ILPS International Coordinating Group and Committee (ICG/ICC), Upon getting a notice through the ILPS Info-Bureau e-list, we attended a picket of the East Indian Defense Committee (EIDC) for TEA-KOR in front of the Indian Consulate in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on August 15, 2010.
TEA-KOR stands for Teachers of English abroad in Korea and has been a member organization of the ILPS with an alternate position on the ICC since the Third International Assembly of the ILPS held in Hong Kong in 2008.
The picket was held at the Indian Consulate in Vancouver to oppose Operation Green Hunt and the war on the (Indian) peoples. At the same time, the EIDC released its latest statement published on this same day to begin a campaign exposing and denouncing the sham of the 63rd Independence Day of India. The EIDC is demonstrating its clear and just anti-imperialist and democratic stance.
The above-mentioned EIDC statement announced its aim “to show the reality of ‘Shining’ and ‘Incredible’ India. To quote it: “The grandiose delusions of the Indian ruling circles have led them from the NDA government’s ‘Shining India’ to the UPA government’s ‘Incredible India.’ India is ‘shining’ all right, but shining like rotting fish in the sun.” It declared that the Indian government is directly responsible for expanding poverty and drastically depriving the majority of its own people by selling out the country’s land and resources to transnational corporations, allying itself with US imperialism, increasing its borrowing from the World Bank, land grabbbing, displacing and depriving the adivasis, tribals and working poor, and carrying out state repression against the people. Consequently, wrote EIDC, the numbers of the people facing starvation are rising while more and more farmers commit suicide seeing no solutions ahead of them.
To further cite the EIDC statement: “According to the 2010 UNDP Human Development Report, about 645 million peopoe, or 55% of India’s population are poor (Times of India, July 15, 2010). An analysis by Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) creators reveals that there are more ‘MPI poor’ people in eight Indian states (421 million in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal) than in the 26 poorest African countries combined (410 million). “…The fine print of the [World Bank’s August 2008] estimates [on global poverty] also shows that the rate of decline of poverty in India was actually negative between 1990 and 2005, the period of neo-liberal and neo-conservative economic policies. The so-called ‘economic reforms,’ which started in 1991, have very obviously not only failed to reduce poverty, but have instead added millions more to the poverty rolls at a faster rate than ever before. This is the consequence of deliberate Indian ruling class policies which were aimed squarely at rewarding rich farmers and industrialists at the expense of the poor and landless agricultural labourers and farmers… “India, according to new estimates, had 456 million people or about 42% of the population living below the new international poverty line of $1.25 per day. The number of Indian poor also constitues 33% of the global poor, which is pegged at 1.4 billion people.”
The EIDC statement denounced Operation Green Hunt, huge military operations “directed against the inhabitants of these tribally owned territories who are mainly adivasis and tribals such as the Gondhs and Santhals and other sub-tribes, in seven key states of India–Andhra Pradesh, Chaattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and West Bengal.” The EIDC characterizes these hostile operations as “ethnic clensing, that is to separate the tribal and adivasi inhabitants from their tribally owned lands and deliver them to government run concentration camps.”
This follows a decades long trend imposing land seizures for the sake of massive development projects that enrich the local elites and global capitalists while it builds its military arsenal and alliance with the war aims of US imperialism in two key areas of Central Asia with emphasis on Afghanistan and the Indian Ocean Littoral, according to the statement. It concludes that the Indian peoples have yet to win their struggle for genuine freedom, peace and democracy.
EIDC leaders are old friends of Barbara Waldern, who worked with them in the anti-imperialist democratic struggles through the 1980s into the 1990s. She reintroduced herself to EIDC expressing solidarity on behalf of the ILPS ICC and TEA-KOR. Although, she will soon return to Korea for possibly another year, the EIDC leadership of the Vancouver area in turn conveyed a general desire to maintain contact and build an alliance in mutual solidarity.