A broad and loose coalition has been recently formed with the coming together of a number of initiatives that have been going on since the Sept 11 events and the subsequent war. The initiative has been called Coalition for Peace and Democracy (CPD) and it seeks to be a platform that is as broad and open as possible.
Individuals and groups associated with all these different initiatives
who felt the need to make a public statement that the opposition to the
war is not merely coming
from fanatics but from all democratic and secular people, met on October 12 at ISI to discuss the future course of action. It was decided that we join in all our forces to make a massive show of secular-democratic strength by marching for peace on October 30, 2001. The time of the march will be at 11.00 a.m but the details of the route and starting point are still being finalized. A common statement that will be printed in the form of a leaflet has been prepared and was discussed at the second meeting of CPD held on Oct. 17 at ISI. A copy of the leaflet is pasted below. Please forward this information to all those who might not have received
it. The next meeting of the CPD will be held on the 24th of October at ISI at 5.00 p.m. Those who wish to attend are welcome.
We oppose and condemn the US military assault on Afghanistan. This has already taken the lives of innumerable people who are in no way responsible for,
or connected to, the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. We unequivocally condemn those actions as a crime against humanity and demand that its perpetrators be brought to justice. But the US and its alliance must give up their blatant double standards. If the calculated killing of ordinary, innocent people
is terrorism, and doing so outside one's borders is a form of international terrorism, then we oppose this wherever it takes place and whosoever is responsible
for it. An effective campaign against international terrorism can only take place by upholding international law, establishing an International Criminal Court (ICC),
strengthening the International Court of Justice, and democratizing the United Nations (UNO). Only legitimate international bodies like these can carry out adjudication and enforcement in a principled and impartial manner.
The global coalition of states that the US is setting up to undertake
its self-declared "war on terrorism" is illegitimate. It comprises governments
that are the
major profiteers in the global arms trade, possess virtually all the world's stock of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical and biological), have
caused great ecological devastation, and are also responsible for many acts and campaigns of ethnic cleansing and international terrorism, even genocide,
that have taken place over the last 50 years. That this coalition should now be authorized and empowered to wage war on one of the poorest countries in the
world violates the most elementary principles of justice and offends basic values of decency and concern for our fellow human beings.
The Indian government has shamelessly endorsed this coalition. We oppose
and condemn this stand of the Indian government and demand that this coalition
immediately disbanded. This war will bring immense suffering to the people of Afghanistan and destabilize the whole South Asian region. Already, lakhs of
innocent Afghans have become refugees, and their numbers will increase to millions. As always, women and children will be among the principal victims of
the war, and also of the reinforcement of masculinist and patriarchal attitudes and structures, that the ideology of war always brings with it. Undeterred by
all this, the Indian and Pakistan governments are using the situation to foment mistrust and xenophobia among their respective populations and to deepen mutual tensions. We strongly oppose this and affirm our commitment to promoting goodwill, cooperation and peace between India and Pakistan.
The US government's claim that "fighting global terrorism" gives it the right to militarily intervene anywhere it judges fit, is contrary to international law. And it arouses suspicions that US designs have little to do with terrorism. In this regard, the "8 to 10 year program" that the US is embarking upon is completely unjustified. It will lead to many more conflicts and wars the world over, generate more bitterness about the arbitrary use of American power, and cause destruction, casualties and deaths on an ever widening scale.
The BJP-led government has also sought to use the current situation
to promote communal polarization, and to attack basic democratic rights
country. It has tried to identify terrorism as predominantly a phenomenon of Islamic fanaticism. It has painted opponents of the war, and of the Indian
government's support to it, as anti-nationals. In this regard, it has deliberately targeted sections of the Muslim community as well as others such as human
rights activists opposed to its own repressive and anti-democratic behaviour. This government has arbitrarily banned selected associations, arrested
individuals on a large scale, harassed activists exercising their democratic rights of peaceful public protest, and now proposes to bring in more draconian
laws like the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance which is modeled on the notorious Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA). This codification
of the government's arbitrary power to arrest, detain, harass and punish on grounds of mere suspicion, can then be used against all kinds of peoplesí movements
legitimately mobilizing and opposing government policies of various kinds.
The opposition to the war on Afghanistan is not only a struggle for
peace and justice on a world scale, or for preventing avoidable human suffering.
It is also a
struggle to reduce communal tensions and to strengthen India's best traditions of secularism and democracy.
[The Coalition for Peace and Democracy (CPD) is a broad and loose
coalition that was formed by the coming together of all initiatives in
the city that
followed the events of Sept.11 and the subsequent war.]
JOIN THE MARCH AGAINST THIS UNJUST WAR AT 11.00 A.M ON OCTOBER 30, 2001. (Route of March will be finalized
shortly. Please inform others)