International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2007
Calling for an end to state terrorism and the violation of rights of all sections of the people, hundreds of activists of various people’s organisations gathered at Mandi House in New Delhi on December 10, on the occasion of International human rights day. They then proceeded in a lively and colourful demonstration to Parliament, to protest against the violation of rights of people and to express their determination to carry forward the struggle for the realisation of our rights
Reflecting the broad spectrum of the movement for rights were the variety of organisations that participated in this action. Together with Lok Raj Sangathan, were leaders and activists of the Jamaat- e-Islami Hind, Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), National Forum for Workers Rights, Riksha Pullers Association of Greater Noida, Manipur Students Association of Delhi (MSAD), All Manipur Students Association, Masjid Moth Residents Welfare Association, Sanjay Colony Lok Raj Samiti, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Hind Naujawan Ekta Sabha, Nagrik Shasan, activists from Myanmar opposing the military dictatorship, and others.
Through bold banners and placards as well as militant slogans that they raised all the way, the demonstrators vividly brought out the people’s anger against the gross violation of rights. "Down with AFSPA!", "Down with Army terror in Kashmir, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland!", "Punish the criminals of 1984-1992-2002!", "Punish those responsible for state terrorism in Kashmir, Nagaland, Manipur, Assam", "Down with mass displacement in the name of SEZs!", "No to Indo US strategic alliance!", "Our demand — human, democratic and national rights!", "Hum hain iske malik, hum hain Hindostan,mazdoor-kisan-aurat aur jawan!" – slogans such as these drew the attention of passers by, among whom thousands of copies of the joint leaflet issued on the occasion were distributed.
At Jantar Mantar, near Parliament, the demonstrators rallied around in a circle and representatives of the participating organisations addressed the gathering. Demanding exemplary punishment for those guilty of crimes against the people, Lok Raj Sangathan All India Council member Sucharita condemned the gross violation of rights of more and more sections of the people. She pointed out that people continue to be victims of state organized terrorist attacks, state organized targeting of specific communities, bomb blasts and "encounter killings", as well as rape, torture and murder by the armed forces of the Indian state. She also condemned the massacre of people in Nandigram and emphasised that no ideological, political or economic justification can be used to violate the human rights of citizens. Stressing the need for a complete overhaul of the present political process which completely marginalises the people, she called upon all present to reaffirm our resolve to work for a new India in which people will have mechanisms for the realisation of our human, democratic and national rights, where we shall be masters of our own destiny — an India based on the voluntary union of all nations and peoples.
Mohammad Talah of the Jamat-e-Islami Hind denounced the Indian state for its crimes against all sections of the people and the portrayal of muslims as "terrorists" as well as the persecution of muslims in the name of "fighting terrorism". He pointed out that when we look at Nandigram, or 1984, or Gujarat, we witness the phenomenon of political parties unleashing terrorist violence to maintain their rule over the people. He hailed the united manifestation in defence of human, democratic and national rights.
Gunarjit, president of the MSAD highlighted the intolerable crimes of the Indian army against the people of Manipur under the AFSPA and the peoples struggle against it and called on all Indian people to unite to end this terrible oppression. He pointed out that how could Manipuris feel proud of being Indians when their mothers and sisters were raped by the Indian armed forces and the youth were mercilessly killed and there was no justice for the people. He was joined by Khumba, president of the All Manipur Students Association, in condemning the crimes of the state against the people of Manipur.
Joysen, representative of NPMHR, pointed out that over one and half lakh Nagas had been killed by the Indian state security forces in sixty years since independence. He described the present day Indian Union as a prison house of the different nations and nationalities and called for a united struggle to put an end to the atrocities being committed against the Naga people by the Indian army and other agencies of the Indian state.
Lipika of the National Forum for Workers Rights described the pitiable conditions of the unorganised workers in the construction and other sectors and emphasised the need for a strong united resistance movement for the enforcement of our rights. Ranju Minhas, secretary of the Masjid Moth Residents Welfare Association, elaborated on the struggle to secure basic amenities and the right to a safe and dignified existence. Representatives of other organisations also addressed the rally. All speakers unanimously reaffirmed the need to strengthen our fighting unity and work to build a new India, in which rights will be guaranteed to all and those who violate the rights of any section of people will be severely punished.
The December 10 demonstration and rally in New Delhi clearly showed that people are no longer willing to accept the violation of their rights by the state. The movement for establishing constitutional guarantees and mechanisms in the hands of the people, for the realisation of human, democratic and national rights, is steadily gaining strength.