People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 24, 2006
Statewide Protest Against Kinnaur Firing
BRAVING an extreme by cold weather, a number of affected tribals, local residents, environmentalists and NGO activists staged a massive protest on December 11, on the call given by the Himachal Pradesh state committee of the CPI(M) in various parts of the state. Protest rallies, processions and dharnas were organised throughout the state under the leadership of the Left activists against the firing on protesters at Wangtoo in Kinnaur district.
According to the reports reaching the state CPI(M) headquarters, the hydel project workers strongly protested in Chamba at Bhudal hydel project site, in Bilaspur at Kol Dam site, at deputy commissioner’s office in Kullu, at the industrial centres of Parwanoo and Ponta Sahib and at hydel project sites at Ghanvi, Uhal, Parvati, Preeni, Rampur and Nahan.
In the state capital, Shimla, the Left activists led by CPI(M) state secretary Rakesh Singha registered a strong protest at the DC office and later staged a rally amidst heavy snowfall. Besides the leaders, the rally was also addressed by the old mother of an injured victim of Wangtoo firing. Claiming to be an old Congress supporter and former panchayat pradhan, she said, “I have lost faith in the pro-industrialist political set-ups who are reigning bullets on innocent farmers everywhere.” In her emotion-choked address, she gave a generous fund to the struggle of the red flag and pledged to become a part of it in future.
The protesters later submitted a memorandum to the state chief minister demanding an unconditional release of the arrested leaders of the Save Karcham Wangtoo organisation. They also demanded a serious introspection and review of the government’s hydel policy, which is resulting in heightened exploitation of the farmers and indigenous population all over the state.
The CPI(M) has also pledged to launch a prolonged political struggle and campaign to press the government to reverse its anti-people hydel policy. It has condemned the efforts of state labour department which had helped the Hindustan Construction Company management to illegally retrench 600 workers after the strike in which three CITU leaders were killed in the Chemera III hydel project. (INN)