Human rights activists joined by hundreds of students, workers and women marched from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar in Delhi raising slogans in defense of human, democratic and national rights, and demanding that those responsible for violation of these rights be punished. This year marked the 63rd anniversary of the Adoption of the Universal Declaration of Rights by the United Nations. The rally was initiated and organised by the Lok Raj Sangathan.
At the head of the rally was the main banner boldly proclaiming "Unite to oppose the violation of human rights by the Indian state!" Participants carried banners of their organisation and placards with slogans like "It is the duty of the state to guarantee human rights!", "It is the duty of the people to establish a system that guarantees human rights!" and other slogans. They also condemned the use of state terrorism, including draconian laws like AFSPA to suppress human rights and democratic rights and raised slogans against price rise, which has eroded the living standards of the people, and violated their rights. They demanded right to education, health, decent housing, etc as fundamental rights, which the state is duty bound to fulfill.
Activists and supporters of Lok Raj Sangathan (LRS), Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Communist Ghadar Party of India (CGPI), Manipur Students Association of Delhi (MSAD), CPI(ML), PDFI, People’s Union of Civil Liberties, New Sanjay Camp Lok Raj Samiti, Sanjay Colony Lok Raj Samiti, Voltas Employees Union, Leather Workers Union, Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangam, and many other organisations vigorously participated in the rally.
The highlight of the rally was participation of large numbers of school children, girls and boys, who carried placards and banners and enthusiastically raised slogans all along the route. The slogan “Shasan satta apne hath, Julm anyaaya kare samaapt”, reflected the growing realization that root cause of violation of rights is that fact the people don’t have power in their hand and is monopolized in the hands of the political parties representing by interest of the rich and powerful, and asserted that the political power must be in the hands of the people and the economy must be reoriented to serve the interest of the working people and not the "right" of monopoly corporations to maximize their profits. Participants also asserted that sovereignty must vest with the people, and that the workers, peasants, women and youth constitute India and are her real masters. Slogans were also raised condemning US imperialist aggressions on the sovereignty of peoples and nations and calling for the anti-imperialist unity of the peoples of South Asia were also vigorously raised.
Representatives of various organisation addressed the rally which converged at Jantar Mantar.
Shri Raghavan questioned if we have any human rights when in fact, we don’t have access to clean water or livelihood and when people cannot even come out on to the streets under AFSPA. He pointed out that there are no mechanisms to enforce rights. He said that a new political system is necessary where there will be mechanisms for enforcing rights and the control over the mechanism should be with the people.
Santosh talked about the conditions in slum colonies where the drains overflow and water supply gets contaminated. School class rooms are stuffed with 100s of children. In general the State also targets the people based on the religion and try to portray the people as communal. Similarly terrorism is used to attack rights of the people.
Masterji from New Sanjay Camp said that if there is no right to livelihood then there is no human right. Rather than ensuring right to food, the government is depriving people of food security on the basis of poverty line. He emphasized that we should unite and strengthen Lok Raj Samities in every area.
Shri Inam ur Rehman from Jamaat-e-Islami Hind said that the government boasts of the right to education but the actual conditions in government schools are so pathetic that parents don’t want to put their children in these schools. Similarly government is not fulfilling its responsibility of maintaining sanitation and a lot of people are dying of TB and Malaria.
Shri Safikul from Manipuri Students Association of Delhi called on everyone to fight unitedly against blatant violations of rights such as under AFSPA.
Shri Jagdish from CPI(ML) said that when Kashmiri people fight for their rights, the government attacks them by claiming that they are Pakistani agents. In this manner, the government attacks all people. They are letting prices rise to justify entry of big corporate retailers like Walmart. The increase the prices by a huge amount and then roll back a little to disorient people’s opposition.
Shri Sunil from PDFI said that only through struggle do people get whatever rights they get. Therefore, we should strengthen our unity in struggle.
Shri Lokesh from Lok Raj Samiti said that it was shame that rather than celebrating Human Rights day, people are deprived of even the basic necessities of life and have to come out on the streets to demand these. He said that in this day and age, women have no toilette facilities in many slum colonies of the capital, and the officials have the gall to say that slum residents like to live in unhygienic conditions. He said that the government only works for the rich as can be seen from the huge bail out packages for saving big banks and other companies. He expressed his happiness over the participation of young people as it is the young people who have to organise and change the situation in our country.
Shri Pushkar Raj from PUCL also expressed concern over how the government was attacking people’s rights by privatising public services like electricity and water supply. He was very happy that young people are getting organised in Lok Raj Samities and coming forward in struggles to defend the interest of toiling people.
At the end of the meeting a resolution was unanimously adopted by all present at the gathering.