SASG calls on public to urgently respond to UK Government consultation on Caste
On March 28th 2017, the UK Government opened a public consultation to seek views on “the most effective way to implement a legal ban on caste discrimination”.
Introducing the consultation, found here, the UK Government asks for views on “how best to ensure that there is appropriate legal protection against caste discrimination by formally making caste an aspect of race in the Equality Act 2010 or through developing case law in the courts and employment tribunals”.
As a result of the recent General Election, the consultation has been extended beyond its initial 16 week period, for a further 8 weeks.
The closing date of the consultation is now 18 September 2017, after which no further responses will be accepted.
Human rights campaigners, academics, Dalit community organisations and individuals affected by caste discrimination (represented under ‘Caste in the UK’), all agree that the most effective way to outlaw caste-based discrimination is to add caste to the Equality Act 2010. They have prepared this guidance for completing the consultation.
SASG calls on the public (even if you are not South Asian or affected by caste yourself) to urgently respond to consultation.
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.
Join the protests against Indian PM Narendra Modi’s UK visit!
Who is Narendra Modi?
Narendra Modi is a lifelong cadre of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu supremacist paramilitary organisation modeled on the Nazi and Italian Fascist parties. It was founded in the 1920s in opposition to Indian independence http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/soldiers-of-the-swastika/article6756605.ece . 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 groupshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._S._Golwalkar . The RSS is the core of a family of organisations which includes the BJP, currently India’s ruling party.
Since 2002, Modi has never expressed any regret for what happened in Gujarat, stating, when asked about his feelings, that he felt as sad as an occupant of a car that runs over a puppy. The Hindu supremacist groups declared Gujarat ‘the Laboratory of the Hindu State’
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 http://www.foilvedanta.org/vedantas-crimes/
Dongria Kond women blocking railway tracks to protest the land-grab of Niyamgiri moutain in Odisha
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 http://www.firstpost.com/india/hc-calls-govt-decision-offload-priya-pillai-plane-illegal-2150665.html
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 UK is currently being investigated by the British Charity Commission after it was exposed in an ITV documentary ‘Charities Behaving Badly’ broadcast in February 2015. The film showed an HSS UK youth camp where young people were systematically indoctrinated in anti- Muslim and anti-Christian ideology. http://www.itv.com/…/exposure-the-charities-accused-of-pro…/
On the thirteenth anniversary of the Gujarat genocide, with the survivors still waiting for justice, we invite you to the UKpremiere 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
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