Dalit, progressive groups plan protest against n-deal

July 7th, 2008 - 7:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, July 7 (IANS) Dalit and backward class intellectuals and political activists in Maharashtra have come together to oppose the India-US nuclear deal and are planning to organise nationwide protest demonstrations against it. Feroze Mithiborwala, national vice-president of the Rashtriya Samaj Paksh (RSP), a party espousing the backward community cause in Maharahstra, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and other states, said that Dalit parties like Republican Party of India (RPI - Prakash Ambedkar faction) and Left groups like Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) have already given their support.

“We are going to Delhi tomorrow and will hold meetings with Left parties so as to form a common platform for opposing this deal,” Mithiborwala told mediapersons here Monday.

“We feel that India is playing straight into the hands of US corporate forces. We are not against nuclear energy per se but we certainly are against the 123 agreement and the Hyde Act which we feel can jeopardize our sovereignty.”

Elaborating on the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s argument that nuclear power fill in the energy vacuum against the backdrop of rising oil prices, Mithiborwala said: “The world over, the use of oil for power generation comes to a mere four percent. Even if the statement doled out by UPA is taken at face value, why is it that UPA is not going ahead with the India-Pakistan-Iran pipeline project? This project will not only bring down fuel price drastically in the Indian subcontinent but will also help in improving relationships with neighbouring countries.”

RSP (advisory committee member) Kishor Jagtap said that through the proposed front, “we intend to bring all Dalits, other backward classes (OBCs) and other deprived and marginalized communities together on one platform and make them aware of the perils of India-US nuclear deal.

“Majority of Dalit and backward class political parties have become reservation-centric parties. We intend to broaden this perspective. Prakash Ambedkar whose RPI faction is a force to reckon with in Maharashtra has already extended his support to our plans to hold protest demonstrations and picketing.”

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