Brussels protest against death penalty in India

On Monday 12 September about 25 activists held a protest outside the Indian embassy inBrussels. The protest was against the death penalty and the execution of three Tamil prisoners. The authorities limited our democratic rights to protest. We had to keep a distance of 50 meter from the embassy and were not allowed to protest for two hours as we applied for, after one hour we were told we had to stop under the threat of ‘measures’ being taken against us.

The “biggest democracy of the world” obviously doesn’t find itself big enough and therefore expanded its anti-democratic measures for an area of 50 meter around the embassy inBrussels. The embassy also showed its democratic credentials by getting the protest action limited to one hour instead of the two hours we applied for. It was only on the spot that we were told that we had to stop after one hour. The Belgian authorities didn’t explain the reasons for this decision. Was it just a case of ‘Indian democracy’ inBrussels?

With the 25 demonstrators from Tamil Cultural Organisation and Tamil Solidarity we did hand over a protest letter to the embassy and shouted slogans. A leaflet in Dutch and French was distributed amongst the public passing by.

The three prisoners threatened with execution have been in prison for over 20 years. They are accused of involvement in the murder on Rajiv Ghandi in 1991. These accusations are disputed. The murder of Rajiv was a reaction against the Indian involvement in the Singhalese chauvinist war against the Tamil population. We never had illusions in the ‘peacekeeping’ Indian forces inSri Lankaat the late 1980s and we opposed the idea that the Indian role would change by killing Rajiv Ghandi. This has been confirmed by the Indian involvement in the latest Sri Lankan offensive in the war against the Tamil people.

Hanging the three prisoners is a barbaric act that needs to be vehemently opposed. The international protest needs to continue. TheBrusselsprotest was relatively small, but we felt it was necessary to be part of the international protest on this issue.