(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 27 , 2008
No To Deal
SFI-DYFI Hold March to Parliament
WHILE echoes of the nuclear deal thundered in parliament, all roads leading to parliament saw marches, morchas and dharnas opposing the nuclear deal. An impressive march to parliament was organised jointly by the Democratic Youth Federation of India and the Students Federation of India on July 21, 2008 saying no to the nuclear deal, no to inflation and no to being gatekeepers of American imperial interests in the region.
The rally opposed the government’s move to proceed with the Indo-US nuclear deal ignoring the widespread opposition to it. Hundreds of students and youth marched towards the parliament shouting slogans against the UPA government that had gone back on the word given to the parliament and the people. Central leaders of SFI and DYFI led the rally.
The rally culminated with a public meeting organised on the Parliament Street. Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member of CPI(M), M K Bhadra Kumar, former Ambassador, Prabhat Patnaik, eminent economist, Prabir Purkayastha, energy expert and SFI- DYFI leaders addressed the rally which got all round support from intellectuals and from thronging crowds and onlookers.
Sitaram Yechury criticised the government of violating the Common Minimum Programme, the basis for the outside support of the Left parties. He criticised the prime minister’s eagerness to honour his commitments to US president George Bush, than honour his commitments made to the people of our country. He also pointed out that all the friends of Bush- the prime ministers of UK, Australia etc., have lost their jobs and now it is the turn of Manmohan Singh. Yechury explained with detailed statistics the cost of energy production and exposed the bogey of government’s arguments on the benefits of nuclear energy. ‘Instead of wasting lots of money on buying nuclear reactors from foreign countries, if this money was spent on education sector, crores of Indian students would have benefited’, he pointed out. He criticised the government for stooping to new lows and indulging in unethical practices to ensure the survival of the government in the trust vote. He called upon the youth of the country to carry forward the rich legacy of our freedom struggle and join the anti-imperialist struggle. ’54 per cent of our population is young and it is on their shoulders that the future of the country rests’ with these words he urged the students and youth to carry out an extensive campaign against the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Professor Prabhat Patnaik highlighted the fact that the Manmohan Singh government was catering to the needs of only a miniscule section of our people - the rich and the elite. He said that only the rich of this country welcome this deal and the strategic alliance with the US. He blamed the government for its failure to curb inflation and price rise and said that this government is more interested in the deal than look after the interests of the people.
Sri Bhadra Kumar, former Ambassador also spoke and criticised the government’s shift in the foreign policy to suit the US interests. He pointed out that the government is not at all interested in pursuing the India-Iran gas pipeline that would be beneficial to the country’s interests and was instead going all out to satisfy the interests of the US. He warned the government from falling into the deadly embrace of US and its expansionist policies.
Sri Prabir Purkayastha spoke about the relevance of NAM and pointed out that entering into the nuclear deal with the US is more about entering into a strategic alliance with it and less about producing energy for the people of our country.
Sreeramakrishnan, president of DYFI, K K Ragesh, general secretary of SFI, Pushpender Tyagi, treasurer of DYFI also spoke on the occasion. R Arun Kumar, president of SFI, P K Biju, vice president of SFI, Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary of AIDWA, also took part in the rally.
Earlier in the day, a mass dharna was held at Jantar Mantar where the leaders of SFI and DYFI castigated the UPA government and the prime minister in particular for surrendering the nation’s sovereignty to US president Bush, as the participants chanted prime minister ka haath Bush ke saath, while some even went to burn effigies of Bush. A surprise speaker was Shahid Siddiqui, journalist writer and Samajwadi party secretary, who left the SP in disgust against the nuclear deal and joined BSP.
The meeting noted that India US nuclear deal has created a political crisis in the country. The UPA government, disregarding popular opinion and the deep division in the parliament, is in a desperate hurry to push this deal through. This urgency is not derived out of the country’s needs but to meet the electoral time table of president Bush. It is unfortunate that the government should try and force an agreement which binds the country both strategically and in energy terms to the US for forty years or more, flouting the will of the people. The lack of transparency that has been the hallmark on this deal and the manipulative politics that is now visible, shows that it is not just deal for nuclear energy but has much wider implications.
A statement signed by 12 persons from various social organisations stated that they had gathered at Jantar Mantar, when the Lok Sabha is meeting for the trust vote to demonstrate their opposition to this deal. The signatories were Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, president All India Mulsim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Prakash Rao, Lok Raj Sangathan, S K Mujtaba Farooq, secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Gopal Rai, Third Freedom Movement, Mohammed Sulaiman, president Indian Muslim League, Ms Seema Mustafa, senior journalist, S P Shukla, Dr Taslemm Rahmani, president Indian Muslim Political Council, Kamal Mitra Chinoy, Tez Singh, president Ambedkar Samaj Party, Gautam Naulakha, G Hasnain, president Quami Party and Dr S Q R Ilayas.