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Over 2 million join human chain in Kerala against BJP national government’s apathy

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Picture: DYFI Kerala Starting point of Human chain in Trivandrum city. The human chain was organised by the Democratic Youth Federation of India. The national government has been accused of discriminating against Left-led State of Kerala, while also putting up administrative hurdles to its developmental programmes

By Peoples Dispatch

On January 20, more than two million people joined the massive human chain protest organised by the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), against the far-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government’s apathy and discrimination towards the State of Kerala. The southern State is governed by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) coalition led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

By 5 pm on Saturday, people from all walks of life, including youth, students, women, workers, cultural activists, and leftist politicians, joined the 651 km-long unbroken human chain. The millions who joined the human chain took an oath to take the struggle forward and also participated in political and cultural gatherings organised in more than 200 locations along the human chain, spanning the length of Kerala.

Member of Parliament and DYFI all-India President, A A Rahim, joined the chain as its first link in Kasargod in northern Kerala, while LDF convener and former State minister, E P Jayarajan, was part of the last unit in front of Raj Bhavan (the seat of the central-appointed state governor), in the state capital Trivandrum.

DYFI, a progressive youth organisation, has been at the forefront of the Indian youth struggles against the austerity-ridden neo-liberal policies and the sectarianism of Hindu-right wing BJP. The national government led by prime minister Narendra Modi has been accused of trying to stifle and derail the functioning of opposition-ruled States through a series administrative hurdles, challenging the fundamental federal character of the Indian state envisaged by the constitution.

Pictures: DYFI Kerala A A Rahim MP (far right) as the first link of human chain Kasargod.

DYFI has accused the BJP-led central government of strangulating the communist-led state government in Kerala by denying the rightful share of state revenue and central assistance to welfare schemes and development projects.

The youth organisation and other leftist movements, as well as State ministers, have noted that such an attitude by the central government has hit many of Kerala’s famed social welfare policies and the state has been finding it difficult to carry out many of its flagship projects and programmes.

Soaring unemployment and the national government’s lackadaisical attitude in ensuring recruitment to the hundreds of thousands of vacant central government jobs is another major issue raised by the DYFI in its protest.

The Kerala State cabinet headed by CPI (M) politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan has decided to hold an extraordinary sit-in protest in the Indian capital, New Delhi next month against the central government’s apathy towards the state.

Picture: Swaraj T Kariyil – Section of DYFI’s human chain protest at Cheruvathoor in Kasargod district.

Earlier, DYFI, especially by its Kerala state chapter, had led campaigns that received widespread traction. DYFI’s comprehensive social welfare initiatives during the Covid-19 pandemic provided great relief for the people of the state. Through its ‘Recycle Kerala’ initiative, DYFI raised over USD 1.4 million to help Kerala in its fight back against the Covid-19 pandemic.

DYFI’s ongoing drives for blood donation and free food programmes at public hospitals in Kerala have also benefited millions of vulnerable people across the state. Last month, protesting unemployment and corruption, DYFI’s West Bengal state committee organised the state-wide ‘Insaf March’ (Justice March) which culminated in a million-strong rally at Brigade Ground in Kolkata on January 7.

This article was first published on Peoples Dispatch

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