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International Campaign Against War on the People in India

 

Stop all attacks against the people!

 

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250 Protest Operation Green Hunt in London

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Indian Independence Day” in London turned into a day of militant protests of the crimes and atrocities committed against the people of India and the worsening national oppression by the Indian state.

On August 15, 2010, over 250 people converged in front of the Indian High Commission building in central London to protest the crimes and atrocities of the Indian state against the people of the country. They had gathered from across London and the Midlands to participate in a protest rally that was called by Alliance For People’s Right In South Asia, UK (AFPRISA) in order to express opposition to “Operation Green Hunt”, expose Indian expansionism and to condemn the recent assassination of Azad, the spokesperson of CPI (Maoist).

 

The protest rally commenced promptly at 11:00 am and was concluded at 13:30pm attracting the attention of the people in one of the busiest corners of central London. Organisations and community groups from India and Nepal had extended their full support and many from other communities either joined the protest or expressed solidarity and support.

The mass of people gathered including young and old, men and women carried slogans and banners, each exposing a different aspect of the reality of life, for the majority of people living in the so-called “biggest democracy in the world”. Slogans included the condemnation of the “Operation Green Hunt”, a war launched last November by the Indian government which has deployed over 200,000 troops, aiming to crush the resistance of the mainly tribal people living in the heartland of India and to seize and expropriate their mineral rich homelands for exploitation by the Indian and international cartels and corporations

Another slogan demanded freedom for all political prisoners, exposing the little-known fact that Indian prisons and dungeons are now filled with as many as 100,000 political prisoners belonging to peoples organisations including leaders and activists of political parties, members of democratic associations, intellectuals, activist and participants of grassroots organisation fighting for just causes ranging from tribal peoples’ movements, to anti-displacement activist, peasant associations, etc.

A prominent slogan condemned the assassination of Azad and the journalist who were killed in cold blood by the authorities. This denounced as an utter lie the claims by the government that they were killed in an “armed encounter,” and condemned these murders as part of a shameful plan by the government to use the negotiations for peace to track, capture and eliminate peoples leaders and activists.

Indian expansionism in south Asia and the brutal oppression of many national minorities such as suppression of people of Kashmir, was the subject of other slogans and placards of the protestors. Soon after the protest action began, chanting of slogans was heard from across the road where a large number of Nepalese students had gathered and were marching to join the protest action. Later, a delegation handed over a letter of protest to the officials of the embassy that highlighted the concerns and the demands of the protest.

The protest rally on August 15, 2010 was one of the most successful actions in London in recent years by those concerned about the plight of the people in India. While the success of this protest action in London and those in the US (in San Francisco and New York) and Canada (Vancouver), may be attributed to the increased cooperation and solidarity of the local activists from south Asian communities, it expresses a growing surge of opposition to the shameless attacks by the ruling classes against the people in recent years, which have come to light with increasing information and news about the total disregard for the civil and human rights of the people by the authorities in this region.

With the intensification of economic, political and social crisis in this region, and the desperate attempts led by the Indian ruling classes and their imperialist masters to suppress all voices of resistance and peoples struggles, these protest actions are bound to continue gathering momentum and increase in their broad reach, attracting wider international solidarity and support for the just struggles of the people in the Indian subcontinent.

 

Please find below pictures of the protest action and the text of the protest letter submitted to the Indian High Commission in London, as attached.

 
 

 


Letter of protest delivered to Indian High Commisson in London

 

To Shri P.C Chidambaram, Home Minister of India

Via the High Commissioner for India in London

 

 

Petition concerning the increasing deployment of the armed forces to resolve political and economic issues in India and in the South Asian region

 

 

On the 63rd anniversary of India’s Independence on 15 August 2010

 

We are writing to you, Mr. Chidambaram, to convey our alarm at the extensive use of the armed forces to resolve political and economic problems that are the direct and immediate result of the government’s flawed economic, political, and social policies. We are equally concerned about the government involving India in the losing US-UK wars in South Asia.

  1. We are alarmed at the deteriorating situation in Kashmir. Successive governments have turned the state into an occupied territory. The recent deployment of the army to suppress democratic protests suggests that this government, like the previous ones, is bent on silencing the voices of the Kashmiris for greater political, economic, and cultural autonomy. We believe that the situation has come to this pass because successive governments have failed to honour the special protection given to Kashmir under the Indian Constitution.
  2. We are alarmed at the government’s Operation Green Hunt and its continued support to Sadwa Judum. The support continues in spite of the Supreme Court’s criticism of the State’s support for an armed militia set up to terrorise the local populations.
  3. We are alarmed at the cold blooded murder of Shri Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and Hem Chandra Pandey. Azad was named as the principal negotiator by the Maoists with a view to engage in peace talks with the government to end the cycle of violence. Eminent citizens like Swami Agnivesh acted as mediators because of their sincere desire to put an end to the virtual civil war in the country at present. We do not believe that the murder of Azad and Pandey were mere coincidences especially as the Andhra Pradesh police were involved in it. We believe that a full and open public inquiry is needed to establish the circumstances of Azad’s and Pandey’s murder. In the context of the fraught environment in the country today we believe such an inquiry is essential to establish the credibility of the government and its claims that it is serious about ending the civil war in Central and Eastern India. The government cannot claim it is serious about negotiating with the Maoists and in the same breath remain indifferent to the murder of their key negotiator at a critical juncture in Operation Green Hunt.
  4. We are alarmed by the government’s economic policies which have resulted in mass malnutrition and hunger, a state of perpetual famine for fifty percent of the country’s population. The recent study by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative working in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme found that half of India’s population suffers from acute economic deprivation with all the social, political, economic and cultural consequences that entails. While the government trumpets itself as a leading economic player in the world, its economic policies are putting India at the lowest end of the human development indices. Economic policies that bring about these outcomes are nothing short of genocide comparable to the policies of the colonial governments that resulted in the Bengal and Deccan famines. Military solutions are not the answer to these outcomes of economic policies.
  5. We are deeply disturbed by the government’s efforts to shore up the Nepali army with training and equipment, an army that is deployed against the people of Nepal.
  6. We are shocked at the way the government is embroiling India in the US-UK wars in Afghanistan, a war that is unpopular everywhere including in the US and the UK.
  7. People of South Asian region have a shared cultural and historical relationship that is seriously eroded by the government’s recent militaristic policies towards its neighbours and has serious consequences for global peace and security.

 

We urge you, Mr. Chidambaram, to forthwith:

  • Recall all troops deployed within India to fight the Indian people in particular to end Operation Green Hunt;
  • Withdraw troops from Kashmir forthwith;
  • Repudiate the MoUs signed with various corporate interests;
  • Put a moratorium on all land acquisitions;
  • Hold a full and open public inquiry into the assassination of Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and Hemchandra Pandey as evidence of the government’s seriousness in holding talks with Maoists to end the cycles of violence;
  • Cease military cooperation with Nepalese army in any form including training and military exercises;
  • Stop all assistance to the US-UK war in Afghanistan in any form;
  • Stop the constant belligerence towards Pakistan, and strive toward genuine cooperation with her people; and
  • As a gesture of goodwill we urge the government to provide humanitarian assistance to Pakistan during this time of natural calamity caused by severe floods.

 

Signed:

  • Alliance for People’s Rights in South Asia (afprisa@googlemail.com)
  • Indian Workers Association Great Britain
  • South Asia Solidarity Forum
  • Progressive Nepalese Society UK
  • Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance
  • Kashmiri Workers’ Association “Britain”
  • No2Displacement Campaign
  • Jammu Kashmir Peoples’ National Party