Left observe ''Black Day'' to protest Nuke deal

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New Delhi, Oct 4 (UNI) Thousands of activists of the Left, Janata Dal(S) and the TDP took to the streets today to observe a nationwide ''Black Day'' as part of their strategy to make Indo-US nuclear deal a main agenda of their political campaign.

Quoting reports from different parts of the country, Left leaders said the protestors staged demonstrations, rallies and hoisted black flags to criticise the government for ''surrendering the country's sovereignty to US imperialism.'' CPI deputy general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said reports of protest rallies had also been received from Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode, Kottayam, Patna, Lucknow, Guwahati, Bangalore, Chennai and Madurai. In Hyderabad, he said, the agitators staged a rally at the MLA's quarters where the speakers denounced the government's decision on the 123 agreement.

''We will carry forward our struggle against the nuclear pact both in and outside Parliament'', he said.

The protest coincides with US State Secretary Condoleesa Rice's visit to India. In the national capital, hundreds of agitators carrying placards, gathered at Mandi House from where they proceeded to Hyderabad House where Ms Rice is staying.

Addressing the protestors, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechury came down heavily on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying that he had violated all the promises made in Parliament.

Mr Yechury said the deal, which had been hailed as historic by the Prime Minister and the government, was instead a ''naked attempt'' to make India a junior strategic partner of the US.

CPI senior leader D Raja said from day one, the Left have opposed the nuclear pact as it was cost-wise an unviable economic proposition and unequal treaty. ''The deal is not to provide India with energy security but is meant to benefit the multinational companies of the US.'' Forward Bloc National Secretary G Devarajan and TDP MP and official spokesman Mysoora Reddy deplored that the Manmohan Singh Government was ''mortgaging the country's sovereignty'' and hard earned independence to the American business interests.

CPI National Secretary Shamin Faizi said the agitating parties will hold a joint meeting here tomorrow to draw up a programme for a long-run agitation against the UPA governemnt's economic policies and its failure to check communal forces.

The Left leaders stressed that the government's claim of providing cheaper electricity on account of the deal is a mere bundle of lies, reminding it of the similar slogan by Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when she conducted a nuclear test and promised cheaper power. The nuclear energy, they said, will still be costlier.

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