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Left parties to hold protest during Obama visit

delhi Updated: Oct 29, 2010 17:42 IST
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The Left parties on Friday said a countrywide protest would be held on November 8 to coincide with US President Barack Obama's visit to India, for demanding justice for Bhopal gas tragedy victims and what they call US pressure on Indian foreign policy.

"The president of the US, Barack Obama, is visiting India. Being the first African American president and coming after the neo-conservative Bush regime, there were expectations of positive changes. These, however, have not materialised," said the statement. It was signed by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat, Forward Bloc's Debabrata Biwas, Communist Party of India's A.B. Bardhan and the Revolutionary Socialist Party's (RSP) Abani Roy.

"As far as India is concerned, the US is aggressively pressurising the government to adopt economic policies which are detrimental to people in the name of a strategic alliance," said the statement.

The Left parties highlighted several issues for the cause of the protest. Among many, figure the justice for the victims of the Bhopal Gas tragedy, compensation from Dow Chemicals, Warren Anderson's extradition. They are also calling for a decrease of US pressure on Indian foreign policy, a scrapping of the Indo-US Defence Framework Agreement which seeks to convert India into a military ally of the US. Stop pressurising India to give up liability claims on US nuclear suppliers.

They are also calling for a withdrawal of the remaining 50,000 US troops from Iraq forthwith and have a political settlement in Afghanistan to establish an independent and neutral state and withdraw US-NATO forces immediately. In addition to this, they are also demanding an end to the US embargo on Cuba and stop all assistance to Israel till it vacates the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories.