Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Modi's Popularity: 69% of Hindu Americans Support Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister

The 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey (IAAS) results confirm the anecdotal evidence of India's Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi's massive popularity among Hindu Americans. The findings of a survey sponsored by Washington-based think tank Carnegie Endowment For International Peace reveal that 69% of Hindu Americans approve of Mr. Modi's performance. 70% of Hindu Americans agree or strongly agree that white supremacy is a threat to minorities in the United States, compared to 79% of non-Hindu Indian American. Regarding Hindu majoritarianism in India, however, the data point to a much sharper divide: only 40% of Hindus agree that Hindu majoritarianism is a threat to minorities, compared to 67% of non-Hindus, according to the 2020 IAAS Survey. 

69% of Hindu Americans Support Modi. Source: Indian American Attitudes Survey 2020

The 7 in 10 approval rating of Mr. Modi by Hindu Indian Americans stands in sharp contrast to that of barely one in five Muslim Indian Americans. Indian American Christians are almost evenly divided: 35 percent disapprove, 34 percent approve, and 30 percent did not express an opinion. Twenty-three percent of respondents without a religious affiliation and 38 percent from other faiths approve of Modi’s performance, respectively. The share of “don’t knows” is the smallest for Hindus and Muslims compared to other religious categories, suggesting that views among respondents of these two faiths are the most consolidated.

Global Hindutva Sangh Parivar. Source: Audrey Truschke

The IASS survey sample includes 54 percent Hindus, 13 percent Muslims, 10 percent Christians, 8 percent belonging to other faiths, and 16 percent do not identify with any religion.


Indian Hindu Nationalists in America are well organized. Organizations like Hindu America Foundation (HAF), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA) and Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) provide funding to congressional candidates who support their ideology and policies. Any Indian American who dares to challenge them faces their wrath, as Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna learned in recent elections. 

Khanna had angered Modi's Hindu American supporters by joining US Congress's Pakistan Caucus and rejecting Hindutva. Democrats like Khanna from the Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party are finding it increasingly difficult to support Prime Minister Modi as he ferociously pushes his hateful Hindutva agenda to target minorities. However, vast majority of Hindu Americans, including those in Silicon Valley tech community, are solidly supporting Mr. Modi in spite of his extended lock-down and brutal actions in Kashmir. Khanna won by a wide margin in spite of Silicon Valley's Hindu Americans's fierce opposition. 



45 comments:

Habibullah K. said...

It is evident that Modi came to power only because of popular support from Hindus including highly educated class ! Like Hitler Modi succeeded in creating a feeling of Super Aryan Hindutva Race !

Ahmad said...

the fact that 20% of Indian muslims still support Modi is pathetic.

Rks said...

@Ahmed, modi got rid of Muslim personal law, which Muslim women appreciate a lot. So in reality, Mosi gets close to 50% of Muslim vote.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian -#Americans Tend to Support Conservative Policies in #India , Liberal in #US . Indian-Americans hold broadly favourable views of prime minister #Modi, says a survey. #Hindu #BJP #Hibdutva https://thewire.in/world/indian-americans-support-conservative-policies-india-liberal-us-survey

As many as 70% of Hindus agree or strongly agree that white supremacy is a threat to minorities in the United States, compared to 79% of non-Hindus.

Regarding Hindu majoritarianism in India, however, the data point to a much sharper divide: only 40% of Hindus agree that Hindu majoritarianism is a threat to minorities, compared to 67% of non-Hindus, it said.


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Indian-Americans have relatively more conservative views of policies in India while on issues affecting the US, the diaspora has a more liberal take, according to a survey of the political attitudes of the influential community in this country.

Indian-Americans comprise slightly more than 1% of the total US population and less than 1% of all registered voters.

The survey – a collaboration between the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Johns Hopkins-SAIS, and the University of Pennsylvania – How Do Indian Americans View India? Results from the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey, draws on the Indian American Attitudes Survey (IAAS).

The IAAS is a nationally representative online survey of 1,200 Indian American adults conducted between September 1 and September 20, 2020, in partnership with YouGov. The survey has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.8%, a media release said on Tuesday.

Indian-Americans’ policy views are more liberal on issues affecting the United States and more conservative on issues affecting India, it said.


Regarding contentious issues such as the equal protection of religious minorities, immigration, and affirmative action, Indian-Americans hold relatively more conservative views of Indian policies than of US policies, according to the survey results.

Indian Americans, in other words, believe that white supremacy is a greater threat to minorities in the United States, a country where they are a minority, than Hindu majoritarianism is to minorities in India, a country where Hindus are in the majority, the report said.

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Noting that Indian-Americans are divided about India’s current trajectory, the survey said that respondents are nearly evenly split as to whether India is currently on the right track or headed down the wrong track.

On India’s top three challenges, government corruption (18%) ranked the highest followed by the economy (15%). Foreign policy issues exemplified by China and terrorism are found in either the middle or bottom tier of the rankings.

Among the Indian Americans, a majority either strongly or somewhat support an all-India National Register of Citizens 55% and the 2019 Citizenship Amendment Act (51%), the report highlighted.

However, they are more opposed than not to two other issues: the use of police force against peaceful protesters (65% oppose) and government crackdowns on the media (69% oppose).

On the other issue of caste-based affirmative action in higher education admissions, the community is divided with 47% supporting this measure and 53% opposing it, it said.

Indian Americans are the second-largest immigrant group in the United States. There are 4.2 million people of Indian origin residing in the United States, according to 2018 data.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the most popular political party among Indian-Americans, the survey said.

One-third of respondents favour the ruling BJP while just 12% identify with the Congress party, it said.

However, two in five Indian Americans do not identify with an Indian political party, suggesting an arms-length relationship to everyday politics in India, it added.

Also read: Can Local Forms of Oppression Spread Their Wings Across the Globe?

Indian-Americans hold broadly favourable views of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the survey said. Nearly half of all Indian-Americans approve of Modi’s performance as prime minister.

Abid M. said...

A 2020 poll conducted by Carnegie Endowment shows that only 22% Indian American supported a white nationalist Trump - indicating hypocrisy of those Nationalist Hindus who think racial/religious bias is OK where they are in majority (in India), and not OK where they're in minority (in USA).

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s “Humble” PM #Modi renames #Ahmadabad #cricket stadium after himself. #Hindutva #BJP


https://finance.yahoo.com/m/2f7a0703-e378-3cd4-8e1a-fd73307558d7/narendra-modi-renames-cricket.html

Narendra Modi has renamed the world’s largest cricket stadium after himself, stealing the limelight before the ground’s inaugural India-England match on Wednesday. The site on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, Modi’s political home town in the state of Gujarat, was recently rebuilt as the world’s largest cricket venue with capacity for 110,000 spectators. Modi has sought to use a slate of signature projects — such as building the world’s tallest statue and remaking India’s parliament — to project himself as the country’s most transformative and powerful prime minister in decades.

“It’s quite stunning,” said Ronojoy Sen, a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore and author of a book on the history of sport in India. He argued that “the symbolism — the largest, the biggest, the best — being built in Ahmedabad” was central to Modi’s political brand.

“This is the first time in my memory at least that a living Indian [prime minister] has named a stadium after themselves,” he added.

The stadium was previously named after Sardar Patel, a leading figure in the independence movement and one of Modi’s political heroes.

Indian politicians have a long history of renaming cities, monuments and government programmes after dead leaders or historical figures, particularly to change names associated with the British Raj or Islamic empires. 

The country is littered with buildings named after Jawaharlal Nehru, the first post-independence prime minister, as well as his daughter and grandson, former prime ministers who were both assassinated. However, it is rare for living leaders to champion projects designed to celebrate themselves.

“The general rule is you wait for people to be out of office before bestowing those kinds of honours,” said Gilles Verniers, assistant professor of political science at Ashoka University.

Mayawati, former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, was pilloried for spending public funds on expansive statue parks filled with likenesses of herself, her political mentor and elephants, her party’s symbol.

But Mayawati’s supporters defended the projects, saying the temple-like grounds were an inspiration for the party’s core constituents, drawn largely from the lower ranks of Hinduism’s caste system.

The renaming of the stadium drew praise from Modi’s followers and bemusement from his critics, who accuse the prime minister of concentrating all decision-making power in his tightly run office.

“World’s largest stadium dedicated to the world’s largest personality!” tweeted Preeti Gandhi, who is in charge of social media for the women’s wing of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party.

Gaurav Pandhi, who runs social media for the opposition Congress party, called it the “heights of narcissism . . . Megalomaniac!” 

Modi served as chief minister of Gujarat before his ascent to the premiership in 2014.

The newly rebuilt stadium hosted Donald Trump when he visited India last year, but its debut as a cricket venue was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The name change was revealed only a couple of hours before the start of the third test match on England’s tour of India. The ground was at half capacity on Wednesday, hosting about 50,000 fans, thanks to a precipitous nationwide drop in Covid-19 infections. 

Prateek Dixit, a 54-year-old engineer from Ahmedabad who attended, said the stadium was a triumph for Modi.

“It’s a proud moment for India,” Dixit said. “This is Modi’s dream. This is Modi’s vision. He dreamt that he would make a big stadium in Ahmedabad, and now it’s complete.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian #Americans Don’t Know What to Feel Right Now. Sheer govt negligence is compounding the feelings of déjà vu. Anger toward #Trump administration, which downplayed the threat of the #virus, has been replaced by rage over #Modi’s response. #COVID19 https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2021/05/indian-american-covid-pandemic/618748/

Although no Indian is spared from this virus, marginalized communities such as Dalits—the low-caste workers who are keeping the country’s crematoria and other essential services running day and night—are facing the brunt of the disaster in India. By contrast, many Indian Americans come from middle-to-upper-class and privileged upper-caste communities. Sruti Suryanarayanan, the communications and research associate at the nonprofit South Asian Americans Leading Together, hopes that the crisis will become an inflection point for Indian Americans to confront difficult questions about privilege, home, and belonging.

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As family members in India face the catastrophe, relatives who have lived through waves of the devastating pandemic in America are trying to offer emotional and psychological support for what lies ahead. Shindé, who was based in New York last spring, has been remembering the weeks when the city became the world’s epicenter. Days before her aunt Vijaya’s death, Shindé texted her: “You’re going to get better and dance at our wedding party 💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾!!” On the same day, she texted her mom in India that Vijaya might not pull through. “We saw this in NYC,” she wrote. “There were signs of improvement, and they just slipped.”


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In some instances, sheer government negligence is compounding the feelings of déjà vu. Shindé’s anger toward the Trump administration, which downplayed the threat of the virus, has been replaced by rage over Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response, which she calls “a mirror image of what we went through last year.” In February, India’s ruling party claimed that the country had defeated the virus before Modi plowed forward with massive preelection rallies.

Out of the guilt and confusion of this moment, many in the diaspora are searching for ways to help. Indian Americans make up the wealthiest immigrant community in the country, and have been using their clout in tech and politics to push the U.S. government to act. The Biden administration, which was initially slow to respond to the growing crisis in India, this week promised to immediately begin delivering AstraZeneca vaccine doses, ventilators, coronavirus tests, personal protective equipment, and other materials to India. The outcry from the Indian American community has had “an enormous” impact on the government’s response, says Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, who has been among those pressuring the Biden administration.

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Like everyone I interviewed for this story, I too am oscillating between waves of emotions—anger, helplessness, and guilt—as reports come in from my family in India. In recent weeks, at least two relatives have tested positive for the virus. Although I can look forward to picnics in the park this summer, India’s parks are becoming grave sites. All the justified optimism around me now feels unjust and even irresponsible. For many of us with friends and family around the world, the trauma feels like a never-ending loop: When your immediate situation improves, another loved one enters a crisis.

Shindé is mourning the loss of her relatives, but she is also mourning her homeland. As an immigrant, “you’re always living half in nostalgia,” she said. “In a state of having lost your home, you carry a sadness with you. And I think there’s these moments that just heighten that in a way that is powerless. Everything that has shaped you as a child is there. You feel just lost; your family is lost.”

Riaz Haq said...

As “champions of militant Hindu supremacism” (Hindutva) are trying to re-invent themselves after former President Donald Trump’s defeat, Human Rights Coalitions on Wednesday warned that Sonal Shah and people of her ilk have become active under garb of champions of Asian Americans in the US.

http://muslimmirror.com/eng/dont-fall-into-trap-of-taaf-hindutvas-new-front-aspaire/


After Hinduvta champions were exposed by civil society groups, the Coalitions said efforts were made to hide their real identity or to show their disassociation of the Hindtuva groups. It also advised noted Indian-origin TV journalist Fareed Zakaria and others not to be fell into trap of the newly formed The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) which is a new front for Hindutva groups.

In a statement, the Coalitions underlined that ever since several human rights groups, South Asian progressive activists and protestors against the Donald Trump administration in the US and the Narendra Modi regime in India, including the Alliance to Save and Protect America from Infiltration by Religious Extremists (ASPAIRE), Coalition of Americans for Pluralism in India (CAPI) and Coalition to Stop Genocide in India, have stepped up their efforts to expose several prominent and politically ambitious Indians in the US and their links with the far right Hindu extremists groups in India, efforts are on by those exposed to cover up their association with these groups.

The statement pointed out that Hindutva leaders, however, do so without formally denouncing these hate groups and publicly renouncing their affiliations with them. Many youth leaders of Hinduva supremacy fronts (not to be confused with Hinduism) which started spreading their wings in the US, a couple of decades ago have been infiltrating the Democratic and the Republican Parties. They have become more aggressive after Narendra Modi, who is also a product of these extremist groups, became the Prime Minister of India in 2014.

One of those exposed was Sonal Shah, who has now surfaced as the founding President of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), launched on May 3. TAAF describes her as a “foremost global leader on social impact and innovation”. Efforts seem to be on by her to connect with the larger and therefore influential Asian American community, leaving behind the narrower Hindutva identity.

She shot to the limelight in November 2008, when the newly elected President Barack Obama nominated her for the post of energy secretary. She had to however settle as director of the White House office of social innovation and civic participation, a department created by her, after she was called off for her Hindutva links.

Recently, when Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, withdrew her nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) amid bipartisan opposition in the senate, as President Joe Biden was announcing his team, Shah’s name too surfaced for the post.

However Shah was again called out for her links with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a strident Hindu extremist group in India, and VHP-A (America) it’s sister organization in the US. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), had in its World Factbook of 2018, labeled VHP as a militant group. This group was instrumental in the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, in which more than 2000 people were brutally killed and about 200,000 people were rendered homeless, triggering national and international outrage.

Shah was the national co-ordinator for VHP-A to raise funds for the 2001 Gujarat earthquake victims, which was accused of helping only Hindu victims and not the Muslim victims. She has also been associated with Ekal Vidyalayas, a movement founded by the VHP with the major objective of countering Christianity among Adivasis (forest people) in India who follow their own religion but struggling to get their identity back.

Amit S. said...

PERSPECTIVES
An Open Letter to Modi Bhakts in America: Your God has Feet of Clay and Blood on His Hands
Vineetha Mokkil
BY VINEETHA MOKKIL
MAY 5, 2021

Stop leaving offerings on his bloodied altar. Stop funding his campaigns of hate. Stop enabling the annihilation of secular India’s soul.

It’s time to face facts. Your God does not have a 56-inch chest. Your God is all bluster, no action. All swagger, no substance. Your God has failed the people of India on every count as the worst crisis in modern times ravages the country. Your God has no interest in protecting the citizenry he is expected to serve. While India gasps for breath, while patients die in hospital after hospital for lack of oxygen, while the sick collapse on the streets and beg for medicines and beds at overcrowded hospital gates, your God is lavishing ₹22,000 crore on building himself a glitzy new palace in the heart of Delhi. Consumed by his vanity project, he forgot to instruct his government to procure adequate vaccines supplies — the one thing that could save countless Indian lives as the second wave explodes in the country.

Your God is deaf to the cries of millions of Indians in distress. He is blind to the living, the sick and the dying. His hearing is faulty — neither the dying nor the living can get through to him. He only hears the sound of his own voice.

Wake up, dear Bhakts! All those odes to India’s ancient glory, the shiny promises of turning India into a Vishwa Guru who dazzles the world, all the bombastic words he uses to cast a spell on you at his Madison Square Garden rallies are a means to an end. Your god mouths the words to make sure you donate your dollars to his political campaigns and rallies. Keep the dollars coming, and he’ll keep telling you what you want to hear.

Instead of glory, he has heaped misery on Bharat Mata’s head. Under his stewardship, India has been dragged into the dirt. His demonitization drive broke the backbone of small businesses across the country. Much like the hare-brained Mughal emperor, Tughlak, your God’s ill-conceived move sowed chaos and hardship in the life of the common man.



As we speak, India is desperately seeking foreign aid to tackle a health emergency that your God’s lack of foresight caused. After a gap of 17 years, ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ has had to solicit foreign aid to bail itself out of a crisis.

Under your God’s watch, India had been brought to her knees. It is a pariah nation now. The Covid hotspot every nation dreads. The country every person across the world is watching in horror. Indian travellers are banned from flying out to almost every spot on the planet. Your God has no ‘masterstroke’ at this moment to flaunt.

Please understand. Your God is no God. He is a conman, a scamster, a talking head who trades exclusively in hate and vitriol. Inside his Photoshopped 56-inch chest there is no beating heart. He has not consoled the families of the dead or met with them. No condolences. No hospital visits. No regrets. Your God does not feel the pain of others or acknowledge his role in inflicting the worst on them.

He has not consoled the families of the dead or met with them. No condolences. No hospital visits. No regrets. Your God does not feel the pain of others or acknowledge his role in inflicting the worst on them.
Think about it. What kind of God stays unmoved as Indians continue to die of lack of oxygen, hospital beds, and access to medical care? What God retreats into silence as 120 Indians die — every hour, every day — from a second wave that could have been averted if he had acted on time? Who holds road shows and campaign rallies and chases after votes with zero regard for human life as death stalks the land?

https://americankahani.com/perspectives/an-open-letter-to-modi-bhakts-in-america-your-god-has-feet-of-clay-and-blood-on-his-hands/

Riaz Haq said...

An Open Letter to #Modi #Bhakts in #America: Your God has Feet of Clay and Blood on His Hands.Your God does not feel the pain of others or acknowledge his role in inflicting the worst on them. #COVID19India #India #BJP #coronavirus #pandemic https://americankahani.com/perspectives/an-open-letter-to-modi-bhakts-in-america-your-god-has-feet-of-clay-and-blood-on-his-hands/

Vineetha Mokkil
BY VINEETHA MOKKIL
MAY 5, 2021

Stop leaving offerings on his bloodied altar. Stop funding his campaigns of hate. Stop enabling the annihilation of secular India’s soul.

It’s time to face facts. Your God does not have a 56-inch chest. Your God is all bluster, no action. All swagger, no substance. Your God has failed the people of India on every count as the worst crisis in modern times ravages the country. Your God has no interest in protecting the citizenry he is expected to serve. While India gasps for breath, while patients die in hospital after hospital for lack of oxygen, while the sick collapse on the streets and beg for medicines and beds at overcrowded hospital gates, your God is lavishing ₹22,000 crore on building himself a glitzy new palace in the heart of Delhi. Consumed by his vanity project, he forgot to instruct his government to procure adequate vaccines supplies — the one thing that could save countless Indian lives as the second wave explodes in the country.

Your God is deaf to the cries of millions of Indians in distress. He is blind to the living, the sick and the dying. His hearing is faulty — neither the dying nor the living can get through to him. He only hears the sound of his own voice.

Wake up, dear Bhakts! All those odes to India’s ancient glory, the shiny promises of turning India into a Vishwa Guru who dazzles the world, all the bombastic words he uses to cast a spell on you at his Madison Square Garden rallies are a means to an end. Your god mouths the words to make sure you donate your dollars to his political campaigns and rallies. Keep the dollars coming, and he’ll keep telling you what you want to hear.

Instead of glory, he has heaped misery on Bharat Mata’s head. Under his stewardship, India has been dragged into the dirt. His demonitization drive broke the backbone of small businesses across the country. Much like the hare-brained Mughal emperor, Tughlak, your God’s ill-conceived move sowed chaos and hardship in the life of the common man.



As we speak, India is desperately seeking foreign aid to tackle a health emergency that your God’s lack of foresight caused. After a gap of 17 years, ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ has had to solicit foreign aid to bail itself out of a crisis.

Under your God’s watch, India had been brought to her knees. It is a pariah nation now. The Covid hotspot every nation dreads. The country every person across the world is watching in horror. Indian travellers are banned from flying out to almost every spot on the planet. Your God has no ‘masterstroke’ at this moment to flaunt.

Please understand. Your God is no God. He is a conman, a scamster, a talking head who trades exclusively in hate and vitriol. Inside his Photoshopped 56-inch chest there is no beating heart. He has not consoled the families of the dead or met with them. No condolences. No hospital visits. No regrets. Your God does not feel the pain of others or acknowledge his role in inflicting the worst on them.

He has not consoled the families of the dead or met with them. No condolences. No hospital visits. No regrets. Your God does not feel the pain of others or acknowledge his role in inflicting the worst on them.
Think about it. What kind of God stays unmoved as Indians continue to die of lack of oxygen, hospital beds, and access to medical care? What God retreats into silence as 120 Indians die — every hour, every day — from a second wave that could have been averted if he had acted on time? Who holds road shows and campaign rallies and chases after votes with zero regard for human life as death stalks the land?

Riaz Haq said...

#Hindu Sect Is Accused of Using Forced Labor (mainly #Dalit) to Build #NewJersey Temple. #US federal agents raided the massive temple in Robbinsville, N.J., as a lawsuit charged that low-caste men had been lured from #India to work for about $1 an hour. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/11/nyregion/nj-hindu-temple-india-baps.html#click=https://t.co/Oz8nDR3CRo


Federal law enforcement agents descended on a massive temple in New Jersey on Tuesday after workers accused a prominent Hindu sect of luring them from India, confining them to the temple grounds and paying them the equivalent of about $1 an hour to perform grueling labor in near servitude.

Lawyers for the workers said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, a Hindu sect known as BAPS that has close ties to India’s ruling party and has built temples around the world, had exploited possibly hundreds of low-caste men in the yearslong construction project.

The workers, who lived in trailers hidden from view, had been promised jobs helping to build the temple in rural Robbinsville, N.J., with standard work hours and ample time off, according to the lawsuit, a wage claim filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey. The majority are Dalit, the lowest rung in India’s caste system.

They were brought to the United States on religious visas, or R-1 visas — temporary visas used for clergy and lay religious workers such as missionaries — and presented to the U.S. government as volunteers, according to the claim. They were asked to sign several documents, often in English, and instructed to tell U.S. embassy staffers that they were skilled carvers or decorative painters, the complaint said.

Lawyers for the men, however, said they did manual labor on the site, working nearly 13 hours a day lifting large stones, operating cranes and other heavy machinery, building roads and storm sewers, digging ditches and shoveling snow, all for the equivalent of about $450 per month. They were paid $50 in cash, with the rest deposited in accounts in India, the complaint said.

“I respectfully disagree with the wage claim,” Kanu Patel, the chief executive of BAPS, told The New York Times, while noting he was not in charge of day-to-day operations at the site.

Lenin Joshi, a spokesman for BAPS, also disputed the accusations, saying the men did complicated work connecting stones that had been hand-carved in India. “They have to be fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. In that process, we need specialized artisans,” Mr. Joshi said, saying this work qualified the men for the visas.

“We are naturally shaken by this turn of events and are sure that once the full facts come out, we will be able to provide answers and show that these accusations and allegations are without merit,” Mr. Joshi said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's approval fall amid #India's #COVID19 crisis. Those saying “very satisfied” fall sharply to 40% from 64% last year. Those “not at all satisfied” is up to 32%, up from 15% last year. Modi still gets a 60% rating as preferred Prime Minister candidate. https://fortune.com/2021/05/03/india-covid-narendra-modi-popularity-approval-rating-election-results/


Indian Prime Minister Modi's diehard fan following is legendary. But the tsunami of COVID cases that has slammed India in recent weeks, filling hospitals and overwhelming crematoriums, is testing Modi’s popularity like no other crisis has.

India recorded 2.6 million new COVID cases and 23,800 related deaths in the past week. On Monday alone, India recorded 368,147 new infections and 3,417 deaths. People are dying from lack of medical supplies and equipment, just weeks after India dispatched vaccines and medicines to the rest of the world, confident the virus threat had receded at home.

The wave of infections has incited criticism of Modi. Opponents say he was too quick to declare victory over the virus and prioritized politics over public health by holding huge rallies for state elections as the second wave gathered steam. The outcome of those elections suggest that Modi’s party remains resilient, even in the face of catastrophe, but opinion polling proves that the COVID crisis is tarnishing the Prime Minister’s once-unassailable approval rating.


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opinions are more divided over COVID-19; some perceive it as a man-made virus unleashed by China, and others blame it on a failure of management by Indian authorities. There was some anger over the lockdown Modi imposed with little warning during India’s first COVID wave in March 2020, but the general public thought that he was trying to protect them. Anger over the second wave is directed at the state governments of the worst-affected regions, the federal government, and the public’s own lax adherence to protocols like wearing masks and social distancing.

The second wave of the COVID crisis also threatens to choke the recovery of India's economy. Dipti Deshpande, principal economist at CRISIL Ratings, said that her firm is maintaining its GDP growth forecast of 11% for fiscal year 2022. But she acknowledged the firm may need to reconsider that estimate if the rate of new COVID cases, now running three times levels during the peak of last year’s wave, forces more lockdowns through May.

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Given the current crisis, however, even leading industry officials are urging Modi to tame the virus, no matter the economic cost. Uday Kotak, president of Confederation of Indian Industry, said in a statement on Sunday that his organization urged “the strongest national steps including curtailing economic activity to reduce suffering.”

Riaz Haq said...

Sewa International has raised millions of dollars in donations for #COVID relief. It supports pro-#Modi #Islamophobic #Hindu nationalist organizations and projects in #India, without proper disclosure of how the funds were being used. #Hindutva https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/06/covid-india-charity-sewa-hindu-nationalism.html via @slate

COVID Relief Donations Are Supporting a Project to “Hinduize” India

Why are Twitter, Microsoft, and Google promoting a charity with ties to right-wing nationalism?


As the world has become more aware of India’s still-grim COVID crisis, concerned and well-meaning citizens of the world have shared links through which to donate money and supplies to India’s beleaguered populace and overcrowded health and funeral services. One of the most popular of these has been a group called Sewa International.

According to the organization’s press releases, Sewa’s “Help India Defeat COVID-19” media campaign has raised millions of dollars from more than 100,000 donors since late April, with this money going toward purchasing and sending oxygen concentrators, oximeters, and other essential equipment to India, which is grappling with a dire shortage of these technologies. The organization has also raised money and sent equipment for COVID relief in Nepal and Trinidad and Tobago.


Sewa’s initiative has become well-known within and beyond the Indian diaspora: Stories of distraught Indian Americans encouraging Sewa donations have proliferated in the news, and outlets like ABC News have highlighted Sewa’s work. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey earmarked $2.5 million for Sewa as part of a $15 million donation for Indian COVID relief. Internal communications provided to me by a source showed that Microsoft and Google encouraged their employees to donate to Sewa and offered matching funds, in Microsoft’s case through the donation-management platform Benevity. New Jersey’s Monroe Township partnered with Sewa to provide India aid, while the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, the largest organization representing Indian American doctors, also held a fundraiser for India with Sewa. The group also has partnered with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency to ramp up domestic vaccination efforts in both Philadelphia and Texas, where Sewa’s U.S. branch is based.

Riaz Haq said...

Social Realities of Indian Americans: Results From the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey

https://carnegieendowment.org/2021/06/09/social-realities-of-indian-americans-results-from-2020-indian-american-attitudes-survey-pub-84667

According to IAAS data, 54 percent of respondents report belonging to the Hindu faith (see figure 6). The next most common response—those claiming no religious affiliation (a category that includes agnostics and atheists)—accounts for 16 percent of the sample. Thirteen percent of respondents are Muslim, 11 percent are Christian, and another 7 percent belong to a variety of other faiths including Buddhism and Sikhism. In certain cases, these larger groupings consist of smaller denominations that have been aggregated upward.

This study is the third in a series on the social, political, and foreign policy attitudes of Indian Americans. The major findings are briefly summarized below.

Indian Americans exhibit very high rates of marriage within their community. While eight out of ten respondents have a spouse or partner of Indian origin, U.S.-born Indian Americans are four times more likely to have a spouse or partner who is of Indian origin but was born in the United States.
Religion plays a central role in the lives of Indian Americans but religious practice varies. While nearly three-quarters of Indian Americans state that religion plays an important role in their lives, religious practice is less pronounced. Forty percent of respondents pray at least once a day and 27 percent attend religious services at least once a week.
Roughly half of all Hindu Indian Americans identify with a caste group. Foreign-born respondents are significantly more likely than U.S.-born respondents to espouse a caste identity. The overwhelming majority of Hindus with a caste identity—more than eight in ten—self-identify as belonging to the category of General or upper caste.
“Indian American” itself is a contested identity. While Indian American is a commonly used shorthand to describe people of Indian origin, it is not universally embraced. Only four in ten respondents believe that “Indian American” is the term that best captures their background.
Civic and political engagement varies considerably by one’s citizenship status. Across nearly all metrics of civic and political participation, U.S.-born citizens report the highest levels of engagement, followed by foreign-born U.S. citizens, with non-citizens trailing behind.
Indian Americans’ social communities are heavily populated by other people of Indian origin. Indian Americans—especially members of the first generation—tend to socialize with other Indian Americans. Internally, the social networks of Indian Americans are more homogenous in terms of religion than either Indian region (state) of origin or caste.
Polarization among Indian Americans reflects broader trends in American society. While religious polarization is less pronounced at an individual level, partisan polarization—linked to political preferences both in India and the United States—is rife. However, this polarization is asymmetric: Democrats are much less comfortable having close friends who are Republicans than the converse. The same is true of Congress Party supporters vis-à-vis supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Indian Americans regularly encounter discrimination. One in two Indian Americans reports being discriminated against in the past one year, with discrimination based on skin color identified as the most common form of bias. Somewhat surprisingly, Indian Americans born in the United States are much more likely to report being victims of discrimination than their foreign-born counterparts.
To some extent, divisions in India are being reproduced within the Indian American community. While only a minority of respondents are concerned about the importation of political divisions from India to the United States, those who are identify religion, political leadership, and political parties in India as the most common factors.

Riaz Haq said...

Social Realities of Indian Americans: Results From the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey

https://carnegieendowment.org/2021/06/09/social-realities-of-indian-americans-results-from-2020-indian-american-attitudes-survey-pub-84667

Religious affiliation too correlates with one’s feelings toward their Indian identity. Eighty-eight percent of Hindus say being Indian is very or somewhat important to them, compared to 79 percent of Christians and 66 percent of Muslims. This is possibly a reflection of India’s current political climate. The February 2021 IAAS paper found that almost seven in ten Hindus approve of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s performance, while just one in five Muslims feel the same.34 However, without longitudinal data, it is unclear to what extent the religious divide reflects the specificities of the current context—in which Muslims in India feel especially marginalized and discriminated against—or is instead a product of longer-term trends.

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Self-identification also varies by religion. While 86 percent of Hindus report identifying with some kind of “Indian” identity, 71 percent of Christians and 52 percent of Muslims do the same. Relative to Muslims, Christians and Hindus are equally likely to self-identify as “Indian American” (47 percent each versus 32 percent for Muslims), and Hindus are substantially more likely to self-identify as “Indian” (32 percent versus 17 percent for Christians and 12 percent for Muslims). On the other hand, Muslims are much more likely to self-identify as “South Asian” (27 percent compared to 7 percent of Christians and 5 percent of Hindus). Finally, Christians are more likely to self-identify as “American” without any hyphenation (9 percent versus 6 percent for Muslim and 4 percent for Hindus).

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First, Hindus are more likely to report that most or all of their Indian friends are also Hindus, underscoring a greater degree of religious homogeneity in their social networks. Fifty-eight percent of Hindus respond in this way, while 48 and 46 percent of Muslims and Christians, respectively, report that their networks are comprised of those of the same religion. Second, around one-third of Christians and Hindus and two-fifths of Muslims are situated in the middle, reporting that some of their Indian American networks are made up of friends of the same religion. Third, Christians are much more likely to report that hardly any or none of their Indian friends share their religion. Nearly one in five (19 percent) identify this way, compared to 10 percent of Muslims and only 6 percent of Hindus.

Riaz Haq said...

Idaho state Lt Governor Janice McGeachin waves gun and Bible in video questioning existence of #COVID19 #pandemic. #Republican legislators are calling for an end to #coronavirus restrictions in the #US state of #Idaho. #guns #religion #Christianity https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/idaho-governor-janice-mcgeachin-gun-bible-coronavirus-existence-b1480933.html

Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin waved a gun and a Bible during a video in which she and other legislators seemed to question the existence of a global pandemic that has claimed some 230,000 lives in the US.

Ms McGeachin, 57, appeared alongside 10 other GOP figures in a short clip published by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a libertarian think-tank....

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistanis have never elected #Fascist leaders like #Modi and #YogiAdityanath. Religious parties in #Pakistan get very few votes and even fewer seats in federal and provincial #legislatures. https://www.riazhaq.com/2018/07/pakistan-elections-2018-pti-prevails.html

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1448323734658424840?s=20

Riaz Haq said...

‘Modi’s India: Hindu Nationalism and the Rise of Ethnic Democracy’ review: The collapse of democracy

https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/modis-india-hindu-nationalism-and-the-rise-of-ethnic-democracy-review-the-collapse-of-democracy/article37923912.ece

Christophe Jaffrelot, who has caught every wave in India, says the country has changed, perhaps irreversibly, from a liberal secular polity a decade ago to a majoritarian ‘ethnic democracy’ today

Jaffrelot tracks the continually expanding catalogue of body blows that have assailed the founding ideals of the Indian republic from the time Modi announced his candidature in the fall of 2013. Those of us who have lived through the lynching of Muslims and Dalits, the assassination of rationalist intellectuals, the trolling of scholars, the detention of activists, the harassment of movie stars, the evisceration of the media, universities and courts, the decimation of the opposition, the destruction of the economy, the persecution of the minorities, the erosion of fundamental rights, the gutting of the public sector, the targeting of NGOs, the silencing of civil society, the distortion of history, the usurpation of social media by hate speech, fake news and propaganda, the defiance and denigration of Parliamentary procedure by the ruling party, the demonisation of dissent, the encouragement of vigilantism, the garrisoning of the Kashmir Valley, the battering of the Constitution, and the forsaking of truth — having borne witness, we understand why compiling this gruesome list requires nearly 700 pages.

But the book is not just an act of meticulous, unsparing documentation, though it is that too. It will prove an invaluable record of our time when future generations struggle to explain the swift collapse of Indian democracy. Once the world’s largest, liveliest and most interesting experiment in equal citizenship, universal adult franchise, regular elections, representative government, minority protection, a free press, and popular self-rule, India always had problematic enclaves of exception like Kashmir and the Northeast. But before Modi, its basic commitment to diversity and pluralism seemed genuine.

Jaffrelot doesn’t just remind us of what has been happening to unravel the liberal consensus in the past 7-8 years. He also brings to bear on these data an enormous scholarly literature and theoretical toolkit about ethnic democracy, populist strongmen, rightwing nationalism, charismatic leadership, the deinstitutionalisation of the state, creeping authoritarianism that appears electorally mandated, the relentless reduction of minorities to second-class citizenship, and the mobilisation of identities in new patterns of conflict, domination and exclusion, jettisoning tolerance, equality and inclusion.

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He examines how Yogi Adityanath communalises governance, runs a militia State, and makes Islamophobia an item of official policy. Campaigns of “gauraksha”, “love jihad” and “gharwapsi” make for a deadly cocktail of privileged caste orthopraxy and social conservatism, reinforce patriarchy, and continually bully, shame and terrorise Muslims and Christians. The cow belt and Hindi heartland, including Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh along with Uttar Pradesh, spilling south into Karnataka and east into Assam, are now thoroughly saffronised.

Riaz Haq said...

University Of California, San Diego Drops Author Saiba Verma From Curriculum

In a statement the UCSD’s Critical Gender Studies Program has stated that Saiba Varma’s courses have been dropped. Daughter of a RAW officer, Saiba Varma has authored, 'The Occupied Clinic: Militarism and Care in Kashmir,'

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/university-of-california-san-diego-drops-author-saiba-verma-from-curriculum/408530

The Critical Gender Studies program at UCSanDiego has disaffiliated itself from the author of The Occupied Clinic: Militarism and Care in Kashmir, Dr Saiba Varma. The critical book by Varma was published by Duke University in the US and Yoda Press in India.

In a statement the UCSD’s Critical Gender Studies Program says, responding to the calls by Kashmiri scholars and activists to repudiate Dr. Varma’s research as part of a broader struggle “against an intensifying Indian settler-colonial rule in Kashmir since 2019, a crackdown against social media communications, and a pattern of arrests of prominent activists in recent months,” CGS has disaffiliated from Dr Varma, meaning that her courses will no longer count toward our major or minor.

“This may be a small act in the scheme of things, but we believe it is a necessary one as we work through our complicities and think seriously about who we must prioritize in our claims of accountability,” the statement reads.

Dr Saiba Varma, Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department and a former CGS Executive Committee member and Faculty Affiliate, came under severe criticism in September last year after her book The Occupied Clinic: Militarism and Care in Kashmir came to fore.

In the introduction of the book the author says, “Borrowing and extending techniques from British colonial rule, the Indian state enacted the world’s most established, sophisticated, and pervasive systems of emergency rule and legislation and repeatedly criminalized pro-independence demands as ‘conspiracies’ and ‘anti-national.’ The Indian state’s global image as ‘the world’s largest democracy,’ a generous aid donor, and non-interventionist actor have helped disguise its military excesses in Kashmir and other border regions.”

“As an upper-caste and upper-class Indian citizen and subject, I have actively and passively internalized anti-Muslim racism my entire life. I am complicit in the colonization of Kashmir and other regions forcibly incorporated into the Indian nation-state.”

“As Stuart Hall once powerfully stated, there is no such thing as an innocent discourse. To add: there is no such thing as an innocent Indian. In other words, there is no innocent way for any other scholar of Indian origin, including myself, to engage with Kashmir (or any of the other colonialisms underway in the subcontinent) without acknowledging our own embeddedness in histories of violence and harm.”

She, however, was accused of hiding her familial ties while doing research in Kashmir. The author’s father being an officer with Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), who was posted in the Valley in the 90s created a Twitter storm around the book.

In a statement titled “CGS Executive Committee's Statement Regarding Former CGS Faculty Affiliate, Dr. Saiba Varma” the UCSD’s Critical Gender Studies Program says, “...it understands the study of gender to be inextricably bound up with the interlocking systems of race, class, sexuality and nationalism.” “New faculty on the current Executive Committee bring commitments that are focused explicitly on ethically, intellectually, politically, and spiritually supporting the freedoms of all people.”

Riaz Haq said...

A mysterious new report tells you who funds Hindu nationalism in US, and with how much money
While Hindu groups like the HSS flag the report as 'unreliable', anti-Hindutva activists say that it's based on available data but not getting enough attention.
VANDANA MENON

https://theprint.in/features/a-mysterious-new-report-tells-you-who-funds-hindu-nationalism-in-us-and-with-how-much-money/995680/

Drawing upon publicly available resources, the report details the financial ties of groups in the US that are spending millions to influence American education and further the interests of the Indian government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Over almost 20 years — 2001 to 2019 — seven of these charitable groups spent at least $158.9 million, sending some of it to groups in India. Around half of this money, nearly $85.4 million, was spent between 2014 and 2019.

While Hindu groups in the US have flagged the unreliability of the report, anti-Hindutva activists have said that it is based on publicly available data but not getting enough public attention.


Titled ‘Hindu Nationalist Influence in the United States, 2014-2021: The Infrastructure of Hindutva Mobilizing,’ the report is authored by Jasa Macher and facilitated by the South Asian Citizens Web. It’s a researched update on a 2014 report, authored by someone who uses the same initials and email address: JM.

But Google the author and you won’t find a digital footprint — only references to their report.

“We find it strange that a report on the alleged nefariousness of various organisations, including our own, is likely written under an unacknowledged pseudonym, seemingly created solely for the purpose of this report,” wrote the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) to ThePrint in an email response.

Following the money
So, where does the money come from? Philanthropists among the diaspora, fundraising drives, wealthy family foundations and American taxpayers themselves.

Organisations like the Bhutada Family Foundation and the Puran Devi Aggarwal Family Foundation donated around $2 million to groups like the HAF, the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), and Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA between 2006 and 2018, according to tax records. While the report points out that the donors’ ideological opinions can’t be assumed based on the fact that they’ve donated to Hindu non-profit groups, it lists the Sangh affiliations of those who head these family foundations.

According to a 2021 Al Jazeera report, five Right-wing groups — Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, HAF, Infinity Foundation, Sewa International, and VHPA — received $833,000 of U.S. federal Covid relief funds, paid for by the American taxpayer. The HAF filed a defamation suit against the reporter, Raqib Hameed Naik, as well as others named in the report, including members of another US-based group, Hindus For Human Rights. ThePrint has reached out to the organizations mentioned in this article for their comments on the report.

Riaz Haq said...

As Prophet, BJP & ‘Fringe’ Battle Rages in India, Diaspora in US Grows Divided
It’s obvious that the BJP’s domestic agenda is impacting India’s foreign policy goals and outreach.


https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/prophet-bjp-fringe-india-nupur-sharma-us-washington-diaspora#read-more

Snapshot
In Washington, Muslim activists are busy organising “briefings” on the situation in India to gain more traction on Capitol Hill.

Hindu groups are angry for a different reason. The sidelining of Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal is seen as abdication, not course correction.

The diaspora stands further divided. Starting from 2015, the BJP’s overseas supporters had begun using the term “Hindu Americans” instead of Indian Americans.

A significant percentage of voters in western societies, which are themselves battling racism, gun violence and police brutality, want their governments to treat minorities fairly and humanely.

----------

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the larger Sangh family face a critical question in the wake of the Nupur Sharma controversy: change course and moderate the message or stay the course and brazen it out because this, too, shall pass?

Yes, it grates that instead of listening to countless appeals from their own citizens to stop the everyday toxicity, the government acted only in response to pressure from Muslim countries where democracy and debate are not in fashion. But the sheikhdoms know how to use their muscle – they made the BJP watch its own show bomb slowly at the box office.


As Prophet, BJP & ‘Fringe’ Battle Rages in India, Diaspora in US Grows Divided
It’s obvious that the BJP’s domestic agenda is impacting India’s foreign policy goals and outreach.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the larger Sangh family face a critical question in the wake of the Nupur Sharma controversy: change course and moderate the message or stay the course and brazen it out because this, too, shall pass?

Yes, it grates that instead of listening to countless appeals from their own citizens to stop the everyday toxicity, the government acted only in response to pressure from Muslim countries where democracy and debate are not in fashion. But the sheikhdoms know how to use their muscle – they made the BJP watch its own show bomb slowly at the box office.

Snapshot
In Washington, Muslim activists are busy organising “briefings” on the situation in India to gain more traction on Capitol Hill.

Hindu groups are angry for a different reason. The sidelining of Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal is seen as abdication, not course correction.

The diaspora stands further divided. Starting from 2015, the BJP’s overseas supporters had begun using the term “Hindu Americans” instead of Indian Americans.

A significant percentage of voters in western societies, which are themselves battling racism, gun violence and police brutality, want their governments to treat minorities fairly and humanely.

In Washington, Muslim activists are busy organising “briefings” on the situation in India, using the bonanza of fiascos – the latest being the demolition of an activist’s home in Prayagraj – to gain more traction on Capitol Hill. Their anti-BJP campaign morphed into an anti-India campaign some time ago.

Hindu groups are angry for a different reason. The sidelining of Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal is seen as abdication, not course correction. Some have started talking in terms of “naram dal” (soft groups) and “garam dal” (tough groups) to distinguish between real Hindutva leaders and others. They don’t want to discuss the high stakes involved in India’s relations with Arab countries.

'Hindu Americans', Not Indian Americans
The diaspora stands further divided, a process that started around 2015 as BJP’s overseas supporters gained new energy and began using the term “Hindu Americans” instead of Indian Americans. The long-term impact of such fracturing of the community cannot be a net positive for India’s goal of harnessing their power.


Riaz Haq said...

As Prophet, BJP & ‘Fringe’ Battle Rages in India, Diaspora in US Grows Divided
It’s obvious that the BJP’s domestic agenda is impacting India’s foreign policy goals and outreach.


https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/prophet-bjp-fringe-india-nupur-sharma-us-washington-diaspora#read-more

It’s obvious that the BJP’s domestic agenda is impacting India’s foreign policy goals and outreach. The message from the Arab world was clear: enough is enough. As statements poured in to condemn Sharma’s provocative outburst against Prophet Muhammad, the government had no choice but to take action.

As Prophet, BJP & ‘Fringe’ Battle Rages in India, Diaspora in US Grows Divided
It’s obvious that the BJP’s domestic agenda is impacting India’s foreign policy goals and outreach.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the larger Sangh family face a critical question in the wake of the Nupur Sharma controversy: change course and moderate the message or stay the course and brazen it out because this, too, shall pass?

Yes, it grates that instead of listening to countless appeals from their own citizens to stop the everyday toxicity, the government acted only in response to pressure from Muslim countries where democracy and debate are not in fashion. But the sheikhdoms know how to use their muscle – they made the BJP watch its own show bomb slowly at the box office.

Snapshot
In Washington, Muslim activists are busy organising “briefings” on the situation in India to gain more traction on Capitol Hill.

Hindu groups are angry for a different reason. The sidelining of Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal is seen as abdication, not course correction.

The diaspora stands further divided. Starting from 2015, the BJP’s overseas supporters had begun using the term “Hindu Americans” instead of Indian Americans.

A significant percentage of voters in western societies, which are themselves battling racism, gun violence and police brutality, want their governments to treat minorities fairly and humanely.

In Washington, Muslim activists are busy organising “briefings” on the situation in India, using the bonanza of fiascos – the latest being the demolition of an activist’s home in Prayagraj – to gain more traction on Capitol Hill. Their anti-BJP campaign morphed into an anti-India campaign some time ago.

Hindu groups are angry for a different reason. The sidelining of Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal is seen as abdication, not course correction. Some have started talking in terms of “naram dal” (soft groups) and “garam dal” (tough groups) to distinguish between real Hindutva leaders and others. They don’t want to discuss the high stakes involved in India’s relations with Arab countries.

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'Hindu Americans', Not Indian Americans
The diaspora stands further divided, a process that started around 2015 as BJP’s overseas supporters gained new energy and began using the term “Hindu Americans” instead of Indian Americans. The long-term impact of such fracturing of the community cannot be a net positive for India’s goal of harnessing their power.

It’s obvious that the BJP’s domestic agenda is impacting India’s foreign policy goals and outreach. The message from the Arab world was clear: enough is enough. As statements poured in to condemn Sharma’s provocative outburst against Prophet Muhammad, the government had no choice but to take action.


The BJP suspended Sharma, the national spokesperson, and expelled Naveen Kumar Jindal, former chief of BJP’s Delhi media unit, who had jumped into the controversy to add insult to injury. Both were temporarily deemed “fringe elements” by innovative spin doctors, a feint that was a second self-goal.

Riaz Haq said...

As Prophet, BJP & ‘Fringe’ Battle Rages in India, Diaspora in US Grows Divided
It’s obvious that the BJP’s domestic agenda is impacting India’s foreign policy goals and outreach.


https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/prophet-bjp-fringe-india-nupur-sharma-us-washington-diaspora#read-more



BJP's Free Agents of Chaos and Violence
Governing India requires an exquisite balancing act at the best of times, and these are the toughest of times where support from, solidarity and “sambandh” (relationship) with international partners are of paramount importance. Editorial writers have suggested that cold calculations, if not good sense, should force the BJP to rethink.

It seems some amount of rethinking is afoot, or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief, Mohan Bhagwat, wouldn’t have advised caution. He recently told supporters that there was no need “to look for a Shivling in every mosque” and create a new dispute every day.

But more such messaging by Modi and other top leaders is needed to prevent further embarrassment. To put the genie back into the bottle will be tough if not impossible, but what about some discipline?
Creating an impenetrable aura around Modi may have worked initially to inspire awe among the untrained and unrestrained supporters. But over time, they have become free agents of chaos and violence. They cross red lines with aplomb without a care in the world, leaving a mess for overworked diplomats to clean up.

Modi and his top advisors may want to conduct a series of “chai pe charcha” with grassroots supporters and second- and third-tier leadership to rein in the ugliness. The current state of affairs is unsustainable. The IT cell has surely monitored and sent the “feedback” on social media in favour of Sharma and Jindal.


Far From 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas'
Western governments understand to some extent that Hinduism is resurgent in India as they watch their own societies struggle with White supremacy, racism and police brutality. They can’t preach beyond a point, except to read out the press release on tolerance. But we should note that a significant percentage of voters in western societies want their governments to treat minorities fairly and humanely.

In India, the dominant narrative seems to be to crush critics, marginalise minorities and use the bulldozer. This is not the “Vishwa Guru” (world leader) template that India can sell to others. Right now, the government is fighting to save the jobs of nearly 9 million Indian citizens working in Gulf countries. They are critical to the Indian economy – they send a hefty $35 billion in remittances. Around 40 million family members back home depend on those workers.

Here’s the thing. The BJP could have actually done “sabka saath, sabka vikas” and included India’s 200 million Muslims in the project of a resurgent India. More than 90% would have joined hands to rebuild, reconstruct and reimagine India. Inclusion doesn’t mean “appeasement,” it means cohesion and strength.
But if the starting point is abuse, insult and violence, it’s natural for Muslims to go into their religious cocoon. After eight years of badgering and demonisation, the Islamist elements are strengthened, Friday prayers have become more politics than worship, and Muslim women are more prone to the Saudi hijab than the good old dupatta.

Can Modi Clear the Toxicity?
The less said about TV anchors who excel in multiplying hate, the better. The liberal media – self-conscious and self-righteous as many of its members have become – would also do well to introspect and figure out new ways to engage and convince rather than preach to the converted with a daily dossier on government failures.

India’s international partners want the country to get its act together and move forward instead of being mired in a million mutinies. If Modi won’t use the bully pulpit and his mandate to clear the national windscreen of toxicity, India could recede into the rear view mirror for others.

Riaz Haq said...

Riaz Haq has left a new comment on your post "Silicon Valley's Indian Americans Rally in Support of Modi, Yogi":

Muslim Groups Condemn Presence Of Bulldozer At Parade In Edison | Edison, NJ Patch


https://patch.com/new-jersey/edison-metuchen/muslim-groups-condemn-presence-bulldozer-parade-edison

The 18th Annual India Day Parade was held on Aug. 14, beginning at the intersection of Cinder Rd & Oak Tree Rd in Edison and ending at Middlesex Ave & Oak Tree Rd in Woodbridge.

A bulldozer, with a photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, was part of the parade. The bulldozer is a symbol of the demolition of Muslim homes in India, the groups said, especially in the state of Uttar Pradesh ruled by Adityanath.

“While we support Indian Americans’ right to celebrate their heritage and independence from British colonial rule, we condemn the use of a bulldozer and the glorification of Hindu nationalist figures who have a deeply anti-Muslim track record,” CAIR-NJ Executive Director Salaedin Maksut said in a statement.

The bulldozer became a divisive symbol in India after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) used them to demolish the homes and livelihoods of the Muslim community. Critics say the demolitions are part of a retaliatory response to Muslims protesting or being vocal critics of the government.



In a report published earlier this year, Amnesty International called the practice “bulldozer justice” and condemned it as openly discriminatory and a violation of International Human Rights Laws.

“We need to contextualize what it means to march with bulldozers emblazoned with the images of two openly Hindu supremacist leaders,” IAMC president Mohammed Jawad said in the statement.



“Today in India, 200 million Muslims are at risk of mass violence from a radicalized majority population. Marching with these bulldozers shows support for forced homelessness and mass violence against a vulnerable minority.”

The parade was attended by prominent NJ lawmakers including speaker Craig J. Coughlin, NJ-18 Assemblyman Robert Karabinchack, Sen. Partick Diegnan and the Mayors of Edison and Woodbridge.

The Muslim groups have called on lawmakers to condemn all “acts of hatred.”

“We also call on the mayors of Edison and Woodbridge townships, Sam Joshi and John E. McCormac respectively, and New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, who joined the parade, to condemn these acts of hatred and block Hindu nationalists’ and the BJP’s attempts to interfere in local New Jersey politics,” Maksut said.

Riaz Haq said...

Azad Essa
@azadessa
Tense scenes at Council Meeting in Edison, New Jersey, where some Hindu nationalists have come to defend the inclusion of the bulldozer at the India rally in the town last week.

https://twitter.com/azadessa/status/1562588708528082947?s=20&t=rUau8gjw8rmwszKiCLHkNw

Riaz Haq said...

Dr. Audrey Truschke
@AudreyTruschke
That there are people defending the bulldozer -- whose meaning as a symbol of violent deprivation of human rights is crystal clear to all who follow Indian politics -- speaks volumes to how entrenched Hindutva hate is in New Jersey.

https://twitter.com/AudreyTruschke/status/1562611712917811200?s=20&t=rUau8gjw8rmwszKiCLHkNw

Riaz Haq said...

'This ain't India': #Sikh man seen verbally attacking, spitting on #Indian man in a #Fremont #California Taco Bell.“Walking around with your f*cking toes out. B*tch, this ain’t India,” the man says. “You f*cked India up. You’re f*cking America up.” #Hindu https://news.yahoo.com/aint-india-man-recorded-verbally-211057773.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw&tsrc=twtr

A Hindu man was verbally attacked in a hate incident by another man at a Taco Bell in Fremont, California.

Krishnan Jayaraman was waiting to pick up his order at a Fremont Taco Bell on Grimmer Boulevard when another customer began to verbally attack him on Aug. 21.

In an 8-minute video recorded by Jayaraman, the man can be heard spewing anti-Hindu speech.

“Walking around with your f*cking toes out. B*tch, this ain’t India,” the man says. “You f*cked India up. You’re f*cking America up.”

The man also repeatedly calls Jayaraman “disgusting” and “nasty,” telling him to not come out in public. At one point, the man also spits at Jayaraman.

In an interview with ABC7 News, Jayaraman recalled the man stating, “You’re a Hindu who bathes in cow urine.”

Jayaraman did not engage with the man.

“I was scared to be honest with you. I was infuriated on the one hand, but I was scared that what if this guy becomes too belligerent and then comes after me?’” Jayaraman told NBC Bay Area.

“I didn’t see a point of me trying to engage somebody who’s hell-bent on picking up a fight and wanting me to engage,” he told ABC7 News. “He was so close to my face. He was throwing his dollars on my face. He was spitting everywhere.”

Jayaraman was surprised to hear the man pronouncing Hindi words and speaking Punjabi towards the end of the video. He believes that the attacker is also of Indian descent but aligns with an independence movement in northern India.

“That group, the Khalistan group was deemed a terrorist organization in India,” Jayaraman said. “At that point, it dawned upon me that he may be somebody who has an ulterior motive to do all these things.”

Taco Bell employees did not intervene to deescalate the situation, according to Jayaraman. The fast-food restaurant company has not commented on the incident.

The Fremont Police Department is actively investigating the incident. There are currently no reports on whether the attacker will face charges.

“We take hate incidents and hate crimes seriously, and understand the significant impact they have on our community. These incidents are despicable,” Police Chief Sean Washington wrote. “We are here to protect all community members, regardless of their gender, race, nationality, religion, and other differences. We would like to urge the community to be respectful of each other and to immediately report any circumstances such as this that, upon investigation, may rise to the level of a crime.”

“In the event of a hate crime, we will devote all available resources to follow up and investigate,” he added. “Fremont is one of the nation’s most diverse communities, and we are thankful for the contributions of community members from different cultures and backgrounds.”

Riaz Haq said...

The Edison bulldozer scandal is a wake-up call for people to learn about Hindutva hate | Opinion by Audrey Truschke

https://www.nj.com/opinion/2022/09/the-edison-bulldozer-scandal-is-a-wake-up-call-for-people-to-learn-about-hindutva-hate-opinion.html

A bulldozer — celebrating far-right Hindu nationalist violence against Muslims — drove through the streets of Edison, last month at an Indian Independence Day parade. Many New Jersey politicians were present and claim to have been unaware of the bulldozer’s appalling symbolism of praising, even encouraging, the violent oppression of Indian religious minorities.

The backlash is continuing to grow, including calls for the organizers to be held accountable (they have since apologized) and for more people to learn about Hindutva hate.

For many New Jerseyans, the Edison bulldozer scandal is the first time that they have heard about the intolerant ideology of Hindu nationalism, also known as Hindutva or Hindu supremacy. But it is unlikely to be the last time.


I have been studying global Hindu nationalism for years, including a recent focus on Hindu Right goals and tactics in the United States. America, especially New Jersey, is a stronghold for Hindu nationalist groups who provide financial support and ideological guidance for the larger global movement. This extremist ideology — which has roots in early 20th-century European fascism — has flourished for decades, largely unchecked, in our state and has had many harmful consequences.

Hindu nationalists propagate their intolerant ideas in the United States through a network of organizations. Some of the most common include the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad-America (VHPA), and the Hindu Students Council (HSC). Sometimes a Hindu nationalist group registers as a foreign agent, such as Overseas Friends of BJP, which promotes the interests of India’s far-right ruling party. More commonly, Hindu nationalist groups try to spread and normalize their extremist ideas under the ruse of promoting Indian culture, such as at the Edison parade.

In the recent parade, the celebration of human rights violations was merely symbolic, but it is sometimes far more visceral for New Jersey communities. In 2021, federal agents raided a Hindu temple in Robbinsville, New Jersey and found Dalit men—who are at the bottom of a hierarchy of social oppression known as the caste system—held in bonded labor. Governor Murphy joined the many who condemned the “horrific, unfathomable” conditions of modern-day slavery. What he did not note is that the Hindu temple, part of the BAPS denomination, has strong ties with India’s Hindu nationalist BJP government. As of now, a case is pending in federal court in New Jersey that accuses BAPS of human trafficking in multiple states.

Hindu nationalists regularly attack lots of people—including Dalits, Christians, and the many Hindus who oppose Hindutva—but Muslims are their most common targets. In India, Muslims are subjected to daily violence and harassment, an abysmal situation documented by human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United States International Commission on Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In 2022, USCIRF recommended India for sanctions for the third year in a row due to rapidly worsening conditions in the country, especially attacks on Muslims.

Riaz Haq said...

The Edison bulldozer scandal is a wake-up call for people to learn about Hindutva hate | Opinion by Audrey Truschke

https://www.nj.com/opinion/2022/09/the-edison-bulldozer-scandal-is-a-wake-up-call-for-people-to-learn-about-hindutva-hate-opinion.html

Here in New Jersey, Indian Muslims are mainly safe from Hindu nationalist violence, although not always. In 2019, the Rutgers-New Brunswick Hindu Students Council — a Hindu nationalist group — invited a Hindutva demagogue from India to speak. The off-campus event featured Islamophobic hate speech. It also involved a recent Rutgers-Newark alum — and Kashmiri Muslim — being heckled and physically assaulted by others present. At the time, few noticed beyond the South Asian American community, but it is one brick in a larger edifice of anti-minority, Hindu nationalist hate.

At a meeting of the Edison city council on Aug. 22, a councilmember applauded the activists who had called out the parade bulldozer as a hate symbol: “By you bringing this to our attention, it stops it from going forward... what you’re doing today by bringing awareness is the first step, and that’s the strong step that needs to be done. You’re educating us.” I appreciate his words. But I wonder if he and the other councilmembers have any idea what that education often costs those brave enough to speak.

U.S.-based Hindu nationalists regularly attack South Asian community groups, such as the Indian American Muslim Council, which has been active on the bulldozer issue. They smear individual members and spread Islamophobic rumors about entire organizations, such as when the far-right Hindu American Foundation and its allies attacked IAMC last year. Hindu Right attacks in the United States can put one’s family at risk and even require the use of safe houses.

As a professor who works on Hindu nationalism, I am also subjected to regular Hindu nationalist attacks. I often require armed protection when I speak publicly in America, due to the threat of Hindu supremacist violence. While law enforcement has kept me safe thus far, it has not stemmed the waves of hate unleashed against me and Rutgers, my employer. Hindu nationalists are part of the Global Far Right, and so we sometimes see bleed-over ideas, such as the anti-Black racism lobbed against Rutgers administrators, including President Jonathan Holloway, in a recent propaganda piece by a Hindu nationalist.

Anti-Asian hate crimes are growing in New Jersey. By targeting South Asian Muslims and Dalits, as well as Hindus who disagree with them, Hindu nationalists in the United States are contributing to that alarming trend. If we are to confront and begin to counter such hateful assaults, we must recognize Hindutva’s deep roots and long-standing harms in New Jersey.

A hard truth is that while many New Jerseyans are only now learning the basics of Hindu nationalism, many of our state’s minority communities — especially South Asian Muslims — have lived for decades with the spectre of fear and intimidation imposed by purveyors of this intolerant ideology. It is time for that era to end, and for us to say together — Hindutva hate has no home in New Jersey.

Riaz Haq said...

MENENDEZ, BOOKER STAFF MEET WITH IAMC, CAIR-NJ AND INDIAN-AMERICAN GROUPS FOLLOWING INDIA DAY PARADE INCIDENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) today released the following statement condemning the use of a bulldozer at the India Day Parade in Edison last month:

https://www.menendez.senate.gov/newsroom/press/menendez-booker-staff-meet-with-iamc-cair-nj-and-indian-american-groups-following-india-day-parade-incident

“This week, our offices met with leaders and members of New Jersey’s South Asian community who were angered and deeply hurt by the inclusion of a bulldozer in the India Day Parade in Edison last month. The bulldozer has come to be a symbol of intimidation against Muslims and other religious minorities in India, and its inclusion in this event was wrong. New Jersey is proudly home to some of the most diverse communities in the nation, including one of the largest South Asian communities, and all ethnic and religious groups have a right to live without intimidation or fear.”

Riaz Haq said...

Hindu nationalism in India ratchets up tensions among immigrants in the U.S.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-09-06/hindu-nationalism-grows-in-the-united-states

In a park in Anaheim last month, hundreds gathered to celebrate Indian Independence Day.

They bought Indian food from booths and settled on the grass to watch traditional song and dance performances. The holiday had special significance this year: Aug. 15 was the 75th anniversary of the end of British rule.

Then, about a dozen people, most of whom were Indian American, marched silently past the crowd, carrying signs that read “Abolish caste” and “Protect India’s Muslim lives.”

A few men from the independence celebration charged at the protesters, grabbing the signs, breaking them and throwing them into trash cans. Some shouted obscenities in Hindi-Urdu. They called the protesters “stupid Muslims” and yelled at them to “get out of here.”

Through a microphone, an announcer led a chant: “Bharat Mata ki jai” — “Victory for Mother India.”

“We are Indian,” Rita Kaur, a protester who is Sikh and was born and raised in Southern California, said later. “We are simply speaking for Indians who are harmed relentlessly.”

Indian Independence Day means vastly different things to different people in a country shaped by religious and ethnic conflicts, as well as caste discrimination.

For many of the majority Hindu religion, the day represents the end of colonialism and the birth of India as an independent nation that became the world’s largest democracy.

For many Muslims and other minorities, it represents the bloody partition of the former British colony into India and Pakistan and the persecution of non-Hindus and lower castes.

Since Narendra Modi became prime minister of India in 2014, his naked appeals to patriotism and his party’s frequent scapegoating of minorities, especially Muslims, have resonated with some who believe he has made the country stronger and safer. Meanwhile, religious minorities, especially Muslims, have faced mob attacks from Hindu vigilante groups.

Those conflicts have sometimes spilled over into Indian communities in the United States.

An Indian Independence Day parade last month in Edison, N.J., featured a bulldozer with a photo of Modi — a provocative symbol when local officials in India have used bulldozers to demolish the homes of Muslims. Parade organizers later apologized.

In Silicon Valley, discrimination against people from the Dalit caste surfaced in a lawsuit filed in 2020 by California officials on behalf of an engineer at Cisco Systems who alleged that higher-caste supervisors gave him lower pay and fewer opportunities. At Google this year, a talk about caste equity was canceled after some employees accused the speaker of being anti-Hindu.

“This poison of sectarian hatred has been getting more widespread,” said Rohit Chopra, a communications professor at Santa Clara University who has long been critical of Modi and his supporters for promoting Hindu nationalism. “That same pattern of increasing aggression and impunity seems to have replicated itself in the diaspora.”

Organizers of the Anaheim Independence Day celebration did not respond to requests for comment. In a statement to NBC Asian America, organizer Manoj Agrawal said the event was “not religion-biased” and included many Muslim vendors.

Agrawal said the protesters intended “to create trouble and then record something which can help them to showcase something.”

The Hindu American Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group, defended the Independence Day organizers. The protesters were seeking to “disrupt children performing on stage inside the event,” the group’s managing director, Samir Kalra, said in a statement.

Riaz Haq said...

Dr. Audrey Truschke
@AudreyTruschke
Nice write-up. Note the end bit where this hate monger is continuing to try to radicalize communities in New Jersey.

Ideas have consequences, and Hindutva preaches violence against minorities. It isn’t welcome in #NewJersey.
@StopAAPIHate

https://twitter.com/AudreyTruschke/status/1569458247769419777?s=20&t=OHtZAbUw4wl2vdnt22DxGA

------------

On 6 December 1992, the day the Babri Masjid was demolished by Hindutva mobs, Sadhvi Rithambara was there, sitting on the Ram Chabutra, a platform constructed slightly away from the masjid and the site from where proponents of the Ram Mandir would address the karsewaks.

https://www.thequint.com/news/world/who-is-sadhvi-rithambara-hindutva-leader-denied-approval-for-event-us-church#read-more

Authorities at the Old Paramus Reformed Church in Ridgewood, New Jersey, took the decision following protest calls against the event, reported local news website northjersey.com.

Reverend Robert Miller of the church had reportedly stated on Friday that he had revoked approval to use of the church building after hearing from both opponents and event organisers. Miller also said that the church was not aware of the speaker’s background when the reservation was made.

Miller mentioned that the church got a flood of messages opposing Rithambara's appearance, including more than 1,000 emails from across the USA since Thursday and at least 100 phone calls on Friday, a day before the event was scheduled to be held.

Advocacy groups Hindus For Human Rights and Indian American Muslim Council had participated in the protests against the event.


But who is Sadhvi Rithambara, and why did news that she would address an event in a New Jersey church lead to such large protests against the event and its eventual cancellation?

Known as Nisha in her early years, Ritambhara grew up in Doraha in Punjab's Ludhiana.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, she would rise among the Hindutva ranks and go on to play a crucial role in the movement demanding a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya at the site where the Babri Masjid stood at the time.

The Liberhan Commission, which was commissioned by the Government of India to probe the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, compiled a list of 68 people whom they stated were individually culpable for leading the country "to the brink of communal discord".

Sadhvi Rithambara was one of them.

Justice M S Liberhan had submitted his findings to the government in June 2009, after an inquiry spanning nearly 17 years.

However, in the case pertaining to the Babri Masjid demolition, Rithambara would eventually be acquitted by a special CBI court, but more on that in a bit. Let's first look at how Rithambara rose to prominence in the Hindutva ecosystem - and for that, we need to go back to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.

Ram Janmabhoomi Movement: When Rithambara’s Speeches Roared Through Loudspeakers
Rithambara role in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement cannot be understated. During those heady years of the growth of Hindutva, hardline speeches of Rithambara would be disseminated through pre-recorded audio cassettes which would then be played in public via loudspeakers.

Rithambara, then a member of the Central Margdarshak Mandal of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, was considered to be "the most aggressive" and tapes of her speeches were among those which received the most attention, wrote political scientist and author Christophe Jaffrelot in his book 'The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics (1925 to the 1990s)'.

Riaz Haq said...

On 6 December 1992, the day the Babri Masjid was demolished by Hindutva mobs, Sadhvi Rithambara was there, sitting on the Ram Chabutra, a platform constructed slightly away from the masjid and the site from where proponents of the Ram Mandir would address the karsewaks.

https://www.thequint.com/news/world/who-is-sadhvi-rithambara-hindutva-leader-denied-approval-for-event-us-church#read-more

In January 1991, India Today had reported that 25-year-old Rithambara had been charged by the Delhi Police for making provocative speeches. The report read, "Audio cassettes with her inflammatory rhetoric on the Ayodhya issue have already been banned by the Delhi Police. A criminal case was registered under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code."

Accused and Acquitted in the Babri Masjid Demolition Case
On 19 April 2017, the Supreme Court ordered day-to-day proceedings in the trial on the Babri Masjid demolition criminal case, and stated that it should be concluded within two years.

The apex court also restored criminal conspiracy charges filed against Rithambara, along with doing the same for LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Vinay Katiyar.

On 30 September 2020, Rithambara and all the other 31 accused in the case were acquitted by a special CBI court in Lucknow.

Rithambara's Anti-Christian Tirade in 1995
In February 1995, Sister Rani Maria, a Catholic nun working in Madhya Pradesh's Udainagar, was dragged out of a bus in broad daylight and stabbed to death. The Christian clergy took to the streets in protest. The police arrested the alleged killer, a local BJP-VHP activist.

Later the same year, Rithambara, then a 30-year-old convener of the Durga Vahini, the VHP's women's wing, visited Udainagar and launched an aggressive tirade against Christian missionaries, specifically Sister Rani Maria.


A day after her Udainagar speech, police arrested Ritambhara in Indore and charged her under Section 153 of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between different groups).

The Madhya Pradesh High Court released her after 11 days of incarceration. Following her release, Rithambara swore revenge against the government and said, "I shall make them pay for every single moment of my illegal detention."


‘India Will Soon Become a Hindu Rashtra’
Over the years, Rithambara has continued her propagation of Hindutva just as stridently.

Just in 2022, in a speech in Uttar Pradesh, Rithambara was reported to have urged every Hindu couple to produce four children and dedicate two of them to the nation, and quoted as saying that India will soon become a "Hindu Rashtra".

"Those who are trying to divide Hindu society through political terrorism will be razed to dust," she said.

Comments such as these, over a period spanning more than 30 years, were among the reasons cited by advocacy groups protesting against Rithambara's event in New Jersey.


Riaz Haq said...

Videos of hundreds of people taking to the streets in Britain's East Leicester were circulated on social media, which showed pro-Hindutva crowds raising "Jai Shri Ram" slogans and marching past Muslim localities on Sunday, 18 September.

https://www.thequint.com/news/world/series-of-nationalistic-and-religious-clashes-in-englands-east-leicester

The demonstration led to clashes in the area, reported BBC, with the police and the area's community leaders calling for peace.

A police spokesperson told the BBC that they were investigating "several incidents of violence damage" that were reported to the police, taking cognisance of a video being circulated, which shows a man "pulling down a flag outside a religious building" on Melton Road, Leicester.

In its latest statement issued on 18 September, the Leicester Police said that its officers attempted to engage with the crowds to maintain control.


The spate of violence is said to have begun after the India versus Pakistan cricket match held on 28 August, as a part of the 2022 Asia Cup tournament.

Home News World Tensions in Britain's Leicester After Pro-Hindutva Rallies in Muslim Localities

Tensions in Britain's Leicester After Pro-Hindutva Rallies in Muslim Localities
The police and community leaders called for peace after a series of clashes broke out across East Leicester.


Videos of hundreds of people taking to the streets in Britain's East Leicester were circulated on social media, which showed pro-Hindutva crowds raising "Jai Shri Ram" slogans and marching past Muslim localities on Sunday, 18 September.


The demonstration led to clashes in the area, reported BBC, with the police and the area's community leaders calling for peace.

A police spokesperson told the BBC that they were investigating "several incidents of violence damage" that were reported to the police, taking cognisance of a video being circulated, which shows a man "pulling down a flag outside a religious building" on Melton Road, Leicester.

In its latest statement issued on 18 September, the Leicester Police said that its officers attempted to engage with the crowds to maintain control.


The statement gave an update on the situation in East Leicester.


"Two arrests were made – one man on suspicion of conspiracy to commit violent disorder and one man on suspicion of possession of a bladed article. They remain in police custody," the statement reads.
The spate of violence is said to have begun after the India versus Pakistan cricket match held on 28 August, as a part of the 2022 Asia Cup tournament.

Riaz Haq said...

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: From Leicester to New Jersey, the diaspora is reflecting the divisions of Indian politics
A Vishwaguru wearing a robe of Hindutva cannot but export all the fault lines that come with it


https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/pratap-bhanu-mehta-leicester-new-jersey-diaspora-indian-politics-8164609/

It should not be a matter of surprise that so much of the playbook and fault lines of Indian politics are being reproduced among the Indian diaspora. Perhaps what people are surprised by is the fact that these fault lines are no longer at the level of just the coarsening of discourse or cultural fissures, but are taking overtly confrontational forms. In some ways, this is not surprising. Long-distance diasporic nationalisms have always been a feature of global politics. Culturally, these have often been more intractable than the politics in home countries for a variety of reasons. Diasporic nationalisms and identities are often more abstract, eschewing all complexity, and able to indulge in those abstractions because there is no skin in the game. They often do not have to face the consequences of the violence and dislocations of that identity-mongering. But in some ways, we may be entering a new phase of the ways in which these nationalisms play out. The recent clashes in Leicester in the United Kingdom, and the building polarisation in New Jersey are two recent instances of how diasporic politics, especially on the Hindu-Muslim axis, is taking a new and deeper turn.

That the cultural tensions of South Asia spill over or are even magnified abroad is not news. The proximate cause of the Leicester clashes was ostensibly tensions after an India-Pakistan match. This is ironic. I remember older veterans of what used to be called “race relations” in Britain telling us when we were students in the Eighties that there apparently used to be separate collection drives and mobilisation during the India-Pakistan wars but it never spilt over into conflict between the two communities. In the late Eighties, there was a lot of British Sikh anger against the Indian state, but it was seldom publicly, as far as anyone can remember, directed against other non-Sikhs. If anything, intra-Sikh jostling was far more pronounced over matters of doctrine and institutional control.

The decisive change came in the wake of two developments. The first was the violence in the aftermath of the demolition of the Babari Masjid in India. That moment in Indian politics saw widespread violence in Britain especially in Bradford, Sheffield, Leeds, with temples attacked and a petrol bomb thrown at a Mosque. Many of the current Hindu leaders of the diaspora came out of that moment. The second was the increasing focus on Islamic fundamentalism. The idea of using Britain as a launch pad for jihadi ideology was present in some groups. That in turn licensed full-blown Islamophobia amongst many non-Muslim communities. In this context, the Hindu-Muslim fault line became far more visible, and began to define the contours of diaspora politics more visibly. The clashes in Leicester are not unprecedented.

But there are three things that make this moment in diaspora fractures more distinctive both in the US and the UK. In the Eighties, after clashes broke out, there will still an attempt across communities to see their respective states, or mainstream politicians in those countries, as a relatively neutral arbiter; in fact, the whole point was not to draw politicians in the UK or US in accusations of partisanship in India’s communal conflicts. We are still awaiting a full, authoritative account of the events at Leicester. But in the discourse, at least, one is struck by the fact that the narrative of “Hindu victimhood” is even pointing fingers at the local state, as if it was somehow partisan in failing to protect Hindus.

Riaz Haq said...

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: From Leicester to New Jersey, the diaspora is reflecting the divisions of Indian politics
A Vishwaguru wearing a robe of Hindutva cannot but export all the fault lines that come with it


https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/pratap-bhanu-mehta-leicester-new-jersey-diaspora-indian-politics-8164609/

In the US, Hindu-Muslim politics is spilling into the inner core of the Democratic party. The Teaneck Democratic Municipal Committee may be a small entity. But it has called for investigation of “domestic branches of foreign hate groups,” especially those aligned with Hindu Nationalism. Hindu nationalists now openly loathe the so-called “Left Wing” of the Democratic Party. Some of these narratives may be self-serving. But increasingly, you will find diaspora politics accusing the politicians of their adopted country of communal bias, in a conflict that has little to do with them. Imagine the situation of New Jersey or Leicester politician who now has to be judged on whether they are, in an Indian context pro-Hindu or pro-Muslim, whether they take Hindu phobia or Islamaphobia more seriously. This is unchartered territory in many ways.

The second big change is the explicit involvement of the Indian state. The Indian state’s statement condemned “the violence perpetrated against the Indian community in Leicester and the vandalisation of premises and symbols of Hindu religion”. Notice no appeal to Hindus not to take out intimidating marches, or the acknowledgement that marches chanting Jai Shri Ram might be adding to the tension. While the statement begins with violence perpetrated against the Indian community (not clear who the “non-Indians” are who perpetrated it), the purpose of the statement was to subtly signal out the Indian state as a protector of Hindus. In short, the Indian state itself is now going to intervene in a partisan manner in these conflicts. It will not be a party of peace but of more polarisation. After all, a Vishwaguru wearing a robe of Hindutva cannot but export all the divisions that come with it.

We need to await verified and authoritative accounts of what happened in Leicester, and which groups were involved; there may also be Islamic organisations fishing in troubled waters created by Hindutva. The playbook seems familiar to anyone who knows Indian riots: The use of rumours, groups from outside the local community, and marches to create polarisation in otherwise peaceful communities.

The locals may have an investment in peace. But the third big change is that their global ideological patrons of conflict will have an investment in politically milking these incidents, in a context where all inhibitions on ethnic nationalism are gone. Now, we are not in the realm of long-distance nationalism, but in a global political market that is looking to construct narratives of victimhood that can be used in any global context. The surveys by Milan Vaishnav, Devesh Kapur and Sumitra Badrinathan, of Indian diasporas in the Anglophone world, paint a complex picture. But there is no doubt that cultural polarisation is growing. There is also no doubt that Hindutva is not about the defence of Hinduism or Hindu interests, but a global ideology of hate and asserting cultural dominance. It is bizarre to think you can have this much dissemination of hate without it having violent political consequences. Now that inhibitions have been broken, brace for more conflict.

Riaz Haq said...

Hindu nationalists now pose a global problem
The recent UK violence should serve as a wake-up call. Hindu nationalism is no longer a worry just in India.

By Somdeep Sen

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/9/26/violent-hindu-extremism-is-now-a-global-problem?sf170845431=1

India’s Hindu right wing has long advocated for its vision across the world. Overseas offshoots of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have helped in this, as have allied groups like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or World Hindu Council.

Now, recent events in Leicester in the United Kingdom suggest that their dream of propagating Hindutva, their political philosophy, is coming true in new ways – violently, on the streets of cities far from India.

On September 17, young Hindu men marched through the streets of Leicester, chanting “Jai Sri Ram” – now a Hindu nationalist war cry – and attacking Muslims. This is the muscular brand of Hindu pride and chauvinism that Hindu nationalists have always aspired to.

These tensions have been in the offing. In May, a Muslim teenager in Leicester had to be hospitalised after an unprovoked attack by a Hindu crowd. In August after India’s win against Pakistan in a cricket match, a Hindu group walked through the streets chanting “Death to Pakistan” before attacking a Sikh man. There were similar reports after a second cricket match between the two countries that India lost. In response, groups of Muslim men have also held protests – in one instance, a man pulled down a flag from outside a Hindu religious centre.

There is, of course, a long history of Hindu nationalist and Conservative Party collaboration in the UK. In the lead-up to the 2016 London mayoral elections, Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith sent anti-Muslim campaign literature to Hindus and Sikhs to bring down his Muslim opponent, Sadiq Khan, of the Labour Party. On the eve of the 2019 UK general elections, there were reports that Hindu nationalist groups in the country were actively campaigning for Conservative candidates, since Labour’s then-leader, Jeremy Corbyn, had criticised the Modi government’s 2019 crackdown in Indian-administered Kashmir. Many of these groups have direct links to the BJP and their actions represented attempts at influencing an overseas election.

However, this is not just a UK problem. The scourge of Hindu nationalism has gone global.

‘True friend in the White House’
Like in the UK, Hindu nationalists have actively campaigned for right-wing, Islamophobic candidates in the United States. This was apparent during the 2016 presidential elections when Hindu groups went all out in their efforts to mobilise Hindu Americans for Republican candidates.

In 2015 an Indian American lobby, the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC), was launched by Chicago-based businessman Shalabh Kumar, who has had close ties to Modi. Its members donated to former US President Donald Trump’s campaign and the RHC supported him as he ran for the presidency. At an event with the group ahead of the vote, Trump declared: “The Indian and Hindu community will have a true friend in the White House.” He also praised Modi, calling him a “great man,” and released a campaign video wooing Hindu Americans.

Riaz Haq said...

Ahead of the 2020 US presidential election, Modi acted almost as a campaigner for Trump, holding two joint rallies with the realtor-turned-politician – one in


Hindu nationalists now pose a global problem
The recent UK violence should serve as a wake-up call. Hindu nationalism is no longer a worry just in India.

By Somdeep Sen

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/9/26/violent-hindu-extremism-is-now-a-global-problem?sf170845431=1

Ahead of the 2020 US presidential election, Modi acted almost as a campaigner for Trump, holding two joint rallies with the realtor-turned-politician – one in Ahmedabad, India, and the other in Houston, Texas. In the latter event, Modi seemed to give tacit backing to Trump’s re-election campaign, even uttering the phrase “Ab ki baar, Trump sarkar (This time, it’s going to be a Trump government)”.

However, like in the UK, the Hindu right in the US has now moved from electoral influence to demonstrations of street might. In August this year, bulldozers adorned with posters of Modi and the BJP chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, appeared at an Indian Independence Day parade in Edison, New Jersey, apparently celebrating the disturbing trend of local governments demolishing the homes of Muslim activists in India. Following criticism, the organiser – the Indian Business Association – apologised for the incident.

Open threats
In Canada too, Hindu nationalists have been making waves. In December last year anti-Sikh slogans and the Hindu swastika appeared outside a Sikh school. Canadian academics have been harassed and faced death and rape threats from diaspora Hindutva supporters for criticising the Modi government in India.

In June, Ron Banerjee, a Canadian Hindu nationalist openly called for the genocide of Muslims and Sikhs. “It is awesome what Modi is doing,” Banerjee said, in an interview to a YouTube channel. “I support the killing of Muslims and Sikhs in the Republic of India because they deserve to die.”

Australia too is witnessing an uptick in hate crimes committed by Hindus against Muslims and Sikhs. One such attacker, Vishal Sood, was eventually arrested for a series of attacks on Sikhs, and was convicted and deported since his visa had expired. When he got back to India, he received a hero’s welcome.

Attempts have also been made by Indian authorities in Australia to silence critics of Modi and his Hindu nationalist policies. Thirteen academic fellows resigned from the Australia India Institute at the University of Melbourne citing interference from the Indian High Commission and attempts to censor research and writing that presented an “unflattering” image of India.


Why has Hindutva gone global?
Undoubtedly, the rise of Hindu nationalism globally has much to do with the rise of Modi.

Since becoming prime minister in 2014, he has overseen a highly controversial citizenship reform that discriminates against Muslim asylum seekers, scrapped the constitutionally guaranteed autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir and built a temple at the location of a historic mosque demolished by Hindu hardliners in 1992. All while going after opposition leaders, activists and critics.

Riaz Haq said...

Ahead of the 2020 US presidential election, Modi acted almost as a campaigner for Trump, holding two joint rallies with the realtor-turned-politician – one in


Hindu nationalists now pose a global problem
The recent UK violence should serve as a wake-up call. Hindu nationalism is no longer a worry just in India.

By Somdeep Sen

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/9/26/violent-hindu-extremism-is-now-a-global-problem?sf170845431=1



Modi’s success in delivering on Hindutva’s promises at home has inspired his supporters in the diaspora to exude a sense of chauvinistic pride abroad.

However, world leaders are guilty too, of legitimising Modi, giving this subsection of Hindu expatriates the conviction that their bigoted vision has some global cache. From Trump to former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and from former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, multiple right-wing politicians have presented themselves as “friends” of Modi.

Even those Western leaders who do not have a particularly pronounced right-wing agenda have been keen to establish and develop their economic and strategic ties with India while turning a blind eye to the Modi government’s dismal human rights record.

What is next?
Islamophobia now appears to be a matter of public and foreign policy for India. The Indian High Commission in the UK responded to the events in Leicester by specifically referring only to the worries of the Hindu community there.

However, Leicester should serve as a wake-up call: Hindu nationalism cannot be ignored any more as a domestic, Indian issue. The movement has gone international – and is taking an increasingly violent form in other countries too. It is now a threat to democratic principles, equality and human rights everywhere. India under Modi will not address it. The world must.

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In the UK, local Muslim groups and elected officials sought to ban her entry into the country. Sadhvi Rithambara was denied entry even to transit through London airport on her way back to India from the U.S. She was not allowed to board the London-bound flight at the Los Angeles airport, though her visit to U.K. destinations had been canceled and she was to board a connecting flight at the London airport. The next day, she went to New York and took a direct flight to India.

https://fbindependent.com/i-was-attacked-online-for-a-gig-p15599-89.htm

Muslim groups in the U.S. launched a campaign against the visit of a Hindu woman religious leader from India and called for the cancellation of her scheduled discourses. Sadhvi Rithambara was the target of protest by Indian American Muslim Council, Hindus for Human Rights, and other organizations.

Hindu groups and organizers hosted the event as scheduled in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New Jersey, Los Angeles.

In Atlanta, the meeting was held and Muslim groups protested outside the venue. In Houston, there was no protest. Authorities at the Old Paramus Reformed Church in Ridgewood, New Jersey, withdrew permission for the fundraising event following protest calls and the event was moved to a local Sheraton hotel.

In the UK, local Muslim groups and elected officials sought to ban her entry into the country. Sadhvi Rithambara was denied entry even to transit through London airport on her way back to India from the U.S. She was not allowed to board the London-bound flight at the Los Angeles airport, though her visit to U.K. destinations had been canceled and she was to board a connecting flight at the London airport. The next day, she went to New York and took a direct flight to India.

Here is an article by Rajiv Satyal, a well known American comedian, who was attacked for his appearance at Sadhvi Rithambara’s event as an emcee.

By RAJIV SATYAL

This past Saturday, 17 September 2022, I emceed a program for the Param Shakti Peeth of America Foundation, as one does. I got the opportunity through Anil Parekh, a man here in LA who’d been trying to book me at an event for years; we finally connected on this one.

I started doing some digging when I received this email on 12 September, five days before the event:

Dear Rajiv

“I’ve followed your comedy and am surprised and disappointed that you’ve chosen to perform at an event that has invited the highly polarising and bigoted figure of Sadhvi Rithambara from India. You have spoken up for diversity, multiculturalism and religious freedoms several times in your acts and that’s why your association with the Sadhvi is so problematic.

“As a public figure who values social justice and civil liberties and who believes in equality and freedom for all, I hope you are aware of the campaign against minorities and democratic values that is being waged in India by the very organizations that Sadhvi Rithambara represents.

“Some information for your consideration:

“Rithambara’s hateful speeches have been described as “the single most powerful instrument for whipping up anti-Muslim violence in various Indian states.

In 1992, during the run-up to the demolition of the historic Babri Mosque in India, her speeches calling for a Hindu war against Muslims were made into audio cassettes and sold across the country, played a major role in the destruction of the Babri Masjid. The riots that followed the mosque’s demolition saw 2,000 killed, mostly Muslims.

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India’s government is exporting its #Hindu nationalism. Example: #Leicester in #UK. #Modi paints India as a kind of Hindu Zion. #Islamophobia is rampant among bjp stalwarts. Authorities have bulldozed Muslim homes in #Delhi & #BJP ruled states. #Hindutva https://www.economist.com/asia/2022/09/29/indias-government-is-exporting-its-hindu-nationalism

The violence that erupted two weeks ago between Muslims and Hindus in the English city of Leicester, home to a large population of Britons with South Asian ancestry, appears at last to be dying down as police flood the streets. It began with brawls and quickly escalated into attacks on mosques and temples.

Events in faraway Leicester bear on Banyan’s Asian preoccupations, largely because of the reaction of the government of India. Its high commission in London condemned the “violence perpetrated against the Indian community in Leicester and vandalisation of premises and symbols of [the] Hindu religion”, but, pointedly, did not condemn Hindus’ violence against Muslims.

Admittedly, Pakistan decried a “systematic campaign” of violence and intimidation against Muslims. But then Pakistan, a state founded on putting Islam (and by extension communalism) at its core, would look after its own, wouldn’t it? The Indian state, by contrast, long sought to represent a secular ideal that rose above communal divisions.

That ideal also informed the internationalist, inclusionary rhetoric of India’s foreign policy. The notable omissions in the Indian High Commission’s statement are indicative of a break in policy since the rise to power in 2014 of Narendra Modi, the prime minister. He is cheerleader-in-chief for Hindutva, a strident form of Hindu nativism promoted by his Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp).

The Indian government’s response was notable in another respect. Most of Leicester’s South Asian Muslims have their ancestral roots not in Pakistan but, like its Hindus, within the borders of India itself. Mukul Kesavan, an Indian writer, writes that to identify only with its Hindus “is to withdraw...the ancestral claim to India from the Muslims of Leicester.”

This is all of a piece with the bjp’s majoritarian approach at home, where Hindus constitute four-fifths of the country’s 1.4bn people and Muslims about one-seventh. Islamophobia is rampant among bjp stalwarts (though Mr Modi usually carries a dog whistle). When Hindus and Muslims have clashed in Delhi or in bjp-ruled states, authorities have bulldozed Muslim homes in retribution. Mr Modi’s Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019 grants Indian citizenship to refugees from neighbouring countries—so long as they are not Muslim.

As Mr Kesavan argues, standing up for Hindus abroad bolsters Mr Modi’s standing among Hindus at home. Mr Modi has long understood this aspect of personal power. Before the pandemic he staged huge rallies for the Indian diaspora in America and Britain. On visits abroad he pointedly combines diplomacy with prayer. Mr Modi paints India as a kind of Hindu Zion.


In the American capital this week the foreign minister, S. Jaishankar, lambasted those supposedly spreading false views of India, such as the Washington Post. He defended the government’s suspension of the rule of law and the internet in majority-Muslim Kashmir as motivated only by pure intentions. The minister is representative of Hindutva at the heart of the foreign-policy establishment. A paper in International Affairs, an academic journal, by Kira Huju of Oxford University describes how Indian diplomats hewing to the secular, internationalist line have been squeezed out, silenced or marginalised in favour of hardline hacks. Not only that, diplomats abroad must now promote a Hindu-inflected alternative medicine known as Ayurveda, as well as take instruction in the promotion and practice of yoga.

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US academic conference on ‘Hindutva’ targeted by Hindu groups
‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ organisers and speakers face harassment and intimidation by Hindu right-wing groups in the US and India.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/7/us-academic-conference-dismantling-global-hindutva-hindu-right-wing-groups

For the first time in the United States, scholars and academics from various American and international universities have come together to organise a major online conference on Hindutva.

Cosponsored by departments and centres of more than 53 universities, most of them from the US, including Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton, the “Dismantling Global Hindutva” conference will discuss various issues relating to the Hindu supremacist ideology in India and elsewhere.

Hindutva refers to a century-old right-wing movement that aims to create an ethnic Hindu state out of a multicultural India, home to more than 200 million Muslims.

The three-day conference, starting on September 10, will host various panels on global Hindutva, caste oppression, Islamophobia, and the persecution of minorities in India, featuring more than 25 academicians, activists, and journalists as speakers.

Over the past three weeks, the organisers and speakers of the conference have been on a receiving end of harassment and intimidation by various Hindu right-wing groups and individuals staunchly opposing the conference, calling it a “Hinduphobic gathering”.

The organisers insist the conference only aims to discuss the global implications of Hindutva and develop resources for an anti-Hindutva pedagogy in the academy.


‘Textbook Hindutva approach’
Since the day Meena Kandasamy’s name was released by the conference organisers as one of the speakers, she has been incessantly harassed and abused online.

A poet and caste activist, Kandasamy told Al Jazeera that a poem she wrote 10 years ago was picked up by Hindu groups, alleging it was offensive and ridiculed Hindu gods.

Kandasamy received multiple emails warning her against participating in the conference. On Twitter and Instagram, the Hindu right targeted her family, her children and even issued death threats.

“This is the textbook Hindutva approach. They just indulge in character assassination, slandering my personal life, questioning the parentage of my children, asking if they were born to one father,” Kandasamy told Al Jazeera.

“The Hindutva groups both in the US and India are miffed at the huge academic support for the conference and they just want to silence us at any cost.”

On September 3, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, a far-right group whose members are accused of assassinating journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh in 2017, wrote a letter to India’s Home Minister Amit Shah, seeking action against the India-based speakers of the conference.

Delhi University professor Nandani Sundar, who is also one of the speakers at the conference, received hateful emails and was trolled on Twitter.

“This is what Hindutva groups have been doing in India – shutting down seminars by threatening the organisers, physical disruption etc. Now they are doing the same thing globally,” Sundar told Al Jazeera.

Riaz Haq said...

Tensions That Roiled English City Have Roots in #India. #LeicesterCity clashes reflect a spread of sometimes violent extremism across the broader Indian #diaspora driven by #Hindutva, the divisive political ideology supported by #Modi & #BJP. #Islamophobia https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/02/world/europe/leicester-violence-uk.html?smid=tw-share

Experts say it is only the latest example of how the toxic politics that are roiling India — and leading to the persecution of Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities — have migrated to other parts of the globe.

Across the Indian diaspora, ugly divisions are emerging. A bulldozer, which has become a symbol of oppression against India’s Muslim minority, was rolled down a street in a New Jersey town during a parade this summer, offending many people. Last year, attacks on Sikh men in Australia were linked to extremist nationalist ideology. In April, Canadian academics told CBC News that they faced death threats over their criticism of growing Hindu nationalism and violence against minorities in India.

Since India’s independence struggle, Hindu nationalists have espoused a vision that places Hindu culture and religious worship at the center of Indian identity. That view, once fringe, was made mainstream when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party came to power.


Human rights observers have since documented a sharp rise in violence against minorities in India, particularly targeting Muslims, but also Christians. Activists and journalists, including many Muslims, have been jailed or threatened with prosecution under an antiterrorism law that has received scrutiny from India’s highest court.


Mr. Modi has largely responded to this violence with silence, which experts say his most extreme supporters interpret as a tacit sign of approval. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a prominent Indian public intellectual, last month wrote that the Leicester episode followed a playbook “familiar for anyone who knows Indian riots: The use of rumors, groups from outside the local community, and marches to create polarization in otherwise peaceful communities.”

The tensions that spilled onto the streets last month have prompted soul searching among the different religious communities in Leicester, a city of about 368,000 in England’s Midlands. Leicester has one of Britain’s highest proportions of South Asians, a vast majority of them people of Indian heritage, who make up some 22.3 percent of the city’s overall population, according to the most recent government statistics.

Leicester is 13 percent Muslim and 12.3 percent Hindu, and most of the people from both religious groups are ethnically Indian.

After British rule ended with the partition of India in 1947, creating a separate state of Pakistan, subsequent legislation allowed citizens from across the Commonwealth to move to Britain. Another wave of South Asians arrived in the 1970s after Uganda’s dictator, Idi Amin, suddenly expelled thousands of people of mostly Indian origin from Uganda. By then, Leicester had gained a reputation as a city that was generally welcoming to immigrants.

“Leicester has always been proud of the fact that we have new people coming from all parts of the world,” said Rita Patel, a local councilor and member of a South Asian women’s collective working toward peacebuilding.


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The social media company should now focus its attention on user behaviour within three countries in particular, according to a new study, which found the US, the UK, and India contributed a staggering 86 percent of anti-Muslim content on Twitter during a three-year period.

https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/twitter-hate-86-percent-of-anti-muslim-content-comes-from-us-uk-india-60801

https://apo.org.au/sites/default/files/resource-files/2022-08/apo-nid318935.pdf


The study by the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) – the apex Muslim body in the Australian state of Victoria which represents an estimated 270,000 community members– found nearly four million anti-Muslim posts made during a 24-month period between 2017 and 2019.

The ICV also flagged a vicious cycle of hatred manifesting in both online and offline attacks on the community globally. Indian users alone generated more than half of these hateful and hurtful posts.

Among India-based Twitter users, researchers blame India’s ruling party – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – for the dissemination and amplification of anti-Muslim hate, saying, “(the) BJP has actively normalised hatred towards Muslims such that 55.12 percent of anti-Muslim hatred tweets now originate in India.”

ICV also pointed to discriminatory laws that deny Muslims citizenship and other civil rights for the rise of anti-Muslim hatred online among Indian Twitter accounts.

In the United States, the proliferation of anti-Muslim hate on Twitter is almost inseparable from the hateful rhetoric and policies of former president Donald Trump, who ranks as the third most frequently mentioned user in anti-Muslim posts, according to the researchers, with many tweets associated with defending his Muslim immigration ban and anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, including those that posit Democrats as collaborating with “Islamists” to take over the West.

As for the United Kingdom, researchers attributed the prevalence of anti-Muslim tweets to a multitude of factors, including the global reach of Trump’s anti-Muslim animus, anti-immigration sentiments sparked by the refugee crisis, and the discourse surrounding Brexit, along with the casual racism of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who once compared niqab-wearing Muslim women to “letter boxes”.

By analysing the anti-Muslim content produced by the three countries, researchers were able to identify several key themes, including the association of Islam with terrorism, the depiction of Muslims as perpetrators of sexual violence, the fear that Muslims wish to impose Sharia on others, the conspiracy that alleges Muslim immigrants are replacing white in the West and Hindus in India, and the characterisation of halal as an inhumane practice that typifies the so-called “barbarity” of Islam.

“Even more concerning, however, is our discovery that only a mere 14.83 percent of anti-Muslim tweets end up being removed,” said the researchers, which is continuing to drive an upward surge in hate crimes against Muslim minority communities, and, in turn, even more, anti-Muslim hate speech online.

The 2019 Christchurch Mosque attack is illustrative of this vicious cycle.

The gunman was radicalised by anti-Muslim online content, and in the week after he murdered 52 Muslim worshippers, incidents of anti-Muslim abuse spiked upwards by a staggering 1300 percent in New Zealand and 600 percent in the UK, which triggered or inspired a wave of anti-Muslim violence in England and Scotland, including an attack on a mosque in Stanwell, and stabbing of a Muslim teenager in Surrey.

A recent report documented over 800 attacks against mosques by right-wing extremists in Germany since 2014.

The past month has seen attacks carried out by right-wing Indian Hindu migrants against Muslim communities in Anaheim in the US and Leicester in the UK.

These attacks not only inflict a major psychological impact on Muslims but also on the broader community. It’s unconscionable that Twitter has done little or nothing to remove the overwhelming majority of anti-Muslim content on its platform.

Riaz Haq said...

India claims ‘vandalism’ of Toronto park sign is hate crime but police deny any such incident

https://scroll.in/latest/1034162/india-says-vandalism-of-bhagavad-gita-park-sign-in-canada-is-a-hate-crime

India on Sunday claimed that the sign of Shri Bhagavad Gita Park in Toronto had been vandalised and this constituted a hate crime, even though the local police denied any damage to the property.

“We condemn the hate crime at the Shri Bhagavad Gita Park in Brampton,” the High Commission of India in Ottawa wrote on Twitter. “We urge Canadian authorities and Peel Police to investigate and take prompt action on the perpetrators.”

“Permanent sign is still waiting for the lettering to be applied and it was a temporary park sign used in the park naming ceremony,” they said, “There was no evidence of vandalism to permanent sign or any park structure.”

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, who had initially confirmed vandalism, on Monday endorsed a report by the city’s Parks Department. It stated that the builder placed a blank sign as a placeholder until the Shri Bhagavad Gita Park board was installed.

The garden was previously called Troyers Park. It was renamed Shri Bhagavad Gita Park on September 28.

Brown, during the park’s inauguration, had said that the renaming commemorated the contributions of Hindus to Brampton.