Reverend Lisa Hunt, Rector at the St. Stevens Episcopal Church, said in Modi’s India, minorities and Dalits are experiencing lynching and hate crimes. In the name of creating a Hindu country, despite the separation of religion and state in the Indian constitution, Modi and BJP are creating an atmosphere of hostility for religious minorities, leading to ethnic cleansing. She further stated that if Christians here ignore something like this in another country, they encourage something like this taking root in USA as well.
Syed Ali, of the Indian American of Muslim Council, (IAMC), pointed out that there are a lot of separatists groups, including Khalistanis who have joined the protests, AJA does not endorse them. “We support the Kashmiris, the minorities and Dalits. This is a free country where everyone is allowed to protest, but AJA has a larger agenda of countering Hindutva.”
Wasim Dhar, a Kashmiri Muslim, bemoaned the ongoing repression in Kashmir that has led to 90,000 Kashmiris killed, 8,000 women raped and about 10,000 buried in mass graves. Leading activists to participate in AJA’s protest will include: Sarah Philips, Director of Operations at the Asian Desi Pacific Islander American Collective; Prof. Samina Salim of University of Houston; Pawan Singh (OFMI); Rev. Lisa Hunt, Rector at the St. Stevens Episcopal Church; Zach Chatterjee Shlachter (JVP); Daniel Cohen, Professional Communicator with a Deep Love for Advocacy; and Cesar Octavio Executive Director, For Families and Their Education (FIEL).
The AJA protests will also highlight the Indian Government’s brutal crackdown in Jammu and Kashmir where thousands of Kashmiri Muslims, including minor children, have been incarcerated; hundreds are being tortured by the police and Indian soldiers; and a communication blackout imposed with internet and cellphone networks suspended. Mr. Modi’s government has also declared 1.9 million Indian citizens in Assam as non-citizens after a dubious and corruption-ridden bureaucratic exercise to prepare a National Register of Citizens.
“In a chilling reminder of the Holocaust, Mr. Modi is building detention centers in Assam to house such “non-citizens”. It is wholly unclear what will be done with these 1.9 million people, and they may well be staring at years of detention with mass torture,” the AJA said.In a separate move, Mr. Modi’s government has announced intentions to pass legislation that would allow non-Muslim foreigners to be given citizenship in India. “This is a recipe for disaster and a threat to India’s integrity,” the AJA said.
The AJA has pledged to continue the struggle against fascism and extremism disguised as nationalism, and to continue the pursuit of justice and accountability for the crimes committed against the people of India.