Citizens March for Peace, Justice and Democracy held in Delhi
People’s movements pledge to struggle against attacks on Gandhi’s values by ruling forces
Collective protest against Land Ordinance on 24th February, 2014
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it—always”- M.K. Gandhi
30th January 2015, New Delhi: A march was undertaken by citizens and people’s movements to remind the present political regime how the actions taken by them in the name of ‘development’ are murdering Gandhi’s ideals of truth, peace, justice and democracy. On one hand, majoritarian politics of hate and intolerance is increasing communal divide in the country and on the other hand, the neo-liberal economic agenda and corporate loot are snatching away hard earned laws, rights and precious resources from the people. One after the other, ordinances are being passed without any space for dialogue, debate and dissent for people, undermining not just the parliament but also the Constitutional and democratic spirit of this country.
The March, which started from Shaheed Bhagat Singh Statue, saw representation of various people’s movements, farmer unions, labour organisations, youth groups and eminent citizens. Speaking on the occasion, activist Aruna Roy said that today there is no real freedom for the poor and marginalized in this country. On one hand the PM of this country wears a suit worth 10 lakhs and on the other, there is omission of words ‘Socialist’ and ‘Secular’ in the Republic Day advertisement. Undoubtedly, this is not the India of Gandhi’s dreams. Yogendra Yadav said that the very soul of Gandhi, secularism, is now being attacked and we must resist that. Kavita Krishnan said that the attempts by the government to grab our land and our resources are also attempts to snatch away Gandhi’s principles and our democracy. Rakesh Rafeeq pointed out that the present land ordinance clearly shows how the country is being sold to the foreign companies turning a blind eye to sufferings of farmers and workers. Sardar V M Singh emphasized that the land ordinance will only aggravate the agricultural crisis and conflicts in the country.
The march culminated at Rajghat where tributes were paid to Gandhiji and a pledge was taken to intensify the struggle to free the villages of this country from the clutches of Ordinances, of grabbing of land, water, forest, farms, livelihood of the people. Medha Patkar said that Gandhi dreamt of an India where villages and communities would survive and thrive and live together in harmony. He fought against the politics of hate and fundamentalism. As we remember him today, we not only reject the communal hatred being spread in society by those in power but also the wholesale transfer of land, water, forests and minerals to corporations through a slew of Ordinances. We reject this and demand that the Government takes them back immediately.
A call was made to all social and people’s movements, farmers and workers groups, forest dwellers, adivasi groups, concerned citizens and civil society at large to join hands with left forces in coming together on February 24th in Delhi to collectively protest against Land Ordinance.
The march was joined by the members of National Alliance of People';s Movements, Pension Parishad, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangam, Khudai Kidmatgar, Jan Awaaz, Yuva Kranti, Samajwaadi Samagam, People';s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism, Delhi Solidarity Group, Rashtriya Mazdoor Kisan Sangathan, National Domestic Workers Union, Anhad, Saheli, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression, Nagrik Ekta Manch.