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Urgent Appeal for Relief for the Survivors of the Muzaffarnagar Riots

Urgent Appeal for Relief for the Survivors of the Muzaffarnagar Riots

28th December 2013

Dear Friends

Please support the appeal below for help for the survivors of the Muzaffarnagar riots. Thousands of families are still living in relief camps since being forced to flee their homes during the riots in September in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India. At least 34 children under the age of 12 have died in these camps as a result of the poor conditions, cold and lack of medicines.  People are desperately in need of warm clothing, firewood, medicines and food.

The riots in September were orchestrated by the Hindu right-wing BJP and its parent organisation the RSS, along with the Bharatiya Kisan Union, with the goal of forcible displacement of Muslim families from the area(1) . The total numbers of people killed are still not known; evidence has emerged of systematic rapes of Muslim women during the riots (2). The ruling Samajwadi Party government did not do anything to prevent or control the violence, nor did it rehabilitate the displaced. Instead the administration  has been continuously harassing the riot survivors living in relief camps and trying to ensure that they do not return home(3)(4). Shockingly, Chief Minister of U.P. Mulayam Singh Yadav recently claimed that the people living in relief camps were not riot victims but ‘conspirators’ who had been asked to stay there by the BJP and Congress to make a political point – leading to widespread outrage.  Even more callously, the U.P. Home Secretary, commenting on the number of children living in the camps who have died as a harsh winter has set in, quibbled that ‘no-one can die of cold. Children have died of pneumonia, not of cold’(5).

A team of volunteers organized by the CPI(ML) is visiting Muzaffarnagar on 28 December to distribute the first batch of relief materials they have collected, and is currently collecting through a fundraising drive including street collections in cities and towns across India for a second batch to be sent during the next few days. But a lot more help is still needed to prevent further deaths as the cold weather continues.

To contribute to the relief effort from the UK, please make cheques payable to South Asia Solidarity Group, and write ‘Muzaffarnagar Appeal’ on the back. Send to South Asia Solidarity Group, c/o Londec, 293-299 Kentish Town Road, London NW5 2TJ. Or contact sasg@southasiasolidarity.org

(1)    http://kafila.org/2013/09/18/muzaffarnagar-2013-violence-by-political-design-centre-for-policy-analysis/

(2)    http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?288907

(3)    http://www.urdumediamonitor.com/2013/12/09/administrations-wrath-riot-victims-muzaffarnagar/

(4)    http://twocircles.net/2013nov23/muslims_verge_losing_4000_acres_land_muzaffarnagar.html#.

(5)    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Muzaffarnagar-relief-camps-deaths-Nobody-dies-of-cold-UP-home-secretary-says/articleshow/28001591.cms

Demand Relief, Rehabilitation, and Justice for Muzaffarnagar’s Riot Survivors

Observe National Protest Day on 2nd January 2014


The bitterly cold winter has begun. And the stories of Muzaffarnagar’s relief camps jolts our conscience.

Thousands of people, who have watched their loved ones killed in cold blood, and who have been raped, and lost their homes and means of survival, languish in the relief camps of Muzaffarnagar. The Uttar Pradesh Government had pleaded earlier that they were helpless to prevent the communal violence. But why has the Government turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the plight of those in the relief camps?

  • ·34 children have died in relief camps in Shahpur, Budhana, Malarpuur and Sunhati due to the cold, and lack of medicines.
  • ·There have been instances of rapes in the relief camps. FIRs have been filed in rape cases that took place during the communal violence – but the accused are yet to be arrested.
  • ·Meanwhile, the BJP shamelessly felicitated its MLAs who are accused of leading the communal violence.
  • ·And the Akhilesh Government issued an order forcibly evicting the riot-hit from the relief camps, and pressurising them to accept a Rs 5 lakh payment in exchange for giving up their right to return to the villages from where they were evicted! In exchange for the Rs 5 lakh, they are being asked to sign an affidavit saying “”Main aur mere parivar ke sadasya apne gram mein hui hinsatmak ghatnaon se bhayakant hokar gaon va ghar chhodkar aaye hain, tatha in kinhi bhi paristhitiyon mein ab apne mool gaon evam ghar nahin lautenge (I and my family left our village and our home due to the violent incidents there. We will not return to our village and home under any circumstances).”
  • ·Also, the UP forest department has booked thousands of Muzaffarnagar riots victims for setting up relief camps by “encroaching” on forest land.
  • ·The report submitted to the UP Government by the 10-member committee of Ministers under the leadership of senior SP Minister Shivpal Yadav, appallingly, blames the madrasas running the relief camps for not wanting to wind up the relief camps in spite of the situation having returned to ‘normal’!
  • ·The SIT constituted to enquire into the riots is doing a mere token job of it and not bothering even to talk to the victims.

We cannot watch this travesty of justice in silence.

The CPI(ML) appeals to people all over the country to contribute funds that can be used to buy relief materials (warm clothing, firewood, medicines, food) that are urgently for the Muzaffarnagar riot-affected. A CPI(ML) team is visiting Muzaffarnagar on 28 December to distribute the first batch of relief materials collected, and is currently collecting for a second batch.

CPI(ML) also appeals to begin the new year with a resolve to secure justice for Muzaffarnagar’s riot victims.

On 2nd January 2014, the CPI(ML) has called for an all-India protest day demanding immediate arrest and prosecution of all rioters and rape-accused named in FIRs, and demanding that the  State Government of UP ensure urgent relief and rehabilitation measures for the riot-displaced and riot-affected people.


Labour Friends of Hindu Fascism

Labour Friends of Hindu Fascism

by Amrit Wilson

In 2001, Labour MP for Brent North Barry Gardiner, visited Gujarat and describing himself as the Chair of Labour Friends of India(LFI) presented Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Minister Narendra Modi with a cheque for one million pounds. Till then  few people in India or Britain, had heard of LFI. The money raised by  Sewa International, a charity based in Britain, ostensibly for the victims of the Gujarat earthquake of 2001 and the Orissa cyclone of 1999 was to find its way to front organisations for the storm troopers of Hindu supremacy, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – groups  who a year later were exposed as perpetrators of the genocidal attacks on Muslims in Gujarat in which more than 2000 men, women and children were killed and 200,000

Confronting Barry Gardiner

Confronting Barry Gardiner

displaced. Sewa International itself was also exposed as inextricably bound up with the Sangh Parivar – the so-called family of organisations of the Hindu right which include both the BJP, the RSS. (1)

But Gardiner was not to be deterred either by these revelations or the fact that Narendra Modi was an avowed admirer of Hitler. He himself has after all cosied up to right-wing forces internationally for some time, visiting Israel in 1999, for example, to meet senior Israeli leaders on behalf of Labour Friends of Israel, an organisation of which he was Vice Chair, and later, in  2009,  sacking his campaigns manager for demonstrating support for the Palestinians massacred by Israel during the Gaza slaughter. (2)Labour Friends of India continued to be Gardiner’s personal project, without even its own bank account and in the words of historian of India and Labour activist Jon Wilson, ‘not apparently publically open to new members or run on the same democratic lines as other associations within the Labour movement’. (3)

When it became widely known that the pogrom in Gujarat was sponsored by the Gujarat government and presided over by Modi  –  a leaked report from the British High Commission,  for example,  noting that the attacks  ‘had all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing and that reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims is impossible while the chief minister [Narendra Modi] remains in power’ and that ‘far from being spontaneous’ it was ‘planned, possibly months in advance, carried out by an extremist Hindu organisation with the support of the state government’ (4)  –  Modi had his visa to the US withdrawn for violations of human rights and the UK government and the EU also distanced themselves from him. But neither Gardiner nor the LFI changed their position in any way and Hindu right-wing groups in the UK invited Modi in 2005 and again in 2009. Both times Modi panicked at the last moment in the face of planned protests by South Asian and human rights organisations, and also the possibility of an arrest in Britain over the on-going case of three members of the Dawood family from Batley who had  been killed in the 2002 Gujarat massacres.

Over the last decade, the lobbyists, APCO in the US and Saffron Chase in the UK have been working to get acceptance for Modi abroad and transform his image. The founders of the latter are Manoj Ladwa and Vikas Pota who just happen to be members of both the LFI and the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) (5), the British wing of the RSS. Modi’s new avatar is a man of progress and development who has transformed Gujarat into the  ultimate success story in terms of prosperity. In reality, his policies, which have converted swathes of land and coastline into Special Economic Zones or ‘Special Investment Regions’, have increased  inequalities (with malnutrition among children comparable to that in the poorest states in India) and Gujarat has recently been categorised as one of the ‘less developed’ states in India far behind Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Goa. (6)

However, for the Con-Dem government, the entry of British corporates is what matters so while Modi makes a bid to become India’s next Prime Minister, campaigning in the same virulent communal rhetoric as before, and claiming, falsely (7), that he has been exonerated by the Supreme Court of India, the British government has begun to rehabilitate him because as Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire said this was in ‘the UK’s national interests’.  meaning the interests of British big business (8).

Beyond these ‘national interests’,  Barry Gardner has another more personal reason for fostering the relationship with Modi. The UK has some 700,000 Hindu Gujaratis (including a sizeable number in his ModiPhoto1constituency).  With Pota and Ladwa lobbying them that Modi is the man to lead India it is not surprising that Gardiner is proclaiming that he and Modi are the closest of friends. In the run up to the 2010 UK election, Gardiner’s website even carried  Modi’s testimonial –  ‘Gujarat has no greater friend in Britain than Barry Gardiner’ . Clearly the LFI’s recent invitation to Modi to speak at a meeting in Parliament about the Future of Modern India was simply Barry Bhai returning the favour. As it happened the invitation backfired and in the face of angry protests coordinated by South Asia Solidarity Group and supported by a host of South Asian, human rights and trade union organisations, and of course  Modi’s continuing fear that he may face  arrest on entering the UK, he backed out claiming  he was just too busy to come.


(2) http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/pro-israel-mp-fires-pro-palestinian-staffer

(3) http://labourlist.org/2013/08/if-we-stand-for-the-politics-of-one-nation-we-cannot-support-narendra-modi-an-open-letter-to-iain-mcnicol/

(4)  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/1951471.stm

(5) http://www.truthofgujarat.com/uk-based-hindutva-lobbyists-manoj-ladwa-vikas-pota-driving-force-behind-modis-uk-invitation/


(7)  Sahmat – Citizens for Justice and Peace: ‘Press Release- Supreme Court clean chit to Narendra Modi ?’  http://www.kractivist.org/press-release-supreme-court-clean-chit-to-narendra-modi/ which explains in detail how the Supreme Court has NOT in fact absolved Modi of responsibility for the 2002 genocide.

(8) See The Hindu ‘Embracing the Darkness’ October 23, 2012, http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/embracing-the-darkness/article4023194.ece

This article first appeared in the December 2013/January 2014 issue of Red Pepper


Kavita Krishnan’s video message to UK Feminista 2013 Summer School

Kavita Krishnan reflects on the experiences and ways forward for the anti-rape movement in India. This speech was addressed via video to a plenary session on ‘transnational feminist solidarity’ at the UK Feminista 2013 Summer School on 18 August 2013. Kavita Krishnan is National Secretary of the All-India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) and a politburo member of the CPI(ML), whose monthly magazine, Liberation, she edits