Sunday Jan 26, 2020
LONDON: On the eve of India's Republic Day, hundreds of Indian expatriates took to the streets of London on Saturday to protest against the fascist policies of the Narendra Modi-led government in New Delhi.
Civil society and human rights groups of Indians in the United Kigndom gathered outside 10 Downing Street, the residence of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at 1pm and marched to the Indian High Commission.
The protesters called on the Indian government to repeal the highly controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which they argued undermines India's secular Constitution. The demonstrators also called for the abolition of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), which in conjunction with the CAA leads to selective disenfranchisement of Indian Muslims.
“The CAA and NRC are laws reflecting a genocide in the making, by a right wing government whose declared aim has been the annihilation of Muslims in India. It’s high time to rise up and defeat the divisive politics and preserve the plurality of the nation,” said Shaheen Moidunny a member of the Coordinating Committee of Malayali Muslims.
Meanwhile, CasteWatch UK's Satpal Muman said that the group was "appalled" that under the CAA, NRC, and NPR an Indian's citizenship will be ultimately be judged by a "Hindu fundamentalist government".
The protesters also threw their support behind the ongoing protests in India, led by women and young people against these controversial policies.
“As the Modi regime takes a massive step toward ethnic cleansing of Muslims, we, in the diaspora, stand with the united mass resistance led by women and students which is spreading across India in the face of unspeakable violence from the police and right-wing gangs sponsored by the government," South Asia Solidarity Group's Sarbjit Johal said.
Johal claimed that the demonstrations have exposed the myth that Narendra Modi could rely on the unquestioning support of the Indian diaspora.
Students from the School of Oriental and African Studies' (SOAS) India Society and South Asian Students Against Fascism also took part in the rally.
“Fascism today is a truly global problem. Leaders like Jair Bolsonaro and Narendra Modi draw tactical and moral support from each other. The only way to counter them is by building solidarities of resistance across borders,” said a spokesperson for SOAS India Society.
The rally also got solidarity messages from Labour MPs, writer and commentator Tariq Ali, Stop the War Coalition, trade unions and representatives of anti-fascist movements in Brazil, Palestine, Sudan, and elsewhere.
“The foundation of India, its secular Constitution, is being eroded. It must be stopped! We cannot let a repeat of 1935 Fascist Germany happen in the world’s largest democracy,” said Shamsuddin Agha from the Indian Muslim Federation.