18Jun/16

Letter to PM Narendra Modi: Stop Racist Attacks on Africans in India!

 

 

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To sign this letter please visit the petition page here.


Dear Prime Minister Modi

We the undersigned strongly condemn the horrific killing of Masonda Kitanda Oliver and the spate of violent attacks on African nationals living in India. Our deepest sympathies and solidarity are with the families of the victims. In the last two years, there has been an enormous rise in racist violence against Africans in India. Racial prejudice against Africans has, of course, been endemic in Indian society for many years – linked to historically embedded supremacist ideologies of both caste and colonialism. However, with the rise of your party to power and the total impunity given by the BJP government to Hindu supremacist gangs to harass, abuse and kill Muslims, Christians and Dalits, as well as those who racially attack people from the North-East of India, racism against Africans has also escalated.

Africans face a constant barrage of racism. Everyday experiences include being taunted on the street with overt racist slurs, denied accommodation by landlords and being stereotyped as drug-dealers, if they are men and sex-workers if they are women. In addition, there have been brutal attacks and murders and sexual violence. In February this year in a vicious attack in Bangalore, a mob assaulted a Tanzanian student, partially stripped her, and set her car on fire.

We would like particularly to highlight the events of the last month in Delhi. On May 20, 24 year-old Congolese teacher Masunda Kitanda Oliver, was bludgeoned to death. This was followed within days by a brutal attack on Nigerian priest Kenneth Igbinosa as he returned home with his wife and four-month-old son, and attacks on four separate groups of Africans also in the capital.

Far from condemning these attacks and murders, members of your government and party have trivialised them, denied or deflected their racist nature, or even implicitly justified them. For example V.K. Singh, Minister for External Affairs in your government, claimed that the press were “blowing up [a] minor scuffle as [an] attack”, your foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, declared that the attacks were “criminal acts”, but were “not racial” and tourism and culture minister Mahesh Sharma commented that ‘Africa is unsafe too’, The attempt of the government to reframe these attacks as criminal acts rather than racially motivated hate crimes allows the Indian Government to try to safeguard its economic interests in Africa whilst denying the racist ideology deeply embedded in your own party and administration, clearly demonstrated when the Tourism minister in Goa (a state ruled by your party), Dilip Parulekar, commented with overt racism that Nigerians make trouble in India and ought to be deported.

We support the decision of the African diplomatic community to boycott the Africa Day celebrations over the killings and Eritrean ambassador Alem Tsehage Woldemarian’s demand that the ‘problem of racism and Afro-phobia in India’ be addressed by the Indian Government. We in Britain are horrified and dismayed at these recent developments. Not only do Indians and other South Asians living in Britain face racism and racist violence, but there is a long history of people of African and South Asian origin working together in solidarity to confront and challenge British racism. We demand (1) that you ensure that immediate action is taken to bring those responsible for the recent racist attacks – including those politicians indulging in racist hate-speech like Dilip Parulekar – to justice, (2) that the survivors and the families of the victims are provided with all possible support and assistance by your government and (3) that the government of India takes immediate steps for the development and systematic implementation of policies which aim to confront and eradicate racism in India at all levels as a matter of the utmost urgency.


Hana Sandhu, South Asia Solidarity Group

Explo Nani-Kofi, Kilombo Centre for Civil Society and African Self-Determination, Ghana and London

Asad Rehman, Newham Monitoring Project

Esther Stanford-Xosei,  Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe

Naeem Malik, South Asian Alliance

Jendayi Serwah, Global Afrikan People’s Parliament (GAPP).

Nirmala Rajasingam, Freedom Without Fear Platform

Sara Calloway, Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike

 

15Apr/16
zac goldsmith leaflet

NOT IN OUR NAME! – TORIES INVOKE MODI IN RACIST AND ISLAMOPHOBIC MAYORAL CAMPAIGN

As a desperate Zac Goldsmith accuses Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan of giving ‘cover to extremists’ the racism and Islamophobia of the Conservative Mayoral campaign could not be more blatant. One element of this has been the barrage of recent propaganda material  targeted at Indian and Sri Lankan voters which is not only deeply racist and a despicable attempt at colonial-style divide and rule, but also completely misrepresents the views of South Asian people in London about Indian PM Narendra Modi.

We condemn the campaign by Zac Goldsmith and David Cameron which:

  • Dredged up once again tired racist stereotypes of Asians as all owners of ‘corner shops’ and other small businesses for whom ‘protecting property’ was the only concern (never mind the Tory policies which have forced small owners out of business in favour of its corporate retail giant friends and funders), whilst simultaneously using these stereotypes to promote the usual dog-whistle scapegoating of the people the Tories would like us to believe commit robberies (surprise, not the Camerons and the others named in the #PanamaPapers).
  • In an almost pathetically transparent and inept piece of scaremongering, simply invented a devilish Labour ‘jewellery tax’ because, apparently, everyone knows that all Indians and Sri Lankans have piles of gold jewellery stashed away which they are much more worried about than jobs, housing, transport or any of the issues which other Londoners are voting on in these elections.

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22Mar/16
Ambedkar statue LSE

What took place at the LSE Students Union India Forum

Saunvedan Aparanti

When I saw the following details for the LSE debate on Facebook, I knew I had to be part of it as the Kanhaiya Kumar JNU phenomenon has awoken the revolutionary in me and I believe we are witnessing something in India that hasn’t been seen since the Indian independence movement.

‘The events at Jawaharlal Nehru University that led to the arrest of Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar have become the source of the latest political controversy in India. But who’s right and who’s wrong? Is this a simple question of nationalism vs. free speech? Or is there more? What of the role of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (right-wing all India student organisation)? And is there still a place for sedition laws in contemporary India?
Come find out about this and pose your questions to our panelists, who will shed light on both sides of the debate.
Details-
Moderator: Mr. Suhel Seth
Speakers: Dr. Sambit Patra (National Spokesperson, BJP); Mr. Sachin Pilot (Member of Indian National Congress); Mr. Manish Sisodia (Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party)’

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20Feb/16
2marchphotos

Fighting Caste Discrimination and the Hindu Right in India and Britain-Panel Discussion

 

In India the suicide of Dalit research scholar and activist Rohith Vemula has led to a massive movement against caste discrimination and violence, highlighting both the continuing institutionalized violence of caste at all levels of Indian society as well as the particular determination of the current Modi government and its associated stormtroopers of the Hindu Right like the RSS and the ABVP to crush Dalit political assertion and demands for basic rights.

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29Jan/16
Dr Gautam Sen

Casteist Belligerence and abuse from UK Hindutva leaders at caste legislation debate

On 23rd January, at a debate on UK’s caste legislation organised in Leicester, senior Hindutva figures in the UK hurled insults at Babasaheb Ambedkar the author of the Indian Constitution and openly promoted what they called the ‘position of Brahmans’. Organised by Vichar Manthan a forum for propagating Hindutva ideology, the debate involved two speakers Mr Satpal Muman (CasteWatch UK ) who argued for the implementation of UK’s anti-caste discrimination and Dr Prakash Shah (Queen Mary, University of London) who argued against the anti-caste discrimination law. The debate was chaired by Anuja Prashar former executive board member of the Hindu Council of UK (HCUK)and regular contributor to India Inc a Hindu Right financial and propaganda outlet whose CEO is Manoj Ladhwa (Narendra Modi’s main PR man the UK). Prashar ensured that the challenges to Dr Shah were kept to a minimum, even preventing Mr Muman from taking on his arguments. Continue reading