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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 46-47 November 11 & November 18, 2023

Long Live Palestine, Death To The Occupation [a public petition from India]

Saturday 11 November 2023


The intensified war on Palestinians across Gaza and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is being protested by democratic and progressive people across the world since Saturday, and many of us here in India have also been watching the siege and genocide unfold with growing dread. All of us on the side of truth and justice in India, across religious, political and regional differences pledge our support to the Palestinian people’s right to life and liberty, and their uncompromised right to self-determination and of return to their historical and current homelands. We pledge our support to the Palestinian people in this darkest hour of their suffering and resistance, even as we recognise the unlawful and unjust occupation by our own Government over the lands of the people of Jammu and Kashmir since 1947. We pledge our support to the Palestinian people even as we witness the deepening collaboration between the fascist, religious-majoritarian governments of Israel and India when it comes to surveilling, subjugating and outright criminalizing the dignified existence of national and religious minority groups and persons from oppressed castes under their administrations. Right now, humanitarian aid must reach Palestinians across the Occupied Territories without instituting new forms of occupation or making any attempts at restricting the political, social or economic freedoms that are owed to them.

Although both of these have been going on independent of each other for over 75 years now, since the last decade a dangerous liaison between the two occupiers is being witnessed. India was the first non-Arab state to recognise the Palestine Liberation Organisation as “the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” in 1974, and among the first to recognise the Palestinian state in 1988. Yet, there was a gradual albeit secretive overturn in this stance, as Mossad and India’s spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) steadily built relations on the back of technology and expertise sharing (see Moaswes, 2023). India’s offer of financial aid worth millions to the Palestinian Authority in 2012 was arguably an eyewash in the light of the state’s purchase and use of Israeli drones for surveillance of Adivasi communities in central India around the same time. Today these defence relations are in the open for all to see: the mutual support between Israel and India extends beyond diplomatic statements and Twitter condolences, into the realm of military, strategic and industrial collaboration. At least one Kashmiri victim of torture has alleged interrogation by Mossad operatives while he was in the Indian state’s custody (see Stoke White Investigations’ 2022 report ‘India’s War Crimes in Kashmir’). The state has used Israeli drones to bomb Adivasi homelands in Bastar 4 times in the last 3 years (see CDRO’s 2023 report on the drone bombings ‘When Sky Spits Fire’). Therefore, it is our collective responsibility to denounce and resist equally the ongoing Indian as well as Israeli occupations.

Many men, women and other people have lost their lives trying to protect their children and elders, whole families and neighbourhoods amid the total, ongoing siege of Gaza by Israel. Since its inception, the occupation is outright gendered and glaringly racist. Its violence directly affects children, whose present and future is being carpet bombed by Israel at this very moment. The occupation is being emboldened to new heights by the racist and Islamophobic ideologies of capitalist and imperialist powers across Europe, North America, as well as our very own South Asia. In the face of Israel’s campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide, Palestinians are still being asked to condemn Hamas politics, modes of attack and resistance in public and private fora before they are allowed to speak of the existential threat they are facing under occupation. Additionally, any attempts by those in solidarity to speak up and

affirm Palestinians’ basic humanity let alone their political rights is currently being criminalized in university campuses and public squares in the Western countries as well as here, in India.

Four Muslim students of the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh were arrested sans any legitimate grounds for taking out a procession in support of Palestine, on charges of “creating hatred between different groups” and “breach of peace”, in a reflection of the growing tendency of tyrants and their police enforcers to take cues from each other across Israel, India and the United States. It is not coincidental that Muslim students on Indian university campuses as well as ordinary Muslims across walks of life in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh are being penalized in particular for speaking out in support of Palestine. The targeted slander of the Palestinian cause since the 1960s combined with the rabid Islamophobia of the US-led, so-called “Global War on Terror” has resulted in the near universal equivocation of politically assertive Muslims with “terrorists”, so that they may be criminalized and pathologized as criminals by virtue of being Muslim, with the mass-manufactured consent of non-Muslim publics all over the world. The ongoing genocide of Muslims and other religious minorities in India, and the demolition of their homes mirroring Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes in the Occupied West Bank, is a part of this very repertoire of ever-increasing and multi-modal, racist, Islamophobic violence across borders. The Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu supremacist and genocidaire par tout, has assured full support to Israel as part of the sequence of events that have precipitated since Saturday, 7th October.

Furthermore, in the Indian-controlled part of Jammu and Kashmir, the state has sealed the biggest mosque in the region and disallowed Friday prayers since October 13, besides confining

Mirwaiz, a senior political leader and head cleric of the mosque, allegedly without formal orders or explanation. Kashmiris have long shown solidarity for the Palestinian right to self-determination, and vocal opposition to Israeli apartheid. In recent years, Indian imperialism in Kashmir has taken inspiration from Zionist settler colonialism whereby the Palestinians have been forced off their land by armed settlers and the Israeli Defence Forces and Police. So, we recognise the particular power of these two oppressed peoples under occupation standing in solidarity with each other, and pledge our continued support to both these national struggles. The Israeli siege and attack on Gaza’s residents brings back our own fears and memories of watching the Indian government cut off Kashmiris from each other and the rest of the world in its 2019 siege and ongoing violent campaign of annexation.

We salute the Palestinian resistance and spirit of anti-colonialism. History is a witness – the colonizer’s gun cannot be fought with roses. As we bear witness to the generational pain, immense sacrifice and continued resistance of ordinary Palestinians in their homelands, places of refuge and across the diaspora, we resolve to extend equal solidarity and duty of witness towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are under military occupation by our Government (actively aided by the Israeli state and its military). The dire situation in Gaza and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is today in the hands of their immediate neighbours, various international powers and inter-state systems — that appear every minute to be failing them in their basic rights and humanity.

In this hour, we encourage Indians everywhere to show up for the Palestinian people, to educate themselves and each other about their cause, and to join local protest and solidarity actions. We also

urge all politically-conscious persons to educate themselves and each other about the equally long plight of the people of disputed, divided Jammu and Kashmir; to support the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their resistance to the violent Indian occupation and imperialism; and to hold the governments of Israel and India accountable for their intertwined regimes of occupation against the people of historic Palestine and of Jammu and Kashmir.

We call upon all like-minded Indians in the country and in the diaspora to take to the streets in the coming days, and spread awareness about these most urgent political struggles of our time against occupation, and most crucially, organize protests and other, long-term collective actions in solidarity with the people of Palestine and Kashmir.

Further, we demand:

1) End to the occupation of Palestine, and the immediate implementation of on-ground measures enabling Palestinians’ exercise of their right to life and liberty, and right of dignified return. Time-bound measures must be undertaken on ground to enable the Palestinian peoples to exercise their right to self-determination, and in particular, the right of dignified return of those Palestinians dispossessed from their homelands since the 1948 Nakba.

2) Unconditional release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons and other forms of physical confinement to which they are currently subjected by the Israeli repressive machinery.

3) End the criminalisation of Palestinian activism and solidarity campaigns within India and beyond.

4) Unflinching and timely accountability for the crimes against humanity committed by Israel and its allies (including India) against the people of Palestine, in a specially constituted tribunal at the International Criminal Court. The Indian state must fully cooperate in these proceedings, even to the extent of being ready to face the consequences for its complicity in Israeli occupation and apartheid.

5) The Indian government must commit to a boycott of the Israeli state and military combined, and immediately end all military, strategic and industrial cooperation between the governments and private entities of India and Israel. End all arms deals between India and Israel NOW.

6) The Indian courts must hold our government (including its civil and military wings) accountable for its long collaboration and support to the Israeli state, including its multi-pronged support to Mossad and Israeli Defence Forces service personnel who move throughout India.

7) The Indian government must also be held accountable in domestic as well as international courts for its use of Israeli technologies of surveillance, subjugation and violence on the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well as on refugees and Indian citizens within its own borders, especially Adivasis, Muslims, Dalits, regional and sub-national movements, student activists, women and gender-sexual minorities.

8) End to the occupation of the disputed, divided territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and the implementation of the plebiscite that was promised to the people of this region by the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and by several UN resolutions.

9) The Supreme Court of India and the National Human Rights Commission of India must take suo moto cognisance of incidents of hate speech and fake news about Palestinians as well as pro-Palestine solidarity actions that have been peddled by Indian media as well as prominent individuals in recent weeks.

10) End the criminalisation of Muslims and their political activity under spurious charges of ‘terrorism’, ‘sedition’ etc., and accountability of perpetrators of the Islamophobic attacks on Arabs and Muslims everywhere.

11) Stop the police harassment of Kashmiris and Indian Muslims speaking up in support of Palestine, including the four students of Aligarh Muslim University, namely Naved Chaudhary, Mohammad Kamran, Mohammad Khalid and Mohammad Atif, and dismiss the FIRs filed against them.

12) We demand the unconditional release of Kashmiri political prisoners and Indian political prisoners who have been facing the ire of the Indian state for speaking truth to power and resisting oppressive imperialist forces.

Endorsed by

1. Feminists In Resistance, Kolkata
2. Forum Against Corporatization And Militarization (FACAM), Delhi
3. Revolutionary Students’Front(RSF), West Bengal
4. Bhartiya Kissan Union (EktaUgrahan), Punjab
5. StudentsForSociety, Amritsar, Punjab
6. South Asia Solidarity Group,UK
7. Democratic Youth Students Association, Kolkata
8. DemocraticStudentsFront(Arts) ,Jadavpur university,Kolkata
9. PeaceinIndia, UK
10. Women against Sexual violence and State repression (WSS) 11.Akhar Baul, Silchaur, Assam
12. Vikalp Manch
13. Bhalachandra Shadangi, All India Kishan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS),

14.Hasina Khan, Bebaak Collective, Mumbai
15.Beant Singh, Kirti Kissan Union, Punjab
16.S.L Padma, Indian Federaation of Trade Union (IFTU), Telangana 17.Shambhavi, Collective, Delhi
18.Sharanya, Rangmatipadar Adivasi Commune, Koraput 19.Ayush Singh, All India Students Association, Delhi
20.Debika, Xomonnoy, Delhi
21.Erumai Rajan, Student Of Adivasi Movements, Bhubaneswar 22.Ranjana Padhi, Feminist Activist, Bhubaneswar
23.Shailza, WSS, Delhi
24.Taniya Laskar, Akhar Baul, Assam
25.Anubha, Independent Researcher
26.Intekhab Siddiki
27.Sumedha Gupta, Ambedkar University, Delhi
28. Niranjan
29.Archisha Rai, Students’ Federation Of India, Delhi
30.Pranshu, Delhi
31.Sara H, Delhi
32.Tamanna, Delhi
33.Amit Kumar, Delhi
34.Nivita Arora
35.Swati Shikha
36.Satya Rajan, Ambedkar University, Delhi
37. Nishtha
38. Kaynat
39.Salman Nazam, Delhi University, Araria
40.Mohana, Student, Delhi
41.Vivek Poddar
42.Koel Chatterji, Feminists In Resistance, Kolkata
43.Amrita, FIR, Kolkata
44.Sherein Bansal, Chandigarh
45.Kanishka, Scholar, Delhi
46.Dhwajendra Dhawal, Delhi
47.Shreela, Advocate
48.Alok Laddha, Chennai Mathematical Institute, Chennai 49.Rohan Poojary, Tu Wien, Wien
50.Ronak M Soni, University Of Cambridge

51.Madhushree, Artist, Chennai
52.Barasha Devi, Gauhati University, Guwahati, Assam
53.Aparna Banerjee, West Bengal
54.Radz, Queer Person, India
55.Saumya Dadoo, Columbia University, New York
56.Puja, Lawyer, Delhi
57.Kasturee Chakravarty, Student, Mainz, Germany
58.Sachin Kumar, Patna
59.Rukmini, Kolkata
60.Ammu Abraham, Forum Against Oppression Of Women, Mumbai 61.Manu Akavoor, SINP, Kolkata
62.Madhusudhan Raman, Delhi University, Delhi
63.Ila Ananya, Bangalore
64.Satyam Yadav, Independent Researcher, Delhi
65.Purnima Rao, Delhi
66.Deepshi Chowdhury, Noida
67.Dattaraj Dhuri
68.Indranil Bhowmick, Kolkata
69.Farhat Zeba
70. Sandra
71.Ansh Sharma, Ambedkar University, Delhi
72.Amit Suthar, IIMSC, Chennai
73.Shri Bhagwan, Jaipur, Rajasthan
74.Mukta Ramola, New York City
75.Varenya Ganesh, Bangalore
76.Arunesh, Lgbtqi+, Bangalore
77.Upasana Bhattacharyya, Kolkata
78.Sreyashi Choudhury, India
79.H. M. Abu Nayeem, Bangladesh
80.Sambuddha Banerjee
81.Nisha Biswas, Kolkata
82.Freny Manecksha, Writer, Maharashtra
83.Shiva Shankar, Chennai
84.Sattik Sankho, Independent Artist, Bangalore
85. Sruti
86. Jabilli
87. Swagata Chatterjee, Kolkata
88. Suchetana Chattopadhyay
89.Kajal Kiran Singh, Delhi
90.Ilina, Dash Theke Dash Hajar, Kolkata
91.Satyaki Bhattacharya, Lund, Sweden
92.Subrata Sinha
93.Amit Wagh, Bangalore
94.Satyakaam, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru
95.Lara Jesanj, Advocate, Mumbai
96.Samita Chatterjee, Bengaluru
97.Sujatha Subramanian, Independent Researcher, India
98.Aparna Jha, Delhi
99.Shyamalendubikas Sarkar, Howrah, West Bengal
100. Aloka Kujur, Jharkhand
101. Soma Marik, Associate Professor Of History, RKSM Vivekananda
Vidyabhavan, Kolkata
102. Sushobhan Das, Jadavpur University, Kolkata 103. Dr. Darshan Pal, Punjab

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