Kerala CM, other CPM leaders hold dharna in solidarity with Palestinian people, call for ceasefire

Pinarayi Vijayan with party leaders Biman Bose and Prakash Karat during a demonstration over Israel-Palestine conflict at party office, in New Delhi, Sunday, October 29, 2023. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Condemning India's abstention from voting in the UN General Assembly on a resolution calling a humanitarian truce in the Israel-Hamas conflict, top CPM leaders, including Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, held a dharna to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people and called for a ceasefire.

CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, former Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar, party leaders Md Salim, Brinda Karat, Prakash Karat, and all members of the Central Committee were present for the symbolic protest held outside their AKG Bhawan office here.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s Central Committee, which concluded a three-day session here on Sunday, decided to hold protests and demonstrations across the country to express solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Participating in the dharna, Vijayan said that by not condemning the massacre of Palestinian people, India is being "complicit" in this. "It is really shocking that the Government of India has gone to the extent of abstaining from the discussion on the UN resolution, supporting Israel.... We have stooped to the level of becoming an ally of this nexus," he said.
"What we are witnessing today is a brutal massacre of Palestinian people... Innocent people are being killed.... If we do not condemn this massacre we are being complicit in this," he said.

Vijayan said India's support to the Palestinian cause emerged as a national consensus, and the country abstaining from the vote "violates this consensus. It's a complete U-turn from the stand".

The Kerala chief minister also called for an immediate ceasefire. Vijayan said an open backing by the US administration has emboldened the Israeli government, adding that the Left parties in India have always stood by the Palestinian cause. "Even today we stand by Palestine."

Yechury said Israel's war is not with Hamas, but it is an attack on the people of Palestine. "Our party believes the barbarity being done by Israel should be stopped. In the UNGA, 120 countries have voted for a truce on humanitarian grounds. So far more than 8,000 people have been killed, and more than half of them are children. We cannot accept this barbarity," he said.

He also advocated for the two-state solution and said the UN should ensure that the state of Palestine is established with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Party leader Brinda Karat said Israel is also attacking Palestinians in the West Bank area. "Israel's attack is not on any terrorist group, it is an attack to occupy the Palestinian land. Israel's propaganda that it is attacking Hamas, we challenge that. Where is Hamas on the West Bank? They are attacking the West Bank as well, it makes their intention clear," she said.

"The shameful abstention of India in the UNGA is not the voice of the people of India. The Modi government has set history aside and is acting as a subordinate ally of America," she said.

The 193 members of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), which met in a resumed 10th Emergency Special Session, voted on the draft resolution submitted by Jordan and co-sponsored by more than 40 nations including the Maldives, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Russia and South Africa.

The resolution titled "Protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations" was adopted with 120 nations voting in its favour, 14 against it and 45 abstaining. Besides India, countries that abstained from voting included Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Ukraine and the UK.

CPM leader from Jammu and Kashmir M Y Tarigami said the government has altered its international policy, and stressed it does not echo the voices of the people.

"India has always supported the Palestinian cause, the abstention in the UNGA vote is deviating from our international policy," he said.
(With PTI inputs)

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