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Indian Protests and Demonstrations

April 13, 2003: In Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, the Progressive Writers' Association condemned the ongoing attack on Iraq. Hundreds of writers and poets from all over the country took out a peace mach to raise voice of protest against the American aggression. Its President Prof Namwar Singh described the American attack on Iraq as barbaric and urged the United Nations to condemn such attack of one country against another. The resolution passed by the association on the issue ridiculed the weak stand taken by the Indian government against the invasion of Iraq and said that it was not consistent with the strong and bold stand taken by the country on such issues in the past.

In Delhi, Buddhist monk oraganised a street march against the US-led attack on Iraq. The monks were holding placards with Lord Buddha's messages for world peace.

April 9, 2003: In Delhi, the Rajya Sabha (upper house of the Indian Parliament), passed a resolution condemning the US-led aggression on Iraq. The resolution sought an immediate end to hostilities in Iraq, while expressing deep sympathy with the people of that country.

April 8, 2003: India's Parliament, which is currently in session, passed a resolution against the US-led aggression on Iraq. Besides condemning the war, the resolution disagreed with the objective of effecting ''regime change'' in Iraq and expressed full sympathy with the sufferings of the people of that country. The resolution said the war was not sanctioned by the UN and called for an immediate halt of the war and withdrawal of allied forces.

In Gujarat, an Ahemedabad based Non-Government Organization, the Alliance Against Terrorism (AAT), organised a protest rally in support of the US-led fight against terrorism, in the first such incident of its kind reported in the country.

A large number of AAT activists raised slogans against Saddam Hussein and Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf, even as they pledged support to the US-led attack on Iraq. The participants displayed placards with slogans like "Kill Saddam, Save the World", "Whom should we support? Saddam, the dictator, or Bush, the democrat", "Saddam has killed his own countrymen with poisonous gas. Should we support such a tyrant?" Alliance convener Nagesh Bhandari said, while addressing the rally that "The support to the US in its attack against the Saddam Hussein regime stems from the optimism that the superpower, in its tirade to quell the menace of global terrorism, will help India get free from the evil being fomented by neighbouring Pakistan".

April 7, 2003: In Delhi, the allies of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Trinamul Congress, Janata Dal (U) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) condemned openly in Parliament the US-led aggression on Iraq. Separately, intellectuals from various Universities in Delhi and other parts of the country organized a rally. Lecturers from the Jamia Hamdard University, Aligard Muslim University and Delhi University participated in a protest demonstration against the US-led attack on Iraq, in front of the American Center Library.

April 6, 2003: In Delhi, the Muslim community organized a protest rally against the US-led attack on Iraq. The participants held placards and raised anti-war slogans. In Ahemedabad, Gujarat, children staged a peace march in protest against the war on Iraq. Children carried placards with slogans like "We want books not bombs", etc.

April 4, 2003: In Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, Muslim organisations took out rallies to protest the US attack on Iraq. Thousands of Muslims participated in the rallies after Friday prayers, demanding immediate withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq. They also condemned the killing of innocent children and women by the US-led forces.

In Kolkata, West Bengal, a priest at the Tipu Sultan Mosque issued a fatwa (religious edict) asking all Muslims to boycott US goods in protest against the US-led war in Iraq. The cleric described the White House as a "slaughter house," and US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair as "Villains". He also said the attack on Iraq was, in fact, "aggression" and urged all Asian countries to unite against the US.

In Amritsar, Punjab, school children staged a protest demonstration against the attack on Iraq. Students carried pigeons, symbolizing peace, during the march.

April 3, 2003: In Delhi, lawyers staged a protest demonstration against the US-led military attack on Iraq. Hundreds of lawyers participated in the demonstration holding placards with slogans such as "No War" and "Stop War".

April 2, 2003: Protests against the United States-led war on Iraq continued in different parts of the country, on April 2. In West Bengal, the Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) and the All India Students Association (AISA), an affiliate of the left-wing extremist Comminist Party of India--Marxist-Leninist [CPI (ML)]-Liberation, organized a protest rally in Kolkatta. Protest the war, around 50 activists of both the organizations attacked on a Nike showroom in the city. The activists also pasted bills inscribed with the slogan 'Quit India', on the walls of the showroom. Separately, the Bengal Engineering College organised a 1.5 km-long human chain against the attack on Iraq. Around 3,000 people formed a human chain, with participants holding anti-war banners.

In Delhi, the National Human Rights Council (NHRC) staged a protest demonstration against the war on Iraq. Several members of the Council participated in the demonstration. They raised slogans against the killing of innocent Iraqi children in the war. The protestors also carried placards and pictures of US President George Bush wielding a rifle.

Separately, the Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind took out a procession against the attack on Iraq. A large number of supporters participated in the rally. They were holding placards like "Bush - Blair Go Back", "Bush! Stop Terrorism", etc.

April 1, 2003: In Delhi, the Congress Party organized a protest rally at Jantar Mantar against the ongoing US-led attacks on Iraq. A large number of party workers participated in the protest. They burned down effigies of US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair and raised slogans against the war. The protestors denounced the war on Iraq and held placards carrying slogans such as "Stop war in Iraq", "Bush stop terrorism".

March 31, 2003: Even on the 12th day of the US-led military campaign against Iraq, anti-war protest movements continue in several places of India.

In Delhi, the Committee Against War on Iraq organized a demonstration against. Hundreds of protesters from different walks of life came together to protest against the war. The participants burned effigies of US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. They also burned Coca Cola cans, water bottles and other American and British products as part of boycotting foreign goods. The protestors shouted slogans against the attack on Iraq and denounced America. The protest march started from Netaji Subash Park near the Red Fort and ended at Ramlila Grounds.

Separately, the Left parties called a protest rally against the war. Large number of party activists participated in that rally. The activists burned effigies of US president George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

To protest against the US-led attack on Iraq, the Muslim League, in the Indian commercial capital of Mumbai, in Maharastra, called upon major hotels in the city and urged them not to use US products or goods.

Protest demonstrations were also organized in Allahabad, Bhopal and other parts of the country.

March 30, 2003: Protests against the United States-led war against Iraq continued in various parts of the country. In Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, the Left parties and other organizations organized a hige procession against the attack on Iraq. Around 15,000 people participated in the anti-war rally. Communist Party of India (CPI) State secretary S Sudhakar Reddy, CPI-Marxist state secretary B V Raghavulu, leaders of seven other Left parties, and Majlis-e-Ittehaadul Muslimeen Legislators Asaduddin Owaisi and Mumtaz Ahmed Khan, were among the prominent participants. Folk singers, artists and writers from Left organisations, including revolutionary poet and balladeer Gaddar and revolutionary writer Vara Vara Rao, joined the rally. Dr P M Bhargava, scientist and former director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, led the rally from Charminar under the banner of Forum Against War on Iraq. Dr Bhargava asked the protestors to shun products manufactured by Indian companies having American foreign direct investment. Two Canadians, two Germans, a Frenchman and a Spaniard social activist also participated in the rally. They said, "We oppose this war and hence we came to join this massive demonstration."

The protestors shouted slogans like 'Down with American imperialism', 'Bush Number one terrorist of the world', 'Bush and Blair, enemies of humanity', 'No blood for oil' and 'We are with our Iraqi brothers'. The agitators burnt effigies of US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The participants took a pledge not to buy American soft drinks, food products and other goods and services.

Issuing a declaration at the rally, the protestors termed the war as "an unbridled, deliberate and premeditated act of aggression that lays bare the desire of American government to exercise total control over the destinies of all the people of the world and use them ruthlessly for meeting its own selfish and convoluted objectives in a way that would put the feudal regime, the colonial rule and the totalitarian government of the past, to shame".

"We believe that no one [including the people of US] would gain by this war while everyone and every nation will lose out in one way or the other. We recognise that if only the money that is being spent by US and its allies on the war against Iraq were to be spent on humanitarian causes, the world could become a safer and better place to live in," the declaration further noted.

It also urged the United Nations "to work out a time-bound programme to repair the damages caused by the war with the expenses being payable by US and its allies in this unfair, immoral and illegal war, which neither has the sanction of the UN nor the vast majority of the people of the world."

The demonstration ended with the adoption of a resolution denouncing the US aggression and urging the Indian government to unequivocally condemn the war.

Separately, the Left-wing extremist-Naxalites-Peoples War Group (PWG), strongly condemning the attack on Iraq, gave a call to boycott American and British goods to protest the aggression by "war-mongering nations against a poor and war-ravaged nation." PWG Central Committee member Prakash, said in a statement that people should boycott Coke and Pepsi and unite to throw out Trans National Companies from Indian soil and put pressure on NDA government to openly declare its opposition to the on-going war. "The PWG considers this war as the most heinous crime against humanity and to create a new world order under the undisputed hegemony of the US imperialists and to colonise the world," he added.

In Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, an anti-war march was organized by the Shias. More than 10,000 people participated in a procession to protest against US-led war on Iraq. The procession was led by Shia scholar Maulana Kalbe Jawwad. He urged the people to boycott the products manufactured in the US and Britain. The protestors carrying placards and banners marched from the Attala Islamia College to Mansur Ali Park.

In Jaipur, Rajasthan, Namaz-cum-demonstration was organized by mosques in the city against the War. The speakers who addressed the gathering criticised the US and Britain for attacking "innocent people of Iraq who had nothing to do with nuclear weapons and chemical warfare." Around 15,000 Muslims offered Ijetami Namaz (a collective prayer) for peace in Iraq. While shouting anti-Bush and anti-Blair slogans for their "joint war against human beings living in Iraq", the protestors also burnt around 10 effigies of the two leaders.

Separately, 19 Left parties in West Bengal organized a massive rally and procession in the capital Kolkata to protest war in Iraq. Former State Chief Minister and veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu and Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee took part in the rally. Left Front chairman Biman Bose flagged off the huge procession in the presence of leaders of his party––the CPI (M), besides those from the CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc. Many Leftist Parliamentarians and Legislators and party activists, along with film-maker Mrinal Sen, singer-actress Ruma Guha Thakurta, Sova Sen, Bibhas Chakraborty, mime exponent Jogesh Dutta and magician P C Sorcar, also walked in the procession. Around one hundred thousand protesters participated in that rally. Effigies of President Bush and Premier Blair were burnt down by the angry protestors. The participants, carrying placards and tableaux, then began a procession, singing peace songs and shouting slogans against what they described as a "barbaric attack against humanity".

In Manipur, the third general session of the Jamiat ul Ulama-e-Manipur was held at the Hatta Masjid, Imphal. Delegates strongly denounced the US and British-led war on Iraq and said it was being conducted without United Nations sanction, in violation of international law, and in defiance of the opposition by a large section of the global population. Participants also condemned the suffering caused to innocent citizens because of the war.

Protest demonstrations were reported from Ahmmedabad, Guwhati and other parts of the country, as well.

March 28, 2003: In continuing protests in India against the United States-led war on Iraq, six left-wing student organisations, including the Communist Party of India––Marxist [CPI-M]-affiliated Students Federation of India (SFI) called a strike in West Bengal, at educational institutions. The participants demanded an immediate end to the war. In the State capital, Kokatta, the left-wing extremist CPI-Marxist-Leninist––Liberation [CPI-ML-Liberation] activists assembled near College Square and went on a protest march to the US Consulate, protesting the US-UK attack on Iraq. They also burnt effigies of US President George W Bush, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The protestors called for boycott of US goods and blockade of US missions all over India. Separately, the Trinamool Congress’ students union, too, opposed to the aggression on Iraq.

In Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen (JuM), and the local unit of the J&K High Court Bar Association, organized a protest rally against the US-led aggression on Iraq, after Friday prayers. All shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed.

Muslim Auqaf Trust vice-chairman G N Kochak led another protest march, in Srinagar. Hundreds of people participated in that procession. The procession started from Sayed Sahib shrine at Sonawar and ended at the local office of the United Nations Military Observers Group (UNMOG). There, G N Kochak submitted a memorandum demanding an end to the war. Protest demonstrations after Friday prayers were reported from Kupwara, Dalgate, Maisuma, Baramula in north, Anantnag and Pulwama in south and Badgam in central Kashmir.

In Hoshiarpur, Punjab, the CPI (M) organized a protest rally. Gurmesh Singh, the district secretary of the party, Gurbax Singh Soos, Rajinder Kaur and many others, while addressing the rally, condemned the US Government for waging a war against Iraq and killing hundreds of innocent persons. Several hundred men and women participated in the anti-war demonstration. Later they burnt an effigy of President Bush.

In Delhi, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, led a protest march and condemned Kuwait’s support to the United States-led attack on Iraq. Large numbers of Muslims marched to the Kuwait Embassy. The participants voiced slogan against Kuwait and the US. Later Bukhari and many of his supporters were arrested, when they tried to enter into the Embassy. Earlier, addressing the Friday prayers at Jama Masjid, Bukhari accused Kuwait of facilitating the killing of hundreds of Muslims in Iraq and said, "Allah and the Muslim world will never pardon Kuwait."

Another anti-war protest rally was organized by the CPI (M) in Delhi.

March 27, 2003: In Agartala, the Communist Party of India--Marxist CPI (M)- organised a huge anti-war rally against the United States-led war on Iraq. Intellectuals, artists, politicians, government employees, engineers, doctors, writers and businessmen participated in the rally.

In Bangalore, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) organized a rally against attacks on Iraq. State unit president B Janardhan Poojary led and the rally and, in a speech, condemned US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for launching the the war in violation of the UN Charter. Former Union Cabinet Minister C K Jaffer Sharief said it was unfortunate that the Vajpayee government had not "strongly condemned " the aggression against Iraq and added that "British and American forces must quit Iraq to maintain peace and save humanity. Karnataka Urban Development Minister D K Shivakumar also participated in the rally and condemned the "imperialistic attitude" of the US.

March 26, 2003: In the Andhra Pradesh capital, Hyderabad about 1,000 Shias, including women, participated in a protest rally that terminated at the Governor’s residence and was organised by the Anjuman-e-Alvi Akhbari. Moulana Waheeduddin Haider Jafferi, president of the Anjuman and Prof Abdur Raheem, a university teacher were the prominent spekaers at the rally. They condemned the United States’ attacks on Iraq, especially the bombings over Shia holy places Karbala and Najaf. They also warned of intense agitation if any of the shrines at the holy places were hit or damaged by coalition troops. In a memorandum submitted to State Governor Surjeet Singh Barnala the protestors demanded that the Indian Government should exercise its influence and stop the war

Separately, a large group of 400 school children came in a peace procession to the Governor’s residence and formed a human chain raising slogans against US-led war on Iraq. The children carried placards with the slogan, 'We don't want war, we want peace."

In Kolkata, West Bengal, State Legislative Assembly Speaker and president of the World Federation of United Nations Associations Hasim Abdul Halim strongly condemned the UN’s inaction even as war is raging in Iraq. In a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, he asked the UN to declare the war as "illegal military action". He also said that the UN ‘s role is totally contrary to the charter and commitments of the UN.

In Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, the students of Kashmir University organized a protest demonstration against the war on Iraq. A large number of students participated in the demonstration and raised anti-US slogans.

In Chennai, Tamil Nadu, the State Legislative Assembly passed a resolution condemning the US-led war on Iraq. In the resolution, Members of the Assembly condemned the unilateral decision of the US to launch the war, without any convincing reason, and for disregarding world opinion against the war.

March 24, 2003: On the fifth day of the United States-led war on Iraq, protests and demonstrations were held in different parts of India.

In Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the Kashmir Bar Association gave a call for strike opposing the war on Iraq. Business establishments and educational institutions remained closed and traffic was off the roads. Separately, groups of youth took out rallies raising pro-Islam and anti-US slogans at Maisuma, Basant Bagh, Kokerbazar and other areas in the city, as well as in Baramulla, Kupwara and Anantnag towns in the State. Member of the State Legislative Assembly (MLA) and State secretary of the Communist Party of India––Marxist M Y Tarigami declared support to the strike.

In Bihar, the State Legislative Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution against the US led attack on Iraq. Agitated MLAs shouted anti-US slogans.

In Kavarati, Lakshadeep, a local religious leader, Sayed Shaik Koya Musaliyar led a prayer meeting and described the US-led war against Iraq as "most unfortunate. "The US decision to wage war was ‘unilateral’, he added.

In Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, several trade union workers staged a demonstration against the US-led war against Iraq.

March 23, 2003: Reports of protests against the US-led military action on Iraq have been coming from different parts of the country.

In Delhi, the Muslim community staged a demonstration and took out a rally, chanting anti-US slogans, led by the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari. Addressing the gathering, Bukhari said, "Indian Muslims are expressing their anger over the criminal silence of the governments of Muslims countries, especially the gulf countries, and asked those countries to work for halting the war on Iraq. Declaring that "[US President George] Bush has always been anti–Islam", Bukhari said the war on Iraq is a "wakeup call for the Muslim world. They must realize the intention of the US". Janata Dal (U) leader and Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) MLA Shoib Iqbal also participated in the protest.

In Deradun, Uttaranchal, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) organised a rally against the attack on Iraq. Suryakant Dhasmana, Nationalist Congress Party's State president, led the rally. Intellectuals, social workers, journalists and politicians participated in the rally and burnt the effigy of President Bush. Holding placards and banners, the anti-war protestors gathered at the Gandhi Park and later marched to the Clock Tower. The protestors demanded an immediately halt to "operation of genocide" in Iraq and asked the Indian government to condemn the US for trying to spread its ''hegemony'' over the world. The protestors also reportedly warned that Washington could extend its ''aggression'' to other third world nations.

In Jaipur, Rajastahn, a rally was organised by 20 different organisations belonging of the Muslim community. At least 6,000 persons participated in the protesting the US-led war against Iraq. The participants carried placards and banners and burnt the effigies of President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, raising anti-US, anti-UK slogans and demanding they stop the war.

Meanwhile, in Andhra Pradesh, C Ramachnadraiah, a Member of Parliament (MP), and a leader of the Telugu Desam Party, urged Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to raise India’s "voice of protest against the US’ violation of international law in waging a war against Iraq".

Besides, speaking to a news agency in Pune, a former Vice Chief of the Army staff, Lt. Gen. Moti Dar, said the US is waging war against Iraq for oil and to install a puppet government. Dar said, "It is the aim of the US to take control of the oil sector" in Iraq, and went on to add, "The US wants to install a government in Iraq that is totally subservient to itself."

March 21, 2003: Protest demonstrations against the US-led war on Iraq were held at various places in India. In the capital Delhi, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI-ML) New Democracy staged a demonstration outside the American Centre. They also called upon Indians to protest against the war by holding demonstrations, burning the American flag and boycotting American and British goods. Separately, CPI-ML (Liberation) activists staged protests on Parliament Street, condemning the US-led war. They denounced it as a "blatant war of aggression" and called US President George Bush and British Premier Tony Blair as "the biggest threat to peace and civilisation''. Addressing the anti-war activists, CPI-ML (Liberation) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said the war on Iraq was a "direct onslaught on the whole of Asia and the Third World".

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, leader of the secessionist All Parties Hurriyat Conference, in Jammu and Kashmir, led a large anti-war protest demonstration in Srinagar. While addressing the demonstrators, Umar said, "If the Muslims across the globe fail to unite this time in saving Iraq, the aggressor will attack other Muslim countries too.'' He also said, "America is the biggest enemy of Muslims.'' The demonstration, however, turned violent when some participants clashed with the police and at least a dozen were reported injured in these clashes. Anti-war protests passed off peacefully in Baramulla, Sopore, Pulwama and Anantnag districts. Widespread protests were also reported from Rajouri, Poonch and Doda districts in Jammu.

In Bangalore, the capital of the Southern Indian State of Karnataka, approximately 2,000 Muslims demonstrated after Friday prayers. In Chennai, capital of another Southern State Tamil Nadu, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), youth wing of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), held a demonstration outside the American Consulate and termed the war on Iraq as a bid to secure the oil resources of that country.

Compiled from English language media sources from India





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