[ DRAFT OF STATEMENT BEING PREPARED FOR DEMONSTRATION ON MAY 16, 1998 AT 11 AM IN DELHI. PLEASE CIRCULATE ]



BUDDHA WOULD NOT HAVE SMILED

We, people's organizations and concerned citizens, want to register our
strong protest at the jingoism and intimidation on the subcontinent
unleashed by the recent nuclear blasts.

It is a matter of great shame that we should celebrate the moment when we
announce that we can kill millions of people with one nuclear bomb. These
weapons of mass destruction are no respecters of geographical boundaries -
the effects are felt for hundreds of thousands of miles, and last for
thousands of years. It is not surprising that the people of Japan have
immediately and spontaneously protested at India's nuclear blasts - they
have experienced the horrors of nuclear war, which has affected generations

What have we gained by this act? The claim of having attained superpower
status is bogus - in a nuclear war there are no winners. The need today is
not to enter the club of five nuclear nations, but to get out of the club
of the ten least socially developed countries.

The process by which this decision was taken has been secretive and
clearly undemocratic, and once again, the priorities of common people have
been set aside for spurious considerations. In different parts of our
country, people are struggling against poverty and deprivation, while
so-called development projects displace millions of toiling people. The
diversion of resources to a mutually destructive arms race on the
subcontinent is insane, unjust and inhuman.

We are deeply sorrowed and shocked by the outpourings of bloated
"national pride" from the media and from political parties. Within two days
of celebrating "Shourya Divas", as this government has commanded the people
of this country to do on the 16th of May, this very government is set to
sign away every remnant of national self-reliance when India becomes a
signatory to the World Trade Order.

We appeal to the peace-loving instincts of our fellow citizens, let us
come together wherever we are, to attack the politics of intimidation and
terror, and to reassert that we are proud of our nation too. But we are
proud of our heritage of non-violence, of our people courageously
struggling against state repression and against unjust access to resources.

Let us proclaim that we have a vision of peace, material well-being and
mutual respect in our country and in this vast subcontinent of ours.