Protests by Indian Americans in four US cities over rising ‘Hindu nationalist fanaticism in India’

November 17, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

fanaticismUSA, November 16, 2015: Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella coalition of progressive organizations across the United States, held a series of protests in four cities of US, over wide range of issues whom the coalition terms as stemming out from rising fanaticism of the Hindu nationalist movement associated with Prime Minister Modi and the ruling dispensation in India.

The protests were held in New York City, Boston, Washington DC and Chicago, which brought participants including Indian Americans as well as people of conscience from all races and ethnicities together who all termed India’s gradual descent into religio-fascism, fueled by the supremacist ideology of Hindutva as alarming.

“Our protest is dedicated to all the victims of violence in India. We stand in solidarity with the hundreds of intellectuals, writers, artists and scientists who have courageously spoken truth to power, including many who have returned their awards” said Dr. Shaik Ubaid, one of the organizers of the protest in New York City.

Protestors carrying placards, raised slogans, expressing their outrage over developments in India which they termed are tearing apart the nation’s secular fabric and inflaming sectarian tensions, at a time when the country is in dire need of communal harmony and poverty alleviation.

In New York City, the protesters were joined by groups expressing solidarity with the victims of the terror attacks in Paris.

Joe Lombardo, the national coordinator for the United National Antiwar Coalition addressed the gathering, which observed a minute of silence in commemoration of the victims of ISIS attack in Paris and Beirut.

The protestors’ memorandum alleged Hindu militias of carrying out hundreds of instances of mass violence against religious minorities in India in the past, which have become further emboldened by the tacit support of Prime Minister Modi and the leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), leading to mob lynching of Muslims, attacks on a number of Christian churches and an escalation of violence against Dalits (“untouchables” or lower castes in India).

“These protests in four US cities represent disgust and outrage not only across the Indian diaspora but also in the international community over the Modi administration’s attempts to turn a mandate for development into an opportunity to subvert India’s secular polity into a religio-fascist state,” said Ms. Sana Qutubuddin, one of the spokespersons of the alliance.

The protestors further condemned the desecration of the Sikh Holy Scripture in Punjab which has inflamed sectarians tensions in the region.

While condemning the crackdown on NGO’s, Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA) said : “BJP rule has seen an overall 9.2% rise in violence against women as per National Crime Records Bureau data. Financial restrictions have been imposed on some 13,000 NGOs including Greenpeace, Ford Foundation and Amnesty International and many human rights activists are being hounded by the government, indicating a systematic crackdown against India’s vibrant civil society.”

“Appointment of Hindutva ideologues with dubious credentials to key educational and cultural institutions is resulting in the distortion of history in textbooks, the mainstreaming of a discourse of hate and demonization and the normalization of violence against Dalits and women,” said Mr. Parminder Singh at the protests in Chicago.

“If this is left unchecked, India could degenerate into a dystopian society where minorities, Dalits, women and intellectuals can function only within parameters defined by Hindutva supremacists,” he added

The protestors expressed their resolve to carry on their peaceful struggle and resist any attempts to subvert India’s secular moorings.

“We are confident that Indian pluralism will withstand this latest onslaught by bigots who actually represent a Hindu ISIS in India,” said Dr. Shaik Ubaid.

Following demands were put forth by protestors :

a. That Prime Minister Modi suspend his “world tour” and lead the way, in both word and deed, in upholding the Indian Constitution’s safeguards for freedom and religion and thought, and for equality of all citizens before the law. This includes cleansing his administration of fanatical elements and taking stern action against bigots in his own party.

b. That he direct his administration to eschew inflaming sectarian tensions and to focus their energies towards bettering the lives of all Indians, including the vast millions that are still deprived of the basic necessities of life such as clean water, sanitation and sustainable livelihood.

– tcn

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