Protests by UK Indian diaspora to greet Indian PM Narendra Modi, 18 April 2018, 10 Downing Street

A spokesperson for South Asia Solidarity Group said: ‘Narendra Modi is to visit Britain for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). When he last visited the UK in 2015 he was met with massive protests and as a result he is not having a major public event here this time. But the last two and a half years since then have seen him presiding over an epidemic of rapes, mob lynching of Muslims, Christians and Dalits, assassinations of dissidents, undermining of basic democratic rights and the frightening consolidation of fascism at every level. In the two horrifying recent cases in Kathua and Unnao, Modi’s ruling BJP has actively mobilised to defend powerful rape-accused men and undermine the rule of law (see details below). Meanwhile in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and other states in attacks on Dalits who were protesting the dilution of legislation supposed to protect them from atrocities, 9 people were killed, thousands arrested and the targeted violence against Dalit activists is continuing. For example, activist Gopi Pariya whose name was on a list circulated on social media was brutally murdered in UP on April 5th.. whose name was on a list circulated on social media was brutally murdered in UP on April 5th..We must remember, however, that people across India are continuing to courageously resist these attacks and stand up to fascism. We in the UK are organising these protests to support them and to give Modi the message loud and clear that he is not welcome!’

A spokesperson for CasteWatchUK commented: ‘On the one hand Modi talks about bringing people together and of Bharat ki baat sab ke saath, but on the other hand his cohorts RSS storm troopers continue to brazenly defy the law unleashing violence on Dalits and religious minorities. Hindu Nationalism must be curtailed to avert India sliding towards wholesale dictatorship threatening democratic fabric, rule of law and the unity of India.’

South Asia Solidarity Group (SASG) and CasteWatchUK highlighted the fact that Narendra Modi is an avowed fascist and admirer of Hitler. He is a lifelong cadre of a fascist organisation – the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu supremacist paramilitary organisation modelled on the Nazi and Italian Fascist parties. It was founded in the 1920s in opposition to Indian independence. Its revered leader M.S. Golwalkar notoriously viewed Hitler’s treatment of the Jews as a model of ‘race pride’ which India should copy in its treatment of minority groups. The RSS is the core of a family of organisations which includes the BJP, currently India’s ruling party. Their fascistic ideology aggressively promotes attacks on Muslims and other religious minorities, Dalits, women and sexual minorities. The Left and other dissidents are demonized and targeted as ‘enemies of the nation’.

Protector of Rapists

Meanwhile Modi’s ruling BJP has actively mobilised to defend powerful rape-accused men and undermine the rule of law. In Kathua in Jammu, 8-year old Asifa was horrifically gang-raped and murdered by a group of powerful men including a police officer and a temple official, in order to terrorise the nomadic Bakkarwal community she belonged to. This was followed by protests in defence of the accused by a pro-Modi Hindu right wing outfit the Hindu Ekta Manch. At least two BJP ministers took part in these protests. In Unnao in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, a sixteen year old girl was raped by a BJP MLA Kuldip Singh Sengar. When the family protested, her father was brutally assaulted by Sengar’s supporters, arrested on a false case and died in police custody. Narendra Modi has remained silent as his party leaders rape and take to the streets to defend rapists.

Overseeing Mob Lynchings and Genocidal Attacks on Minorities

In 2002, as Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi presided over the genocidal attacks in which over 2,000 people from Gujarat’s Muslim minority community were systematically killed, and 200,000 displaced. There is clear evidence that the violence was orchestrated and sponsored by Modi’s state government. As Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has been responsible for facilitating an epidemic of mob lynching in which Muslims have been the main target. The BJP/RSS has been actively promoting caste hierarchy and attacks on Dalits; assassinating dissenters like Gauri Lankesh; undermining the judicial system, intensifying atrocities in Kashmir, and encouraging corporate plunder of India.

The protests against Modi’s visit to the UK organised by SASG and CasteWatchUK will also focus on Modi’s close relationship with US President Trump and with Israel’s Netanyahu. India is the buyer for 41% of Israel’s total weapon sales. Israeli weapons and ‘counter- terrorism’ training are being used to kill unarmed civilians, particularly in Kashmir, but also in India’s North Eastern states and on striking workers across the country. Like Israel, Modi’s India is also deeply involved in military collaboration with the US under Trump. Modi has signed an agreement allowing the US to use India’s land, air and naval bases for supplies, services and refuelling. Modi is leading India into America’s war in Afghanistan and escalating hostilities with China, whom Modi sees as India’s enemy. Indian Air Force fighters are scheduled to join Israel and five NATO Air Forces in the so-called Blue Flag joint air force exercises, the first time that the Indian military will be publicly holding such manoeuvres with their Israeli counterparts.

The Hindutva groups have a network of organisations in Britain, including the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (the British wing of the RSS), the National Hindu Students Federation, Hindu Forum of Britain, and others, which are heavily involved in promoting anti-Dalit hatred and Islamophobia, and have the support of a handful of Conservative MPs such as Priti Patel and Bob Blackman. These organisations are involved in attempting to block the law banning discrimination against Dalits which was passed by the last Labour government but never implemented. However, large sections of the Indian diaspora are deeply concerned and angry about escalating human rights violations in India under Modi and will be joining the protests during his visit.

Organised by South Asia Solidarity Group and CasteWatchUK

Leave a Reply