Various organisations plan demonstration in front of Indian High Commission in London against ‘Fascism in India’ on January 25.
The news of the current unrest in India due to the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has reached beyond borders. The unrelenting protests, news of police brutality and the high-handedness of the state administration has received international attention. Solidarity for the students who have been beaten up in state-sponsored attacks and the fear of the marginalized and the minorities in India have led to people from all over the world to lend their voice to the cause of saving the secularism and the Constitution of India.
In another example of the same, a meeting was organized by the Ambedkar International Mission (UK) and the South Asia Solidarity Group in the UK Parliament (House of Commons) on January 20 to discuss the CAA, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NRC) and the protests against them that are taking place all over India. At the meeting, several British MPs expressed their concern about the legislation, its implications for human rights and potential for mass disenfranchisement of Muslims, and the situation in India more generally.
Amrit Wilson of the South Asia Solidarity group introduced the meeting, highlighting the scale of the protests by students, women, Muslim communities, Dalits, urban and rural workers and many others and the violence which had been unleashed on the protestors. She also presented a report by the People’s Tribunals on State Action in Uttar Pradesh, India which documented the violence against Muslims by the police in a direct response to directions from the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who had called for ‘revenge’ to taken against the Muslim community for protesting.
At the meeting, lawyer and legal scholar Gautam Bhatia explained the brazenly discriminatory nature of the CAA, the potential for the mass disenfranchisement of Muslims and why it undermines the Indian citizenship guaranteed by the Constitution.
Satpal Muman, chair of the UK’s largest Dalit organisation, CasteWatchUK, reminded the audience of B.R.Ambedkar’s warning that ‘Hindu Raj’ would be a calamity for India, and expressed solidarity with the many thousands on the streets in India defending their fundamental freedoms. He also noted the active role of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and other overseas Hindutva organisations in blocking legislation in the UK which would make caste discrimination illegal.
Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham (Labour) said, “I have been struck by the diversity of the people who are protesting against these measures in India in my constituency. Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs are all coming together.”
On Gautam Bhatia’s explanation about how the CAA-NPR-NRC would give more power to the government to cancel OCI status, Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton (Labour) expressed her concern about the impact of the legislation and raised the question of how NRIs’ citizenship may be affected.
MPs Claudia Webbe and Pat McFadden too expressed their concern and pledged to call on PM Modi to revoke the discriminatory CAA which violates human rights.
Members of the audience who had come from all over the country and represented a wide range of sections of the Indian diaspora in the UK spoke about the global rise in fascism, drawing parallels between far-right party leaders like Brazi’s Jair Bolsonaro, Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu. They emphasized the importance of sending a message to Modi about the opposition of the diaspora to these discriminatory measures by organising large scale protests and raising awareness in the wider community.
The press release also stated that there would be National Demonstration against Fascism on January 25, bringing together many different diaspora organizations in solidarity with the resistance. The rally at Downing Street and March to the Indian High Commission has been called by: South Asia Solidarity Group, CasteWatch UK, Tamil People in the UK, Co-ordinating Committee of Malayali Muslims, Kashmir Solidarity Movement, SOAS India Society, Indian Workers Association (GB), Ghadar International, Indian Muslim Federation(UK), Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (FORMO) & other diaspora groups.