Pressure mounts on UK govt to speak out against Islamophobia in India as thousands took to streets

Lawmakers, politicians, and activists jointly demanded the UK government strengthen its stand to stop India from its anti-Muslim policies. Photo courtesy to Muhammed Shejin.

In the wake of reports that Muslims are on the brink of genocide in India, pressure mounts on the United Kingdom government to act against India’s growing Islamophobia. Lawmakers, politicians, and activists jointly demanded the UK government strengthen its stand to stop India from its anti-Muslim policies.

“Britain’s imperial past of ‘divide and rule in India’ cannot be allowed to continue. The UK government has a historical and moral responsibility for what is happening to the religious minorities in India today. Britain’s trade agreement needs to be called out. They are lacking any human rights stipulations. We have a duty to oppose this,” Claudia Webbe, MP representing Leicester East said while addressing a mass rally in London on Sunday.

Claudia Webbe declared her solidarity in a tweet with Afreen Fatima, a prominent Muslim student activist, and all other Indian Muslims whose homes have been razed illegally by the BJP governments.

“The struggle against Islamophobia which has been key to fomenting fascism in recent years is an international one. We stand out here to say no to Modi in the UK. We also say no to the cozy relationship of our own Prime Minister’s house with his regime. And of course, Johnson’s government shares many political aims with Modi’s government,” said Sonali Bhattacharyya, national secretary of Momentum.

“The stripping peoples’ citizenship based on their religious and ethnic background being the obvious one,” Sonali said while criticising the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

Sonali’s Momentum is a British left-wing political organisation that has been described as a grassroots movement supportive of the Labour Party.

She has also slapped both the Indian and UK governments for their shared interest in appeasing the conglomerate Gautham Adani. She said: “Adani offered public support to Modi in 2003 in the face of the condemnation for his role in the massacres in Gujarat. This gamble has paid off handsomely for Adani. Modi’s government has relaxed competition rules around major infrastructural projects benefitting Adani and helping him become one of the richest men in India.”

“The cronyism and corruption should sound very familiar to us suffering from the wide-scale transfer of our public wealth into private hands here in the UK as well,” she said.

“Adani is now seeking inroads into Britain’s aerospace and defense companies wooing Johnson’s government for contracts as the conglomerate expands his portfolio from agriculture and commodities into defense. To smooth these new ventures he is now scrambling for platforms to greenwash his business,” Sonali added.

The mass rally was organised by Indian diaspora groups demanding to end “state-sponsored anti-Muslim racial attacks in India.”

Sageer Muhammed, president of Strive UK, one of the key organisers of the protest, demanded the UK government ban the organizations which either fund Hindutva terror in India or support it.

“It was shameful to see Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking pictures on Bulldozer when the Indian government was using it to destroy Muslim homes. I demand Boris Johnson to stop enabling Muslim genocide in India,” Kalpana Wilson, the founding member of South Asia Solidarity Group, said chairing the protest gathering.

Masihullah Patel, co-chair of the event and representative of the Indian Muslim Federation has called out the role of media in enabling genocide against Muslims in India.

The joint protest was organised by more than 15 Indian diaspora groups. Photo courtesy to Muhammed Shejin.

Raghad Altikrit, President, Muslim Association of Britain, Zlakha Ahmed, Apna Haq Executive Director, Mufti Mohammed Amin Pandor of the Peace Institute, Vandana of from Women Against Caste, Kerima Mohideen of London Mining Network, Chathura Gunathillaka from Peoples Struggle Movement, Sri Lanka, have also addressed the demonstrators.

The joint protest was organised by more than 15 Indian diaspora groups including Strive UK, South Asia Solidarity Group, Scottish Indians for Justice, Indian Muslim Federation, International Council of Indian Muslims, International Solidarity for Academic Freedom (InSAF), SOAS India Society, East Midlands Malayali Muslim Association, Apna Haq, Women Against Caste, The London Story, The Peace Institute, Million Women Rise, Oxford South Asian Society, IMWS Al-Hikmah Centre, and Freedom Without Fear Platform.

PP Jaseem is a freelance journalist covering law, human rights, and Indian minorities.