Never Forget the Gujarat Genocide!

Join the protests against Indian PM Narendra Modi’s UK visit!
Who is Narendra Modi?
Putting India up for sale

Modi may have praised the recent call for reparations for colonialism, but he is eager to welcome more British corporates to plunder India in the 21st century. Under Modi, multinational corporations including many registered in London such as Vedanta

and Essar Energy are siphoning money and resources out of the country, grabbing huge swathes of land and displacing the people who live on it, and destroying the environment . Laws protecting workers are being abolished and communities which resist are being terrorised not only by the police and paramilitaries but by state- and corporate- sponsored militias. Under Modi, India has moved closer to the US and Israel – which is providing weapons for intensified state terror in Kashmir – and aligned itself fully with the ‘War on Terror’.

Dongria Kond women blocking railway tracks to protest the land-grab of Niyamgiri moutain in Odisha

Dongria Kond women blocking railway tracks to protest the land-grab of Niyamgiri moutain in Odisha

Silencing dissent

Those who have dared to highlight Modi’s genocidal politics or his government’s destructive policies have been accused of being ‘anti-national’. The state has sought to silence them through censorship, threats, false cases and imprisonment, and even murder by Modi supporters. High profile cases include Priya Pillai of Greenpeace India who was prevented from travelling to Britain to address MPs about the destruction of forests by coal mining by London based Essar Energy

and Teesta Setalvad who has consistently campaigned to bring Modi to justice for his role in the Gujarat massacres of 2002

Who is welcoming Modi to Britain?

The Hindu Right has a network of organizations in the UK, including the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS – the British wing of the RSS)the National Hindu Students Federation, Hindu Forum of Britain, and others. david

The Hindu right organizations have consistently tried to block legislation outlawing caste discrimination. During the UK elections they circulated leaflets urging ‘Dharmic’ (sic) people to vote for the Conservative candidate in Harrow who promised to overturn the legislation

Join the protests against the ‘Butcher of Gujarat’ 11-14 November 2015 #ModiNotWelcome
@SAsiaSolidarity; FB: Stop Mass Murderer Narendra Modi UK;

The end of the ‘extreme centre’ in Britain – Corbyn’s agenda galvanizes a seismic Leftward shift from below

This article appears in the October 2015 issue of Liberation – Central Organ of CPI(ML)

Kalpana Wilson

Thousands of people had already gathered in London’s Hyde Park on 12th September for a mass demonstration in solidarity with refugees when news started spreading: Jeremy Corbyn had been announced the winner of the Labour party leadership contest. While Corbyn had been the frontrunner for weeks, few had predicted the scale of his victory in which the other candidates representing varying shades of Blairite neoliberalism were completely marginalised as he received 60% of total votes including 50% of the votes of full members of the Party. An over half a million-strong electorate consisting of Labour Party members, registered supporters and members of affiliated organizations like trade unions had chosen Corbyn overwhelmingly – despite the Labour Party machinery having ‘purged’ thousands of leftists who had joined in the course of the campaign by disqualifying them from voting. v218-Jeremy-Corbyn-Get-v2Later that afternoon, in an important first act as leader of the opposition, Corbyn addressed the ‘refugees welcome’ demonstrators as they ended the march and held a rally opposite Parliament, making an impassioned speech against war and for humanity and justice for refugees.

While in other countries in Europe the wave of resistance to austerity and neoliberalism has found expression in new political formations and alliances like Podemos in Spain and Syriza in Greece, in Britain it developed unexpectedly around the candidacy of veteran left-wing MP Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the Labour Party. Corbyn has not only been hailed as indisputably the ‘most left-wing’ figure to ever lead a major party in Britain but received the largest share of votes of any party leader in British history, bringing to a decisive end the stranglehold of what Tariq Ali calls the ‘extreme centre’: the neoliberal pro-austerity, pro-war consensus in British politics.

It was the movement which emerged around Corbyn’s candidacy and developed its own momentum which took the campaign from its initial objective of simply making sure a left perspective was represented in the contest – Corbyn struggled to get the 35 MPs required for a nomination, securing the last few nominations only minutes before the deadline – to a decisive victory. While the extent of Corbyn’s win was not predicted even towards the end of the campaign, it was clear that something was building when Corbyn’s campaign meetings as he toured the country drew audiences overflowing onto the streets, and young people – long dismissed in Britain as apathetic about politics – literally tried to climb in through the windows. It was not however Corbyn’s generally low-key speeches which were electrifying audiences – it was the agenda he was standing for : an alternative to austerity which included a guaranteed living wage and an end to zero-hours contracts; reinstating the benefits which have been savagely cut by successive governments; abolishing tuition fees for university education; nationalization of banks, energy companies and railways; taxing the rich; ending military intervention abroad and scrapping the Trident nuclear weapons system; and a ‘new kind of politics’ built on grassroots democracy.

While some commentators have hailed the result as representing a return to the Labour Party of Keir Hardie who formed it in 1900 to represent working class interests in Parliament; or to the approach of the post- Second World War Labour government of Clement Atlee, celebrated for setting up the National Health Service and the welfare state, and others have used this parallel to argue that Corbyn is hopelessly outdated, there are fundamental differences: Corbyn is in fact very far from a 21st century avatar of ‘Old Labour’.

Firstly, the Labour Party has historically always been a pro-imperialist party. Long before Tony Blair’s crusade in Iraq, its strategy was to support the empire and use its resources. As Tariq Ali puts it, ‘Keir Hardie’s socialism floundered on the battlefields of the First World War’. The early years of building the welfare state also saw the British Labour government trying desperately to sustain colonialism, unleashing appalling repression on the independence struggle in Malaya and restoring French colonial rule in Vietnam and Madagascar, as well as presiding over the creation of Israel and the dispossession of the Palestinians. It was also a period of acute racism in Britain faced by workers invited from former colonies in South Asia and the Caribbean to work in British industries – racism in which the Labour-affiliated Trade Unions actively participated. jezza-apartedCorbyn’s politics on the other hand is one in which anti-imperialism and anti-racism have been central – he has not only been at the forefront of the ongoing anti-war movement but, like his close ally and newly appointed Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, is a long standing supporter of the Irish Republican movement and the Palestinian struggle and an advocate for refugee and migrant rights.

Secondly, the policies being put forward by Corbyn and McDonnell do not represent a return to the Keynesian corporatism built on the plunder of imperialism represented by the pre-Blair Labour governments of the last century. Corbyn’s politics are clearly not revolutionary, being framed in terms of the reform of capitalism rather than its replacement. Nevertheless, policies such as basic social provision and protection of workers’ rights – particularly when this extends to all workers including women, migrants, contract workers and all those whom corporatist trade unions excluded in the past but who now form the majority of the labour force – become threatening to capital in an era of neoliberalism precisely because they expose the limits of what is possible in the context of contemporary globalised capitalism. Capital will not be prepared to accept the kind of compromise with elements of labour which characterised the 1960s and 70s in the Global North. Instead the struggle to implement these policies can only strengthen working class movements, lead to greater confrontation and potentially open the way to more radical transformations.

However one must not underestimate the vulnerability of the newly elected left forces within the Labour Party. The hostility of the majority of Labour MPs (less than one in ten voted for Corbyn) – many handpicked by the earlier Blairite leadership – and the clear intention of some to get rid of Corbyn before the 2020 general elections makes the way ahead extremely challenging. This is exacerbated by the fact that some of those Corbyn has appointed to his Shadow Cabinet (the main opposition party’s ‘government in waiting’) in the name of inclusivity are also hostile to many of his policies. On the other hand, the Labour Party is no longer the tightly controlled corporate spin machine it has been since the 1990s in which members (never as right-wing as the career Blairite MPs and political managers) were sidelined. With a large influx of new members who back Corbyn (50,000 more people have joined the Party in the week following Corbyn’s election and numbers continue to grow) a clear division has emerged between the majority of its members and the majority of its MPs.

Part of Corbyn’s appeal has been what is seen as a new kind of more democratic political practice – in his first Prime Minister’s Question Time, traditionally a heckling session between the parties epitomizing Westminster’s macho political culture, Corbyn successfully changed the format by asking questions he had solicited directly from the public. When right wing newspapers, more used to ridiculing feminists, cynically managed to turn attention from the fact that Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet had an unprecedented number of women members (16 out of 31) by condemning the fact that the so-called ‘top jobs’ of Chancellor and Home and Foreign Secretary went to men, Corbyn pointed out that such a definition of ‘top jobs’ was a legacy of the 19th century imperial state – given his policies, Health and Education ministries were equally if not more important. When the mainstream media attacked him for not attending the opening of the Rugby World Cup to ‘cheer for England’ – part of a sustained campaign to brand Corbyn ‘unpatriotic’ – social media hit back with the news that Corbyn had spent the day on a regular commitment – holding an 8-hour-long ‘surgery’ for constituents in his impoverished inner London constituency to meet him about their problems. But of course this approach can only continue to be meaningful if Corbyn and his allies are able to sustain and take forward their commitment to the concrete policies they have set out, and not allow them to be diluted under pressure, and many are urging serious consideration of the experience of Syriza in Greece.

Predictably, the last week has seen the Conservatives along with the Labour right and the corporate media launching a massive counter-offensive to try and prove their claim that Corbyn is ‘unelectable’ in the 2020 general elections – despite the fact that many of his policies have already been shown by opinion polls to be extremely popular and Corbyn himself received the biggest majority of any Labour candidate in the last elections (in which many lost their seats). Though the Conservatives’ efforts so far have been the stuff of satire (a mass email claiming that Corbyn threatened ‘national security, economic security and your family’s security’ coincided with pushing through more welfare cuts and a Trade Union Bill which removes the basic right to organise) and the media has come up with some bizarre Cold War-style innuendo – notably describing Corbyn’s preferred form of transport as a ‘Chairman Mao-style bicycle’ and claiming that he and new Shadow International Development Minister Diane Abbott went on a ‘motorbike holiday to East Germany’ during an alleged ‘affair in the 1970s’, the potential impact of the triumvirate of the Conservatives, the Labour right and the whole spectrum of mainstream media from the supposedly left-of-centre Guardian to the right-wing Murdoch press cannot be underestimated.

Clearly there is a need for a sustained movement both inside and more importantly, outside the Labour Party, building grassroots struggles and continuing to find new ways of bypassing the media. The Corbyn victory did not reflect the potential of the Labour Party to be a progressive party – in fact the Labour machinery did everything possible to prevent it and is still largely controlled by the Blairite right. It was the movement which coalesced around the possibility of change the campaign represented which propelled it to victory. Corbyn as a leader appealed precisely because of his steadfastness to his principles over 32 years as an MP which had led him to vote against his own Party over 500 times.

The Labour Party as an institution is still committed to imperialist war-mongering and deeply entwined with corporate capital. This is what underpins the almost ridiculous attempts to discredit and undermine Corbyn from some of his own MPs who have reproduced and fuelled the hysterical attacks of the mainstream media – for example in creating an issue over Corbyn not singing ‘God Save the Queen’ (Britain’s monarchist and imperial national anthem) at a remembrance service for the Battle of Britain. Most recently Labour’s candidate for London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has launched an attack on Corbyn as a supporter of ‘terrorism’ and affirmed not only his own loyalty to and reverence for the Queen but that of his extended family in Pakistan – indicating the extent of sycophancy which the Labour establishment requires from ambitious Black and South Asian career politicians.

Some Blairites are already rumoured to be planning defection to the Tories; but the majority will stay and continue to try to undermine Corbyn. On a local level too, some of the most protracted battles against neoliberal policies have been confronting Labour-run Borough Councils – such as the movement for social housing in East London where Labour Councils have been carrying out mass evictions and selling off housing stock to corporate developers. Corbyn may have stronger allies in Parliament in the anti-austerity Scottish National Party MPs (who are determined to force Labour to keep Corbyns’s promise to get rid of Trident nuclear weapons based in Scotland, a major plank of their own campaign). Some believe an alliance with left pro-independence forces in Scotland may prove more effective than attempts to revive the discredited Scottish Labour Party.

Some commentators have drawn parallels between Corbyn’s win and the growing popularity of left-of-centre candidate for the Democrats’ presidential nomination Bernie Sanders in the US. However, the differences are not simply that Sanders is generally far less radical in his politics. Sanders’ main supporters are in overwhelmingly white states, and he has faced criticism by Black Lives Matter campaigners, among others, for not engaging sufficiently with questions of racism. This contrasts with Corbyn’s support base – his constituency of Islington North, which has re-elected him seven times, is one of the most ethnically diverse in Britain, with only 50% considering themselves to be ‘white British’ – and he has consistently been involved with issues affecting Black and ethnic minority communities. When it comes to foreign policy, the differences were underlined when Sanders was recently compared to Corbyn by lobbyists for Hillary Clinton in order to discredit him. They suggested that like Corbyn, Sanders would recognize Hamas and Hezbollah as political forces and had been on friendly terms with Hugo Chavez. Sanders responded angrily that it was ‘vicious’ to suggest that he would talk to ‘Middle Eastern terrorists’ or to link him with a ‘dead communist dictator’!

There is no doubt that the election of Jeremy Corbyn as opposition leader has given a massive impetus to the left in Britain. But it would be extremely dangerous were those who campaigned for and elected him to treat this as a mission accomplished, a tendency encouraged by the parliamentary system. As events since then have only served to underline, it is essential that it is followed by sustained struggles to build a powerful multidimensional movement which can continue to shape the political landscape and hold him and his allies to account.



UK Dalit organisations write to PM Modi about his silence and inaction over the role of senior BJP leaders in the Dalit massacres in Bihar

UK Dalit organisations write to PM Modi about his silence and inaction over the role of senior BJP leaders in the Dalit massacres in Bihar

In the run up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK, four of UK’s foremost Dalit organisations have written to Narendra Modi, expressing their dismay about the recent revelations by investigative news portal Cobrapost. Their letter notes that senior BJP politicians were involved in the massacres of some 144 Dalit men, women and children in Bihar and that Mr Modi has so far neither spoken out against  the self-confessed killers and their accomplices nor taken any action against them.

Spokespersons from the organisations urge Mr Modi to act because his lack of action on this issue gives the shocking  message that Dalit and oppressed caste lives do not matter in India’ . They urge him to act urgently to ensure that the self-confessed killers are brought to justice and that all the politicians, including senior BJP politicians, are dismissed from their posts, arrested and charged.

The letter in full is as follows:

bathani-logoTo the Prime Minister of India,

Panchavati, 7 Race Course Road, New Delhi

19 August 2015

Dear Shri Narendra Modi,

We are deeply shocked by the recent horrifying revelations about the massacres of Dalit and other oppressed-caste people in Bihar and are writing to you to express our dismay that  you have so far neither spoken out against  the killers and their accomplices nor taken any action against them.

The revelations caught on camera by the news portal Cobrapost’s are briefly as follows:

  • The Ranveer Sena, the upper caste landlord army in Bihar, perpetrated a number of major massacres of Dalits and oppressed caste people including at Bathani Tola, Laxmanpur Bathe, Shankarbigha, Miyanpur and Ekwari, between 1994 and 2000, brutally murdering some 144 men, women and children simply for demanding basic rights and dignity and for supporting the Communist Party of India(Marxist- Leninist) .
  • Ranveer Sena commanders (formerly acquitted by the Patna High Court)  boasted in recorded interviews not only that they committed these massacres but that they were backed  by top BJP leaders who were their political patrons and funders. They also confessed that  powerful politicians helped them get arms and military training from serving and retired Indian Army men and that they had the support of former Prime Minister (the late Chandrashekhar), and top BJP leaders including former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, former Human Resources Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi and Vice President of the BJP, CP Thakur.
  • The Ranveer Sena commanders also said on camera that Brahmeshwar Mukhiya masterminded all the massacres of poor Dalit women and children. Yet, as you know, the BJP’s Giriraj Singh has shamelessly described Brahmeshwar as Bihar’s Gandhi.

The Amir Das Commission, which was set up in 1997, after the Laxmanpur Bathe killings,  to investigate these massacres was disbanded in 2005 by Nitish Kumar of the JDU, then in alliance with the BJP, in order to appease and shield his erstwhile BJP allies.

As you may know the Patna High Court acquitted all the perpetrators claiming there was ‘no evidence’, and that eyewitnesses were lying. The statements of the acquitted men to Cobrapost prove that the eyewitnesses told the truth.

Can such horrific violence be tolerated in a democratic country? Unfortunately your lack of action on this issue gives the shocking  message that Dalit and oppressed caste lives do not matter in India. We urge you therefore to act urgently to ensure:

  • that the Ranveer Sena commanders who continue to walk free and boast about the murders they have committed are arrested and charged
  • that all the politicians including senior BJP politicians who are named in the Amir Das Commission report are dismissed from their posts, arrested and charged
  • that the Army and ex-Army personnel who trained and armed the banned Ranveer Sena terrorists are also brought to justice.

yours sincerely,

Meena Varma   (Dalit Solidarity Network)

Arun Kumar (Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisation, UK)

Davinder Prasad   (CasteWatchUK)

Ramesh Klair (Sri Guru Ravidass Global Organisation for Human Rights)

Ravi Kumar (Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance)

Amrit Wilson (South Asia Solidarity Group)


More on the Cobrapost revelations:

Foil Vedanta protest at Vedanta AGM, London, 2015

Vedanta’s friend and mass murderer Narendra Modi visiting the UK in November : Join the Protests!

What Modi’s Hindu fascist regime has done for Vedanta:

Mining and Corporate land-grab

The law is being changed* to allow even easier land acquisition by corporates like Vedanta without the consent of those who live on it or are its owners, or any consideration of environmental destruction. Communities like the Dongria and Kutia Konds which resist are being terrorised not only by the police and paramilitaries but by state- and corporate- sponsored militias, like the recently revived Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh.

Abolishing workers’ rights

Vedanta which was responsible for the deaths of more than a hundred workers in one of India’s worst construction accidents will be able to get away with even more abuses of workers. In order to attract yet more corporates to ‘Make in India’, a labour law reform will make contract work and instant hiring and firing legal and the norm for a host of different occupations, while many basic labour rights including the right to form a trade union will be erased.

Silencing dissent

Those who have dared to criticise Modi or his government’s pro-corporate policies have been accused of being ‘anti-national’. The state has sought to silence them through censorship, threats, false cases and imprisonment. High profile cases include Priya Pillai of Greenpeace India who was prevented from travelling to Britain to address MPs about the destruction of forests by coal mining by London based Essar Energy and Teesta Setalvad who has consistently campaigned to bring Modi to justice for his role in the Gujarat massacres of 2002(see below)

Who is Narendra Modi?

Narendra Modi is a lifelong cadre of the RSS, a Hindu supremacist paramilitary organisation 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 emulate in its treatment of minority groups. The RSS is the core of a family of organisations which includes the ruling BJP.

Narendra Modi, as Chief Minister of Gujarat, presided over the state-sponsored massacres of Muslims in which some 2,000 people were murdered and 200,000 displaced in February 2002. Court cases implicating Modi are still being heard, including one filed by Zakia Jafri, whose husband Ahsan Jafri, a former MP, was brutally murdered in the violence. The family of two British citizens, Saeed and Sakil Dawood, murdered in Gujarat while on holiday, are also pursuing a civil case against Modi. Judgments in both these court cases are expected in the next few months. The Hindu supremacist groups declared Gujarat ‘the Laboratory of the Hindu State’ and repeated this ‘experiment’ in Odisha, in 2007, in an anti-Christian pogrom, and again against Muslims in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh during Modi’s election campaign.


UPDATES AT @SAsiaSolidarity; FB: Stop Mass Murderer Narendra Modi UK;

*Since this was written, Modi has been forced to back down from amending the Land Acquisition Act in the face of massive opposition

‘Candles in the Wind’ Film Screening and Q & A with Nandan Saxena and Kavita Bahl

South Asia Solidarity Group and Decolonising our Minds society  invite you to the

Film screening of the award-winning

Candle in the Wind

Karamjeet Kaur, Moga, Punjab


‘Candles in the Wind’

(India 2014 52 min)


Followed by Q& A with the directors

 Nandan Saxena and Kavita Bahl


7.00pm Thursday 28 May

(doors open at 6.30pm)

Room V111, SOAS Vernon Square Campus,

Vernon Square, Penton Rise, WC1X 9EW

(nearest tube: King’s Cross)

Punjab is known globally as the success-story of India’s Green Revolution. Popular cinema from Bollywood keeps this carefully cultivated image alive. This image is a mirage.

Behind the smokescreen of an idyllic Punjab, there is real smoke, from the smouldering pyres of the farmers who are driven to suicide by the debt burden due to high costs of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides set by the almighty corporations in collusion with the State.

With suicides of men spiralling, women are left to bear the burden of their debt, and the responsibilities of taking care of children, ageing parents and the carcinogenic chemically damaged fields.

‘Candles in the Wind’ witnesses the silent determination of these women to survive and struggle against the politics of domination. The film provides a unique insight into the effects of neoliberal globalisation on rural India and the socioeconomic flux which has accompanied it.

Awards: Special Mention, 61st National Film Awards / India; John Abraham National Film Award for Best Documentary / SiGNS Film Festival / Kerala / 2014; Special Mention / IDSFFK / Trivandrum / 2014; Official Selection: Indian Panorama-2014, IFFI-Goa.

Watch the trailer for Candles in the Wind:

Nandan Saxena & Kavita Bahl are independent filmmakers and media trainers.

They received the National Award for Best Investigative Film at the National Film Awards (2011), for the film ‘Cotton for my shroud’. It was screened as ‘Headline Film’ at the World Investigative Film Week at London in 2013.

Almost two decades into filmmaking, they work in the genres of documentary and poetry films. Their oeuvre spans the domains of ecology, livelihoods, development and human rights.

Their most recent film ‘I cannot give you my Forest’ has been awarded the ‘Rajat Kamal’ for the Best Film in Environment, including Agriculture at the National Film Awards (For 2014).



‘Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai’ or ‘Muzaffarnagar Eventually’

On the thirteenth anniversary of the Gujarat genocide, with the survivors still waiting for justice, we invite you to the UK
premiere of this powerful film about a horrific new ‘laboratory of Hindu Rashtra’ and how it is being resisted.

‘Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai’ or ‘Muzaffarnagar Eventually’

(Hindi with English subtitles)

Film Screening and discussion

Tuesday 24th February, 7.00pm

Room V211

SOAS Vernon Square Building,

Vernon Square, Penton Rise
London WC1X 9EW


In September 2013, an anti-Muslim pogrom took place in the Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts of Western Uttar Pradesh in which more than 100 men, women and children  were killed and some 80,000  displaced.  In the past, these two districts had seen relative harmony between Muslims and Hindus. What happened this time? ‘Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai…’ (Muzaffarnagar eventually…) explores this question examining the many facets of the massacre- the question of  women’s ‘honour’, which was used by organisations of the Hindu right, including BJP-RSS, to orchestrate communal violence,  the merging of caste identity politics within the larger Hindutva fold, the breakdown of the once powerful farmers’ union, the Bharatiya Kisan Union, whose survival hinged on the unity of Hindu and Muslim peasants,  the various aspects of Dalit politics in the districts, the dubious role of the Samajwadi Party, the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh and the feeling of complete alienation and marginalisation of the Muslim community. The film looks at how the massacre found its resonance in the 2014 Indian General election campaign. Finally, it tells of the continued and growing resistance in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts against the corporate- communal nexus.

Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai  Nakul Singh Sawhney/2014/135 mins/Hindi with English subtitles



Nakul Singh Sawhney’s earlier films include the award winning With a little help from my friends (2005),  Agauravand Undecided, both in 2006,  Once upon a time in Chheharta  and the acclaimed Izzatnagari Ki Asabhya Betiyaan (2012) on “honour” crimes in Haryana



Delhi Police Files Charge-sheet Against AIPWA Secretary Kavita Krishnan and AISA, RYA Activists for Anti-Rape Protests Post Dec 16

The Delhi Police has informed activists of AISA, RYA and AIPWA, including AIPWA Secretary Kavita Krishnan, AISA activists Anmol Rattan of DU and Om Prasad of JNU, and RYA activist Aslam Khan that a charge-sheet has been filed against them for their participation in a protest on December 19th 2012 against the December 16th rape, at Sheila Dixit’s house.

 This protest action had been one of the key protests that galvanized more protests all over Delhi and the country. At this protest, the Delhi Police had used water cannons for the first time against the anti-rape protesters. Also, a speech made by AIPWA Secretary Kavita Krishnan at that protest, went viral with thousands of people across the country feeling that it reflected their own sentiments. 57,615 people till date viewed the YouTube video of the speech, that asserted women’s right to be “adventurous”, rejected curbs on women’s freedom in the name of “protection”, and demanded that Governments protect women’s right to “fearless freedom.” The speech had been spontaneously translated into many Indian languages as well as English, and shared. In many ways, that protest, and the speech made at that protest, came to symbolize, for people in India and all over the world, the spirit of the anti-rape protests in Delhi.

Police brutality, high-handedness and harassment against protesters were notorious at the time – even the Justice Verma Committee commented on it.

It is highly unlikely that leading December 2012 anti-rape protesters would have been charge-sheeted by the Delhi Police more than a year later, without a political green-signal from above. The Delhi Police falls under the Union Home Ministry. Why are the charge-sheets being filed against key AISA organisers in DU and JNU, days before DUSU and JNUSU polls where AISA is a major contender?

The BJP, at that time, had attacked the Congress Govt and the Delhi Police for its brutality to anti-rape protesters. Why, now, is the Delhi Police under the BJP Govt filing charge-sheets against the same protesters now?

Clearly, the Modi regime, like the Manmohan regime before it, holds protesters, especially those who speak of women’s freedom, to be criminals.

Just as the anti-rape protesters anticipated way back in December 2012, ‘protection’ for women from ‘love jehad’ and ‘rape’ has quickly come to mean moral policing and restrictions on freedom. Even as this charge-sheet is filed against people agitating for women’s freedom, Sangeet Som, the BJP MLA who incited mobs in Muzaffarnagar, has again called for a ‘mahapanchayat’ – this time against ‘love jehad’. Leaders of such mahapanchayats are the same khaps that kill daughters and their lovers – in the name of ‘honour.’ Now, in the name of the ‘love jehad’ bogey, they will legitimize harassment of inter-community couples, and justify family/community/khap surveillance on adult women. Recently, the Gujarat police issued posters asking parents to maintain surveillance on their daughters’ mobile phones. For such reactionary and patriarchal politics, the very idea of ‘women’s freedom’ and the freedom of young women and men to love each other without fear is dangerous.

 The AISA, AIPWA and RYA demand that the case against all protesters in the anti-rape agitation of 2012-13, including its own activists, be withdrawn immediately.

The charge-sheeted activists declared, “We and thousands of others will continue to protest and demand the right of women, as well as of every one, including men and women from Dalit, Muslim and other marginalized identities, to be free and adventurous, as we did on December 19th. If this Government and the Delhi Police holds that this a crime deserving our arrest, so be it.”

Meena Tiwari, General Secretary, AIPWA

Sucheta De, President, All India Students’ Association, AISA

Ravi Rai, General Secretary, Revolutionary Youth Association, RYA

Free Palestine! End Israeli occupation! End the siege of Gaza!

Free Palestine! End Israeli occupation! End the siege of Gaza!

South Asia Solidarity Group condemns Israel’s genocidal attack on the people of Gaza.

Protesting outside the Israeli Embassy, New Delhi, July 14

Protesting outside the Israeli Embassy, New Delhi, July 14

We mourn the deaths of thousands of men, women and children killed in Gaza – not because they are disproportionate but because ‘proportionate’ does not make sense in a genocide.

We condemn Israel’s colonial policy of collective punishment which has held Gaza under siege – starving the population of essential needs  and then deliberately bombing hospitals,  schools and homes; killing people as they flee from the bombing; flattening vast areas of Gaza and  destroying its power supply and water.   This is a policy which we as South Asians know from our history. In India it was used by the British colonialists after the 1857 uprising –  India’s first war of independence – to wipe out entire populations in village after village. Like the Palestinians they were killed  not because they were convicted of anything, but because they were people of targeted regions. In that period too,  all freedom fighters and all those who resisted or even dissented were constructed as terrorists. Everyone was regarded as a ‘insurgent’.

We condemn the Indian government for its shameful silence and ambiguity over Israel’s genocide and its refusal initially to even discuss the issue in Parliament.  The present Indian government, led by the right-wing BJP, with its ideology of Hindu supremacy,  is betraying India’s own history of anti-colonial struggle.

This history was the reason why India was, for four decades after independence, unequivocally committed to freedom for Palestine. Indian freedom fighters spoke out wholeheartedly in solidarity with Palestine’s struggle.   Gandhi famously declared that “Palestine belongs to the Arabs as England belongs to the English or France to the French.” This is the understanding which  informs all those hundreds of thousands of people who, in the last few weeks, have demonstrated across India against Israel’s genocide..

We condemn the Indian government’s violent response to these peaceful demonstrations which led to hundreds being injured and the death of  fifteen year old Suhail Ahmad in police firing in Kashmir.

Why is it a crime in India today to demonstrate in solidarity with Palestine? Why are  pro-Israel forces  welcomed and pro-Palestine demonstrations  brutally attacked by the police?

We condemn India’s ‘deepening relationship with Israel. Over the last two decades, India’s ruling class has embraced neoliberalism and  grown closer to US imperialism and Indian governments have advocated a ‘pragmatic’ relationship with Israel.  Between 1998 and 2004 when a BJP-led government was in power for the first time, this relationship became even closer with a growing  affinity between Zionism and the BJP’s own ideology of Hindutva, each echoing the others’ murderous Islamophobia, both attempting to rewrite history, both specifically stamptargeting Muslim women and children for the most  inhuman violence and both profoundly misogynistic. The state of Gujarat was described,  during the 2002 pogrom against Muslims as the ‘laboratory of the Hindu nation’. Today Gaza has become a laboratory of Zionism in which illegal weapons, cancer-causing bombs and other  methods of extermination are used with a cruelty which  no words are adequate to describe.

Israel receives weapons from the US and UK but also manufactures and sells its own. India is its biggest customer. It buys a massive  50% of its total weapon sales- a huge contribution to Israel’s economy. Tens of thousands of Indian paramilitary commandos are armed with Israeli Micro-Uzis with which they kill mainly unarmed civilians in India’s central belt, where multinationals are involved in land grabs, or in Kashmir. The Barak-8 naval missile defence system, Mossad surveillance equipment and expertise, and a variety of drones are others in a plethora of  weapons which India is buying and which are proudly on display at India’s Republic Day parade. We condemn these purchases.

We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle for freedom!




Wednesday 4th June 4.30-6.30pm
Indian High Commission
The Aldwych, London WC2 (nearest tube: Holborn)


The appalling gang-rape and lynching of two girls, aged 14 and 15, from an oppressed caste in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, India on Wednesday 28th May is the latest in a long line of  horrific murders and sexual assaults perpetrated on young Dalit women across India recently. Only two months earlier, four teenage Dalit girls aged 13-18 were raped by ‘higher caste’ landowners in Bhagana in Haryana, and the survivors are still fighting for the arrest of the rapists.

Dalit women and girls are facing an onslaught of gender, caste, and class based violence in which the Indian state collaborates. Less than 1% of rape cases of Dalit women by non-Dalits end in conviction. The level of impunity is so total that the perpetrators feel confident to finish off their vile crimes by murdering the victims and leaving their bodies on display. Are the lives of young Dalit women so expendable?

In the Badaun case, the police refused to investigate when the girls’ families reported them missing and even threatened to kill them if they filed a case, and two policemen have now been charged with conspiring with the higher caste rapists. In Bhagana, the courageous survivors and their families have been forced to travel to Delhi and stage an ongoing protest to demand the arrest of the rapists –after the police refused to register cases against the powerful men named by the girls in their testimonies.

Dalit women have been targeted for sexual violence wherever Dalit communities are challenging oppression and exploitation. In Bhagana, the four girls were raped in ‘revenge’ after Dalits demanded that the upper caste controlled village council hand over the land which had been allocated to them by the government, and protested against eviction and harassment. In Bihar, the Ranvir Sena, a landowners’ army aligned with Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, targeted Dalit and Muslim women for horrific violence when the rural poor organized for land and a living wage.

The recent election victory of Narendra Modi and the BJP has further emboldened upper caste and economically powerful rapists. The Brahmanical-patriarchal ideas of the Hindu right, in which Dalit women’s lives have no value, are being combined with intensified neoliberal economic policies which leave Dalits and other exploited and marginalised people even more vulnerable. While Modi tried to reach out to Dalits in his election campaign, his close ally Baba Ramdev’s offensive remarks about Dalit women as the sexual property of upper castes exposed once again the misogynistic casteism of the Hindu right. In the wake of the Badaun case, Modi has condemned the appalling levels of gender violence in opposition-ruled UP, but the fact that he has given a Ministerial post in his government to Sanjeev Baliyan, one of the main accused in the Muzaffarnagar communal violence in UP last year which involved mass rapes of Muslim women, sends out a very different signal.

The last year and a half has seen a powerful movement against gender violence in India. But the Badaun and Bhagana cases painfully underline once again that the struggle continues, and can only succeed if the lethal connections between gender, caste, class and communal violence are recognized and fought.

Dalit groups and progressive and left women’s groups and students organisations in India are on the streets demanding justice for the victims and survivors of Badaun and Bhagana.  Join the solidarity protest outside the Indian High Commission in London on Wednesday 4th June from 4.30 to 6.30pm.

Organised by:

Freedom Without Fear Platform, a network of Black and minority ethnic women and groups


Supported by:

Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance

CasteWatch UK

South Asia Solidarity Group

Southall Black Sisters

Sri Guru Ravidass International Organisation for Human Rights

Voice of Dalit International