PIPFPD welcomes NAPM’s “Samvidhan Samman Yatra” in Jammu

Shuchismita. Dated: 12/5/2018 11:24:56 PM

`Struggle of tribals, Kashmiris, Palestinians is one’

JAMMU, Dec 4: “There is uniformity in ongoing struggles of Scheduled Tribes (Adivasis/Vanvasis), Kashmiris and Palestinians. They all are fighting for ‘Azadi’ (freedom) from those who are exploiting their land, natural resources yet depriving them of their rights, propagating hatred against them by branding them as ‘Maoists’ or ‘terrorists’.”
This was asserted by Roma Mallick of All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) in a function organized by J&K chapter of Pakistan India People’s Forum For Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) to welcome National Alliance for People’s Movement’s “Samvidhan Samman Yatra” at the convention hall of Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) on Tuesday.
“Samvidhan Samman Yatra”, aimed at “Honouring and Protecting Constitution” reached here in Jammu on its third leg after covering over twenty states across the country.
Mallick stated she shared empathy with the struggling people of Kashmir for their “right of self-determination” yet branded as “terrorists and Pak agents” as she found them no more different from Adivasis, forest dwellers fighting for their land for which they were being labelled as “Maoists” shamefully by the ruling clique.
Mallick shared the presidium with national convener National Alliance for People’s Movement (NAPM) from Delhi Rajendra Ravi, NAPM convener from Pune, Maharashtra Suniti S R, Ramen Magsaysay awardee peace activist and vice president Socialist Party of India Sandeep Pandey, Ashok Chaudhary of All India Union of Forest Working People and PIPFPD national executive committee member and Executive Editor of ‘Kashmir Times Group of Publications’ Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal.
“For past 20 years I’ve been working for people living in forests, tribal belts. Though I never visited Kashmir yet I always felt a “Judaav” (affinity) with the people over there struggling for right of self-determination, Azadi. It never occurred to me that their demands were wrong. This is shameful that the Union Home Minister call the young children pelting stones to protect their democracy, their democratic rights as “Pak agents.” Ditto pathetic scenario is there in tribal areas of Chhattisgarh, Singoli where I’ve been working for years. It is not the constitution but “Sarkari Naxals”, “Samants” (aristocrats) whose writ runs large there. Colonial Van Vibhag (forest department) controls 27 percent of forests, land of forest dwellers there. After UPA government enacted Forest Rights Act in 2006, tribes said they got actual freedom that day,” Mallick said.
“So I find no difference in Adivasis (tribes) there and Kashmiris here. Both sides are fighting for freedom, which we did not get even after independence. Yes, Azadi is a core issue. Still we say it and we believe it. That’s why I say struggles in tribal areas, Kashmir, Palestine are one and these struggles should be taken at international level. Yeh Zameenon Ki Ladai Hai….where ironically those in power are fighting for land, exploiting it besides natural resources yet propagating hatred against inhabitants. Our fight is against international capitalism and communalism,” she said.
Mallick stated this was the responsibility of all despite the efforts to silence voices of dissent as it happened in case of Gauri Lankesh, Dabholkar. She lauded the efforts of Anuradha, who despite facing similar threats, was valiantly pursuing her agenda of peace and rights for citizens. She wound up her thought provoking, stimulating address with a revolutionary couplet of Faiz in her soulful voice:
“Mataa-e-lauh-o-kalam chin gayee to kya gham hai
Ki khoon-e-dil mein dubo li hai ungliyaan maine
Zubaan pe mohar lagi hai to kya, ki rakh di hai
Har ek halkaa-e-zanjeer mein zubaan maine ..”
Rajendra Ravi stated that the Alliance – an amalgam of organizations fighting for the rights of marginal groups, weaker sections, tribal, Dalit and minority rights rights, talked of public/ctitizens’ participation (Jan-Bhagidhari) in policy formulation. “Yatra is aimed at protecting autonomous institutions of the country and citizens’ rights enshrined in the Constitution from onslaught of those in power patronizing few big corporate houses and rabid communal elements,” he said.
Suniti S R said that the individuals and organizations forming part of Yatra, which had almost covered its third leg, believed that they were fighting for people’s rights and striving hard for uprooting those working against citizens’ rights and playing communal-politics so as to ensure people-oriented development. “We’ve fought battles for citizens’ rights and won also. This Yatra will culminate at Delhi on December 10. We need the support of all those who believe in socialism, Constitution and above all humanism to make our endeavours in this regard successful,” she stated.
Sandeep Pandey cited the life struggle of Ganga crusader and IITian-turned seer Professor G D Agrawal, who died after 111-day fast for the cause of holy river, to expose, what he said, “doublespeak of present ruling dispensation headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
“Prof Agrawal resorted to fasting-unto-death for his cause five times during UPA rule yet was not allowed to die. But those, who exploit Ganga for their political campaign and have spent Rs 7000 Cr out of Rs 22,000 Cr budget for “Namami Gange” project without any improvement in deteriorating health of pious river, did not think it proper even to listen to the learned professor, who dedicated his life for saving Ganga. Notwithstanding their haughty claims, the professor was allowed to die and the Prime Minister shared his condolences on Twitter,” Pandey mocked.
He said that Yatra was being undertaken for the second time. “Earlier we did this during Vajpayee’s time to take on “India Shining” and obstruct their return to power riding on this rhetoric. This time also, we’ve undertaken Yatra ahead of election year against politics of communalism and corporate loot as the ruling dispensation has already started temple-politics to ensure Modi’s return as the Prime Minister,” he said.
While detailing about PIPFPD’s persistent endeavours advocating increased people-to-people contacts, de-militarisation, Indo-Pak dialogue to resolve all issues including Kashmir, Pandey also referred to “duplicity” of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on the nuke policy. “He (Vajpayee) wrote “Hiroshima
Ashok Chaudhary, while also cautioning against attempts to fiddle with Article 370 and Article 35-A, invoked Dr B R Ambedkar- the father of Indian Constitution to underscore persisting social and economic disparities, encouraged by lopsided policies of ruling dispensation. “Dr Ambedkar had cautioned that if these disparities did not end, political equality guaranteed by the constitution too will get eroded. This is happening now with the government of the day acting as state agent of Multi-National Companies (MNCs). In the present times, even the fundamental rights, including freedom of speech and expression, are in danger. Yet we need to remind all that the citizens’ rights cannot be negotiated at any cost,” he said.
He said that the Yatra was being undertaken to remind the government that it could not encroach upon people’s rights. He also took exceptions to attempts being made to stifle voices of dissent in the name of “nationalism”- a concept alien to Indian constitution. “There is no ‘Nationalism’ word in Constitution. “State”, “Nation” word is there but communal elements are deforming Constitution to serve their interests.
NAPM convener from Gujarat Krishan Kant jibed, “This is ironic that the people, distraught by government’s policies, have attained enlightenment only after experiencing the ‘so-called Gujarat model.”
Sanjeev Kumar of Delhi Solidarity Group stated that the Alliance would formulate its policy for next five years after reaching Delhi on December 10. He expressed solidarity with struggling people of Kashmir and sought participation of people of state in the movement.
Basant Hetansaria, an activist from Jharkhand working on Right to Food issue, Aishwarya Adhikari PIPFPD coordinator too shared their views about Yatra while ridiculing misplaced priorities of ruling dispensation. Hetansaria, while mocking at the Prime Minister’s claims of development in the state, gave a detailed account of stark contrasts which exist in Jharkhand facing starvation deaths.
“The ruling clique is exploiting natural resources, land, which actually belonged to citizens of the country, for furthering interests of few privileged corporate house against the basic structure of constitution,” they added.
Earlier in her welcome address, peace activist Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal delineated the imminent dangers to the basic spirit of Constitution and the rights, it confers upon all citizens, irrespective of their caste, creed, colour or religion, from fascist forces. She emphasized the need to value the constitutional guarantees aimed at ensuring life with dignity for all citizens of the country and make all out efforts to protect them from onslaught by fundamentalists patronized by the ruling dispensation.
Anuradha stated, “It is ironic rather sad to see - the government of the day wants people to believe that India has become a superpower or is in the throes of emerging as next superpower while crude economic disparities stare them in disdain. In stark contrast to its haughty claims or rhetoric, lie statistics on poverty, hunger, malnutrition among the children across the country. India possesses more As per statistics, more than forty percent of children with stunted growth live in India who are either undernourished or malnourished.”
“In fact, figures/statistics fail to give us real idea about state of abject hunger, poverty prevailing in the country. Yet penetratingly moving account built on narratives do paint an exact and everlasting picture of harsh truths around. This I had encountered in heartrending, poignant accounts of hunger stricken population including children `stealing’ food from rat burrows (holes) in Harsh Mander’s ‘Ash in the Belley’ and those images sketched by him through his narratives remained etched in my mind forever,” she said.
With regard to PIPFPD activities, she stated that the Forum was relentlessly seeking Indo-Pak bilateral engagement to resolve Kashmir tangle impacting peace and stability in South Asia, de-escalate violence on the borders to provide reprieve to suffering people of J&K and open more routes to increase people-to-people contacts on the lines of Kartarpur corridor project.
Anuradha also informed that the J&K chapter of PIPFPD, which was in a state of inertia for quite some time, was being reactivated. The membership drive to enroll new members was on while old members were requested to get their membership renewed, she said.
Peace activists from Jammu viz., advocate Jameel Qazmi, I D Khajuria of Internationalist Democratic Party (IDP), Abhijit Jasrotia, trade union leader Sampat Prakash advocated for sincere efforts to resolve J&K problem, major irritant in Indo-Pak relations, to provide much sought after reprieve to common masses of the state, suffering for last three decades. Qazmi, Khajuria warned against attempts to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35-A. They reiterated their demand for dialogue to resolve Kashmir issue and vowed to protect sanctity of the Constitution of India as well as that of J&K.
Sampat Prakash invited Mallick to share her views about Kashmir in public rallies to be organized by him there (Kashmir).
Jasrotia proposed a movement against acts promoting animosity among citizens by border forces of India and Pakistan at Wagah-Attari border parade.
State president All India Confederation of SC/ST/OBC Organization R K Kalsotra and a retired KAS officer Anil John talked of discrimination being meted out to their respective communities despite constitutional guarantees.
A large number of peace, right activists, students, journalists including Prabodh Jamwal, Editor ‘Kashmir Times Group of Publications’ were present on the occasion.
The function concluded with a revolutionary song “Dabey Pairon Se Ujala Aa Raha Hai…” presented by trio of Bhima Azad, Satish Vidrohi and Gulshan Udham of Inquilab Natak Manch from border area of R S Pura.



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