Obama visit: Left parties hold protests (Lead)

November 8th, 2010 - 8:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama New Delhi/Agartala, Nov 8 (IANS) On the second day of US President Barack Obama’s Delhi visit, around 700 protesters, including members of Left parties, Monday held a demonstration here against America’s “imperialistic” foreign policy. At least 30 similar rallies were also organised in Left-ruled Tripura.

The protest at Jantar Mantar in the heart of New Delhi was backed by the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Socialist Unity Centre of India-Communist (SUCI-C), the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist and student groups of the Delhi University and the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

“There have been no changes in American policies, only the leadership has changed from from Bush to Obama. But their (America’s) imperialistic attitude has not changed,” CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters here.

Protesters carrying banners denouncing the US’s role in Afghanistan and Iraq and demanding justice to Bhopal gas disaster victims, swarmed Sansad Marg that links the 17th century observatory to Parliament House.

“We want a proper compensation for Bhopal (gast tragedy) victims, and in the strongest terms denounce the opening up of Indian agriculture sector to the US companies,” said Mohammad Arif, a CPI-M leader.

“President Obama is a shrewd businessman who’s created a lot of jobs and wealth for American citizens,” he said.

“America should withdraw forces from Afghanistan and other areas which are under its control. America is encouraging Israel to continue its takeover of Palestinian territories. It is basically a capitalist regime, trying to take over the world,” said Pran Sharma, secretary of the SUCI-C.

A banner read “Obama, the war monger get out of India”. Protesters shouted slogans such as “Barack Obama is responsible for Iraq’s deserted bloody roads”.

They also shouted slogans against foreign direct investment (FDI) in Indian retail and agriculture sectors.

The CPI-M’s student wing Students’ Federation of India (SFI) also joined the protest along with the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP).

In the northeastern state of Tripura, the ruling CPI-M organised rallies to criticise “US policies which are inimical to the national sovereignty and the people’s interests of many countries”.

“At least 30 rallies have been organised at many places of Tripura at a time when Obama is on a four-day India visit,” a CPI-M spokesman told reporters.

Various frontal organisations of CPI-M and other Left parties, including the Forward Bloc, also organised similar protest demonstration across the Left ruled state, he said.

Apart from demanding justice for the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy, the protests revolved around stopping US pressure on India on foreign policy, not opening up the agriculture, retail and education sectors for American companies.

The protesters also demanded scrapping of the India-America defence framework agreement, he said.

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