This year the festival of light Deepawali was plunged into darkness for a number of villagers in Uttar Pradesh. There were no crackers, no illuminations and no festivities. Black Deepawali was observed in village Lalpur , Lalamau Mavai , Guraiya , Jamunipur , Tikar , Pipri Narayanpur , Muler Khera ,Jajupur and many more on a call by NAPM , ASHA Parivaar and Lok Rajneeti Manch to protest the decision of Planning Commission , which filed an affidavit in Supreme Court with a new ridiculous and absurd definition of poverty which says that person doing expenditure of Rs 32 per day in urban areas as Rs 28 per day in rural area, will not be considered below poverty line .
Megasaysay Award Winner and social activist, Dr Sandeep Pandey observed a five day fast from 22nd October to 26th October to observe black Deepawali along with the villagers at his ashram in Lalpur of Hardoi district around 60 km from Lucknow.
To extend support to this fast , there were demonstrations in Moradabad , Bhim Nagar , Deoria , Kushinagar , Chandauli , Varanashi , Unnao , Ahmedabad and Patna districts .
In Hardoi , there were demonstrations in Sandeela and Malhera also.
The protest was for the issues of discrimination against poor and rural areas and hence the fast was undertaken in a poor village consisting of SC and OBC families only.
Pandey said that the government has adopted an economic policy which is clearly benefiting the already well off sections of society at the cost of the poor.
He further added that his fast was also against Government’s apathy towards the issues like farmer suicides, hunger deaths, malnourishment of children and mother mortality rate.
He demanded for withdrawal of BPL norms of expenditure of Rs 32 per person in urban areas and Rs 26 per person in rural areas and also for universalisation of Public Distribution System as well as subsidised food for every poor as they can demand work under NREGS.
“BPL lists should be decided by Gram Sabha/Ward Sabhas and Rs 250 as minimum wages under NREGS with scope to accommodate the price rise like dearness allowance and annual increments in salaries of government employees.” He added.
“NAPM , ASHA Parivaar and Lok Rajneeti Manch shall take out a protest demonstration in Delhi also” told Pandey.