Skip to main content

A month ahead of his UK visit, British groups ask Modi: Why have you failed to condemn gender violence?

By Our Representative
One month ahead of his maiden visit to England, South Asian, black and minority ethnic women’s groups and feminists in scathing a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi have said that he has failed to “condemn the rapists or launch an investigation into the Hindutva organisations which support them”, and his own pronouncements on violence against women have been “remarkably few”.
The letter, written by 34 UK-based scholars and activists, says that his government has “done nothing to change the laws which directly contribute to gender violence, despite popular campaigns”. The letter adds, the laws in question “include the notorious Armed forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) under which the police and armed forces personnel continue to perpetrate the most horrific sexual violence (effectively with impunity) in Kashmir and the North East.”
The letter wonders if the AFSPA and other laws – including the one which “permits marital rape”, and “the homophobic section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises LGBT people” – have not been changed because the “RSS and its affiliated organisations would not approve of them”.
Telling him that they express their “deep disquiet” over his government’s “approach” to gender violence, the signatories say, “You have also maintained a remarkable tolerance of the so-called ’moral policing’ of couples which has frequently led to attacks, in some cases murderous, on couples who cross religious and caste boundaries, by the RSS’s sister organisations in Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra, and most recently by the police in Mumbai.”
Modi, who will be in UK in November, is planning a major reception for him at the iconic Wembley Stadium in London. Over 70,000 people are expected to turn out at the invitation-only event being organised by the Europe India Forum (EIF) at one of Europe's largest football stadiums on November 13.
Pointing out that his “actions (and inaction)” suggest that his “government is not only indifferent to the increasing violence against women and rigid patriarchal control of their lives but often endorses and reinforces it”, the letter seeks clarification from Modi whether he endorses RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s view “women should be housewives” or that rape “happens only to westernised women”.
Asking Modi to “condemn” the Hindutva ideology “which asserts that Hindu men must prove their masculinity by raping non-Hindu women, who are seen as ‘symbols’ of the ‘enemy culture’”, as asserted by “VD Savarkar, who said that rape by Hindu men as an act of nationalism in his book, 'The Six Golden Epochs of Indian History', p.71”.
“The public condemnation of this aspect of RSS ideology by you is, we feel, particularly important, because it was under your watch as Chief Minister of Gujarat, that this was put into practice in 2002, with countless Muslim women raped, mutilated and murdered”, the letter says.
“Equally worrying”, the letter says, “is the fact that your own cabinet includes a number of ministers against whom criminal cases, including rape, are pending in various courts of the country – they include Sanjeev Baliyan a rape-accused from UP.” Asking Modi to Baliyan “should be dismissed from his post”, the letter says, “Your reaction to the brutal rape and murder of two young oppressed caste women in Badaun was that ’honouring women and protecting them should be the top-most priority of the government’.”
“We find this disturbing since concepts of ’honour’ and ’protection’ are routinely used to justify violence against women. Also, following this horrifying event you did not condemn a culture where such rapes and murders of oppressed caste people are commonplace”, the letter comments.
Those who have signed the letter include activists Zlakha Ahmed, Director, Apna Haq, Rotherham; Ila Patel, Director, Asha Projects, London; Shaminder Ubhi, Director, Ashiana Network, London; Sarbjit Ganger, Director, Asian Women’s Resource Centre, London; Mwenya Chimba , Director, Black Association of Women Step Out, Cardiff, and others.
Among academics who have signed the letter include Prof Shirin Rai, University of Warwick, University of Bedfordshire; Dr Camilla Bassi, Sheffield Hallam University; Prof Gargi Bhattacharyya, University of East London; Dr Rubina Jasani, University of Manchester; Dr Nisha Kapoor, University of York; Dr Sneha Krishnan, University of Oxford; Dr Sumi Madhok, Dr Kalpana Wilson, and Dr Marsha Henry, London School of Economics, among others.

Comments

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Hyderabad-based Urdu university "bars" entry of its new chancellor, who had "initiated" reforms in institute

Counterview Desk
In an unusual controversy, Aslam Parvaiz, vice-chancellor of of the Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) has restricted the entry of its newly appointed Chancellor, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, allegedly because he was trying to initiate reforms, including setting up of a Maulana Azad Center for Composite Culture and Progressive Studies, Model Madrasa, Center for Empowerment of Muslim Women, Course for the Development of Legal Vocabulary and Legal Consciousness in Urdu, and so on.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”