INDIAN COMMUNITIES IN NEW YORK CALL FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY
Lynchings and Bhima Koregaon, Corruption and UAPA All Part of the Rallying Cry
For Immediate Release: April 6, 2019
As India heads to the polls in April/May 2019 a wide cross-section of Indians are gathering at the Indian Consulate in New York City (NYC) to stand in solidarity with people fighting to defend the Constitution, democracy and human rights in India. The NYC "Defense of Democracy" rally brings together the rich diversity of the Indian diaspora in the United States - scientists and engineers, service workers and computer professionals, artists and doctors, Hindus, Sikhs, Dalits and Muslims, policymakers, activist, left and liberal intellectuals and community leaders.
Commenting on the lynchings and targeted attacks on Muslims and Dalits that have increased exponentially since the coming to power of Narendra Modi in 2014, Sarah Anderson-Rajarigam of Dalit Solidarity Forum, one of the co-sponsors of the rally said, "Dalit Solidarity Forum deplores the heavy targeting of Dalits and other marginalized communities. We unite our voices with Dalits and other minorities in their fight for freedom and support them in their efforts to uphold the constitution." 97% of all the lynching incidents since 2010 by so-called 'cow-protection' mobs have taken place between 2014 and 2018 since the BJP came to power.
The BJP government has also been responsible for systematic erosion and weakening of democratic values and institutions. It has been attacking and weakening constitutional bodies such as the Election Commission, Supreme Court, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI). BJP ministers as well as the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief have given statements indicating that they would like to change the constitution to implement their fundamentalist agenda. The CBI and Income Tax department have also been used to intimidate media organizations critical of the BJP government.
Sunita Viswanath of Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, said, "We are Americans of Hindu faith, many of us Indian, who stand opposed to the ideology of Hindutva and the atrocities against minorities and dissenters being committed in the name of Hinduism. We stand with all the people of India who are calling for an end to this regime that threatens democracy, disregards the dignity and safety of minorities, and has declared war on the poor."
The BJP has significantly increased corruption and corporate plunder. To distract people from its record of failed governance, the BJP has increased war mongering and is busy dividing the people along communal lines. When Muslims, Dalits, and the Left have resisted or spoken up against the injustice, they have either been imprisoned using draconian laws such as Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Adivasi (indigenous) people and landless laborers, who have been fighting for land and forest rights, have been arrested and harassed. Workers, who have been struggling against the government's increased privatization and casualization of work, have been fired or put in prison. With the emboldening of patriarchal forces, in many instances, the attacks on women's rights and safety have been led by BJP ministers and leaders.
Mohammad Jawad, National General Secretary of Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), speaking on why IAMC has joined the rally said, "The people of India will eventually recognize the divisiveness and hate the current BJP/RSS government is spreading and will unite to preserve our constitution and defeat this government."
The Defense of Democracy rally calls for:
Ensure Free and Fair Elections! Election Commission must guarantee election freeof violence, intimidation, andrigging
Stop the witch-hunt! Release all UAPA arrestees and drop allcharges
Stop the lynchings of Dalits and Muslims! Arrest and Prosecute theperpetrators
Stop culture of fear! End the attacks and intimidation of activists, artists,workers, women
Demonstration: Defend Democracy, Constitution and Human Rights in India
When: Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 1:30 PM
Where: Indian Consulate, 3 East 64th street (Between 5th and Madison Avenues), New York City
Sarah Anderson Rajarigam: +1 845-248-2856
Mohammad Jawad: +1 201-538-9889