Category Archives: Neoliberalism

War on Terror and Imperialism

01Apr/18

Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the UK in April for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) taking place from 16-20 April.

Protest his visit on Wednesday 18 April 2018, 12pm outside Downing Street.

Who is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and why are we protesting his visit? (click here for protest details)

  • Avowed fascist and admirer of Hitler

Narendra Modi is a lifelong cadre of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu supremacist paramilitary organisation modelled on the Nazi and Italian Fascist parties. It was 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 copy in its treatment of minority groups. The RSS is the core of a family of organisations which includes the BJP, currently India’s ruling party. Their fascistic ideology aggressively promotes attacks on Muslims and other religious minorities, Dalits, women and sexual minorities. The Left and other dissidents are demonized and targeted as ‘enemies of the nation’.

  • Overseeing genocidal attacks and mob lynchings against religious minorities

In 2002, as Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi presided over the genocidal attacks in which over 2,000 people from Gujarat’s Muslim minority community were systematically killed, and 200,000 displaced. Women and children were specifically targeted for horrific violence in the pogrom. There is clear evidence that the violence was orchestrated and sponsored by Modi’s state government

Since Modi became Prime Minister of India in 2014, he has facilitated an epidemic of mob lynching in which Muslims have been the main target. Whether the pretext has been claims of eating beef, cattle trading, so-called ‘love jihad’ or simply travelling while Muslim, these murders have been instigated and organized by the network of vigilante groups and paramilitaries linked to Modi’s BJP government and the RSS. Those who have been brutally murdered range from 15-year-old Junaid beaten to death in a train in UP, to Pehlu Khan lynched by cow vigilantes on a Rajasthan road. On December 6 2017, millions of people witnessed the horror of Afrazul Khan, a migrant worker from Bengal, being hacked to death and burnt alive in Rajasthan, with the carnage being sickeningly videoed and circulated online by the perpetrator and his 14-year-old nephew. There were celebrations of his crime and the protests against his arrest organized by the Hindu right wing organizations; chillingly the murder was clearly pre-planned to take place on the anniversary of the demolition by RSS footsoldiers of the historic 16th century Babri Masjid (mosque) in 1992.

Modi has also encouraged violent attacks on Christians which have involved brutal assaults on churches and pastors, with the authorities colluding in the persecution of people celebrating Christmas in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, where carol singers were first attacked by Hindu right-wing groups and then arrested by the police.

  • Promoting caste hierarchy and attacks on Dalits

The BJP/RSS has an avowedly caste supremacist ideology and Modi has presided over intensified attacks on Dalits, and brutal attempts to crush their ongoing resistance to caste oppression. In Uttar Pradesh where the rabidly communal and casteist hate preacher Yogi Adityanath was made Chief Minister in March 2017, we witnessed the burning of Dalit villages and the sexual assaults on Dalit women by upper caste mobs in Saharanpur. This was followed by the arrest of Chandrashekhar Azad (Raavan) the leader of the Bhim Army, a Dalit Human Rights Group. While Chandrashekhar Azad was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court on November 2, with the court observing that charges against him were “politically motivated” , the very next day the Uttar Pradesh government slapped the National Security Act (NSA) against him in an effort to silence him. Meanwhile in BJP-ruled Gujarat, Dalit rights activist and elected representative (MLA) Jignesh Mevani is facing public death threats from senior police officers.

In January 2018, Hindu right wing terror groups carried out attacks on thousands of Dalit families who had gathered at Bhima Koregaon village in Maharashtra to commemorate the 200th anniversary of a battle which is central to Dalit identity.. Instead of arresting the key organisers of this violence (one of whom is a close associate of Modi) the police have carried out a witch hunt of  Dalit youth and children.

  • Assassinating dissenters and silencing critical media

The Modi government is ruthlessly seeking to silence all those who dissent from its agenda of creeping fascism.  The cold-blooded assassination on 5 September 2017 of the courageous journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bangalore, who had fearlessly criticized and exposed the BJP and its associated groups, by Hindu right wing hit squads, brought thousands onto the streets in mourning and protest. This followed the earlier murders of rationalists Narendra Dabolkar, Govind Pansare, and MM Kalburgi by the same organizations. While the mainstream media have become loyal mouthpieces for the Modi government, whipping up hysteria against all those who criticize the government and labeling them ‘anti-national’, alternative critical media outlets like The Wire have been threatened with massive lawsuits when they expose the terror unleashed by the Modi regime and its endemic corruption.  Activists fighting communal (religion-based) violence like Teesta Setalvad have faced continuous persecution by the state.

  • Undermining the Judicial System

Modi and his associates have blatantly undermined the judicial system – as in the suspected murder of Justice Loya, the judge who dared to insist that Modi’s right- hand man Amit Shah appear in court in the Sohrabuddin murder case. Interference by the Modi-appointed Chief Justice in the investigation of Justice Loya’s death led four of the five senior-most Supreme Court judges to take the unprecedented step of holding a press conference to  warn of the ‘danger to democracy’ posed by the Modi government. Recently the testimony of Swami Aseemanand giving key evidence of the terrorist activities of the RSS including the 2007 bombing of the Mecca Mosque in Hyderabad, has been ‘lost’ by a lower court.  Meanwhile, BJP leaders have openly stated their intention to get rid of the Indian Constitution drafted by Ambedkar and its basic principles of liberty, equality and fraternity, replacing it with the caste supremacist and misogynist principles of the ancient Manusmriti!

  • Intensifying atrocities in Kashmir

In Kashmir, where the people have long been fighting for their right to self-determination in the face of acute state repression and military occupation, atrocities have further escalated. The BJP, now also sharing power in Srinagar, has shed all pretence of constitutional governance, treating Kashmiris as virtual prisoners of war, and even a tentative recognition of the humanity of Kashmiri youth by a government official  is treated as seditious. When a police officer, Deepak Khajuria, was arrested as the main accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl, Asifa Bano, part of a conspiracy to drive the Muslim Bakarwal community which Asifa belonged to from their homes, there were protests and violence by the BJP-backed Hindu Ekta Manch demanding his release.

  • Welcoming corporate plunder

Modi claims to be a ‘nationalist’ but only to silence his own people or threaten neighbouring countries. He is eager to welcome global corporates such as notorious mining conglomerates Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton 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 forests and displacing the people who live there, (particularly targeting Adivasis or indigenous people) 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.

  • Friend of Trump and Netanyahu

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’. India is the world’s biggest importer of arms, buying a massive 13% of global arms imports and 41% of Israeli total weapon sales. Israeli weapons and ‘counter- terrorism’ training are being used to kill unarmed civilians, particularly in Kashmir, but also in India’s North Eastern states and on striking workers across the country. Like Israel, Modi’s India is also deeply involved in military collaboration with the US under Trump. Modi  has signed an agreement allowing the US to use India’s land, air and naval bases for supplies, services and refuelling. Modi is leading India into America’s war in Afghanistan and  escalating hostilities with China, whom Modi sees as India’s enemy. Indian Air Force fighters are scheduled to join Israel and five NATO Air Forces in the so-called Blue Flag joint air force exercises, the first time that the Indian military will be publicly holding such manoeuvres with their Israeli counterparts.

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. The HSS was investigated for hate speech and asked by the Charity Commissioner to keep away from the RSS, its parent body. Meanwhile Treasury minister Priti Patel has openly expressed her admiration for it and MPs like Conservative Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, whose constituency has a substantial Hindu population, have shared platforms with RSS leaders at HSS events and hosted meetings for rabid Hindutva supporters like Tapan Ghosh at the House of Commons. With the rise of Hindutva in the UK, caste discrimination has increased in the Indian communities. Legislation outlawing caste discrimination was passed by the last Labour government but never implemented. The Hindu Right groups, MPs like Blackman and a few academics like Prakash Shah, (QMUL), have come together to lobby against this legislation. These groups have no concern for Indian migrants facing detentions and deportations and, like Modi himself, are happy to barter their human rights for trade deals for Indian corporates.

Please join us in protest here.

Sign the petition that will be handed in during CHOGM to the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues.

Modi is not welcome!

#ModiNotWelcome #Commonwealth18 #Narendramodi

#ModiNotWelcomeCoalition #ourCommonwealth

#BharatKiBaatSabkeSaath

07Mar/17

In commemoration of the 2002 Gujarat genocide

In commemoration of the Gujarat genocide, which took place during the week following 28 February 2002, we repost the details of a meeting on Gender and the Hindu Right which we organised in collaboration with the LSE Gender Institute and the Freedom Without Fear Platform on 3rd March, 2014. Watch these powerful and moving contributions from speakers on the Gender and Hindu Right panel.

Outlining the context of the meeting, Kalpana Wilson of South Asia Solidarity Group and the LSE Gender Institute emphasised that the targeting of minority women for appalling violence is not a side effect but absolutely central to the project of the Hindu right and how it operates. Linked to this, she said was the intensification of surveillance and control over women, the rise of ‘moral policing’ targeting students and other young people, and the invocation of the “protection” of Hindu women as a justification for violence against religious minorities and Dalits, including rape of women.

She also noted that Hindu right supporters here in Britain have been promoting the completely unfounded myth of ‘love jihad’ in British universities by students and this fits in with the agenda of the British state and its Islamophobia. While these groups are promoting the image of a so-called ‘Gujarat model’ of development the position of women in Gujarat where Modi has been Chief Minister since 2001 is abysmal – demonstrated by the sex ratio (2011 census) of 918 women per 1,000 men (below the already scandalous national average of 940), that hints at the magnitude of female infanticide, and the very high gender imbalance in school enrolments compared to all-India levels. Very high rates of domestic violence against women are accompanied by very low conviction rates in the state.

Kalpana Wilson


Nishrin Jafri Hussain, in a powerful and moving contribution spoke of the unimaginable brutality perpetrated on the bodies of Muslim women in the villages around Ahmedabad. Speaking in London for the first time Nishrin, whose father, the MP Ahsan Jafri, was brutally murdered in the 2002 anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat state, and whose family is waging an ongoing legal battle to bring Narendra Modi, who presided over the violence as Chief Minister of Gujarat, to justice showed a series of photographs of those who had been murdered, with many gaps for those of whom no photos exist. She told the meeting that the numbers of rapes were far more than those reported because these experiences were not only deeply traumatising and humiliating but that it was a taboo speaking about them.

She said that in the Gulbarg society where she grew up and the area around it every Muslim house had been burnt down and every family had lost loved ones – deep scars of these losses remain. She told the meeting that her father had been against the ghettoisation of Muslims and committed to living in a mixed Hindu and Muslim area even after the riots of 1969.

When his house where nearly 200 people were sheltering was attacked, and was surrounded by armed Hindu mobs, he had called for help to the central government to no avail. When he phoned Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister replied ‘ You are on your own Jafri, save yourself’.

Many in the audience had tears in their eyes as Nishrin reaffirmed her family’s commitment to bringing Narendra Modi to justice.

Nishrin Jafri Hussain


Angana Chatterji an anthropologist and leading human rights specialist, who convened a people’s tribunal in Odisha in 2005 spoke about her work documenting the experiences of sexual violence in Odisha, noting that ideologies of conservative patriarchy had been taken over and intensified by the Hindu Right across India in a series of attacks on women in minority communities Christian, Muslim, Adivasi and Dalit over the years.

Angana Chatterji


Meena Kandasamy an oppressed-caste feminist and writer spoke about the way the language and discourse of Hindutva is conveniently utilised by fanatical Hindu upper caste groups like the Pattali Makkal Katchi, in Tamil Nadu or other caste organisations to construct Dalit men as the “Other” and create a myth similar to that of ‘love Jihad’ that they deceive Hindu upper caste girls by “making” them fall in love. The idea that once such a formula of love-jihad is deployed it can serve to function to contain, and threaten, women’s independence.

Meena Kandasamy

The meeting was as one student who attended it described it, ‘both deeply disturbing and a call to action’ and the organisers announced that the campaign internationally to bring Modi to justice would continue.

11Aug/14

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!

 

27Jan/13

“Don’t teach me what to wear – teach your sons not to rape”

Meeting held on Wednesday 23 January –  in solidarity with India’s anti-rape protests and to confront gender violence in Britain

Kavita Krishnan on skype, Kalpana Wilson, Marai Larasi, Naila Kabeer, Rahila Gupta, Kaveri Sharma,

 Lia Latchford, Amrit Wilson (left to right)

Click the links below for press reports

http://www.business-standard.com/generalnews/news/uk-rights-groups-callindia-to-act-against-rape/114265/

http://www.thehindu.com/news/south-asian-women-call-for-genderjust-laws-in-india/article4344888.ece#.UQKv8bZpRKM.email