ISLAMABAD: Noted Indian rights activist and Secretary of All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), Roma Mallick, has said that peoples in Jammu and Kashmir and Palestine are fighting for ‘Azadi’ (freedom) from India and Israel who are exploiting their land and natural resources after calling them terrorists.
A Dalit activist, said this while addressing a function organized by J&K chapter of Pakistan India People’s Forum For Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) in Jammu. AIUFWP is the first central organization of adivasi and dalit communities representing the traditional workforce in India,KMS reported.
“There is uniformity in ongoing struggles of Scheduled Tribes Adivasis/Vanvasis), Kashmiris and Palestinians. They all are fighting for ‘Azadi’ (freedom) from those who are exploiting their land, natural resources yet depriving them of their rights, propagating hatred against them by branding them as ‘Maoists’ or ‘terrorists’,” Roma Mallick said.
Roma stated that she shared empathy with the struggling people of Kashmir for their right to self-determination yet branded as “terrorists and Pak agents” as she found them no more different from Adivasis, forest dwellers fighting for their land for which they were being labelled as “Maoists” shamefully by the ruling clique.
She said, “For past 20 years I’ve been working for people living in forests, tribal belts. Though I never visited Kashmir yet I always felt a ‘Judaav (affinity)’ with the people over there struggling for right to self-determination, Azadi. It never occurred to me that their demands were wrong. This is shameful that the [Indian] Home Minister call the young children pelting stones to protect their democracy, their democratic rights as ‘Pak agents’.”
“Yes, Azadi is a core issue. Still we say it and we believe it. That’s why I say struggles in tribal areas, Kashmir, Palestine are one and these struggles should be taken at international level. Yeh Zameenon Ki Ladai Hai….where ironically those in power are fighting for land, exploiting it besides natural resources yet propagating hatred against inhabitants. Our fight is against international capitalism and communalism,” she said.
A large number of peace and right activists, students, journalists were present on the occasion.