Peoples Forum Against the ADB
PRESS RELEASE: 5 May 2006, Hyderabad
THOUSANDS MARCH IN HYDERABAD AGAINST ADB
Thousands took to the streets of Hyderabad in protest even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the official events of the 39th ADB AGM. Near about 5000 people joined the Peoples Forum Against ADB rally from Sundaraiah Park to Indira Park. A banner proclaiming ‘We can survive without the ADB’ captured the message of over 100 groups from across India and 15 other countries in Asia. Women from West Bengal, Maharastra, Chattisgarsh, Manipur and Philippines led the march. Sunilam, MLA from Madhya Pradesh and Narasimha Reddy from the Telegana Rashtra Samiti also participated. The loud and colourful protest comprised of farmers, hawkers, trade unionists, agricultural labour and NGO activists. Activists from the Communist Party of India and All India Trade Union Congress also participated in large numbers.
Dancing to the tune of folk music from different parts of India and expressing their protest through colourful headbands, placards, T-shirts and stickers, the protestors shouted slogans such as ‘ADB Quit India – Quit Asia’ and ‘We are better off without the ADB’. Activists carried a coffin, signifying the end of the ADB, for the duration of the rally.
At the end of the protest march a public meeting was held at Indira Park during which prominent people's activists spoke against the designs of the ADB and other international financial institutions. Ashok Choudhry of National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers said, ‘The days of the ADB were numbered as people's awareness regarding the destruction caused by it was rising’
Ana Maria from Philippines said, ‘Lending is an important way to colonise third world countries, and the ADB has no valid role to play in our economies’
. Sunilam said, The sole aim of the ADB is to reap profits from basic necessities like water, electricity, health services and education’. Mohan Kothekar of New Trade Union Initiative said that ADB loans amount to just 2 per cent of all the fixed deposits in the country, and India can survive very well without it
‘Who’s ruling this country - the ADB or our elected representatives’?
questioned Film Maker K P Sasi who coordinated the Peoples Forum film festival ‘Images of Resistance and Asian Destructive Bank’ which was sabotaged by the Andhra Pradesh administration. Sasi was forced to move his 4-day festival to a remote location from the NISIET campus. ‘This is an attack on the freedom of expression of several film makers and more importantly a violation of the rights of marginalised groups to express their views on this large Asian platform created by the Peoples Forum
, he said. He added that filmmakers of this country won’t take this lying down and would moblise public opinion. ‘We are very angry and will protest in an appropriate manner
, he added.
The rally concluded with a unanimous call that all ADB debt be cancelled and the institution wrap up its operations at the earliest.
For more information or to arrange an interview with any members of the Peoples Forum against the ADB, please call Benny Kuruvilla (firstname.lastname@example.org) (91-9820181191) or Ravi Rebbapragada (91-9848195937)