THE most significant part of May Day in Karnataka this year was that for the first time, coffee estate workers in Kodagu observed May Day publicly. Turning up in hundreds, these coffee estate workers raised slogans of ending bonded labour in a publicly held rally.
They have been working for the past many years within the confines of a coffee estates and are caught in a web of false loans created by the estate owners. Breaking free from their bondage, they recently moved out of the estates they were working in and occupied government land, where they have built their makeshift houses.
Kodagu is known for its coffee estates and is the patriarchal and feudal stronghold of the Kodavas, where these workers who belong to the tribal communities of Eravas and Jenu Kurubas have resolved to fight against their oppression. AICCTU Karnataka General Secretary Comrade Maitreyi, Karnataka Pragatipara Kattada Karmikara Sangha President Comrade Appanna, and BBMP Powrakarmikara Sangha EC Member Comrade Shanmugam were present at the May Day rally in Kodagu.
In Bangalore, thousands of workers participated in a rally and public programme in the heart of the city. Sanitation workers, anganwadi teachers, ready-mix concrete factory workers, race course workers, library workers, street vendors, hospital workers, airport workers, and others who are a part of the AICCTU took part in the rally and public programme. Workers of the BBMP Powrakarmikara Sangha enacted a play on the significance of May Day on the occasion, while other workers participated in singing revolutionary songs. AICCTU Karnataka President Comrade Balan, AICCTU Karnataka General Secretary Comrade Maitreyi, BBMP Powrakarmikara Sangha President Comrade Nirmala, CPI (ML) (Liberation) District Secretary Comrade Puttegowda, CPI (ML) (Liberation) State Secretary Com. Clifton addressed the gathering on the day.
Harappanahalli of Ballari district, Bangarpete of Kolar District and HD Kote of Mysore district also observed May Day with a rally and public programme in each of the districts, where hundreds of workers from Karnataka Pragatipara Kattada Karmikara Sangha participated.