LONDON: Hundreds of Indians from diverse Indian communities across the United Kingdom demonstrated in London on Saturday in protest against the fascist policies of Narendra Modi government on the eve of India’s Republic Day.
Civil society and human rights groups of Indians in the UK started gathering outside 10 Downing Street at 1 pm and then marched to Indian High Commission half a kilometer away where a huge rally was held at the doorsteps of the High Commission. The protestors called for the repeal of India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which undermines India’s secular constitution, and the abolition of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), which in conjunction with the CAA open the way for selective mass disenfranchisement of India’s Muslim population and ethnic cleansing. The demonstration expressed solidarity with the massive united protests in India, led by women and young people, against these policies, protests which are facing violent repression. The rally opposite 10 Downing Street was joined by students from the SOAS India Society and South Asian Students Against Fascism. The rally heard 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.
Sarbjit Johal of South Asia Solidarity Group said: “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. This protest exposes once and for all the myth that Modi can rely on unquestioning support from the diaspora.” Shaheen Moidunny, Coordinating Committee of Malayali Muslims, said: “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.” Satpal Muman of CasteWatch UK said: “We are appalled that under the CAA, NRC, and NPR whether someone is a citizen or not will ultimately be judged by a Hindu fundamentalist government which has already overseen an epidemic of mob-lynching of Muslims and atrocities against Dalits.”
The Spokesperson for the SOAS India Society said: “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.” Shamsuddin Agha, Indian Muslim Federation, said: “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.”