Massive Protests in Four US Cities Against Hindutva Intolerance

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Protests were held in four major cities --Washington, New York, Chicago and across United States
Protests were held in four major US cities –Washington, New York, Chicago and Boston — and attracted besides Indian Americans people from other communities

Protestors demand action against Hindutva supremacist entities fomenting hate and violence against minorities, Dalits and women and for attempts to suppress dissent by intellectuals and writers

Caravan Desk

NEW YORK — The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella coalition of progressive organizations across the United States, held protests in four cities across the US, against rising intolerance and violence against religious minorities and Dalits by the Hindutva groups and the ruling dispensation in India. Protests were held in New York City, Boston, Washington DC and Chicago, at prominent public locations. Participants included Indian Americans as well as people of conscience from all races and ethnicities that are alarmed over India’s gradual descent into religio-fascism, fueled by the supremacist ideology of Hindutva.

“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.

Protesters carried placards and raised slogans, expressing their outrage over developments in India that 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, national coordinator for the United National Antiwar Coalition addressed the gathering, which observed a minute of silence in commemoration of the victims of ISIS in Paris and Beirut.

AJA protest 2

Besides Indian Americans, people from all walks of life participated in the demonstrations that also expressed solidarity with victims of terror attacks in Paris on Friday.
Besides Indian Americans, people from all walks of life participated in the demonstrations that also expressed solidarity with victims of terror attacks in Paris on Friday.

The protesters’ memorandum pointed out that Hindu militants who carried out hundreds of instances of mass violence against religious minorities in India in the past, had 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). The desecration of the Sikh Holy Scripture has inflamed sectarians tensions in Punjab.  In a campaign that has been widely condemned internationally, Hindu nationalist militias have embarked on forced conversions of Christians and Muslims.

Moreover, the 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.

“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.

“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 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,” added Mr. Singh.

Protesters demanded the following:

1.     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.

2.     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.

Protesters 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. “Satyameva Jayate! (Truth Alone Triumphs)!” Dr. Ubaid added.

 

8 COMMENTS

  1. Sourced from the net :
    The Article mentions a lot of things:
    1. Mob lynchings of Musslims: in the last 3 months there has been one lynching of a Muslim and 2 of Hindus. One other Muslim officer was lynched by Muslims for protecting cows.
    2. There were 6 incidents connected with Christian churches: in 3 cases glass panes weer broken by children and a drunk member iof the church, in one case a thief was responsible and 2 more cases christian members of the same congregation were responsible. In the same time, 15 Temples and some Gurudwaras were vandalized – no outrags for these.
    3. Desectariojn of the Sikh Guru Granth sahib in Amritsar: This has been cracked and the culprit is a former sikh person now turned Christian.
    4. Two Dalit children who were found burnt in their home – had beeen so done in by a family enemy – it turned out to be an old family dispute over some property.
    5. Conversions: There are over 50,000 conversions to dhristianity going on every year in India by inducement and over 5,000 to Islam by inducement. 30 Muslims were sought to be converted to Hinduism by inducement and that is the only one that is felt to be unacceptable?
    6. 4,000 NGOs have lost their registrations for violating the FCRA act, which is a 25 year old law that calls for strict procedures for Governmental control of foreign funding of NGOs. Is it the case that NGOs should be allowed to violate the laws?
    7. Violence against Dalits is bad and that is something the whole of society is responsible for. There are strict laws against and god forbid if someone says so much as a sentence or is even accused of speaking one semtence or a phrase againstb a dalit person – he is jailed without bail. This is rare and it will be difficult to find many cases in the news, becaue the people are afraid.
    The organizers of the protests are out of their minds. (by Varadarajan Seshamani)

    • I think you are one among terrorists & therefore you can’t see so much voilence goung on for these 3 years of which even biased indian media too has reacted sharply…

    • I am sorry but you are the one who seems biased. Nothing has changed socially over the last 18 months. There are plenty of things wrong in India, but it always was. It didn’t happen over-night. The kind of fear-mongering people are doing by calling India Hindu Taliban or ISIS is pathetic. If ISIS like organizations were running free in India there would be Paris like incidents happening on a daily basis. In my recent memory 2013 was probably one of the worst years in terms of religious violence, yet there were no protests like this whatsoever. Yes there is a need to destroy religious & caste based intolerance in India, but this has always been there, let’s not pretend that it’s a new thing. Protesting is good but don’t pin everything on Hindutva, even the made up incidents. Criticism is necessary, i will criticize the BJP govt for it’s failure to bring the corrupt politicians and businessmen to justice, ignoring the health sector, rather then this made up debate about rising intolerance, it’s always been a persistent intolerance, the blame for that intolerance lies with the society, not with any political party. Btw this is coming from a Catholic man, since religion matters when chiming in apparently.

  2. Hello Mr. Chatterji,
    I am surprised that we are still not looking to accept our mistakes and learn from it. I totally understand why are these sudos taking on issues and raising in US… Regardless we have to control our own countrymen and its high time. How many more lies we want to say to hide our mistakes. Lets learn and make change on our end. We know there is no place like India so lets maintain it as such. Enough of acting like as if nothing is wrong…

    Vijay

  3. It is typical of Hindu right wing to justify their brutality by quoting similar incidents elsewhere by other religious groups.

    TWO WRONGS DO NOT MAKE ONE RIGHT

  4. This event should have been advertised better and lot of us who hold the cause dear to the heart and have been watching the Indian Democracy, ethos, rights, religious harmony being shredded into pieces. Jungle Raj has prevailed mostly in Hindi Belt, now spreading to other parts at the behest of the BJP brigade. Law was supposed to be blind but under the new dispensation it really is with different connotations as it is applied selectively. Time Indians, any where in the world and in India stand up to fight Fascism, Autocracy.

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