Public Response to G-7 Open Societies Statement

Original statement here.

On 12 June 2021, the second day of the G-7 Summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was invited by the G-7 as a ‘lead speaker' for the session titled ‘Building Back Together—Open Societies and Economies’.  In the session, the G-7 along with 4 guest countries - Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa signed the 2021 Open Societies Joint Statement... However, we have one problem - the blatant hypocrisy of the G-7 in asking Narendra Modi to be the Lead speaker despite the abhorrent track record of Mr. Modi’s government in reducing the democratic, human rights, and rule of law standards in India; And the ‘openness’ with which Mr. Modi and his political allies - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Sanatan Sanstha, Hindu Jan Jagruti, Bajrang Dal - are breaking communal harmony and inclusion in our Indian society.  

With this open letter we would like to thank G7 leaders for their ‘thought leadership’ and provide a reality check of every point G7 and Mr. Modi has endorsed, with the hope that there will be some actual action on the agendas set forth. 

...

The Indian Government under PM Modi does not respect India’s own founding values of unity in diversity or the inclusive way of life.   

Whereas, the fundamental freedoms empower people and inspire the innovation and ingenuity needed to maximise opportunities, tackle shared challenges and drive progress for the world, in PM Modi’s India Fundamental Freedoms are at a risk.  

Whereas, openness encourages collaboration that delivers better outcomes towards better quality of life for our people, with a commitment towards ‘no one left behind’. PM Modi’s India has shut itself down for Kashmiris, minorities, Muslims, women and children.   

India under PM Modi is at a critical juncture, facing threats to freedom and democracy from rising authoritarianism, electoral interference, corruption, economic coercion, manipulation of information, including disinformation, online harms and cyber-attacks, politically motivated internet shutdowns, human rights violations and abuses, terrorism and violent extremism.  

As people of Indian origin proud of our diversity, cultural history, and epistemology we call upon global leaders to walk the talk and strengthen open societies by protecting civic space and media freedom, promoting freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, and freedom of religion or belief, and by tackling all forms of discrimination, including racism and casteism.    

India under Mr. Modi is facing threats to its social fabric from persistent inequalities and discrimination, including Islamophobia, casteism, racism and resistance to gender equality. In the midst of these threats Indians are gasping for Oxygen. And while India has always boasted its proud democratic legacy from the Viharas of Taxila to becoming the largest democracy in the modern world we cannot be complacent. The threat of PM Modi’s party - BJP and its Hindutva Project must be addressed. 

We mirror the sentiment expressed by one of our female leaders (Mahua Moitra) in the Indian Parliament – the emperor is naked and the global leaders who are truly committed to Human Rights and Right to life with dignity for all, should not invite a ‘naked emperor’ to be a ‘Lead speaker’ in an event which is supposed to impact global future.  

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