Eighth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns - Washington, DC USA 2000

Conscience India 1998-2000 Country Report

Conscience India was formally launched in the year 1997. Gandhi-in-Action took the initiative in this direction. Government of India was approached through the then Prime Minister and was requested to bring legislation in the Lok Sabha (Upper House) of the parliament to introduce Peace Tax Legislation. All the national political parties were also requested to take up this matter in their respective parties. The then Prime Minister H. D. Devegauda and the then President of Indian National Congress Sita Ram Kesari did respond to our communication. No other political party acknowledged our letters.

Governments of India and Pakistan did their nuclear tests in May 1998. Conscience India and Gandhi-in-Action organized mass fasting to oppose this unwanted moves of both the governments. Dr. Arya Bhushan Bhardwaj, Coordinator, Conscience India, fasted in London in which many non-violent and peace activists from India and Pakistan participated.

Conscience India took the responsibility of hosting the 7th WTR and PTC international conference in India from 27th December 1998 to 1st January 1999. This conference was held at the headquarters of Gandhi-in-Action, Constructive Workers Home, New Delhi. Sixty-five delegates took part in this conference in which 35 delegates came from 16 countries including USA, Europe and UK. Government of India was not in favor of holding this conference initially as the Ministry of External Affair felt offended for not obtaining its formal permission for holding this conference. But later on did not object to the conference when was approached and told. Many eminent Gandhian peace and political activists attended the conference. The Defense Minister, Government of India did acknowledge the invitation of the Conference. Later on the delegation of the Conscience India led by Miss Sadbhavna, met the Defense Minister George Fernandes and presented him a copy of the report of the 7th International WTR and PTC conference.

Conscience India expressed its concern over the Kosovo crises. Dr. Arya and Dr. Ricardo Gramegna approached the EEC, NATO and Clinton Administration to come to a peaceful solution of the Balkan problem in which millions of people have been subjected to violence and war atrocities for the last many years. Dr. Ricardo Gramegna, European Coordinator of Gandhi-in-Action went to Washington, DC at the time of 50th anniversary of the NATO and handed over a memorandum to President Clinton asking to bring an end to the war in Kosovo.

Conscience India opposed the military action by Pakistan and India in the Kargil where military was in action on the boarder dispute and requested the governments of both the countries to solve the problems across the table. Due to heavy expenditure on the Kargil war, Government of India was planning to propose a war tax. Conscience India decided to oppose it if enforced. But the Government of India dropped this proposal for the time being.

Dr. Sadbhavna and Ansar Ali, Co- Conveners, Conscience India,

c/o Gandhi-in-Action, Constructive Workers Home, B 29,

Bhajanpura, Mangal Pandey Marg New Delhi110053