IMPHAL, Aug 6 � A mass rally cum public meeting in protest against European Union-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held today at the Indo-Myanmar border town of Moreh in Manipur under the aegis of Hill Tribals� Council (HTC) and Meitei Council, Moreh (MCM).
The rally participated by over 500 people including students, women and community organisations and business community kicked off from Galngam Lentol and terminated at Ima Kondong Lairembi Haraobung where a public meeting was organised.
The public meeting deliberated on the demerits and possible negative impact on the lives of the people following the application of India-EU FTA. The meeting further delved on rights violations by the FTA and denounced the same vehemently.
At the end of the public meeting the organising committee submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister and a copy was also forwarded to the leader of opposition of the Parliament. The charter of demands in the memorandum sought a debate on the India-EU FTA in the Parliament at the earliest and that India-EU should seek free, fair and prior consent of the people of the region as endorsed by the UN in its ILO Convention 107, UN Declaration on Human Rights of the Indigenous people and others before taking up any trade agreement related to land, mountain, forest, water, etc. which are traditionally owned by the indigenous people.
The charter of demands also sought for the clarification on the link between trade and non-trade issues such as political conflict and human rights issues as violation of human rights in the region is grave. There should be a strong mechanism to ensure social and environmental standard, the memorandum noted.
Placards such as �free trade: nothing free about it,� India-EU FTA: trading away our lives,� �our lives are not on sale,� �people before profit,� �FTA: a threat to peoples� freedom,� etc., were displayed at the mass rally.