Demonstrators decry human rights violations and persecution of religious minorities in India as Modi addresses UN.
Protestors gathered outside the United Nations in New York to protest hate campaigns, lynchings, unlawful arrests, attacks on the media and other abuses in India as Indian PM Modi addressed the UN General Assembly on Saturday.
More than 100 members of interfaith and human rights groups gathered outside the UN and spoke out as Modi addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday. Speakers condemned what they called egregious human rights violations and murders of religious minorities in India under a government that openly supports Hindu supremacy. Many observers also it was “shameful” that President Biden failed to publicly address widespread persecution of religious minorities in India when he met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday.
The groups that sponsored Saturday’s rally included Ambedkar International Center, Ambedkar King Study Circle, Black Lives Matter, Coalition Against Fascism in India, Dalit Solidarity Forum, New York City Democratic Socialists’ Racial Justice Working Group, Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America, Hindus for Human Rights, Indian American Muslim Council, India Civil Watch International, International Commission for Dalit Rights, Jewish Voice for Peace, MICAH Faith Institute, Muslim Community Network, National Coalition against Caste Discrimination in the USA, NY Sikh Council, New York State Council of Churches, SALAM, Students Against Hindutva Ideology, and Voices Against Fascism in India.
One of the speakers, Pandit Sanjay Doobay, said, “As Hindus, we salute the light, ‘Shubham Karoti Kalyanam.’ As Muslims, ‘Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.’ And the Christian Bible says God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light.’ If we are together, our light will always be brighter. We will pray for that light, for that peace. Mr Modi, your Hindutva is not my Hinduism. You are not Hindu. A Hindu is a brother or sister of Humanity.”
“As Christians, we grieve for many Hindus who watch their faith being co-opted and distorted by the nationalist government using Hinduism to oppress people of other faiths,” declared Rev. Peter Cook, New York State Council of Churches.
“Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has earned titles like butcher of Gujarat, modern-day Nero, whom Time Magazine called Divider in Chief, under whose watch India is downgraded as Partly Free and turned India into an autocratic democracy,” exclaimed Syed Ali, president of the Indian American Muslim Council. “Because of his horrific human rights abuses, Modi was denied a diplomatic visa, and his existing visa was revoked for nine years before he became prime minister.”
“We came for myriad reasons to protest Modi today, said author/writer Aatish Taseer.” I came because of the unprecedented assault on press freedom. I have been the target of this regime. I can no longer go back to the country I grew up in—can no longer see my 91-year-old grandmother. But what Modi has done to me he has done to millions of my countrymen, and that is why there is now so broad a coalition of people who want to see him go.”
“The United States of America and the Joe Biden administration shamelessly hosted a fascist and murderer who was responsible for killing thousands of Muslims as the CM of Gujarat, and now as the PM of India has violated numerous human rights of protesting farmers!” declared Japneet Singh of the New York City Sikh Council.
“Lynching of specific groups of people considered physically and morally dirty and ideologically dunce and are therefore dispensable as accidental beings,” exclaimed Roja Singh of the Dalit Solidarity Forum. “Such monstrosity has heightened since Modi came to power.”
Shivani Parikh of Hindus for Human Rights recalled that as Chief Minister in Gujarat, Modi led a state-sanctioned genocide of Muslims and ignored the communal violence that killed and displaced hundreds of Muslims and their families in 2002.
“For us, the words from the Rig Veda — vasudhaiva kutumbakam – the world is one family — are not simply a hallmark slogan, but our ardent prayer for peace, justice and human rights for all in the world,” said Sunita Viswanath, Co-Founder of Hindus for Human Rights. Today, I am standing outside the United Nations holding this sign — REAL HINDUS DON’T LYNCH — because the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi doesn’t represent all Hindus, all Indians. He doesn’t represent me!” Ms Parikh said, adding, “And I will keep showing up until the country of my birth, India, a country I love with all my heart, leaves the dark and dangerous path it is on.”
“I am I am here today to speak against the hateful political ideology known as Hindutva,” exclaimed Audrey Truschke, Associate Professor of South Asian History at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. “Hindutva has many vices. It is a misogynist. It is casteist. It is violent. Hindutva’s unique harm in the South Asian landscape is that it is fascist. Hindutva’s early articulators were enamoured with Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany. One Hindutva leader even spoke laudatorily of Nazi policies regarding the Jews.”