Press Release

Following is the text of the letter sent by the CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc to the Home Minister, L.K. Advani on the denial of permission by the Delhi police to hold a demonstration in connection with the visit of President Clinton.

March 17, 2000

Shri L.K. Advani
Union Home Minister
Government of India

 Dear Shri Advani,

During the visit of President Clinton, the Left parties had decided to organise protest demonstrations focussing on the US policies which adversely affect India. You must be aware that the US sanctions on India, curbs on technology, interference in the Kashmir issue and attempts to prise open markets in favour of US multinationals have been a cause for widespread concern in the country. These issues have been raised in public forums both inside and outside parliament. It is normal in a democratic country for political parties to organise peaceful protest actions against the policies of a country whose Head of State comes on an official visit.

We were therefore shocked to know that the Delhi police authorities have refused permission for a demonstration to be organised by the "Committee Against US Imperialism" on March 21. The Delhi Police Commissioner has announced that no demonstrations will be allowed in the city in connection with the Clinton visit. Since the Delhi Police is directly under the Union Government, we presume that this has been done with the approval of the Union Home Ministry.

You must be aware that the Pakistan government has announced a ban on all political meetings and rallies just a few days ago. There is a military regime in our neighbouring country. Are we following in their footsteps?

On behalf of the Left parties, we strongly protest this blanket ban on demonstrations in the capital and demand that permission be given immediately for the protest rally in New Delhi on March 21. If the government fails to adopt a democratic attitude in this matter, the committee formed in Delhi will go ahead with the planned demonstration to express the views of the Indian people on the hostile attitude of the American government.

(Harkishan Singh Surjeet), Communist Party of India (Marxist), (D. Raja), Communist Party of India, (Debabrata Biswas), Forward Bloc, (Abani Roy),Revolutionary Socialist Party.