Rickshaw-pullers’ Protest in NOIDA

Hundreds of rickshaw-pullers in NOIDA held a protest demonstration on 16 February to press for their demands of licenses and recognition of their right to livelihood. Thousands of them, mostly migrant workers, live in grave insecurity. They toil and provide important service to the urban population but ironically the status of their labour is rendered illegal, and they are easy targets for the police. The licenses to them have not been issued for long time by the Noida authority. Moreover, a precondition for licences is to provide proof of residence and identity, which is impossible to get as being migrants they have no property in the city.

In this backdrop, after a few months planning and mass work a Rickshaw-pullers’ Union was formed in NOIDA last month which received a very good response from among them. A week-long mass campaign was then undertaken, culminating in a protest demonstration on 16 February, which was attended by nearly 200 rickshaw-pullers. The demonstrators submitted a memorandum to the City Magistrate Noida, the same official in whose presence the rickshaws were crushed under a bulldozer.

The protesters demanded license to all rickshaw-walas, return of seized rickshaws and compensation for the ones crushed by the bulldozers, and an end to the repression by police and the administration. They also demanded compensation and guarantee of alternate livelihood if at all evictions are to be considered in very special cases.

The demonstration was led and addressed by rickshaw-union leader Suresh Paswan, CPI(ML) activists Shyamkishore Yadav, Govind Uniyal, Ramesh Kori, Madheshwar, Nandji Yadav, Delhi State Secretary Sanjay Sharma and many others.

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