April 14, 2018 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, UK: When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits London next week, he is expected to meet with Queen Elizabeth II and British Prime Minister Theresa May, but the audience which may give him the most passionate reception is gathering under the banner “Modi Not Welcome.”
“We hope that all of the Mulnivasi communities living in the United Kingdom gather together and stand in solidarity, fists raised, to greet Modi, the Butcher of Gujarat, on his arrival in London,” says Bhajan Singh, Founding Director of Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI).
Indian minority voices in the UK are uniting against Modi. “Dr. Ambedkar would not have stood for this and neither will we,” declares Dr. Shrikant Borkar, a Buddhist and Ambedkarite. Iqbal Salleh, a Muslim volunteer for OFMI’s UK branch, warns, “The Mulnivasi Bahujan must refuse to be divided by the cunning strategies of Hindutva foxes. We must link arms.” A Sikh activist, Simran Singh Bhinder, states, “In this trying time, the UK Sikh community stands shoulder-to-shoulder with all Mulnivasi — Adivasis, Buddhists, Christians, Dalits, Muslims, and everyone else who yearns for freedom.”
Narendra Modi, who became Prime Minister of India in 2014, is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a wing of the family of militant Hindu nationalist groups known as the Sangh Parivar. Adhering to an ideology termed Hindutva, the Sangh treats non-Hindus as foreign to India. Modi first assumed political office in 2001 when he became Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat. Within four months, a multi-week pogrom against minorities erupted throughout the state. Thousands of Muslims were slaughtered in the streets.
“What happened in Gujarat was not a spontaneous uprising,” says Smita Narula, a senior researcher for the South Asia division of Human Rights Watch (HRW). “It was a carefully orchestrated attack against Muslims. The attacks were planned in advance and organized with extensive participation of the police and state government officials.” Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director at HRW, explains, “Instead of prosecuting senior state and police officials implicated in the atrocities, the Gujarat authorities have engaged in denial and obstruction of justice. Modi has acted against whistleblowers while making no effort to prosecute those responsible for the anti-Muslim violence.”
According to Bhajan Singh, “Modi will visit the Gandhi statue in Parliament Square to grovel before the Creator of India’s Poor.” Singh notes that demands for removal of Gandhi statues are arising all around the globe. “Look at Carleton University in Canada, where African students are realizing that Gandhi helped create the caste apartheid over which Modi presides today. Birds of a feather flock together.”
The controversy Singh references began in November 2017 when Kenneth Aliu, president of Institute of African Studies Student Association (IASSA), published a letter in Carelton University’s student newspaper. “Gandhi was a racist,” wrote Aliu. “He utilised anti-Black racism as a weapon to bargain with the British about the subjugation of Indians living in South Africa. Instead of a pacifist liberator, he actually furthered the entrenchment of the caste system in India as well?”
“We greet Modi with a black flag,” states Charity Joseph, a Christian volunteer for OFMI (UK). “We unfurl the same flag for both Modi and Gandhi. There is no place for predators like Gandhi and Modi in a free, democratic society.”