Left, SP take out protest march from Ramlila Grounds to Jantar Mantar
In its bid to forge new allies, India should not abandon traditional partners: BardhanWe will demand from Government details of nuclear deal, says YechuryMulayam criticises U.S. `imperialist' policies
NEW DELHI: Shouting slogans and carrying placards denouncing American policies, thousands of people, led by senior Left and Samajwadi Party leaders, took out a protest march here on Thursday from Ramlila Grounds to Jantar Mantar.
The leaders warned the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government against ignoring popular sentiment and aligning with the United States.
Addressing the gathering at Parliament Street, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat demanded prosecution of President Bush blaming him for the deaths of 1.5 lakh people in Iraq. "He should be treated like a war criminal," he said, adding that protests across the country had proved that President Bush was not welcome here. He asked the Government to pursue an independent foreign policy and not follow the dictates of the U.S.
Communist Party of India general secretary A.B. Bardhan said that by aligning itself with the U.S., India had severed its relationship with a large number of developing countries across the globe. "In a bid to forge new allies, India should not abandon her old and traditional partners," he said.
Calling President Bush an "imperialist aggressor", the CPI leader said the U.S. had taken control of Iraq three years ago and people there continued to lay down their lives in their fight against occupation. "And now they are planning to target Iran," he said, asking whether the Indian Government would hail such a move.
As for the nuclear deal, Mr. Bardhan said the Government had to answer important questions pertaining to national security raised by retired senior atomic energy officials. "It is a shameful act," he said, adding that the decision in this regard was taken in haste and the Government had not taken everyone into confidence. "Through this deal the U.S. can pressure India on a number of issues," he said, adding that the nuclear deal would certainly be raised in Parliament.
CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said it was because of widespread protests that President Bush was not called upon to address a joint session of Parliament. As for the nuclear deal, he said the Government would be asked to reveal details of the pact.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav criticised the imperialist policies of the U.S. and said the Indian people would not succumb to any kind of pressure.
Others who participated in the rally included CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, CPI leader D. Raja, son of U.P. Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav Akhilesh Yadav, Forward Bloc leader Debabrata Biswas, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh and MP Jaya Prada.
Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy was also present.
Earlier on Thursday morning, party workers from neighbouring States, students and activists of various organisations gathered at the Ramlila Grounds for the anti-Bush march.
Wearing T-shirts that read "Bush Go Home", the students criticised his "oil-driven" policy of "subjugating" countries by force. They criticised the U.S. Government for its role in Iraq and Afghanistan.