THE WORLD IS WATCHING INDIA
Acting American Ambassador’s meeting with RSS chief draws widespread criticism in the US
Even as Atul Keshap tweeted about his “good discussion” with Mohan Bhagwat on “India’s tradition of diversity, democracy, inclusivity and pluralism”, he came under fire from diaspora groups who saw the visit as a “dangerous move” that “legitimized” a “fascist” and even “terrorist” organization. At a Congressional briefing Human Rights Watch termed the meet “highly troubling” and one which “sent a terrible message”.
Politically motivated charges of Tax Evasion and Financial Irregularities condemned
Laying bare the motives behind the raids targeting activist Harsh Mander, actor Sonu Sood and media portals Newslaudry and Newsclick, Civicus, the global civil society alliance, drew attention to the Indian government’s tactics to “intimidate and criminalize”. Human rights Watch located the raids as part of the “escalating crackdown” on freedom of expression.
International Council of Jurists expresses concern about Arbitrary Detention under UAPA
The ICJ noted that at least 27 human rights defenders in India, detained under UAPA, are being held in arduous conditions in custody with “several over 60 years of age…in over crowded prisons, denied health care and facing disrupted family communication”. ICJ was responding to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, who in its 2020 report found that human rights defenders across the world being arbitrarily detained represented “an alarming targeting” of dissenting voices.
PM Modi’s visit to the US marked by protests
Despite election campaign promises to place human rights at the centre of foreign policy, Biden did not publicly address violations by the Modi government, noted sections of the global media. Although Vice President Kamla Harris “gently pressed” Modi on human rights when she spoke of the “imperative” to “defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries”, it was civil society that sent out a clear message. Protestors outside the White House gave a call to “Save India from fascism” and declared that “India under Modi’s rule has become the world’s largest authoritarian State.” While Modi addressed the UN, protestors including Christian, Islamic and Jewish religious leaders, likened him to Netanyahu, Nero, Mussolini and Hitler.
“Dismantling Global Hindutva” conference threatens Hindu Nationalists the world over
Sponsored by 70+ centers and departments of 50+ American Universities, including several Ivy Leagues, the conference aimed to develop a comprehensive understanding of Hindutva including formations in the Diaspora and potential for links with other supremacist ideologies. As reported by international media, Hindu Nationalists accused the Conference of equating Hindutva with Hinduism; sent hate mail, death threats and threats of sexual violence to conference organizers, panelists and their families, leading several speakers of Indian origin to withdraw. More than a million emails were sent to Universities asking them to take back their sponsorship. None did. Rather, global support from individual academics, academic associations and global civil society groups grew exponentially. The conference received 30,000 views on You tube and 4.7 million impressions on Twitter.