The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella coalition of progressive organizations across the United States and various coalition partners held protests in three cities across the US, to express their outrage over the growing mob rule against minorities in India and the policies of the government that are emboldening such forces. Protests were held in Washington DC, San Diego and San Jose on July 16. A fourth protest in New York city is scheduled on July 23, 2017.
These protests are similar to the ’Not in My Name’ protests that have been held across various cities in India. Besides the AJA coalition, the protests in San Jose were jointly organized with the ’Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice’. The South Asia Solidarity Initiative (SASI), will be part of the protests in New York City on July 23.
The statement from the AJA said, “The last few years has seen brutal killings of mostly Muslims and Dalits in the name of cow protection, over a dozen of them only since September last year. These killings have been orchestrated by Hindu supremacist groups ideologically aligned with the BJP-led federal government and drawing inspiration from the beef ban imposed by the governments in various states.”
It said further, “The increasing hostility towards minorities displayed by even central ministers in the form of incendiary rhetoric has only added fuel to the fire. Since 2010, 97% of beef related violence has taken place after the BJP-led Hindu nationalist government came to power. Since 2015, an increasing number of Muslims have been lynched, hanged or brutalized in the most cruel manner on mere suspicion of possessing or cooking beef.”
Protesters carried signs, such as “India – Hostage to Hindutva?” and “Beef Ban is Cultural Fascism”. They came from various communities in the diaspora and were united in their condemnation of the killings and the beef ban.
“The reign of terror unleashed by Hindu supremacist cow ’vigilantes’ is clearly targeted at browbeating the nation’s religious minorities into the status of second class citizens,” said Mr Suhail Syed, one of the organizers of the protests in Washington, DC.
“How can the Indian government respond so casually to the mob lynchings of Muslims and Dalits?,” asked San Uddin, one of the organizers of the protests in New York. “That shows the killings are not spontaneous but executed with a tacit approval of Hindu supremacists that are an integral part of the ruling party,” added Ms. Sana.
In a recent statement, Amnesty International India expressed deep worry over the “pattern of hate crimes committed against Muslims with seeming impunity – many of them in states where the Bharatiya Janata Party is in power.”
In April 2017, a mob beat a 55-year-old Muslim man, Pehlu Khan, to death in Rajasthan after accusing him of transporting cows for slaughter. In a recent killing that shook India, 15-year-old Hafiz Junaid was stabbed to death on board a train in northern India as he headed home from Eid shopping. While such killings have drawn international condemnation, the suffering of millions who have lost their source of livelihood as a result of the beef ban has not received adequate attention. In a bizarre and shocking expose of the Sangh Parivar’s hypocrisy, the BJP and RSS joined hands to sell beef in Kerala, the very act for which they are enabling the lynching of Muslims.
The Alliance for Justice and Accountability has pledged to work with people of all faiths to defend India from the onslaught of hate and divisiveness.