We20 peoples’ summit: Delhi Police declines permission for event's third day
The three-day summit began on 18 August, Friday, and was scheduled to conclude today on 20 August, but has been cut short
A day after the Delhi Police stopped activists, academicians, intellectuals and commoners from participating in the WE20 peoples’ summit — a parallel event to the G20, organised by the Working Group on International Finance Institutions, the Delhi Police declined permission for the event's third day.
The three-day summit began on 18 August, Friday, and was scheduled to be concluded on 20 August, Sunday.
On 19 August, the second day, the Delhi Police — which is administered by the ministry of home affairs, headed by Union home minister, Amit Shah — swooped down on HKS Surjeet Bhavan, the venue of the summit, claiming that permission had not been taken for the meet. However, when the organisers asked for permission for the third day's events, it was declined.
Issuing a statement, the organisers said:
We condemn this rejection of permission and consider this as a deliberate attempt to silence peoples’ voices. In the given circumstances, the people gathered are forced to conclude the summit. They will do so by reading out a declaration.
While in the official G20 summit there are claims of us being the “mother of democracy”, the state of affairs that we have witnessed here at the We20 Peoples’ Summit only goes to show how we are inching closer to being a police state. One where even dialogues, deliberations inside four walls and thoughts are being policed.Working Group on International Finance Institutions
More than 700 people from over 18 states had gathered for the We20 summit.
Activist Nikhil Dey and several others were stopped from addressing the summit on Saturday.
“I was supposed to speak on the Digital Personal Data Protection Act and its impact…," Dey said, speaking with National Herald on Saturday.
Whether or not every one agrees with your point of view, these are democratic points of view. It’s a real shame that we are not being able to do this and you use force to shut it downNikhil Day, activist and We20 speaker (who did not get to speak)
“I do not understand normal discussions on G20 but the discussion is very important for democracy… What kind of image do you want to project to G20, that India is not allowing any discussion…? There is [not even a] protest; this is just a discussion about the issues that G20 countries are discussing,” Dey said.
Saying that the G2O summit "is less about people" and "more about the new liberal policies", the WGIFI urged people “across the globe to reclaim the spaces of democracy and dissent and continue deliberations for social and political alternatives".
Full statement issued by the WE20 organisers, WGIFI:
The Delhi Police has declined permission to continue the We20 Peoples’ Summit at the HKS Surjit Bhawan this morning through a letter on the Day 3 of the Summit. We are shocked that we need to have “permission” to practice democracy.
This comes after the Delhi Police tried to disrupt the Day 2 proceedings at the event, where workshops were underway peacefully wherein various people’s issues and concerns were being deliberated upon. Yet, due to peoples’ resistance and their strong resolve, the police had to back out and the program went on as scheduled. We are truly grateful for the support and solidarity we received from all shades of democratic voices.
While in the official G20 summit there are claims of us being the “Mother of Democracy”, the state of affairs that we have witnessed here at the We20 Peoples’ Summit only goes on to show how we are inching closer to being a police state. One where even dialogues, deliberations inside the four walls and thoughts are being policed.
It is due to the spirited support of over 700 people who had gathered from over 18 states and the resilience of all the participants that we held our ground. We condemn this rejection of permission and consider this as a deliberate attempt to silence peoples’ voices. In the given circumstances, the people gathered are forced to conclude the summit. They will do so by reading out a declaration.
While the elite club will commence their summit next month, it will be one that is less about people and their real concerns; and more about the same doses neoliberal policy prescriptions of their masters that has led us into crisis. We are glad that the We 20 Peoples’ Summit gave us the opportunity where real issues like inequality, climate crisis, just energy transition, labour rights, social protection, corporatisation of agriculture, attack on natural resources could be discussed, and real alternatives could be deliberated upon.
In the 200 plus meetings held in different cities under the official process, we did not find the reflections of the concerns of the toiling masses and what ails the economy today. Hence, we must say that it does not end here. Democratic deliberations will continue across India to raise the concerns of the poor, the marginalised and the oppressed.
We urge the people across the globe to reclaim the spaces of democracy and dissent and continue deliberations for social and political alternatives to this neoliberal order.