Action 2007- Day 16 - First Phase Culminated with South Asian People's Parliament




In the history of India after independence the year 2007 brings special inspiration, being observed as the centenary of Gandhiji's 'Satyagraha', 75th year of Bhagat Singh martyrdom and 150th year of the struggle of Rani of Jhansi. Not only the common masses but people's representatives have brought forward struggles against imperialism. Even today the common mass is getting strength from the martyrs to save and build our nation into a truly free and democratic country. Struggle based people's organisations and movements have chosen the path of Satyagraha instead of organizing formal conferences against capitalists and people in power and they have come on the streets demanding justice and given united call of 'ACTION 2007'.

A time when out of 100 crores population of this country the farmers, landless labourers, minorities, women from all sections and labourers who have been kept in unorganised sector till date are deprived of livelihoods, housing and other basic necessities of life, the politicians, capitalists have been constantly promoting consumerism. This had led us to our determination to strongly protest against and challenge any form of inequality. The struggle of Nandigram is not led by any armed terrorist but it is organised by the very people of Nandigram including women and children to save their lives and livelihoods. Through SEZ and other massive industrial projects the Government not only continues to diminish the sources of peoples' livelihoods based on natural resources but also giving away its governance and fiscal powers.

Against the sovereign interests of the country our Government has been selling our cultural and environmental heritage to America and other capitalist forces. Adding to this, the government elected by us has been opting nuclear agreements which is destroying the peace of our country and degrading the local environment. Moreover, the government is also publicly giving lands to foreign as well as Indian MNCs, capitalist businessmen by amending existing laws or making new laws which is promoting massive socio-economic and environmental exploitation. The ACTION 2007 is a platform of intellectuals, representatives of hundreds of vulnerable communities, progressive movements against anti-people, anti-nation policies like SEZ, organisations like World Bank, Asian Development Bank, forums like WTO, and contracts like GATS which impose inequality, dispossession and displacement instead of generating employment, development and ending poverty.

By condemning the Nandigram killings of poor farmers by the West Bengal government and against forcible land acquisitions for SEZ taking place all over country, we initiated ACTION 2007 on March 19th with 24 hours fast. From that day onwards 5 days long (19th March to 24th March) People's Parliament was initiated at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. In people's parliament not only did we debate, opinioned and shared views but also formed common consensus on issues such as peoples' rights over natural resources and its management, Right to plan the development policies, Human rights violations of Dalits and Minorities, need of comprehensive legislation to safeguard the interests of unorganised labourers, against foreign capital and right to equality of women. After this detail discussion and meetings have been taken with various ministries, water resources, social justice, ministry of forest and environment, ministry of tribal affairs and labour ministry to present demands discussed in people's parliament.

On 22nd of March, the World Water Day many activists including men and women were arrested during a peaceful protest at the planning commission. On 2nd April, on invitation, a team of 20 members from ACTION 2007 including activists and experts met the members and advisors of the Planning Commission to discuss and share the decentralised people centred development agenda of the nation and changing the pattern of development planning. The Planning Commission was given inputs on the 11th plan Approach Paper and reminded that the constitution requires all planning processes to start from the villages and 'bastis'. The Planning Commission has promised to hold consultations in different regions before finalising the 11th Plan. We also want the government to respond to our presentations and demands as promised to us in various meetings on the issues like-
ground water and water management
law/act for unorganised labour and agriculture labourers
rights of urban poor and urban development
violation of environmental laws and consultations on proposed new changes
moving beyond panchyati raj to gram raj to basti raj

Loot by SEZ, agrarian crisis, rights of small and marginal farmers, exploitation of agricultural labourers and attack on agro based small scale industries have become main agenda's of ACTION 2007.

We reject poor rehabilitation policies that promote displacement and facilitates opening of SEZs. We explicitly want to state that the legal issues presented before the central government and National Advisory Committee by the various people's movements should be taken by the government for discussion. If we don't have prior informed consent as a part of the Rehabilitation Policy there will be civil war in this country

Today, on 3rd of April a people's parliament is been called with representatives of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri-Lanka to discuss disarmament, nuclear arms free, equitable and true democracy in South Asian countries. Whether our political leaders join hands in SAARC or they disagree with each other, it is only the strength and unity among we, the common people be able to save this land, continent, and cultural heritage from attack of America and Europe. A press conference was held this after noon addressed by Lubna Mariam, Anu Mohammed, SAR Geelani, Aruna Roy, Kamala Bhasin, Swami Agnivesh, Achin Vanaik, Anil Chaudhary, Uma Kant, Qamar Agha and Medha Patkar at the South Asian people's parliament

Today, we are rallying towards Ministry of Commerce with a people's demand to scrap SEZ Act and policy.

Today, we are not leaving from Delhi but we are marching ahead to those fields where the struggle for development and freedom will continue. In coming week from April 5 to 11 we will continue our movement against SEZ and displacement.

We will be back to Delhi soon along with Dalit and other exploited communities on 14th of April, the remembrance day of Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar and pledge to protect the Constitution, and that will be the second phase of ACTION 2007.

From ACTION 2007 co-ordination committee