ON 21st July, UK’s progressive South Asians were joined by anti-fascist groups and some of Britain’s key migrant organisations in a second monthly Vigil against Fascism and Hindu Supremacy in India, this time held in Parliament Square London. The vigil was in continuation of a pledge to come together every month at various public spaces in London.
A spokesperson from South Asia Solidarity Group said “Following the general election in India the violence against minorities particularly Muslims has escalated –reaching horrific proportions. Now, violence against Muslims needs no pretext. Being a Muslim is enough! Jai Shri Ram and other similar Hindu religious slogans have become murder cries. Attacks on Dalits, rapes, torture and murders have sky rocketed too. At the same time lawyers, journalists and activists are being attacked, killed or charged often under draconian laws – and India is being ruled by those who glorify Hitler. We are here to give Modi and Amit Shah a message – that the world is watching and that we stand by those who are so courageously continuing to fight fascism in India!”
A minutes silence was followed by the reading out of poetry including the resistance poems by the ‘Miyah poets’ of Assam. In a sombre ceremony those who have been killed in the last month were named and those who cannot be named – the many women who were gang raped, were remembered.
Some demonstrators wore Modi masks and had hands reddened with symbolic blood blood. Placards included ‘Amit Shah Minister of Hate, the world sees your crimes’ and ‘Stop the witch hunt of rights activists, lawyers and journalists!’
A Bulletin of attacks and atrocities which have occurred since the election results were declared on May 23rd collated by Together for Good an organisation co-hosting the vigil was read out. These incidents represented just the tip of the Hindutva violence iceberg that has hit India.
The document concluded ‘As the BJP’s tentacles spread across the length and breadth of the country, one no longer needs to state that it is a dangerous time to be an Indian minority (religious, caste, gender or otherwise). A closer look at hate crimes since the party’s re-election suggests that the problem is everywhere, and it is growing more deeply entrenched. There are few discernible patterns, apart from the fact that Uttar Pradesh - ruled by a man who touts his state’s law and order model as the best in the country - continues to throw up some of the most gruesome cases. However, equally shocking stories have been reported from across India - from the rural hinterlands of Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu, to the urban sprawls of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. The victims are usually Muslims, often the poorest, youngest and most vulnerable among them. Stories of helpless Muslims being assaulted and forced to chant Hindu religious slogans (the same slogans BJP’s MPs have been using to accost Muslim and other secular opponents in parliament) are almost too many to count. Dalits, women and Christians are not spared either. The perpetrators are usually radical Hindus, often affiliated directly to the Sangh Parivar machinery. In many cases, they operate with impunity, sometimes aided by the local police and bureaucracy. In some cases, criminal proceedings are initiated against the victims while the perpetrators roam scot-free. Radical Hindutva is no longer creeping upon India, it has already become the order of the day. For the most vulnerable among India’s minorities, the much-feared Hindu Rashtra has already arrived.’