Largest-ever ‘Anti-War, Anti-WTO Rally’ Held in Delhi

IT WAS a bold and fitting reply to an acquiescing Vajpayee Govt. on behalf of the toiling people of India, and the initiative was taken by none other than CPI(ML) and its peasant wing, All India Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (AIKSS). As Party General Secretary Comrade Dipankar said, “The toiling people of India are ready to wage a decisive battle against American imperialism and their official agents in India from Doha to Kabul.” To prove it tens of thousands of peasants and workers from Bihar, UP, MP, Chattisgarh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi swarmed onto the streets in Delhi to participate in the ‘Anti-War, Anti-WTO Rally’ on 9 November and strongly protested the American war of aggression on Afghanistan and the US intervention in Asia. The red sea of the rallyists vociferously opposed the anti-peasant policies of the Vajpayee Government and condemned it for surrendering to the diktats of WTO. They also severely indicted it for surrendering to the American war designs and adopting ‘fascist measures to kill democracy’ by promulgating black laws like POTO.

Thousands upon thousands of peasants and activists of other mass organizations had started pouring into Delhi since November 7, and they were accommodated in the camp set up at Feroz Shah Kotla grounds. It was from there that the massive procession started on 9 November at around 11 a.m. The rallyists with thousands of red flags and banners passed through Delhi Gate, Ranjit Singh Flyover, Tolstoy Marg and Jantar Mantar and held a large mass meeting in front of Parliament Street Police Station. In front of the procession a well decorated truck, displaying festoons with slogans “American Imperialism, Hands off Afghanistan and Quit Asia!” and “Stop Surrendering Our Sovereignty to WTO! Come Out of It!” written over it was marching from where slogans were also renting the sky. Throughout the rally participants shouted “Stop Starvation-Deaths, Save Agriculture, Come Out of WTO!”, “Stop American Bombing over Afghanistan!”, “US Imperialism Will Be Buried in Asian Soil!”, “Withdraw POTO!” etc. The size of the rally can be assessed from the fact that the traffic at Connaught Place and ITO, the two busiest centers of the metropolis, remained blocked for several hours.

Addressing the mammoth rally on the long stretch of Parliament Street in New Delhi, Party General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya said, “America is waging an all-out war on the weak nations of the world. While in Afghanistan it is using bombs to kill and terrorise the people of this beleaguered country, at the Doha ministerial summit of WTO it is trying to use trade as a weapon of war and terror.”

He said while the world had expressed shock and condemnation over the terrorist strikes of September 11, Washington has misused and insulted the global sympathy against terror by killing and maiming hundreds of innocent Afghan people and systematically destroying their country. “And now it is desperately trying to use the current climate of war to impose a new charter of economic slavery in Doha”, Comrade Dipankar said.

He said it is a matter of great national shame that under Vajpayee’s leadership, the Government of India is supporting the American war in both Afghanistan and Doha. But if the Sangh parivar is prompted by its own tradition of imperialist worship, the peasants and workers of India have their own tradition of anti-imperialist resistance. He asserted that acute agrarian crisis has awakened the Indian peasantry to the danger of WTO and no POTO will be able to force them to accept the dictates of WTO and corporatised agriculture.

Comrade Dipankar said that the developed countries led by America are utilizing the war, World Bank, IMF and WTO to come out of the recession and through these institutions want to ensure domination over developing countries. The developed countries have not fulfilled the WTO obligations till date, but they are pressurizing all developing countries including India to accept all its provisions.

Addressing the rally Comrade Ahkilendra Pratap Singh, Polit Bureau member, said that the whole Sangh Parivar including Prime Minister Vajpayee is suffering from mental sickness and they are so obsessed with US-mania that they cannot see imperialist conspiracy in anything. Our agriculture is ruining due to the WTO, workers don’t have employment and youth are disheartened. Still Vajpayee Govt. is ready to surrender once again at Doha. This government has no right to stay in power and must be overthrown by people’s movements.

A number of political resolutions, namely on war on Afghanistan, WTO, Doha ministerial meeting, POTO, communal frenzy instigated by Sangh parivar, starvation deaths and Govt.’s new agrarian policy were also adopted in the rally. An effigy of George Bush was burnt at the end of the meeting.

Apart from Com. Dipankar, other CPI(ML) and AIKSS leaders who led this massive rally include Swadesh Bhattacharya, Akhilendra Pratap Singh, Pawan Sharma, PV Srinivas, BB Pandey, Swapan Mukherjee, Kumudini Pati, Raja Ram, Krishna Adhikari, Rajaram Singh, Rameshwar Prasad, Amarnath Yadav, Mahboob Alam, Ranjit Abhigyan, Rajendra Pratholi, Prem Singh, Phulchand Dhewa, Rajvinder Singh Rana and Ruldu Singh. Kaushalya Devi, mother of martyr Chandrashekhar, also came to participate in the rally.

This was the largest rally so far held in the country against the WTO and the American war on Afghanistan. With this assertion of the most downtrodden and struggling people, the rally has provided a new dimension to the ongoing anti-WTO movement in the country.

Rally against War and WTO at Vijayawada

ABOUT 4,000 people attended the rally against war and WTO at Vijayawada held on Novemebr 9. The rally was organised by CPI(ML) Liberation, AIKSS and AICCTU. The participants had come from all the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Pondicherry and part of Orissa. The rally covered an 8-km route through the Vijayawada town. Despite heavy rains the turnout at the rally was satisfactory.

At the end of the rally a public meeting was organised. The meeting was addressed by Comrades Uma Maheswara Rao, CPI(M) State Committee member and former deputy mayor of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation, Kolli Nageswara Rao, CPI State Sectt. member, MCPI leader Omkar, YV Sambasiva Rao of New Democracy, Bharghava Shree of Unity Initiative and Ramesh Patnaik of SUCI. From our Party Comrades B.Sivaraman, PB member, and CCMs N.Murthy, Balasundaram, Shankar, Kumaraswamy and Bangar Rao addressed the rally. Comrade Poonacha from AICCTU, Bangalore also spoke.

The speakers condemned the US war of aggression in Afghanistan and the imperialist designs to force a new round of trade negotiations at Doha, and called for a united movement by the left and democratic forces against the war and WTO. Com. B.Sivaraman condemned the US imperialism for launching an expedition of expansionism in the name of war against terrorism and destabilising Central Asia and South Asia and brining war danger to our doorstep. He also denounced the Vajpayee government for indulging in war mongering against Pakistan and minority baiting in the country to cover up their own shameless surrender to imperialism. Condemning Shanta Kumar’s announcement the previous day regarding the end to state procurement of foodgrains from the farmers, he demanded that Chandrababu Naidu should withdraw his support to the NDA government at the Centre. He urged the nine left parties in the state to launch a direct movement for the ouster of Chadrababu Naidu in case he didn’t.