Resist the Republic of Fear: March Against Mob Lynching in India
15 August 2017 – Meet Tavistock Square at 19:00 to march to Indian High Commission
On the 70th anniversary of India's Independence, we must not remain silent and allow the forces of the Hindu right to transform India into a Republic of Fear.
Join us in a torchlit march in solidarity with the victims and survivors of the ongoing epidemic of mob lynching of Muslims, Christians and Dalits in India.
We will be marching from the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Tavistock Square to the Indian High Commission.
On India’s Independence Day we will remember 15-year-old Junaid (murdered in Ballabhgarh, UP), Asghar Ali (Ramgarh, Jharkhand), Otera Bibi (Murshidabad, West Bengal), Zafar Hussein (Pratapgarh, Rajasthan), Dalit families of Shabbirpur village (Saharanpur, UP), Pehlu Khan (Alwar, Rajasthan), the Sarvaiya family (Una, Gujarat), Rama Singrahiya (Sodhana, Gujarat) Mohammad Akhlaque (Dadri, UP), and the many others who have been brutally assaulted or murdered at the hands of lynch mobs, and we will pledge in their names to stand together against this violence and the Hindu supremacist Brahmanical ideology which is fuelling it.
Human rights violations which target religious minorities, specifically Muslims and Christians, and Dalits are occurring on a vast and horrific scale in India today. While violence against Muslim and Christian communities have been increasing since the early 1990s, and upper caste atrocities on Dalits are a longstanding phenomenon, there has been a massive escalation in both since Narendra Modi ‘s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power at the Centre in 2014. Emboldened by the victory of the BJP, Hindu supremacist gangs with links to the ruling party, or in some parts of India directly set up by the state, are the chief perpetrators of these abuses which are occuring unchecked.
South Asia Solidarity Group stands in solidarity with the survivors of the Gujarat genocide 2002 in their search for justice. On the fifteenth anniversary of the state-sponsored, anti-Muslim pogrom we are holding, on 17 March, a remembrance event for those who lost their lives. It is titled Modi, Hindu nationalism and the criminalisation of Muslims .
In 2002, the state government of Gujarat with openly genocidal intent, unleashed a most brutal onslaught upon the Muslim community. The proportions and stratagem of this assault outstripped all previous communally- charged pogroms against minorities in India. The Gujarat pogroms became a blue print of all the many horrific but carefully engineered attacks on minority communities in India which followed – with Gujarat described by the killers as the laboratory of the Hindu State. Continue reading →
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.
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.
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.
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.
What comes to your mind when you think of India? If you’ve been seduced by films, books, pictures and anglophile Indians over the last century then you will no doubt paint a happy picture. You might romanticise the poor yet happy people, the colours, the cuisine, the attire, the mystics, the music, the dance, the cacophony, the heat and the sensory overload of this one country. The only colour missing in Continue reading →
#ModiNotWelcome protests in London at Downing Street and Parliament Square, organized by the Awaaz Network of which South Asia Solidarity Group is a constituent organisation, were attended by thousands of people. They included members of women’s organisations, left South Asian groups, Dalit, Sikh and Kashmiri groups as well as a Nepali contingent.
Slogans such as ‘Modi, Modi you can’t hide- you committed genocide’ and ‘Modi, Modi, RSS, Nazi Fascism No Less’ and ‘David Cameron – Shame, Shame – inviting Modi – Not in Our Name’ pursued Modi as he moved from Downing Street to Parliament Square. As he hypocritically laid flowers at the Gandhi statue, even as his party prepares to celebrate the death anniversary Gandhi’s killer, Nathuram Godse, the crowd which lined the square roared ‘shame on you’ !