days many incidents have come to light which show the horrific life conditions women are facing. At Jehanabad in Bihar a mother watched helplessly as her child died in her arms due to want of an ambulance. A woman TB patient who had returned to Gaya District from Punjab and was admitted in the Quarantine Ward was raped and subsequently died (her test report showed negative for Corona). Also, reports keep coming in of attacks on women who are ‘Corona Warriors’. It was hoped from you that you would delineate some steps to ensure that such incidents are not repeated. On behalf of AIPWA we would like to say that fighting against a pandemic and fighting against starvation and attacks on women and children are not mutually exclusive.

Therefore, we demand action from you on the following issues:

1. It is surprising that the government is taking decisions which establish discrimination against women. We are astounded to read newspaper reports that the government has relaxed the provisions in the PNPDT Act till the month of June, which in simple terms means that the ban on sex determination tests has been removed. The ludicrous logic being offered for this decision is that it will be a time-saver for women, doctors, hospitals, and private clinics that do ultra-sound tests. We demand that this decision should be revoked immediately. We demand that instructions should be given to the Health Ministry to strictly implement the provisions of the PNPDT Act. All District administrations should also be instructed to keep a special surveillance on its implementation.

2. There is no arrangement to protect women against domestic violence during the Lockdown. A 24x7 hotline should be established in every District and special teams are formed to reach women who want help. If required, the help of women’s organizations can be taken for this.

3. In your address on 14 April you said that there is no shortage of food grains or medicines in the country. In that case, why are people still dying of starvation? Inasmuch as children, pregnant women, and foster mothers who used to receive nutrition from Anganwadi centers have not received it at most places even though half of April is already over. In some States (for example, Bihar) the government has spoken of putting money into the beneficiaries’ accounts instead of nutrition, and Anganwadi helpers have been asked to collect account numbers, mobile numbers and Aadhar numbers for making this list. Women who live in the worst conditions are the ones who receive nutrition-food from Anganwadis. How can the government expect that all these numbers will be available with them? Secondly, food and nutrition are needs which have to be attended to immediately. Thirdly, they will get cash for food at government rates but they will have to buy the food grains at market rates which are much higher. Therefore, we demand that food and nutrition should be distributed immediately and the amount received by women should be doubled from what they used to receive earlier because now their families will not be in a position to spend anything on their care.

4. In your address, you appealed to the common people to feed the poor. Many people including social activists and organizations are already engaged in this work (although they are now being stopped at some places by the administration). But it is necessary that the government discharge its responsibility. Instead of letting food grains rot in go-downs, governmental community food centers should be opened in every poor Basti for the next three months and this should be given top priority.

5. Arrangements should be made at government ration shops for free distribution of sanitary pads for women and milk for children during the Lockdown.

6. Talk of honoring ‘Corona Warriors’ seems like a joke when we see that ASHA and other health workers are not being provided even with masks by the government. Your ‘gamchha challenge’ is fine for those who stay at home but it is of no use to people working in the field. Similarly, Anganwadi workers are being used for fighting against Corona but they have bden kept out of Health Insurance. We demand that ASHA, Anganwadi workers and sanitation workers should be given an additional amount equal to 3 months’ salary or Rs 10,000 as ‘honor money’. ASHA and all other Scheme Workers should be given Health Insurance. Other warriors—doctors, nurses, police personnel etc should also be given ‘honor money’ according to their posts.

7. We demand that communal divisive forces and the rule of loot in the country should be curbed.


April 22 marked the fifty-first foundation anniversary of CPI(ML) and the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth. The day was observed as a pledge-taking day with CPI(ML) members across the country reading out and endorsing a five-point charter of pledges declared by the Party Central Committee. May Day was also observed in a big way with workers raising and hoisting the red flag wherever possible. Earlier, on April 27, All India Agricultural and Rural Labour Association and the Kisan Mahasabha organized a protest day on the key demands of rural employment guarantee and harvesting and procurement of crops.


Women's organizations and women across the country showed remarkable solidarity with Safoora Zargar and held protests on 7 May to demand actions against those who are carrying out false propaganda and vulgar comments against Safoora as well as other women student leaders who were active in the anti-CAA protests.

Safoora Zargar has been active in the anti-CAA protests. She has been arrested during the Lockdown under false charges of inciting the Delhi riots. At the time of arrest she was three months’ pregnant.

Women sat in their own houses and did dharna from 11 PM to 2 PM. They said that the vulgar slander and character assassination against Safoora is an attack against all of us. Therefore, we are sending our love and solidarity to Safoora amidst this Lockdown. They demanded the release of anti-CAA protesters and action against Kapil Mishra.

The many women’s organizations which participated in this dharna include All India Progressive Women’s Organization (AIPWA), AIDWA, NFIW, Bihar Mahila Samaj, Loktantrik Jan Pahal, Citizens’ Initiative against Violence against Women, Muslim Mahila Manch, Jan Jagaran Shakti Sangathan, National Coordination of People’s Struggles, Bihar Gharelu Kamgar Union, WSS, All India Mahila Sanskritik Sangathan, ASWF, Stree Mukti Sangathan, Gandhi Study Center and others.



Women’s participation in all these protests was quite significant. All India Progressive Women’s Association took the lead in protesting against communal hate and increased violence against women during the lockdown by organizing a one-day fast on April 23. Radhika Vemula and Fatima Nafis, mothers of Rohith Vemula and Najeeb Ahmad, and many academics and activists joined the fast. On May 7, women activists and students protested across the country condemning the Sangh-BJP brigade’s defamatory campaign against jailed anti-CAA activist Safoora Zargar and demanding her immediate unconditional release. The demand for release of political prisoners and an end to the Modi regime’s politics of vendetta and witch-hunting was raised jointly by five Left parties (CPIML, CPIM, CPI, AIFB and RSP) and three other opposition parties (RJD, VCK, LJD) through a joint memorandum to the President.


The Left parties including CPIML, CPI, CPM, Forward Bloc and RSP organized a statewide dharna in Bihar on 5 May on the occasion of the 202th birth anniversary of Karl Marx. The dharna was held across the State including Patna, Bhojpur, Patna Rural, Siwan, Jehanabad, Arwal, Gaya, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Gopalganj and all other Districts.

While the Central and State governments are shirking from their responsibility, the entire burden was shifted to the workers already struggling with starvation and unemployment.


The suspension of labour laws by BJP-ruled state governments in UP, MP and Gujarat, the lockdown massacres and continuing deaths of migrant workers (especially the shocking incidents of the Vizag gas leak and Aurangabad Railway track tragedy), and the Modi government’s fraudulent stimulus package created tremendous anger among the people. On 12-13 May AICCTU called for two days of protest, and on May 13 leaders of Left and other opposition parties issued a joint public call for an alternative package and withdrawal of the ordinances scuttling labour rights and factory regulations. On May 22, the joint forum of Central Trade Unions organized a countrywide protest demanding payment of lockdown wages and compensation, and withdrawal of the Modi government’s moves to privatize the public sector and subvert and suspend labour laws.


Opposition Parties' Memorandum to the Prime Minister for Release of Political Prisoners

May 11, 2020

The President of India
Rashtrapathi Bhawan
New Delhi

Dear Rashtrapathi ji,

We, the undersigned, are writing to you to express concern and condemnation at the spate of arrests of students and activists under the draconian UAPA during the time when the country and people are dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is a time when people all over the country, and the world, are experiencing fear and uncertainty about their well-being, and the safety of their loved ones. The central government’s priority must be to single mindedly focus in effectively dealing with this pandemic while catering to the needs of the people and their requirements. “Your government’s“ priority must be to  deal with the problems that have emerged affecting the lives and livelihoods of crores of people, as reflected in the plight of the migrant workers, many of whom have lost their lives due to hunger, exhaustion and walking many kms to reach their homes. The central government has done very little to provide relief and rations to such people.

Many countries in the world are seeking to release prisoners so as to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in prisons. In India too, the Supreme Court advised the release of prisoners on bail or parole to reduce crowding in prisons. The situation at the Arthur Road prison in Mumbai is a testimony to such dangers. Even physically disabled people with known serious medical conditions like Dr. G N. Saibaba and others are not being allowed to seek competent medical treatment.

At such a time, it is shocking to see the Government of India jailing academics, activists, women, and students, putting their health and safety at grave risk.

• In Delhi, the police directly under the Home Ministry is arresting prominent activists including women involved in the totally peaceful anti-CAA movement under the draconian UAPA on totally manufactured  charges seeking to link them with the communal violence in Delhi. In addition, scores of students are being called for interrogation by the Special Branch and intimidated. The victims in the violence perpetrated in JNU are being targeted while there has not been a single arrest of those outsiders who unleashed this violence against students and teachers. It is also shocking to note that certain communities are being targeted while the perpetrators of communally charged violence, established in various video recordings, including prominent leaders of the ruling party are moving around scot free.

• In the communal violence in north east Delhi, in spite of prima facie evidence of police connivance and the involvement of mobs attacking minority areas identified in the videos, the Delhi police is making one sided arrests of young Muslim men and interrogating only members of the minority community, creating a sense of insecurity among them.

• The arrests of Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha in the Bhima Koregaon case even while continuing the detention of activists Sudha Bharadwaj and others without any evidence is another shocking example of how civil liberties are being trampled.

• In Kashmir the continuing detention of former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and many others is condemnable. So also is condemnable that prisoners from Kashmir are locked up in various jails across the country.

• The vindictive approach of the Government in continuing the detention of Shri Laloo Prasad Yadav in spite of his ill health and the stringent conditions of his imprisonment is condemnable.

We request you to urge the Government to reverse this course by releasing opposition leaders and human rights activists and ceasing the pursuit of a politics of vendetta against protesters and political dissenters at a time when the country and people have to be united in dealing with this Covid pandemic.

Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, CPI(M)
D Raja, General Secretary, CPI
Dipankar Bhattacharya, General Secretary, CPIML
Debabrata Biswas, General Secretary, AIFB
Manoj Bhattacharya, General Secretary, RSP
Sharad Yadav, Founder, LJD
Manoj Jha, Member of Parliament, RJD
Dr. Thol. Thirumavalavan, President, VCK


Webinars and live lectures on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have emerged as popular and quite effective tools to further progressive discourses amidst this prolonged lockdown. There have been plenty of discussions, poetry sessions and musical concerts on wide-ranging topics. There have also been a series of commemorative occasions in this period, including the birthdays of Ambedkar, Lenin and Marx, and the anniversary of the great 1857 war of Independence as well as May Day. And there have been topics galore – from various dimensions of the public health crisis to the deepening recession, attacks on labour laws and other constitutional rights, and of course, the ceaseless march of migrant workers on the roads – to provoke critical studies and debates among progressive circles.


Five Pledges on 22 April on the Occasion of the 51st Anniversary of the Foundation of the CPI(ML)

1. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown declared by the Modi government to slow it down, we are facing a major health and food and livelihood crisis in the country. The poor people and the toiling masses, especially the migrant workers are the hardest hit. We pledge to live up to the clarion call of Comrade Charu Mazumdar, "The people's interest is the party's interest", and stand firmly with the affected people. Feed India, Defeat Covid.

2. While the people are paying a heavy price for the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown, the RSS and BJP are busy with their hate-filled disinformation campaign blaming China and the Muslim community for the coronavirus epidemic and misleading the people by spreading fake news, superstitious beliefs and obscurantist ideas. We strongly condemn this communal campaign, which is rapidly taking the form of social and economic boycott and blockade of the Muslim community, and reject the intensified untouchability and stigma being created around the Coronavirus. We shall do all we can to strengthen the unity and solidarity of the people, extend concern and empathy for victims of Covid-19, support frontline healthcare and sanitation workers, spread rational and progressive ideas, and defeat the communal virus.

3. The crisis has clearly shown that the state in India and the Modi government which is ruling at the Centre and most governments ruling in the states have no concern for the people. They have announced a lockdown without making any arrangement for the poor and toiling people. For the poor the state has only coercion and contempt, reserving all democracy and comfort for the rich. We shall pool all our energy and strength to expand and strengthen the CPI(ML) and intensify the people's movement to secure greater political say and power for the people.

4. The Modi government is treating the Covid-19 pandemic as a grand excuse to hide all its failures and betrayals. The state is using the lockdown as an opportunity to snatch the hard won democratic rights of the people and impose police raj. The corporate lobbies and feudal communal and criminal forces are using this opportunity to increase their loot and domination and tighten their control. We will not allow the lockdown to become a licence for these forces and their ugly designs. By all indications, the Covid-19 pandemic is pushing India deeper into recession and the Modi government is planning to shift the entire burden onto the people. We will use all our strength to fight back and to hold the government accountable. We will struggle to ensure that India comes out of the Covid-19 crisis as a more egalitarian country, in which every citizen has the right to free, quality healthcare.

5. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the extreme vulnerability of global capitalism. The US state not only failed to protect its own people, it also attacked the WHO efforts, armtwisted India, and is weaponising the pandemic by trying to prevent ventilator companies from selling to Cuba and Venezuela. The advanced capitalist countries have been the worst victims of the epidemic. Of course within these countries, it is the working people and oppressed and marginalised communities who are paying the highest price. The capitalist health system and health policy which treats health as a commodity and profitable business and not as a fundamental human right, has failed to provide any relief and care to the people. By contrast people-oriented healthcare policies and approaches have worked much better whether in Cuba or within India in the state of Kerala. We rededicate ourselves to the mission of overcoming the destructive capitalist system and march towards a more just and equal socialist world with the needs of labouring people and the environment at its centre. Today is also the 150th birth anniversary of Comrade Lenin, the great leader of the world's first socialist revolution and initiator of the first major exercise in building socialism. We pay our highest tributes to him and renew our pledge to fulfil his dream of defeating imperialism and building a socialist world.

Long live CPI(ML)!
Red Salute to all our departed leaders and great martyrs!
Inquilab Zindabad!



All in all, the two months of lockdown have been a period rich in lessons and experience, and innovative ideas and experiments, for India’s progressive camp. While the ruling fascist regime will seek to perpetuate many of the political restrictions and economic costs of the lockdown, progressive forces will surely benefit from the insights and takeaways gained over the course of dealing with this unprecedented situation. From foregrounding the issues of public health and environmental protection in the political agenda of the Left, to developing new strategies and policies to address the issues faced by migrant workers and face the challenges of intensifying corporate aggression, state repression and divisive communal designs, the revolutionary communist movement will have to build on the valuable experience of this most unique and critical phase of our social existence.



Farmers, Agrarian Workers Protest

ALL India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) and All India Agricultural & Rural Labour Association (AIARLA) called for a protest day on 27 April and submitted a memorandum to the Modi government reiterating some important demands.

AIKM, AIARLA, Bihar MNREGA Mazdoor Sabha, Jharkhand Mazdoor Kisan Samiti and CPIML participated in this countrywide protest and condemned the government for neglecting the workers’ lives and attacking the interests of farmers and rural poor in the name of the pandemic. These organizations appealed to the people to reject the politics of hate and divisiveness and give a befitting reply to those who are propagating rumors, lies, and hatred.

They reiterated demands for safe return of migrant workers, Rs 10,000 subsistence allowance for all poor families, Rs 500 minimum daily wage for MNREGA workers, and Rs 25000 per acre as crop loss compensation to farmers besides following demands:

  1. Guarantee procurement of wheat, maize, and rabi crops of farmers and sharecroppers and Minimum Support Price at Panchayat level through FCI, Cooperative Samitis and other agencies.
  2. Compensation for crop loss due to hail-storms, excess rain, fire and Lockdown at the rate of Rs 20,000 per acre for rabi crops and Rs 25,000 per acre for fruits and vegetables. Pay this compensation to all farmers and sharecroppers without delay.
  3. Withdraw anti-people Electricity Reform Bill 2003 and end the present drive for privatization of electricity.
  4. FEED INDIA – FIGHT COVID! Arrange sufficient rations for workers and the poor; Rs 20 lakhs compensation for families of those who died due to Coronavirus/ hunger and police repression during Lockdown.
  5. Curb spreading of hatred against Muslims in the name of Corona. Strengthen social solidarity; defeat Corona pandemic!
  6. Arrange Corona test labs, ICU wards, and ventilator at all Base and District hospitals. Make arrangements for free testing and treatment of Corona.

CPIML MLAs, Panchayat representatives, and Scheme workers also participated in the portest.




Leaders of Left and other opposition parties staged a protest on 13 May against the intensified assault on labour rights by the Modi government at the Centre and various BJP-led state governments. The leaders including Comrades Dipankar Bhattacharya and Kavita Krishnan of CPI(ML), Sitaram Yechury and Tapan Sen of CPI(M), D Raja of CPI, Sharad Yadav of Loktantrik Janta Dal and Manoj Jha, Rajya Sabha MP, RJD stood outside of AKG Bhawan, New Delhi, holding placards that called for immediate withdrawal of the ordinances promulgated by the state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat suspending labour laws and raising hours of work.

They said the government was using the pandemic as a pretext to systematically undermine democracy and appealed to the people to stay united and vigilant.



Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, another disaster has struck the nation. This time a man-made one. The Styrene gas leak at 3 AM on May 7 from LG Polymer Plant in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh had led to the death of more than 11 people (including minors) and 200 injured.

Another horrific tragedy occurred on 8 May early morning in which 17 migrants were crushed and 2 seriously injured by a goods train when they were on the way on foot to their homes. A total of 19 migrant workers hailing from M.P.

CPIML, AICCTU, AIARLA, AISA, RYA, AIPWA and AIKMS called for a countrywide Grief and Outrage Day on 9 May 2020.




ALL India Central Council of Trade Unions organized countrywide two-day protests on 12-13 May against the abrogation of Labour Laws in the name of fighting the Corona pandemic.

The workers and activists raised their voice against the abrogation of the Labour Laws which gives free license to capitalists to make slaves out of workers. Various social media platforms were also used to register protests.


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