National Alliance of People's Movements
Press Release

Date: 27 January 2003
C/o. Chemical Mazdoor Sabha,
Haji Habib Bldg, 1st Floor,
Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (East), Mumbai 400014
Tel: (022)24150529/25369724

National Campaign by Peoples Movements Against Globalization and Communalism Kicked off at Palakkad; Dhadda Returns Padma Bhushan

Senior Gandhian activist Siddharaj Dhadda returned the honour of Padma Bhushan to the Indian Government at the beginning of the nationwide campaign by the people’s movements, on January 26 from Plachimada near Palakkad in Kerala. Thousands of people alongwith the representatives of the organizations and movements from different parts of India present at the occasion expressed support to the agitation by the townspeople against the Coca-Cola factory which has been ruining their water and also country’s interests. The campaign also resolved to confront the growing communalism in Kerala and all over India.

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has launched a nationwide campaign against Globalization and communalism, to evolve a nationwide programme with the consultation and participation with all progressive organizations. The campaign will traverse 17 states and reach Ayodhya on March 30. Hundreds of organizations and prominent persons from all walks of life throughout the country are participating in this campaign.

“ Our country is free, the governments are not. They have sold out the interests of this country and the people to the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the World trade Organization (WTO). How can I accept the Padma Bhushan from a government which is not free?”, thundered the 92-year old Sarvodayi leader, at the launch of the campaign. Mr. Dhadda was awarded Padma Bhushan award by the President of India on the eve of the republic Day this year. He was also irked by the fact that the police listed Mr. Geo Jose, a senior activist with the National Alliance of People’s Movements, as a criminal.

The large gathering in the grounds in front of the gates of the Coca-Cola factory vowed to oppose the multinational capital and designs. In the afternoon, an impressive rally through the town was taken out which later converged in a large public meeting. Mr. V. Venugopal, the leader of the people’s movement opposing the Coca-Cola factory, expressed the confidence that the campaign has enthused them to carry on struggle in a more determined way. Both the Communist Parties have pledged support for the campaign against the Globalization and Communalism. Mr. M A Baby, the Member of Parliament from CPM announced full support of his party for the campaign while Mr. Krishna Das (M. P) declared that the DYFI, the student wing of CPI agrees with all the major issues raised by the campaign.

Number of activists, leaders from Kerala and various parts of the country were present. Among them were Dr. R V G Menon (Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad), Subhash Ware (National Secretary, Rashtra Seva Dal) Amarnath Bhai (President, Sarva Seva Sangh), Gabriele D (Tamilnadu) Ajay Kumar (APVVU, Andhra Pradesh), K.Ajitha, Tony Thomas (Bhavanippuzha Samrakshana Samiti), K E Ismail (Ex Minister), P.Balan (Ex. MLA), V C Kabir ( MLA, Ottappalam), Arundhati Dhuru (NAPM, Uttar Pradesh), Thomas Mathew (Delhi) and number of activists, affected people from other parts of country.

All of them came heavily down upon the terrorism generated by the communal forces in Kerala and elsewhere in country. Condemning the attack on the Christian priest in Kerala the meeting opposed communal politics in all its forms and by anyone. They pointed out that the communalism has been an ally of the global capitalism. The global capital has been devouring the communities, their means of livelihood, natural resources and the social-cultural life. The Indian State, its Laws and its democratic institutions have been made to serve the corporate interests.

Medha Patkar, the National Coordinator of NAPM, stressed the need for an all out struggle against imperialist and communal forces to rescue our polity from decay and demise. Citing number of examples, she asserted that this was indeed possible if the people get united and determined. She made it clear that the communal forces have been suppressing the real issues of survival and development the people are raising and the democracy in the country. It is necessary to defeat these forces by opposing their politics and by strengthening the people’s politics of alternative development. “ We have to develop and strengthen a new people’s politics to safeguard the lives and rights of our people and their resources with a sane, equitable and sustainable development, resisting the dangers of global capital and social-political exploitation and fundamentalism”, she said.

In South India, the campaign will be holding public meetings, corner meetings, conclaves with organizations on various issues raised by the people. In Kerala (January 26 – 29), the issues regarding people’s opposition to Coca-Cola, Bhavani River Diversion Dam, Sand-Mining, rehabilitation of the project affected people along with farmers issues including Palm Oil imports and resulting effects on coconut prices will be raised. The issue of global investment by Asian Development Bank is also important. In Tamil Nadu (January 30 – Feb. 3), issues like prawn farming, sand mining, farmer's issues, eviction of hawkers and Irula Tribals, unemployment, Nuclear Construction Workers have become important. Raising these important issues and extending support to the cause of these struggles, strengthening the coordination among the struggles the campaign will then head for Andhra, Karnataka And Goa before it reaches Maharashtra on February 7.

Sanjay MG
(National Coordinator)