Statement by the US-based COALITION AGAINST FASCISM IN INDIA
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Protest on Friday, September 27th at 10:30 am
United Nations Plaza, New York City
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the United States at the end of September. He will attend the United Nations General Assembly Session on September 28. Please join us to protest Modi’s visit. Modi’s government has been orchestrating a pogrom of hate and violence against Muslims and Dalits in India. His government has been cracking down on all forms of dissent and all those who question its politics of hate. Its economic policies have resulted in escalating poverty and thehighest unemployment rate in half a century. We call upon all anti-fascist, anti-racist,secular, and environmentalist groups in the United States to join us in protesting his visit and exposing the retrograde, near-fascist politics of Modi’s government.
Modi, his party the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and their affiliates – including the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal – have a long history of indulging in the politics of violence and hate. They openly extol Hitler and Aryan supremacist views. In 2002, as Chief Minister, Modi oversaw riots that targeted Muslims in Gujarat – over a thousand people were killed; thousands more were forced to leave their homes and businesses, and Muslim women were raped.
In Muzzafarnagar in 2013 over 60 people were killed, forty thousand displaced, and seven Muslim women gangraped. In his tenure as Prime Minister, orchestrated attacks on Muslims have escalated, such as, to name but one, the infamous Dadri lynching over trumped up suspicions of cow slaughter. The National Crime Records Bureau reported 840 instances of atrocities against Dalits in the year 2016, and also a decline in the percentage of convictions.
Over the last few years, a National Register of Citizens has been created in Assam, in order to separate “legitimate citizens” from “undocumented immigrants.” The result is a kind of ethnic cleansing that has targeted Muslims and tribal populations in particular. As of July 2019, there are over 100 foreigner tribunals in Assam, and 200 more are planned in the first phase by September 2019. FTs are working with the Assam Border police to render millions stateless. Amit Shah, the current Home Minister, announced during the elections: “We will remove every single infiltrator from the country, except Buddha [sic], Hindus and Sikhs” and his ministry has begun implementing his promise to set up such tribunals all over the country.
Since May 2019 when Modi’s second term as Prime Minister started, the violence against minorities has escalated to new heights. Violent mobs, mostly inspired by the atmosphere of hate perpetrated by the BJP, now attack and lynch Muslims (and Christians) on a daily basis with complete impunity. Criminals in all these cases have not been punished thanks to the complicity of the ruling party and its machinery.
Indeed, over the last five years, critics of the government, including teachers, activists, journalists and trade unionists, have been brutally targeted – murdered, arrested, and harassed. Raids have been ordered on human rights lawyers and a senior policeman who testified against Modi and other BJP politicians; acts designed to send a warning to all critics of the regime.
The Modi regime is rapidly amending existing laws to expand its powers in an unprecedented fashion, from designating individuals as terrorists without trial, to doing all it can to weaken India’s federal system. Most recently, the Modi government resorted to dictatorial means in order to change the constitutionally mandated special status of Jammu and Kashmir, split it into two, and bring both under the central government’s direct control. It did this by sending tens of thousands of additional military personnel to the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, placing Kashmiri political leaders under house arrest, blocking all phone and internet connectivity, and imposing a complete lockdown there. It has curbed free reporting by journalists and human rights’ activists, while its forces continue to brutalize the population.
At the same time, the gap between rich and poor is widening at an alarming pace, and Modi’s business associates are expanding their empire rapidly. The crisis in the countryside has deepened – over 12,000 farmers every year have committed suicide since 2013 – as a result of the “hijack of agriculture by corporations.” The Modi government has waged an open assault on the most vulnerable people. It is undoing laws that protect forest dwellers (who are mainly Adivasis or indigenous people) so that the big corporations, multinationals, and crony capitalists can exploit India’s natural resources with even more impunity. It is also trying to amend existing labor laws to make all workers more vulnerable to exploitation by big corporations. The Modi government’s drive to demonetization has hit the poor and the middle class very hard. Now it is attempting to privatize the railways which will be equally hard on millions of the poor who rely on public transport. It has weakened the Right to Information Act, which has in recent years been crucial to exposing government and corporate malfeasance.
Now, the RSS chief has suggested that reservations or affirmative action policies for disenfranchised castes should be abolished—something that has been on the agenda of the Hindu Right.
These events in India concerns all of us who live in the United States, whether we are of Indian origin or not. The anti-poor, anti-minority politics of Modi’s ruling alliance is not that different from Trump’s politics in the United States. We raise our voices against the Modi regime because we care about economic justice, environmental degradation, and human rights in India, in the United States, and in our world at large.
- Stop lynchings and attacks on Dalits and Muslims and Adivasis
- Stop sexual attacks and violence against women
- Stop plunder of natural resources that is exacerbating the climate crisis
- Repeal all draconian laws being used against Adivasis, Dalits, minorities, environmentalists, and workers. and release of all political prisoners
- Release all human rights activists accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, and disabled Professor Sai Baba
- Withdraw fabricated cases against anti-caste activists such as Anand Teltumbde, human right workers, and teachers
- Restore articles 370 and 35A, end military occupation of Kashmir, and respect Kashmiris’ right to decide their future
- Repeal AFSPA in Kashmir and in the North East