Wednesday, May 29, 2024

London: Diaspora organisations hold ‘vigil for democracy in India’ as anti-Muslim hate speech spikes around elections

15 diaspora organisations expressed their dismay at a ‘Vigil for Democracy in India’ event held at Parliament Square in London, on May 5, Sunday. 

They shared their concern over the way the election is being conducted and PM Modi’s attempt to turn India into a “Hindu-supremacist fascist state”.

The organisations including South Asia Solidarity Group, Unau Welfare International, Unau Welfare UK, UK Indian Muslim Council, CasteWatch UK, Ambedkar International Mission, StriveUK, Peace in India, Scottish Indians 4 Justice, Justice Campaign South Asia, The Rights Collective, Nijjor Manush, Women against Caste UK, Hindus 4 Human Rights UK, India Labour Solidarity, and Movement For People’s Struggles – Sri Lanka ( UK) took part in the event.

They condemned the horrific hate speeches against Muslims by Prime Minister Modi himself one after another, such as “the lies he is hurling” at the Congress and the opposition INDIA coalition that they would confiscate the property of Hindus and other communities, and hand them over to Muslims.

“Nobody knows the true face of Hindutva in Britain,” Mohammed Owaise, Director of UK-Indian Muslim Council said, highlighting the need to educate the British people, stakeholders and agencies.

“BJP politicians have been targeting Indian Muslims through hate speech and derogatory stereotypes such as ‘infiltrators’, ‘stealers of wealth’, and ‘those who produce more children’. This fosters and deeply entrenches Islamophobia within Indian society and further marginalises the Muslim community, preventing them from engaging in the electoral process.” Owaise added.

The organisers pointed out that in the last ten years, the Modi government has already subverted the spirit of the constitution which decreed equal citizenship for people of all faiths. 

“Their aim is a Hindu state in which India’s secular Constitution drafted by Dr Ambedkar will be replaced by the barbaric, anti-women and casteist 2nd Century laws of Manu.” Satpal Muman, Chair, CasteWatch UK, said.

The vigil shared its concern over the free pass and even felicitation being given for rapists in Modi’s India “as long as they are oppressor caste Hindu men.” They pointed to the most recent promotion of a parliamentary candidate, Prajwal Revanna, known to be a serial rapist who has videoed thousands of his crimes. Revanna has now been allowed to flee to Germany on a diplomatic passport.

Notably, the vigil was held on the first anniversary of the ethnic violence that erupted in the north eastern state of Manipur in 2023. 

Lun, member of Unau Welfare UK, one of the organisers, which is a Christian Kuki Zo diaspora organisation, shared the ordeal her family has faced during the violence. 

Although the violence erupted in 2023, Lun said that the unrest is “still continuing for over a year and even during the ongoing election.”

The organisers protested the persecution of Adivasi communities who are being displaced from their ancestral land to make way for corporates like Adani. Those who resist have been incarcerated or raped and killed, they added.

“We as UK’s largest oppressed caste organisation condemn this in the strongest possible terms.” Satpal Muman, Chair, CasteWatch UK, added.

Andrew Feinstein, former ANC MP who served under Nelson Mandela, Arms Trade investigative author and filmmaker attending the Vigil in solidarity commented that “the Prime Minister Modi is one of the world’s most extreme ethno-nationalists- cheerleader for and provider of arms to the Israeli state- even as it slaughters tens of thousands in Gaza.”

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