The #ModiNotWelcome Protests in London

The ‪#‎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 and 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’ !

Speakers at a rally facing the square vowed to continue to stand in solidarity with those opposing Modi and the Sangh Parivar in India. Among other speakers, Amrit Wilson of South Asia Solidarity Group spoke about the horrific escalation of violence against minorities, Dalits and women which has been orchestrated by the Hindu Right and supported by the Modi government – that people were being lynched with impunity just for what they eat or whom they love.  She said ‘We stand in solidarity with those fighting Hindutva fascism in India, with the workers facing the sweeping away of labour laws, and we stand with the people of Bihar who have decisively rejected Modi’s hate politics. Modi’s visit to Britain is about selling off India to the new versions of the colonial East India Company.‘ Mentioning the fact that India is the biggest client of Israel’s arms industry, she said that the arms India buys will be used against Indian citizens.  Satpal Muman of Castewatch UK spoke of the horrific tally of killings of Dalits since the new government had come to power and highlighted the way Hindutva organizations in the UK have systematically tried to block the implementation of the anti-caste discrimination in the UK. Rahila Gupta of Southall Black Sisters spoke about how  gender violence and attempts to control women had intensified under Modi. Sangeeta a student active in the ‪#‎ModiNotWelcome campaign, highlighted the way in which Hindu Right groups in the UK  were dividing the South Asian diaspora in UK, including the younger generation, and was feeding into Islamophobia, and how these groups had imported the myth of ‘love jihad’ into Britain.  Banners reminded people of Modi’s culpability for the Gujarat genocide 2002 and placards remembered individual victims of Modi in Gujarat, including Ishrat Jahan, Ehsan Jafri and Kauser Bi. Nepali protesters demanded that Modi  ‘back off!’ and lift the devastating blockade of Nepal.

The night before the #ModiNotWelcome protest at Downing Street and Parliament Square, we had received threatening phone calls warning us that ‘15,000’ Modi supporters would converge there and there would be disturbances. But in fact only a small group of 50 showed up and stood opposite the tail end of the demonstration from where they hurled invective -demonstrating their much touted ‘tolerance’.

The protesters vowed to continue their campaign both against Modi’s visit and against the Hindutva forces in the UK, as well as standing in solidarity with those who are confronting and resisting Hindutva’s corporate fascism in India.


(Videos credited to Guerrera Films)

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PRESS RELEASE – SOUTH ASIA SOLIDARITY GROUP – 12th NOVEMBER 2015: MODI NOT WELCOME PROTEST – WHY WE ARE PROTESTING

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PRESS RELEASE – SOUTH ASIA SOLIDARITY GROUP – 12th NOVEMBER 2015

MODI NOT WELCOME PROTEST – WHY WE ARE PROTESTING

THURSDAY 12th NOVEMBER, MIDDAY ONWARDS, DOWNING STREET AND PARLIAMENT SQUARE

At least three thousand people are expected to converge on PM David Cameron’s residence in Downing Street on Thursday 12th November during his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We will be protesting about Modi’s systematic human rights abuses and promotion of a fascistic politics of hatred in India, as demonstrated by the wave of attacks on Muslims, Christians, and on Dalits which have been orchestrated by Hindu right groups and co-ordinated by the RSS – an organisation modelled on the Nazi and Italian fascist parties – to which Modi owes allegiance. The protests are also against the tide of murders of rationalists and other dissenters, which underline the alarming shift towards fascism in India.

The London protestors stand in solidarity with the very large number of writers, artists, filmmakers, scholars and scientists who have recently returned prestigious government awards in protest at this violence. We also stand in solidarity with the people of Bihar, one of India’s most populous states, which in recent state-level elections have decisively rejected Modi and his party’s politics of hate.

We also cannot forget those who were murdered in the pre-planned genocidal violence against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 when Modi was Chief Minister, who include three British citizens. We also condemn the hypocrisy of David Cameron who claims to be committed to combating gender violence internationally but is hosting Modi who presided over brutal mass rapes and mutilations of women in Gujarat in 2002.

We will also be protesting Modi’s economic policies in which labour laws are being swept aside, trade unions crushed, campaigning NGOs banned, and foreign and Indian corporates given a free hand to plunder and destroy the environment and indulge in massive human rights abuses. Modi’s latest announcement of further concessions on FDI is another example of his unprincipled selling off of India’s resources at the lowest possible price. It also smacks of desperation – Modi is now being criticized by corporate commentators such as Moody’s and Infosys who fear the tide of violence will be bad for the economy; he is even under attack from his own party’s senior leaders for his rabid bigoted election speeches during the Bihar elections.

In this context we also condemn the role of David Cameron in shamelessly promoting the interests of British corporates – the new East India Companies being welcomed by Modi – whatever the cost to the Indian people. For example planned deals on military aviation will facilitate state terror against India’s own people in regions such as Chhattisgarh, Manipur and Kashmir.

The protest exposes the hypocrisy of Narendra Modi in garlanding the statue of Gandhi in Parliament Square tomorrow when not only was Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse affiliated to Modi’s RSS, but currently in India MPs of his own party such as Sakshi Maharaj have called for a temple to be built in the name of Gandhi’s murderer! It is also the height of hypocrisy to claim to honour Gandhi while continuously violating his values of tolerance and religious harmony.

The protests will see people attending from across the country including Coventry, Birmingham, Nottingham, Crawley, Bradford, Southall and all over London. They include the biggest Dalit organisation in the UK, Castewatch, and human rights, women’s and student groups, in addition to community organizations and groups of all faiths. The protest has been called by a coalition of organizations including South Asia Solidarity Group, who have come together under the banner of the Awaaz Network.

More information:  southasiasolidaritygroup@gmail.com  @SAsiaSolidarity