PRESS RELEASE: ‘United Against Fascism in India’: UK National Demonstration Against CAA-NRC-NPR, 25 January 2020

More than 2000 people from diverse and multi-faith Indian communities across the UK will demonstrate in London in protest against the fascist policies of the Modi government on Saturday, 25th January, the eve of India’s Republic Day.

At a rally outside 10 Downing Street from 1.00pm to 2.30pm, they will call for the repeal of India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which undermines India’s secular Constitution, and the abolition of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), which in conjunction with the CAA open the way for selective mass disenfranchisement of India’s Muslim population and ethnic cleansing.

The demonstration will also express solidarity with the massive united protests in India, led by women and young people, against these policies, protests which are facing violent repression.

The rally opposite 10 Downing Street will also be joined by students from the SOAS India Society and South Asian Students Against Fascism, along with Brazilian anti-Fascists, marching from an earlier protest at the Brazilian Embassy, against the Modi government’s invitation to Jair Bolsonaro as the chief guest at India’s Republic Day.

In addition to speeches from organising groups (see list below), the rally will hear solidarity messages from Labour MPs, writer and commentator Tariq Ali, Stop the War Coalition, trade unions and representatives of anti-fascist movements in Brazil, Palestine, Sudan, and elsewhere.

Following the rally the demonstrators will march to the Indian High Commission where they will deliver an open letter to Narendra Modi which will be released to the press.

The demonstration is a part of a global two days of action against India’s new, discriminatory and unconstitutional laws and other measures to change the basis of Indian citizenship.

Key organisers of the protest commented as follows:

Sarbjit Johal, South Asia Solidarity Group:

‘As the Modi regime takes a massive step toward ethnic cleansing of Muslims, we, in the diaspora, stand with the united mass resistance led by women and students which is spreading across India in the face of unspeakable violence from the police and right-wing gangs sponsored by the government. This protest exposes once and for all the myth that Modi can rely on unquestioning support from the diaspora.’

Shaheen Moidunny, Coordinating Committee of Malayali Muslims:

‘The CAA and NRC are laws reflecting a genocide in the making, by a right wing government whose declared aim has been the annihilation of Muslims in India. It’s high time to rise up and defeat the divisive politics and preserve the plurality of the nation.’

Satpal Muman, CasteWatch UK (the UK’s biggest Dalit organisation):

‘We are appalled that under the CAA, NRC, and NPR whether someone is a citizen or not will ultimately be judged by a Hindu fundamentalist government which has already overseen an epidemic of mob-lynching of Muslims and atrocities against Dalits.’

Spokesperson for SOAS India Society:

‘The protest in front of the Brazilian embassy, which will precede the march to the Indian High Commission, seeks to highlight the fact that fascism today is a truly global problem. Leaders like Jair Bolsonaro and Narendra Modi draw tactical and moral support from each other. The only way to counter them is by building solidarities of resistance across borders.’

Shamsuddin Agha, Indian Muslim Federation:

‘The foundation of India, its secular Constitution, is being eroded. It must be stopped! We cannot let a repeat of 1935 Fascist Germany happen in the world’s largest democracy! Jai Hind!’

Habib Patel, Spokesperson for East London CAA Protest Group:

‘Recently the Indian government introduced laws and policies, namely the CAA and the NRC, which put vulnerable minorities in India at great risk. Our aim is to challenge these aggressive and divisive policies so that they do not take root and endanger Muslims and other minorities in India.’

Bashir Patel, Panel Member and Spokesperson for FORMO:

‘The CAA Act and the planned NRC Act are discriminatory and in violation of the basic structure of the Indian constitution. It institutionalises discrimination based on religion which is in direct conflict with the inclusive spirit on which the Indian nation was formed. We feel these acts are completely divisive and are destroying the fabric of India.’

* List of organising groups: South Asia Solidarity Group; CasteWatch UK; Co-ordinating Committee of Malayali Muslims; SOAS India Society; Tamil People in the UK; Indian Workers Association (GB); Indian Muslim Federation(UK); Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (FORMO); Kashmir Solidarity Movement; South Asian Students Against Fascism; Newham Muslim Alliance; Ghadar International; and others

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