Staff Correspondent

GULBARGA: The Communist Party of India (Marxist), Janawadi Mahila Sanghatane (JMS) and Karnataka Pranta Raita Sangha (KPRS) has warned the State Government of a serious backlash from the people if it does not distribute ration cards to all deserving poor families and withdraw the order fixing a maximum of 20 kg of foodgrain a family for ration card holders. Members of the State Secretariat of the CPI(M) C. Bayyareddy told presspersons here on Wednesday that the use of police force by the Government to quell agitations by people who were being denied of ration cards would not be tolerated.

State president of the Janawadi Mahila Sanghatane K. Neela criticised the "brutal" lathicharge against protesters, many of whom were women, in Mandya on March 26, who had been demanding a supply of ration cards and foodgrains. She said 14 of the protesters had even been hospitalised.

Mr. Bayyareddy said that the CPI(M), the JMS and the KPRS would stage a protest throughout the State in all the district headquarters on April 18 condemning the police lathicharge on the protesters in Mandya and demanding a supply of ration cards to all poor deserving families as well as a removal of the limit on the maximum amount of foodgrains for each family under the Public Distribution System (PDS).

Demanding that ration cards be provided to all the poor families in the State, he said that if the Government was not able to do so, it should at least more than double the existing number of ration cards so that 95 lakh families were covered.

President of the KPRS Maruti Manpade said that the Government should follow the Maharashtra model of providing foodgrains under the PDS, and immediately withdraw the notification fixing a maximum of 20 kg for each family possessing ration cards.

In Maharashtra, each family covered under the PDS was provided a minimum of 20 kg foodgrains every month, without any maximum limit being imposed.