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Zipping in car with Saddam posters for peace

Peace activist Kamran Siddiqui is present at almost every anti-war rally in Delhi with his Maruti Gypsy plastered with Saddam posters.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2003 12:01 IST

He travels in a red vehicle plastered with posters of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and speaks of "American aggression and Pakistani terrorism" at the drop of a hat.

Meet 30-year-old peace activist Kamran Siddiqui, who is present at almost every anti-war demonstration and rally in the Indian capital with his Maruti Gypsy van.

Perennially clad in a white shirt and trousers, he has been out campaigning for peace after the US launched the war on Iraq March 20.

"This war will create more problems. It will give birth to hundreds of terrorists. There will be chaos all around," Siddiqui, who runs the voluntary group Real Cause, told IANS.

The group was launched after the Kargil border conflict in Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan in 1999.

Anti-war posters released by Real Cause can be seen pasted on the walls of several neighbourhoods here, especially the Muslim-dominated Okhla area in south Delhi.

Siddiqui has collected some 500 different pictures of Saddam Hussein since the 1991 Gulf War. "I have collected these pictures from newspapers, magazines and various other agencies," he says.

He has pasted some 120 portraits of Saddam Hussein on his own car. The Iraqi president can be seen praying, wielding guns, addressing his countrymen or just standing behind his flag in these pictures.

"Though a dictator, Saddam has done more good to the people of Iraq than any other Arab ruler," claims Siddiqui.

"Only the people of Iraq have the right to throw him out. America has waged a war not just against the people of Iraq but the entire humanity. And it will pay the price."

A graduate from Jamia Milia Islamia university, Siddiqui hits out at Washington, warning the US would certainly be taken on by terrorists.

"America should wait for terrorist strikes. Only America would be responsible for that. It is the greatest terrorist of the world."

Siddiqui's car is making rounds of New Delhi explaining the consequences of the Iraq war.

"I stop wherever I feel like. Some people are attracted to my car. And when they come and ask me, I start explaining to them my views on the Iraq situation. I feel satisfied when people praise me and volunteer to join my campaign."

His friends and neighbours sometimes accompany him.

Siddiqui, along with Okhla councillor Asif Mohammad Khan, organised a three-day seminar on the Iraq war near Jamia Milia Islamia this week.

Three huge effigies of US President George Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf were burnt close to the venue.

"These three people are responsible for terrorism the world over. They should be tried as war criminals," he says.

First Published: Mar 29, 2003 17:51 IST