Skip to main content

London School of Economics meet alleges "fascistic project" is at work to target minority women in India

By Our Representative
A recent meeting at the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE) is learnt to have reached the conclusion that India, facing general elections, is “on the brink of a dangerous crossroads”, because, it felt, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, as representative of the “rightwing BJP” and allegedly “implicated” in the “massacres of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002”, has fair chances of winning.” The meeting was organised by UK’s Freedom without Fear Platform in collaboration with the LSE Gender Institute and South Asia Solidarity Group.
Seeking to analyse what this might mean to women, the meeting saw speakers suggest that the “picture which emerged was a deeply disturbing one, revealing a fascistic project which targets minority women for appalling violence while intensifying surveillance and control over all women.” It also means targeting “students and other young people for ‘moral policing’ while at the same time invoking the protection of Hindu women to justify violence against religious minorities and Dalits.”
Chaired by Kalpana Wilson, the meeting believed that “the attacks on minority women are not a side effect but central to the project of the Hindu right.” In Gujarat, Wilson pointed out, “human rights organisations clearly established that the massacres of Muslims in 2002 in which some 2000 people were killed, countless women raped and 20,000 displaced, were state-sponsored.” She added, “A leaked report by the British High Commission in India had noted at the time that the violence had 'all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing'.”
Quoting from the report, Wilson said, “far from being spontaneous the massacre was 'planned, possibly months in advance, carried out by an extremist Hindu organisation with the support of the state government.'... and also 'that reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims is impossible while the chief minister [Narendra Modi] remains in power’.”
Among the participants was Nishrin Jafri Hussain, whose father, MP Ahsan Jafri, was tortured and killed in the Gujarat violence, and whose mother Zakia has filed a petition against Narendra Modi accusing him of complicity in the riots. The internet journal Open Democracy (OD) of UK quoted her as telling the meeting that “she spoke about that period and about the unimaginable brutality perpetrated on the bodies of Muslim women.”
“Showing a series of photographs of those who had been murdered, with many gaps for those of whom no photos exist, she told the meeting about these women and their lives - those who had hoped to become doctors, those full of zest for life, young girls and older women, daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers who had been raped, mutilated and murdered - their bodies dumped in village wells and then taken in lorry loads for mass cremations. She spoke of women whose children had been killed before their eyes”, OD said.
Nishrin was quoted as saying that in the Gulbarg Society in Ahmedabad, where she grew up, every Muslim house had been burnt down in the 2002 massacres and every family had lost loved ones -- deep scars of these losses remain. Nothing has been done for those whose lives were destroyed. “She spoke about her father, an enormously popular MP, an intellectual and trade unionist, who had been against the ghettoisation of Muslims and was committed to living in a mixed Hindu and Muslim area”, OD said.
Anthropologist and human rights specialist Angana Chatterji spoke about her work in Odisha in the context of massacres of Christians, more generally about attacks on women during communal violence in India as a whole. She said, “Sexualised violence has been deployed on the women of ‘the other’ as vindication, and marked subaltern women's bodies in wars of direct and indirect conquest.” She told the meeting that “the most intensely conservative patriarchal ideologies are invoked in the context of this violence.”
Meena Kandasamy, a feminist Tamil novelist and poet who is herself a Dalit told the meeting that in Tamil Nadu, where the BJP is making inroads, fanatical Hindu upper caste groups are now using the same notions to justify violence against couples where the man is a Dalit and the woman a higher caste Hindu. “With the growing influence of the BJP in Tamil Nadu has come the rise of 'moral policing' too”, she said. “At the Vellore Institute of Technology, for example, students have been told that 'any physical contact except handshakes' will be punishable because it is 'against our Indian culture and value system'.”
The meeting criticized the British government's approach to Modi. “While in the wake of the 2002 genocide and the clear evidence and documentation of Modi’s role in coordinating and sponsoring it, the UK, EU and US were compelled to distance themselves from Modi. However, over the last two years the British government has been rehabilitating him. At a meeting with Modi in October 2012, the Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire, commented that this was in 'the UK's national interests', meaning the interests of British business ( including arms dealers) in the vast Indian market.”

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.

Election Commission suffering from worst-ever "credibility crisis": Ex-bureaucrats

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, a group of ex-bureaucrats have lamented ‘weak-kneed’ responses of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Citing various violations of the model code of conduct, and pointing towards how ECI has taken little action, the letter asks the President to tell ECI to “conduct itself in a manner where its independence, fairness, impartiality and efficiency are not questioned.”