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Protestors clueless about the nuclear deal

By Syed Firdaus Ashraf in New Delhi
March 02, 2006 21:48 IST
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What's that?

This is the best answer you get from the nearly one lakh people protesting against President George W Bush's visit, when they are asked about the nuclear deal.

Interestingly, this was after several leaders from the Left and Samajwadi Party launched tirades against the nuclear deal, thundering that India was compromising its sovereignty.

"I have no clue about this deal," said D S Negi, a protestor from Rohtak, Haryana.

Even as A B Bardhan, general secretary, Communist Party of India, came up on stage and started complaining about the deal being a setback to Indian sovereignty, the masses remained unaffected.

Most of them were seen scratching their heads or wearing a blank expression on their faces, while Bardhan spoke about the nuclear deal.

It was a similar situation when D Raja, national secretary of the Communist Party of India, said, "It is not a great deal because India is compromising its independent nuclear policy. Our policy is increasingly coming under the influence of USA."

And the masses showed no inclination towards cheering this statement. In fact, the only time they did applaud was when Bardhan said that American was arming itself with nuclear weapons but did not want a country like Iran to have them.

"America is an imperialist nation and wants to create a unipolar world," he said, evoking a round of applause.

One of the onlookers said that he did not think India's interests were being compromised by the nuclear deal and said he was at the protest because, 'George Bush is a killer and I hate him'.

Asked didn't he feel that India would benefit from this nuclear deal, " Idris Elahi, an electrician from NOIDA on outer skirts of New Delhi said, "I don't understand this nuclear subject. I only know that Bush has never done anything right. He has not done anything good for the world and I am sure he will never do anything good in future too."

Another interesting answer came from Sarvesh Kumar, a Samajwadi Party leader from Benares, Uttar Pradesh - "I don't know what the nuclear deal is all about. I only know that my leader, Mulayam Singh, opposes Bush's visit and so am I opposing his visit. Netaji is never wrong in politics."

Jamil Ahmed, a Communist Party of India, leader from Bijnore, Uttar Pradesh said, "I don't know the details of nuclear deal. I only know it is bad for the country because my leaders say so."

His brother, Feroz Ahmed, who had accompanied him added, "I know the nuclear deal is bad for India and we Communists will see that this Bill does not get passed in Parliament."

India has agreed on Thursday for the separation of civil and military nuclear energy establishments. The separation plan has been accepted by President Bush, who will now have to secure Congressional approval.

It will end the ambiguity over India's standing in the nuclear world and it will help India get fuel supply from other countries.

Complete coverage: Bush in India

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf in New Delhi