Press Releases

Indian Americans welcome release of Muslim doctor in India, demand freedom for other prisoners of conscience

Indian Americans denounces the Indian government for filing false cases against Muslims, rights activists as vendetta


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


September 4, 2020


The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group committed to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today welcomed the release from prison of Dr. Kafeel Khan, a whistleblower Indian Muslim doctor who has been repeatedly imprisoned by the government in Uttar Pradesh state on false criminal charges. IAMC also welcomes the release of Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita and former AMU student leaders Sharjeel Usmani and Farhan Zuberi.


IAMC lauded the High Court in Uttar Pradesh, which ordered his release this week, for rejecting the government’s claim that the 39-year-old pediatrician had tried to “increase hatred, enmity and disharmony towards Hindus” in a speech last December. The government had booked Dr. Khan under the draconian National Security Act.

That the High Court unequivocally ruled that Dr. Khan “did not promote hatred or violence” but, in fact, gave a call for “unity among citizens” in his speech exposed that the state government’s true intent behind incarcerating Dr. Khan is to persecute India’s Muslims for protesting India’s new anti-Muslim citizenship law said IAMC.


“In his speech from December that caused his arrest, Dr. Kafeel Khan had blamed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for its economic failures and rising unemployment, and criticized it for bringing the citizenship law with the sole aim of rendering millions of Muslims illegal migrants in their country of birth,” said Ahsan Khan, President of the Indian American Muslim Council. “As the high court said, he broke no law but actually performed his duty as a law-abiding citizen in a democracy, but was punished nonetheless,” added Mr. Khan.


It is appalling that the Uttar Pradesh government has repeatedly filed false criminal cases against Dr. Khan over the last three years. He was jailed for seven months in 2017 on the false accusation that his negligence had caused the death of 70 minor patients at a government hospital when several investigations revealed that Dr. Khan had, in fact, worked day and night to save hundreds of children from certain death by arranging oxygen for them with his own money.

“The Uttar Pradesh government, which is also run by Mr. Modi’s political party, the BJP, has viciously attacked, killed and imprisoned hundreds of Muslims over the last seven months in a bid to terrorize India’s largest religious minority and to browbeat it into submission to the new citizenship law,” said Syed Ali Vice President of IAMC.


The Indian Government must immediately set free hundreds of other Muslim activists and human rights defenders such as Ishrat Jahan, Natasha Narwal, Meeran Haider, Sharjeel Imam, Khalid Saifi, Akhil Gogoi, Dhairjya Konwar, Bittu Sonowal, Manash Konwar, who were arrested during the anti-CAA protests. IAMC has also demanded the release of former Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, poet-activist Varavara Rao, Ex-DU professor GN Saibaba, social activists and intellectuals Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha, who were arrested in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case.


“Mr. Modi’s government is adamant at sabotaging the right to protest and the freedom of expression, which have long been the cornerstone of the Indian democracy,” Mr. Ahsan Khan of IAMC said. “As Dr. Khan said in his December speech, no matter how severe the repression, India’s Muslims will not flinch in fighting such persecution and will eventually defeat the repression.”


IAMC is dedicated to promoting the common values of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for human rights that form the basis of the world’s two largest secular democracies – the United States and India.

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US Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal resolves to stand with minorities in India at Independence Day event



Event organized by Indian Muslims in US draws prominent activists from India and US as well as diaspora members from around the world

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
August 15, 2020
 
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, marked India’s 74th Independence Day on Saturday, August 15, 2020, with an online celebration featuring Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), as the keynote speaker and prominent human rights activists from India and the US.
 
The online event titled, “Solidarity in Times of COVID-19,” intended to celebrate India’s Independence Day was marked with high energy and rousing speeches punctuated with resolutions and pledges to uphold India’s pluralistic democracy. A virtual flag hoisting ceremony was held at the start of the online event. Besides US Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, guest speakers included Mr. Harsh Mandar (noted human rights activist), Mr. Anil Wagde (Ambedkar International Center), Mr. Raju Rajagopal (Hindus for Human Rights), Ms Sujatha Ramni (Coalition of Seattle Indian-Americans), Ms. Ladeeda Farzana and  Ms. Ayesha Renna (Jamia Millia Islamia), and Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC.  Emceed by IAMC Youth leader, Ms. Aminah Ahmed, the event drew attendees from around the world.
 
IAMC also marked the occasion of India’s Independence Day with an essay and video contest on topics relating to pluralism, democracy and religious freedom in India. Winners of respective contests can be found here
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the first South Asian American woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives called for India’s Independence Day to be “a time to reaffirm the democratic, pluralistic principles on which our countries were founded.” Bemoaning that “hate crimes are threatening Muslims in India”, she took pride in “speaking out for the rights of minorities in India” since she took office.
 
“I also spoke out against Prime Minister Modi’s Citizenship Law that excludes Muslim migrants from a new pathway to citizenship, an unprecedented break from India’s secular constitution,” Rep. Jayapal said. “Taken together with the National Register of Citizens, I fear that this citizenship law could be used to prevent Muslim migrants from becoming citizens and voting,” she added. Her keynote address was noteworthy for many reasons, including her words of inspiration and resolve. “If there is anything I have found as an immigrant, advocate and woman of color, it is that nothing is stronger than committed and passionate people working together to do good and deliver justice….I will not stop fighting for justice for Muslims here and in India and I know you won’t either.”
Mr. Harsh Mander, a noted Indian human rights activist, delivered a passionate speech on the ideals of Gandhi and the principles of non-violence that marked India’s freedom struggle. Mr. Mander urged that the “idea of India that was promised in the leadership of Gandhi belongs equally to people of every faith and emphasized that India was envisioned as a country where no one would be discriminated against, regardless of their caste, religion, gender, wealth or language.” 
 
In response to mob lynchings around the country, Mr. Mander headed an initiative called “Karwan-e-Mohabbat”or “Caravan of Love,” that included visits to families of those who were lynched. “I said we would go to every home where anyone has been lynched in this country, like we would go to our loved ones and say, ‘we want you to know you are not alone. There are many people who care and stand with you in this moment of your pain. We seek forgiveness for  what we have become as a country. We will stand with you in your battle of your justice and tell your stories.’” Mr. Mander said.
 
Ms. Sujatha Ramni, coordinator of the Coalition of Seattle Indian-Americans, emphasized that “American and Indian societies are each other’s analogues. While democracies are set in constitutions, we are very much a work in progress. Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are goals we still have to achieve.  It is a promise that we must dedicate and commit ourselves to do every day.”
 
Mr. Anil Wagde, representing Ambedkar International Center, spoke of struggles of Dalits and minorities, and remarked, “the government has indeed left things “Ram Bharose” (in the hands of Ram). We need a government that is responsive to people’s needs and aspirations and not one that manages the headlines. We need a government that is interested in hospitals and not temples.”
 
Two dynamic women activists who became iconic faces of the CAA/NRC protests, Ms. Ladeeda Farzana and Ms.Aysha Renna, also spoke passionately at this event.
 
Ms. Ladeeda Farzana said, “As a student I believe that, as much as we celebrate independence, the idea of freedom must always be appraised critically. If we can’t critique an idea that we celebrate then we can’t evolve into a better democracy. If we cannot critique, we will find ourselves shrinking into existence, there is no growth there. That is the problem we face today; we don’t have the right to dissent anymore. Any semblance of dissent or critique instantly makes one an anti-national or a traitor.”
 
Ms. Aysha Renna said, “August 15 is a special day for all of us. As Indians, we have loved it ever since as a child, flag hoisting, rallies, sweets. Growing up, I realized how fearlessly our forefathers fought for the freedom that we are enjoying.” Mr. Renna however bemoaned the fact that the “country today is not what the freedom fighters had fought for,”  and that Indian Muslims are told “to prove their patriotism, prove their love towards their country.” “The irony is that the people who are questioning the patriotism of Indian Muslims are those who had little to no role in the actual freedom struggle itself!” Ms. Renna said in her speech.
 
Mr. Raju Rajagopal from Hindus for Human Rights, made an earnest plea to the attendees to make themselves part of “India’s Second Struggle for Independence.” “Do your bit to achieve ‘Independence’ from communal hatred; ‘Independence’ from ultra-nationalism that views some Indians as more equal than others; ‘Independence’ from corruption that is eating away our souls; and ‘Independence’ from caste discrimination that continue to haunt us decades after the most egalitarian constitution was adopted,” Mr. Rajagopal said.
 
Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC reminded the audience to “not forget that India is battling a rising tide of casteism, communalism, discrimination against minorities and women, and economic and social inequalities – these are threats just as potent as the virus and threaten to annihilate all the progress we have made in the years since Independence.” Mr. Khan also exhorted all Indians “to come together in our shared struggle against casteism and discrimination that divides us to build a more inclusive, pluralistic and tolerant India, and be guided by the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi, who said, ‘for me the different religions and races are beautiful flowers from the same garden, or they are branches from the same majestic tree.’”
 
This year’s Independence Day celebrations continue in a tradition IAMC has established over the last 18 years of celebrating India’s founding principles and the Indian constitution’s fundamental emphasis on pluralism and equality before the law for people of all faiths.

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Massive protests disrupt Times Square celebration of hate and bigotry

Broad coalition exposes Hindu nationalist front organizations in the US, and their agenda of normalizing human rights abuses in India

August 5, 2020 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

The “Coalition to Stop Genocide in India”, a broad coalition of Indian Americans and US based civil rights organizations and activists today organized a massive rally at Times Square, in order to protest the celebration of the destruction of the Babri Mosque in India. The celebrations were organized by an entity that calls itself the American Indian Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a front for several Hindu nationalist (a.k.a. Hindutva supremacist) organizations in the US.

Protesters in large numbers held placards and chanted slogans to highlight massive human rights abuses in India, by India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For some who had gathered to celebrate the construction of the Ram Temple in India on the ruins of the Babri Mosque, the protests were a reminder that normalizing hate and bigotry would not go unchallenged in the US. The Babri Mosque was demolished by Hindutva supremacist forces in India in 1992, based on a campaign of hate, bigotry against the country’s Muslim minority and misinformation about the mosque’s origins. This is part of a larger and sustained campaign of historical revisionism that Hindutva relies on, in order to advance its virulent worldview.

The Babri Mosque was demolished by Hindu nationalist militias as part of a political campaign by the BJP party, where the leader of the party Advani led a rally to demolish the mosque. The campaign was accompanied by the killing of hundreds of Muslims across India, both before and after the demolition of the mosque. The site is now in control of Hindutva supremacist litigants, following a Supreme Court judgement that said the destruction of the historic structure was illegal but still handed over the site to those who carried out the criminal demolition.

“There is no doubt that Ram is a revered figure in Hinduism, and respect for all religions is part of our commitment to pluralism,” said Mr. Jawad Mohammed, General Secretary of the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC). “However, people’s reverence for Ram has been manipulated in order to serve a vile and hateful agenda whose evil fruits are evident not only across India but now increasingly in the US as well,” added Mr. Mohammed.

“We learn in the Ramayana that Lord Rama’s birthplace is Ayodhya. However, our scripture does not specify where in Ayodhya Lord Rama was born. The reality is that the Ram Temple issue was leveraged by Hindutva forces to polarize Indian society in a destructive campaign that has resulted in untold human suffering and that continues to this day.”said Ms. Sunita Vishwanath, President of Hindus for Human Right.

It is alarming that an ideology that shows complete disregard for the value of human life, and the sanctity of all places of worship, is boasting of its evil deeds in India in the heart of New York City, which is so representative of our diversity and inclusiveness as Americans.

“Sadly, far-right extremists in both India and the United States have especially taken to demonizing and denigrating Muslims. I condemn any attack on an individual or group because of their faith and stand with my Muslim siblings here in my district and in India as they fight for dignity and human rights,” said New York City Councilmember Daniel Dromm. “I also thank all the Hindus and others who have taken a stand against dog-whistle propaganda cloaked as cultural celebrations,” added Mr. Dromm.  

“Islamophobia has escalated to the level of ethnic cleansing in numerous countries, including India. From lynchings, to pogroms, to the cultural genocide exemplified by the establishment of a temple on the site of a demolished mosque, anti-Muslim bigotry is government policy in India,” said Mr. Nihad Awad National Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). “The Muslim world and the international community must unite in opposition to the far-right Modi government before its fascist, Nazi-inspired ideology causes further damage to religious minorities,” Mr. Awad added.

Mr. Brad Lander, another New York City councilmember said, “We all have a responsibility for speaking out against Islamophobia, whether it comes from our country, or even our own community.” Mr. Lander further added, “As a New Yorker, and as a progressive Jew, I stand with our Muslim neighbors, here in NYC and those in Kashmir and throughout India who are facing nationalist and Islamophobic hatred and violence.” 

“Political Hinduism is NOT a religious issue, it’s a class issue and final victory is possible by uniting the workers, peasants and the socially oppressed sections. Today’s protest in New York has brought various sections together to challenge the Hindutva project” said S. Karthikeyan of Ambedkar King Study Circle (AKSC).

“The celebration of Ram temple by the Hindutva brigade and its Indian-American followers is a celebration of power: the power to hate and hurt with impunity, to  aggressively gloat over Indian Muslims and others who cherish our pluralistic society” said Ms. Ania of Coalition against Fascism in India (CAFI). “Choosing August 5 to celebrate is a new act of aggression against the Kashmiris. We reject this cynical use of religion to entrench hate and kill India democracy” added Ms. Ania.

The Islamic Society of North America, the largest Muslim organization in North America in a statement said, “It applauds and supports Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) efforts toward preserving India’s democracy and pluralistic society.”

The Coalition to Stop Genocide in India includes dozens of organizations, including Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Soceity of North America (ISNA), Emgage, Coalition Against Fascism in India, Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), Boston Coalition, Organization for Minorities in India (OFMI), South Asia Solidarity Initiative, Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA), Ambedkar King Study Circle (AKSC), Council for Minority Rights in India (CMRI), North American Indian Muslim Association (NAIMA), Ambedkar International Mission, Coalition of Seattle Indian Americans, Guru Ravidas Sabha, Periyar International USA, Ambedkar International Mission Society, Canada, Students Against Hindutva Ideology (SAHI), International Soceity for Peace and Justice, India Civil Watch International, Free GN Saibaba Coalition and Alliance for Secular and Democratic South Asia.

The “Coalition to Stop Genocide in India” is committed to ensuring that American institutions and discourse are safeguarded from the virulent Hindutva ideology. To that end, the coalition will continue to expose Hindutva front organizations in the US and their role in normalizing the human rights abuses and religious freedom violations in India.

Contact: Coalition to Stop Genocide

Phone: +1 (202) 599-7718

Website: https://stopgenocideinindia.com

Email: media@stopgenocideinindia.com

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Indian Americans to protest New York celebration of Babri Mosque demolition

Broad coalition seeks to highlight massive human rights abuses of the Hindu nationalist organizations in India and the pernicious threat of their front organizations operating in the US


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


August 5, 2020


The Coalition to Stop Genocide in India, a broad coalition of Indian Americans and US based civil rights organizations and activists will hold a massive protest at Times Square on August 5 in response to a celebration of the construction of a Ram Temple in India. The celebration, reportedly organized by an entity that calls itself the American India Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), seeks to glorify the demolition of the historic Babri Mosque in India, on whose ruins the temple is going to be built. 
The Coalition to Stop Genocide in India includes dozens of organizations, including Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Soceity of North America (ISNA), Coalition Against Fascism in India, Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), Boston Coalition, Organization for Minorities in India (OFMI), South Asia Solidarity Initiative, Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA), Ambedkar King Study Circle (AKSC), Council for Minority Rights in India (CMRI) and North American Indian Muslim Association (NAIMA).

  • What: Protest Display of Hindutva Supremacy in the United States
  • When: Wednesday, August 5th, 2020, 6:30 PM
  • Where: Times Square, Manhattan, New York City

“We strongly reject such a vulgar celebration of hate, bigotry and chauvinism, and call upon all people of conscience to stand in solidarity with India’s religious minorities,” IAMC President Ahsan Khan said. “It is unfortunate that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who seized power by fanning Islamophobia and hatred for non-Hindus and has tacitly encouraged violence against minorities, has finally put his stamp on taking India back to the medieval ages when destruction of places of worship and mass murder of faith-based communities was the order of the day,” added Mr. Khan. 
Advocating for their own “religious freedom” in the US, these bigots are doing everything possible to turn India into a majoritarian Hindu state that relegates Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities to the status of second-class citizens. People of conscience need to protest the event in New York, because it is not a celebration of faith but a celebration of virulent hate and bigotry.
“The celebration of the Ram temple by the Hindutva brigade and its Indian-American followers is a celebration of power: the power to hate and hurt with impunity, to aggressively gloat over Indian Muslims and all others who cherish our secular pluralistic culture, ” said Ms. Ania from Coalition Against Fascism in India (CAFI). “Choosing August 5 to do so is a new act of aggression against Kashmiris. We reject this cynical use of religion to entrench hate and kill Indian democracy,” added Ms. Ania.
Imran Pasha, President of IAMC’s New York chapter said “Hindutva supremacists in India are akin to the Ku Klux Klan in the US. The Ram temple in Ayodhya is born out of their criminal acts. This bigoted celebration of hate in the US is an affront to American values and emboldens Hindutva extremists to advance their supremacist agenda in the US.”
The fact that the Ram temple ceremony in India is happening on August 5 is inflammatory as well, as it is the one year anniversary of the revocation of Article 370 in Kashmir, which has led to the world’s longest and most brutal lockdown, causing untold human suffering in the region.
The protest is also intended to highlight the human rights violations by India’s Hindu nationalist government, such as the legislation of the anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act, the pogrom against Muslims in New Delhi in February led by goons of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the arrests of thousands of innocent activists merely for exercising their democratic right to protest the draconian citizenship law.
The Coalition to Stop Genocide in India is committed to ensuring that American institutions and discourse are safeguarded from the virulent Hindutva ideology. To that end, the coalition will continue to expose Hindutva front organizations in the US and their role in normalizing the human rights abuses and religious freedom violations in India.

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San Francisco becomes sixth US city to denounce the CAA-NRC human rights crisis in India

South Asians welcome the international community’s growing expressions of solidarity with India’s persecuted minorities and caste oppressed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

July 21, 2020 

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella organization of progressive South Asian groups across the United States, in coordination with the local San Francisco community, today welcomed the resolution passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors denouncing India’s draconian Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR). 

The CAA and NRC seek to render stateless millions of people among minorities and caste oppressed by demanding proof of citizenship from every Indian, in a country where the vast majority of people have lived in India for generations but do not have birth certificates. Their use of religion as a criterion for selectively granting citizenship to immigrants of certain communities is a flagrant violation of all norms of secular democracies besides being inconsistent with India’s Constitution that guarantees equality before the law for people of all faiths.

 The resolution, passed by a unanimous vote at the Board’s meeting today, categorically opposes the CAA, NRC and NPR as “discriminatory to Muslims, caste oppressed, women, indigenous peoples, and the LGBTQ community.” Given these actions are part of a larger effort by the India’s Hindu nationalist government to persecute and marginalize entire sections of India’s population the resolution also denounces “any other efforts that render vulnerable populations anywhere to become stateless, scapegoated, and targeted for discrimination, violence, and the abrogation of human rights that are universal to one and all.”

AJA constituent partners joined hands with local San Francisco organizations such as the American Institute of Islamic History and Culture, San Francisco Interfaith Council, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and the San Francisco Muslim Community Center to work on this resolution. 

“We are proud of the City and County of San Francisco for standing on the right side of history today. San Francisco is leading the moral consensus in the global outcry against the CAA,” said Hala Hijazi, a Commissioner on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and a board member of the San Francisco Muslim Community Center as well as the San Francisco Interfaith Council.

“When genocidal campaigns begin, one important intervention is international condemnation, and the Bay Area community feels a deep sense of solidarity with their electeds, as the time to stand against the Indian government’s Islamophobic policies is now,” Ms. Hijazi added.  “These genocidal projects happen in the shadows and this resolution highlights the significance of standing up for South Asian minorities, Muslims, and caste oppressed communities,” said Thenmozhi Soundarajan of Equality Labs.

“Thousands of organizers across the country have called, e-mailed, and organized to amplify this Resolution, and it sets an example to cities across the United States – that we do not stand on the side of genocide,” added Ms. Soundarajan.  “India is creating a refugee crisis of biblical proportions. It will impact civil society in many parts of the world including the United States,” said Mr. Nazeer Ahmed of the American Institute of Islamic History and Culture. 

 The resolution, reaffirming San Francisco as a “welcoming city,” comes in the wake of five other cities (Seattle WA, Albany NY, St. Paul MN, Hamtramck MI, Cambridge MA) having passed similar resolutions denouncing the CAA and NRC and the exclusionary and bigoted worldview they represent. In addition, international human rights bodies as well as the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) have all condemned these moves. The USCIRF noted that these were poised to put citizenships of millions into question, but “Muslims alone would bear the indignities and consequences of potential statelessness.” 


“Genocide Watch, an independent body that is widely considered to have expertise in the prediction of genocide in conflict-ridden areas around the world, has issued two separate genocide alerts for the states of Assam and Kashmir,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC).

“In this context, San Francisco’s decision to stand with oppressed minorities in India sends a clear message on where people of conscience around the world stand in regards to the deepening crisis in India. Today’s development will resonate across the US and beyond,” added Mr. Khan.

AJA has pledged to continue striving for international accountability of India’s repressive policies against minorities and caste oppressed.

Full text of the resolution: https://sfgov.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=8675816&GUID=AC65D006-1F23-4D9E-A4AB-D7414605FD42

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Rights groups, activists ask US to designate India as CPC for religious violence, impose sanctions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Washington, D.C., June 23, 2020


More than a thousand civil rights organizations, academicians and activists have written to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to designate India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), which is the US Government’s list of the world’s worst offenders of religious freedom, and impose sanctions on the perpetrators in India.


In an open letter submitted to the Department of State this week, they urged Secretary Pompeo to implement these recommendations that have been made by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a federal body that advises US Congress and President, in regards to India in its Annual Report 2020.


Implementing the recommendations “will send a clear message that the US believes religious freedom and peaceful coexistence of multiple faiths are the lynchpin of global stability.” Imposing “targeted sanctions” on Indian agencies and officials, including freezing of their assets and barring their entry into the US, would be “an effective measure against the State-backed assaults on religious minorities,” the letter said.

Increased violence against India’s religious minorities, which include 200 million Muslims and 30 million Christians, is a “grave threat not only to its secular and pluralist polity but also to regional stability in South Asia, with implications for global peace and security and India’s ability to be an effective strategic partner for the US,” it added.

“India’s failure to uphold its commitment to religious freedom negates its Constitution and the UN Declaration of Human Rights that India has signed,” the letter said. “It also contradicts the ideals of freedom and justice that the US and India share.”

The organizations signing the letter included Indian American Muslim Council, Hindus for Human Rights, International Christian Concern, Emgage Action, Genocide Watch, Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations, The Sikh Coalition, Council on American-Islamic Relations, The Boston Coalition, Coalition of Seattle Indian-Americans (CSIA), American Muslim Institution, and Aligarh Alumni Association DFW.

Representatives from Save the Persecuted Christians, Jubilee Campaign USA, Church of Scientology, Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience, Boat People SOS, American Humanist Association, Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, Christian Freedom International, Institute on Religion and Democracy, The Interfaith Center of New York, Union of Council for Jews in the Former Soviet Union (UCSJ), New York Theological Seminary, Citizen Power Initiatives for China, Sikh National Center Inc., Law and Liberty International, Dallas Peace and Justice Center, Federation of Telugu Churches, among others, also signed the letter.

The USCIRF report, released in April, called out Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations” by way of instituting “national level policies violating religious freedom across India, especially for Muslims,” engaging in “hate speech and incitement to violence,” and allowing the violence to “continue with impunity.”

The letter also urged Secretary Pompeo to ask India to “repeal” the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which excludes Muslim migrants from expedited citizenship available to followers of other faiths.

“India’s real motive in bringing this law last December was to combine it with a proposed National Register for Citizens (NRC) that purports to identify illegals on the basis of documents such as birth certificates that millions of bona fide citizens do not possess,” the letter said.

The signatories also asked Mr. Pompeo to convey to India that its discriminatory treatment of Christians was “unacceptable.”

“Since Mr. Modi took power in 2014, attacks on Christians have increased as has their harassment and targeting through layers of persecution. Church services are disrupted regularly and Christians brutalized and arrested on false evidence. Local, regional and national administrations work with political leaderships to systematically target Christians,” the letter said.

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Religious Freedom, Equality and justice Under Threat : US Dept. of State releases 2019 India Report

Religious Persecution and Minority Crimes – Bare Facts

June 12, 2020


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group committed to preserving and promoting India’s secular and tolerant values, today welcomed the comprehensive and systematic reporting on Indian minorities by the office of International Religious Freedom, United States Dept. of State, in its 2019 report released on June 10. The report has provided an in-depth coverage and analysis of challenges faced by religious minorities, especially Muslims, Christians and lower caste Hindus (Dalit) in India.

The State Department has highlighted rampant religiously motivated killings, assaults, discrimination, and vandalism. In addition it has referred to the Ministry of Home Affairs data, which reports 7,484 incidents of communal violence during 2008-2017 in which more than 1,100 people were killed. “We welcome the State Department report and its affirmation of what is widely known about unprecedented levels of persecution of India’s minorities,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC.

“However, the report can make a meaningful difference only if it is followed by definitive action on the part of the US government in holding the present administration in India accountable for escalating levels of violence and hate targeting Muslims and Dalits,” added Mr. Khan.

 The report cites specific examples of horrific lynchings of Muslims, Christians and Dalits. “While the lynchings are atrocious in and of themselves, what should alarm and galvanize the international community to action is the continuing incendiary rhetoric that is now part of mainstream discourse,” said Mr. Syed Afzal Ali, Vice President of IAMC.

“The environment of hate and violence it has created lends support to the perpetrators and explains why the vicious cycle of violence and social boycott continues to get worse,” added Mr. Ali. The report emphasizes the urgent need to put an end to the sectarian hate, and ensure full protection of minorities as guaranteed under the Indian constitution.

It also notes with concern that 9 of the 28 states have laws restricting religious conversion, which does not comply with the secular character of India. The Indian Parliament’s passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has rightly come in for heavy criticism by the State Department.

The CAA which amends the 1955 Citizenship Act to provide an expedited path to Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who had entered India on or before December 31, 2014, while similarly-situated Muslims, Jews, atheists from these three countries were excluded. 

The report recognized use of excessive force by police against protesters, particularly against Muslim university students in the campus of Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi. It also highlights that CAA was part of an ongoing BJP effort to marginalize Muslim communities and does not rule out sinister designs of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and Home Minister Mr. Amit Shah. 

The revocation of Article 370 and continuing violations of human rights in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, open legal and social biases against the minorities, and brutal clamp down on peaceful civil dissent, have all rightfully been highlighted in the report.

It is noteworthy that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and another RSS affiliate called Hindu Maha Sabha have been named as being among the proponents of hate crimes against minorities. 

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George Floyd murder sign of systemic racism say Indian Americans

Community stands in solidarity with African Americans while urging police reforms.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2020


Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, is shocked and outraged at the ruthless murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man. IAMC condemns the police brutality and extends it’s deepest condolences to the family, friends, and to all the well wishers who are impacted by this loss.


The treatment of minorities, especially blacks by police officers in the United States of America is a systemic problem that should not be tolerated or normalized. We demand that the officers responsible for the death of George Floyd be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We call for immediate reforms and training of police officers by installing a just system of law enforcement by creating structural changes through the lens of restorative justice (instead of punitive justice) and community-based models of policing in an effort to address deeper systemic issues that led to this and similar killings.


As Indian Americans who are advocating for the human rights and religious freedom of minorities and other marginalized communities in India, the systemic prejudice that led to the cruel death of George Floyd is a painful reminder of the state sponsored hate that is responsible for the mass persecution of Muslims, Christians and Dalits in India.


The brazen mob lynchings, the mass arrests under false charges, the suppression of dissent and the merciless brutality of police and other arms of the state represent horrific violations of human rights and religious freedom in India at a magnitude that is unprecedented in the country’s history.


The cause of all people seeking justice is the same and we strongly oppose the discrimination and repression by law enforcement on the basis of race, ethnicity and religion. We stand in solidarity with those who are striving for equal rights and the fair treatment of minorities and the marginalized. 


We must strive to bring about institutional changes and demand better for the sake of our shared humanity and for the sake of justice. IAMC also condemns the incidents of arson, looting and violence by those seeking justice and equality. IAMC urges them to stand firmly but with patience and without resorting to violence. 


IAMC is dedicated to promoting the common values of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for human rights that form the basis of the world’s two largest secular democracies – the United States and India.

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Congressional Briefing calls for US action amid rapidly escalating violence against minorities in India

Broad panel of experts urges the US government to implement the recommendations of the USCIRF

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, co-sponsored a virtual Congressional briefing yesterday, titled “USCIRF Recommendations on India – The Next Steps.” With “Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR),” and “International Christian Concern (ICC),” as the other co-sponsors, the briefing was organized with the intent to analyze the recommendations made by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that reviews religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the US President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.

The briefing came on the heels of the USCIRF’s momentous decision to list India as a “Country of Particular Concern (CPC)” under the International Religious Freedom Act in its 2020 Annual Report. The briefing was chaired by IAMC and included several USCIRF Commissioners as the main speakers along with representatives from Amnesty International, IAMC, HfHR, and ICC. Besides representatives of prominent human rights organizations, the attendees included activists, representatives from congressional offices, and people from all walks of life that are concerned about the rapidly escalating violence against religious minorities in India. The erosion of religious freedom is apparent in the abrogation of Article 370 and the horrific violations of human rights in Kashmir, a brutal clampdown on peaceful civil dissent against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the recent Delhi pogrom, among several other egregious instances of religious persecution.

Ms. Nadine Maenza, Vice-Chair of USCIRF, delivered the keynote address, with an incisive assessment of the existential crisis facing India’s democratic polity. Ms. Maenza specifically bemoaned the “#CoronaJihad” social media campaign intended to scapegoat Muslims as responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic. She noted with alarm, the social and economic boycott of Muslims in some parts of the country as well as discrimination against Muslims in the context of medical treatment during the global pandemic.

Dr. Harrison Akins, South Asia policy analyst with USCIRF, while recognizing India as an ally of the United States, noted that “members of the ruling BJP have used the symbols of Hinduism and policies aimed at their protection as weapons against minority communities in their quest to further marginalize religious minorities and shape a Hindu nation.” Mr. Akins further noted, “combined with the BJP’s inflammatory rhetoric, these coordinated actions strengthen the perception that minorities, especially Muslims and Christians, are outsiders with no legitimate place in Indian history or society and, by their mere presence, a potential threat from within to the project of making India a Hindu nation.”

Mr. Francisco Bencosme, Asia Pacific Advocacy Manager of Amnesty International USA, shared concerns expressed by other panelists and highlighted the issue of activists imprisoned for peaceful dissent. He made a special note of Ms. Safoora Zargar, a pregnant student jailed for speaking up against the draconian citizenship law recently enacted in India. Mr. Bencosme remarked that “while the world faces a global pandemic, India has decided that now is the time to attack religious freedom.”

Referring to the sinister design of the CAA-NRC-NPR, Mr. Aman Wadud, an attorney at the Gauhati High court in India, emphasized that the “right to a nationality is a basic human right which is fundamental to all accompanying political and civil rights. Denying individuals of fundamental recognition not only deprives them of their rights but also denies them the ability to participate in the political process and legalizes systematic discrimination and persecution.” He elaborated on the rampant misuse of a draconian anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), under which the Indian government could designate any individual as a “terrorist” on mere suspicion. That the law was being used against students and journalists speaks volumes about the administration’s overt alignment with fascism.

“Persecution, vigilantism, Hindutva and Hindu radicalism and the oppression of Christians is what characterizes India now,” stated Mr. Jeff King, President of International Christian Concern (ICC). Mr. Raju Rajgopal, co-founder of Hindus For Human Rights, urged everyone to distinguish between Hinduism and Hindutva. The true concept of “Hindu Rashtra,” as Mr. Rajgopal expounded, is actually one of inclusiveness and tolerance, while the “Hindutva Rashtra” that the RSS and its affiliates are clearly striving for, is violent, authoritarian and intolerant.

Mr. Sean Nelson, Legal Counsel for Global Religious Freedom with ADF International, spoke about anti-religious conversion laws in India which prohibit conversions of Indian Hindus to Christianity or Islam. He was dismayed and concerned about the violence faced by converts who also face 3 to 7 years of imprisonment for their voluntary religious conversion.

The briefing lasted for about 90 minutes and the panelists also took questions from the audience. IAMC, along with the other co-sponsors commended USCIRF for their crucial and important work in defending religious freedom around the world. They reiterated their commitment to petition the US government and lawmakers to foreground human rights, civil liberties, and religious freedom in US-India bilateral relations and dialogue. They also urged their grassroots organizers to reach out to their elected representatives to urge the US government to accept and implement the policy recommendations of USCIRF to categorize India as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) and to impose sanctions against Indian officials for “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing and egregious religious freedom violations.”

IAMC is committed to the idea of an inclusive India and believes India’s continued existence as a secular, democratic polity is essential for peace and stability in South Asia, and thus an imperative for US strategic interests in the region.

An earlier version of this press release mentioned that Safoora Zargar was recently released on bail. Unfortunately that is not true and she is still in jail. We deeply regret the error.

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Arrest of hundreds of Muslim activists in India is a witch hunt driven by vendetta politics say Indian Americans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Washington, D.C,

Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella group of progressive South Asian organizations in the United States, today condemned the Indian Government’s actions in bringing false criminal charges against hundreds of Muslim activists, students, and intellectuals in India and arresting many of them.
These individuals are being targeted for challenging the deeply repressive Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) brought by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Government last December that triggered mass protests and convulsions across Indian society. Activists are also being victimized as for exposing the complicity of Mr. Modi’s Government in the massacre of dozens of Muslims in religious violence against Muslims carried out in the Indian capital, New Delhi, this February.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is conducting a campaign of vendetta politics to persecute Muslims who have for months braved police brutalities at their street protests that were demanding a repeal of the CAA, which discriminates against Muslims in the grant of citizenship.
Their expression of dissent is now being labeled as “anti-national”, and the government’s treatment of Muslims betrays an appalling deterioration in human rights and religious freedom in India today. Mr. Modi’s Government is at the forefront of such human rights violations by providing total impunity to their perpetrators and protecting them from arrests and prosecution, while targeting Muslim activists and victims.
Renowned Muslim intellectual, scholar and activist, Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, who is currently the Chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission, a statutory body, is only the latest name in the long list of those being persecuted by the Modi Government. On April 30, Delhi Police registered an FIR (First Information Report) against Dr. Khan on charges of sedition (Section 124A of Indian Penal Code) and for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc. and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony (Section 153A)
Dr. Khan has been charged for exercising his right to free speech in a Facebook post in which he thanked the Government of Kuwait for expressing solidarity with Indian Muslims. His post also mentioned the attacks by Hindu nationalists on Indian Muslims. In fact, since Mr. Modi announced a nationwide lockdown on March 24, his government has arrested hundreds of Muslim activisits on false criminal charges and with no evidence in a relentless witch-hunt. Such arrestees include Safoora Zargar, a prominent youth activist and research scholar who is four months’ pregnant, and Gulifsha, also a female student activistShafi ur Rehman, Jamia Millia Islamia Alumni Association president, and Sharjeel Imam, a student activist, have been charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), along with scores of others Meeran Hyder, a student at New Delhi’s Jamia Milia University, has been arrested . Dr. Umar Khalid, one of India’s leading student activist, too has been charged under the UAPA, and faces the threat of imminent arrest.
Under the Modi administration, criticizing Hindu nationalism is being considered sedition and treason. The ongoing crackdown against Indian Muslims is a textbook case of repression of civil dissenters at the behest of the Hindu nationalist Modi government.
In its Annual Report 2020, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recommended to the Department of State to include India in its list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC), alongside Iran, Pakistan, Saudia Arabia and North Korea. The targeting of activists in India only affirms the USCIRF’s findings and their decision to place India in the list of CPC. The USCIRF also recommended increased “US partnerships with Indian law enforcement to build capacity to protect religious minorities.” AJA has urged the U.S. Government to accept the recommendations from the USCIRF while calling upon the Government of India to eschew its divisive agenda and to work towards unifying Indian society. AJA has called for the immediate release of those arrested for merely exercising their constitutional right to free speech, and for dissenting peacefully against the CAA and against Hindu nationalism.
The AJA is dedicated to promoting the common values of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for human rights that form the basis of the world’s two largest secular democracies – the United States and India.

Contact:Alliance for Justice and AccountabilityPhone/Fax:  1-800-839-7270Email: outreach@iamc.com

Alliance for Justice and Accountability is an umbrella coalition of various organizations dedicated to promoting the common values of pluralism, tolerance, social justice and respect for human rights that form the basis of the world’s two largest secular democracies – the United States and India.

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US Commission placing India in list of top violators of Religious Freedom is justified, say Indian Americans

Bipartisan Federal Commission urges strong action by the State Department and the US Congress 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 28, 2020 

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, today welcomed a report on religious freedom issued by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), in which the US body has called on the State Department to place India in a list of “countries of particular concern,” based on a sharp uptick in violations of human rights and religious freedom in India.

The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan US federal government commission. It makes policy recommendations based on its review of global religious freedom to the US President, the Secretary of State and the US Congress. Until this year, USCIRF had placed India in Tier 2, which is the list of countries with the second-worst record of religious freedom violations.

“As a part of the Indian diaspora that only wishes well for the country of our birth, we view international criticism of India’s religious freedom record as distressing but painfully necessary, given the escalating level of persecution of minorities,”  said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “India being categorized as a top violator of religious freedoms while unfortunate, is expected and justified. We hope this report as well as recent concerns expressed by other countries, mark a turning point in the treatment of religious minorities as well as the caste oppressed in India ,” added Mr. Khan. 

In its Annual International Religious Freedom Report released on Tuesday, USCIRF has made three key recommendations to the State Department and Congress: 

  1. To designate India as a CPC for “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations, as defined by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA).”
  2. To impose “targeted sanctions on Indian government agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of religious freedom by freezing those individuals’ assets and/ or barring their entry into the United States.”
  3. Strengthen the US Embassies’ and consulates’ engagement with religious communities, local officials and police; increase US partnerships with Indian law enforcement to build capacity to protect religious minorities.

Along with its partners, International Christian Concern (ICC) and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), IAMC had in March written to USCIRF urging it to bring India into its list of the worst offenders of religious freedom violations in the world. That letter was co-signed by dozens of organizations and individuals, including Genocide Watch, Equality Labs, Jewish Voice for Peace, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Christian Solidarity Worldwide, UK, Emgage Action, and the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church of America.

Other organizations that had joined the appeal to USCIRF included The Boston Coalition, Alliance for Secular and Democratic South Asia, Organization for Minorities of India, Council on Minority Rights in India, India Civil Watch, Center for Pluralism, Indian Muslim Association of Greater Houston, Amnesty International (Houston Chapter), Coalition of Seattle Indian-Americans, and Muslim Public Affairs Council. A USCIRF official had also been the keynote speaker at a Congressional Briefing on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register for Citizens (NRC) that had been organized on Capitol Hill by IAMC, HfHR, CAIR and Emgage Action on January 27, 2020.

USCIRF has based its decision to move India to the CPC list on account of India taking a “sharp downward turn in 2019.” The report has rightly expressed concern that following the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) re-election in May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s national government “used its strengthened parliamentary majority to institute national level policies violating religious freedom across India, especially for Muslims. The national government allowed violence against minorities and their houses of worship to continue with impunity, and also engaged in and tolerated hate speech and incitement to violence.”

On the subject of the CAA and the NRC, both deeply repressive moves that caused convulsions across Indian society in the form of mass protests, the Commission noted that these were poised to put citizenships of millions into question, but “Muslims alone would bear the indignities and consequences of potential statelessness”.

Every year since 2010, USCIRF has been placing India in Tier 2 of its list of CPC. After the Indian government carried out massive atrocities against Muslims in India following its revocation of Kashmir’s special status; the legislation of the anti-Muslim law, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act; and the State-sponsored pogrom of Muslims in Delhi, India’s capital, Indian American Muslim Council launched a signature campaign to urge USCIRF to elevate India to Tier 1.

The USCIRF has been progressively more scathing in its assessment of the developments in India. In December, after the CAA was legislated by the Indian Parliament, USCIRF had urged the U.S. Government to sanction Indian Home Minister Amit Shah for his role in piloting the law, pointing out that the law set a “legal criterion for citizenship based on religion.”

The USCIRF had also sharply criticized the violence against Muslims in Delhi in February, noting that reports were “mounting that the Delhi police have not intervened in violent attacks against Muslims, and the government is failing in its duty to protect its citizens. These incidents are even more concerning in the context of efforts within India to target and potentially disenfranchise Muslims across the country, in clear violation of international human rights standards.”
Since 2011, the Indian Government has refused visas to USCIRF Commissioners to visit India. 

IAMC has urged the  Government of India to pay heed to USCIRF’s observations and take necessary corrective action in order to safeguard the lives and liberty of millions of Indian citizens.


CONTACT: 

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270

Email:info@iamc.com 

Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council 

Twitter: @IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

References:


India receives harshest rating from U.S. government watchdog in religious freedom report

https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2020/04/28/india-receives-low-rating-us-government-watchdog-religious-freedom/


Delhi Rejects ‘Biased’ USCIRF Report Designating India as ‘Country of Particular Concern’ over Religious Freedom https://www.news18.com/news/india/us-panel-designates-india-as-country-of-particular-concern-over-religious-freedom-violation-govt-rejects-biased-report-2596737.html

List India as a top religious freedom violator, says watchdog group

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2020/04/28/list-india-top-religious/

US Panel Flags India For ‘Violence’, ‘Hate Speech’ Against Religious Minorities; Suggests ‘Targeted Sanctions’https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/us-panel-flags-india-for-violence-and-tolerating-hate-speeches-against-religious-minorities/351684

India listed among ‘countries of particular concern’ in US religious freedom reporthttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-religious-freedom-country-of-particular-concern-iscirf-6383630/?12345

US panel flags India’s ‘sharp, alarming’ decline in religious freedom, suggests ‘targeted sanctions’https://scroll.in/latest/960499/us-panel-flags-indias-sharp-alarming-decline-in-religious-freedom-suggests-sanctions

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Indian American groups condemn scapegoating of Muslims for Coronavirus spread in India, urge PM Modi to stop hate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

April 11, 2020 The Indian American Muslim Council ( www.iamc.com ), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, today joined hands with Hindus For Human Rights ( www.hindusforhumanrights.org ) an organization dedicated to advocating for an inclusive and egalitarian Hinduism in condemning the escalation of Islamophobia in India following the spread of COVID-19 across different parts of the country. The horrifying levels of vitriol poured on Muslims by several media outlets and some public figures has resulted in an alarming increase in assaults on Muslims. In parts of the country the social and economic boycott of Muslims is being openly pursued as a response to a healthcare and humanitarian crisis that requires a unified response from the entire populace.

Islamophobia in India has risen exponentially since news broke that some members of the Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim religious reform movement, had met at an annual conference in New Delhi in mid-March and later tested positive for the coronavirus. Absent from these reports was an acknowledgement of the fact that Tabligh Jamaat conference took place before the lockdown when it was business as usual for the entire country. 

At the time of the Tablighi conference, India had not yet commenced social distancing. India’s Health Secretary Lav Agarwal told reporters , “It is important to understand that it [coronavirus] is not a health emergency,” cautioning against panic. It was at least four days after the conference ended that Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a daylong curfew for March 22. Air travel and trains halted only that day. Mr. Modi’s announcement of a 21-day lockdown came even later, on March 24.

“It is shameful that the crisis of COVID-19 is being exploited by people in positions of power and influence in order to intensify religious divisions in India,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC). “The absurdity of the idea that Muslims of a specific group are working to spread the deadly disease is matched only by the brazenness with which it is being vocalized by some politicians and influential media anchors,” added Mr. Khan.  

“The Government of India must publicly condemn this falsehood about Muslims,” said Ms. Sunita Viswanath, Co-Founder, Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR). “The weaponization of COVID-19 as a means to advance Hindutva’s agenda of marginalizing Muslims is a travesty of Hinduism. Such propaganda and bigotry will only derail the work of healthcare workers working on the front lines to combat the disease,” added Ms. Viswanath.

People believing the canard of “devious Muslims” working to spread the disease must ask themselves why on March 14, the first day of the two-day Tablighi event, India’s Home Minister Amit Shah was the chief guest at the convocation of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Rishikesh, 150 miles from New Delhi, with hundreds in the audience without social distancing. They must also ask why places of worship across India were open for days after the two-day Tablighi event ended on March 15. The Saibaba temple at Shirdi city in Maharashtra and the Venkateswara Temple at Tirupati city in Andhra Pradesh, each averaging over 50,000 pilgrims a day, closed only on March 17 and 19, respectively. 

On March 17, the Uttar Pradesh government insisted it would go ahead with the 10-day Ramnavami celebrations from March 25 through April 4 at the temple town of Ayodhya, where a million Hindu pilgrims were expected. It was canceled only on March 21. On March 22, after a daylong national curfew called by Mr. Modi concluded, Indians thronged streets and public squares across India in response to Prime Minister Modi’s call to clap, violating social distancing protocols and thus endangering their own and others’ lives. Repeat behavior was seen across India on April 5, the day Mr. Modi asked Indians to light lamps at their homes. 

Such is the extent of hate that has taken hold of the minds of some people that in parts of the country, Muslims are being prevented from entering their homes and villages , and signs have come up outside neighborhoods warning Muslims not to enter. Both IAMC and HfHR are united in their condemnation of the constant barrage of anger and hate being spouted by anchors on news channels such as Republic TV, Zee News, ANI and Times Now, as well as media outlets of some vernacular languages. It is a measure of the bias and irrationality that is being disseminated on these channels, that the police had to publicly debunk their propaganda on Twitter and warn them against spreading fake news. 

Both IAMC and HfHR have also called upon the Indian Government to crack down on fake content that is making outrageous and patently false claims about Tablighi Jamaat members misbehaving with medical staff while in quarantine. Such fake content has been circulating on social media and shared by millions, not only slandering the Tablighi Jamaat and the entire Muslim community by extension, but creating a dangerous and volatile situation for millions of people. 

Added Ms. Viswanath: “Our greatest ethical and civic responsibility at this time of a global pandemic is to ensure that social distancing is practiced everywhere possible, and that we take care of the poor, sick and needy. We must call out violations of social distancing protocols regardless of who the violators are.”

Indian American Muslim Council and Hindus for Human Rights have jointly appealed to the people of India, to reject hateful politics that only serves the nefarious ends of a privileged few. They have called upon civil society to unite in a spirit of brotherhood in combating not only COVID-19 but also the bigotry and violence that represents as much of an existential threat to India as the coronavirus.

Contact: Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:  info@iamc.com
Facebook: IndianAmericanMuslimCouncil
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

Hindus for Human Rights 
Phone: 917-518-2441
Email: info@hindusforhumanrights.org
Facebook: /Hindus4HR
Twitter: @Hindus4HR
Address: 361 Warren St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Brutal Delhi violence on peaceful protesters part of Hindutva’s merciless drive for supremacy say Indian Americans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

February 25, 2020  

The Indian American Muslim Council (www.iamc.com) an advocacy organization dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, today urged the international community to call out India for its relentless attacks on minorities and marginalized communities. The latest spate of violence in Delhi is a harbinger of things to come under an avowed Hindutva administration that is violating human rights and religious freedom at a pace rarely seen in history.


Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kapil Mishra’s procession near the epicentre, Jaffrabad was the initiation of the preplanned violence. Mishra had shouted religious slogans and issued an ultimatum to police to clear protest sites within three days. 


A mosque in Ashok Nagar was set on fire late on Tuesday afternoon. A mob shouting “Jai Shri Ram” and “Hinduon ka Hindustan” (India belongs to Hindus) paraded around the burning mosque, and a Hanuman flag was placed on the minaret of the masjid. In video footage that has since emerged on Twitter, one of the mob is seen climbing up the minaret with an Indian flag in his hand. He attempts to pull down a section of the minaret but does not apparently succeed.

On Sunday night, video clips surfaced on social media of a group chanting “Jai Shri Ram”, collecting stones and loading on to a truck. In one clip, the group could be seen and heard cheering and sloganeering just as a tractor full of stones and bricks was unloaded. A tyre market was set on fire later on Monday, the Press Trust of India said. Several vehicles and a fire truck were torched in Jaffrabad and Maujpur in the northeastern parts of the capital as police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters. Police support for those attacking the protesters has been widely reported as a root cause of the issue including by witnesses from Reuters news agency.

“Delhi and UP police acting as foot soldiers of the RSS is indicative of the extent of Hindutva infiltration in law enforcement, and other institutions of the state,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of Indian American Muslim Council. 


The fact that Kapil Mishra and other provocateurs continue to roam free shows that the state can no longer be trusted to guard the life and liberty of its citizens. Seven people, including a cop, were killed and nearly 100 were injured in Monday’s unprecedented violence.


Genocide Watch, an independent body that is widely considered to have expertise in the prediction of genocide in conflict-ridden areas around the world, has issued two separate genocide alerts for the states ofAssam andKashmir. The government appears determined to replicate the situation all over India.


IAMC has urged the protesters to exercise restraint in the face of these brutal attacks and to intensify its peaceful movement against the administration’s repressive policies.

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Opposing CAA, sanctioning Indian officials must be U.S. foreign policy priority: USCIRF tells Congressional Briefing

Washington, D.C., January 29, 2020


The U.S. must oppose a new Indian law that aims to deny citizenship to Muslims and render them stateless, subject to detention and deportation, an official with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has said.


The U.S. Government must also consider the “use of targeted sanctions against Indian officials primarily responsible for religious freedom violations,” Harrison Akins, Policy Analyst (South Asia) with USCIRF, said at U.S. Congress on Monday.

In conjunction with a potential nationwide National Register of Citizens and National Population Register, this law, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, “could become a weapon to target millions of Indian Muslims, potentially leading to their disenfranchisement. This represents a significant downward turn in religious freedom that no government, including the United States government, can ignore,” Akins said.


“In India today, the freedom of religion or belief is being decimated as individuals are targeted simply due to their religious identity, in violation of India’s own constitution,” Akins said at a Briefing titled “Implications of India’s Citizenship Law (CAA)”.


“It is imperative that in U.S. government officials’ interaction with their Indian counterparts, these issues are elevated as a U.S. foreign policy priority, communicating the need to protect shared democratic values.”


Akins said in its dealing with India U.S. should deploy “a vast array of tools [it] has in its arsenal to promote religious freedom abroad, both through positive engagement and punitive action.” Such tools include “the integration of religious freedom in U.S. development programs or law enforcement training” and “sanctions”.


Last month after Indian Parliament passed CAA, USCIRF had called for the U.S. Government to sanction India’s Home Minister Amit Shah.


Monday’s briefing was attended by staffs from the House Committee on Judiciary and from the offices of 20 Members of Congress, including seven U.S. senators. Officials from Department of State, which implements US-India policy, also attended it.


The Briefing was organized by Indian American Muslim Council, the largest Indian American advocacy group in the US working for minority rights in India; Hindus for Human Rights; Council on American-Islamic Relations; and Emgage Action.


In its Annual Report, special reports and public statements, USCIRF has “long expressed its concern that this law is part of an effort by [Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party] BJP government to create a religious test for Indian citizenship in line with their vision of a Hindu state,” Akins said.


“As is abundantly evident from the statements of BJP leadership, the CAA with its legal protections for non-Muslims is intended to ensure that those excluded from the NRC process, and therefore bearing the label of illegal migrant, are Muslims alone.”


The NRC held in Assam last year showed the “process is rife for abuse by government officials for excluding individuals simply perceived to be foreign regardless of their citizenship status,” Akins said. “It is Muslims who will carry the threat of punitive action from the NRC, including prolonged detention, deportation, or statelessness.”


Akins called out the ideology of Hindutva, professed by Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Shah, that perceives Islam and Christianity as “foreign religions”.


“Conditions for religious minorities have deteriorated precipitously in India. BJP politicians have used the symbols of Hinduism and policies aimed at their protection as weapons against minority communities in their quest to shape a Hindu nation.


“From instituting more aggressive bans and stricter punishments for cow slaughter and religious conversion activities, minorities are increasingly marginalized and discriminated against. “Combined with the BJP’s inflammatory rhetoric, these coordinated actions strengthen the perception that minorities are outsiders with no legitimate place in Indian history or society and, by their mere presence, a potential threat from within to the project of making India a Hindu nation.


“This creates a culture of impunity for violence against minorities by both government authorities and non-state actors as a near daily reality for minority communities.”

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CAA violates international agreements India signed in 1967 and 1979, Human Rights Watch tells U.S. Congress

Washington, D.C., January 29, 2020

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of India violates at least two international treaties that India has signed and ratified in the past, Human Rights Watch has said.


The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that India ratified in 1979 “is very clear that you cannot deprive people of their citizenship on the basis of their race, color, descent, national or ethnic origins,” John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director of the Human Rights Watch in the U.S., said at a briefing at U.S. Congress this week.


Similarly, the International Conventions on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) that India signed in 1967 and ratified the next year “explicitly obliges India to guarantee the right of everyone to equality before the law, including in the enjoyment of the right to nationality,” Sifton said.

The Committee created to safeguard that treaty “specifically added that the deprivation of citizenship on the basis of national and ethnic origin, race and color violates their obligations,” Sifton said at the Briefing titled “India’s Citizenship Law (CAA)”.


“The treaty asks countries to take steps to address xenophobic attitudes and behavior towards non-citizens, in particular hate speech and racial violence, to promote a better understanding of the principle of non-discrimination in respect to the situation. In other words, this treaty obligates India to do everything it is not doing right now, which is to promote harmony, fight xenophobic attitudes towards non-citizens.”


The international setting allows non-Indian human rights activists, civil society, Members of Congress, to “raise these issues with India and not have the Indian Embassy say you don’t have a right to raise this with us

it is a domestic and internal issue,” Sifton said. “On the contrary, this is an international issue. These are international norms. You have every right to raise them whether you are Indian or not.”


The Briefing was attended by Congressional staffs of Senators, Congresspersons and House committees, as well as by officials from the Department of State.


It was organized by Indian American Muslim Council, the largest Indian American group advocating for Constitutional secularism in India; Hindus for Human Rights; Emgage Action; and Council on American-Islamic Relations.

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Indian government has become people’s enemy, Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey tells U.S. Congress

Washington, D.C., January 29, 2020


India’s government has become “the enemy of the people” who are protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), Magsaysay Award winning civil rights activist from India, Sandeep Pandey, said at a briefing at the United States Congress this week.


The police have especially been targeting the Muslims even though those protesting the new citizenship law have included members of all faiths, Pandey said at the briefing, “Implications of India’s Citizenship Law (CAA)”, held here on Monday.


“In 27 years of working as an activist I have experienced unprecedented curb on fundamental rights of freedom of expression, to assemble peaceably and to move about anywhere within India over the past six months,” Pandey said.

He himself was put under house arrest in his hometown Lucknow twice in August when he planned a public event against the government’s crackdown in Kashmir, and again in December to protest the CAA. In August and this month, the police stopped him from visiting Ayodhya, where a Hindu temple is being built on the ruins of a mosque.


“The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party government doesn’t want any alternative view on Kashmir, or CAA to be expressed,” Pandey said. “The Government has become the enemy of people who participated in protests against the CAA.”
He said that although “common citizens” including non-Muslims have participated in the anti-CAA protests throughout India, the police and the administration have targeted “only Muslims to create an impression that it was the Muslims who created trouble.”


Pandey also criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for saying that those who indulged in violence “can be recognized from their dress.”


The police and masked civilians attacked the Muslims and indulged in vandalism, arson and looting. Yet, the police filed FIRs (police complaints) against the Muslims. “The pattern is clear. The modus operandi is to make the victims the accused,” Pandey said. Of the more than 1,000 people now in jail, most were Muslims.


Monday’s briefing was attended by officials from Congressional committees as well as the offices of at least 20 Members of Congress, including seven senators. Officials from the Department of State, which implements US foreign policy, were also in attendance.


The Briefing was organized by Indian American Muslim Council, the largest US advocacy group for Indian Americans working on the protection of minorities in India; Hindus for Human Rights; Emgage Action; and Council on American-Islamic Relations.


Pandey said the police lobbed tear gas shells and stun grenades at two universities: Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi and the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh, where a PhD student lost a hand and another student a thumb.


Many activists in Lucknow were arrested merely for participating in the protests, or even for recording the police brutality on their cellphones. The police tortured four activists — Sadaf Zafar, Pawan Rao Ambedkar, Deepak Kabir and Robin Verma.


Renowned human rights lawyer, Mohammad Shoaib, and retired top police officer S.R. Darapuri, both septuagenarians, were arrested from their homes without a warrant. Shoaib was not produced before a magistrate.


Pandey also criticized Uttar Pradesh state chief minister Adityanath for publicly asking his police officers to “take revenge” against the protesters. “After this police went berserk and indulged in brutal repression.” The police vandalized Muslim homes, beat up Muslims coming home from mosques, and even discharged firearms at them.


In Meerut city, the government acknowledged five men died of bullet wounds. The dead included a roti maker, a battery rickshaw puller, and a scrap dealer. In Kanpur city, three people died in police firing. The police used private firearms, Pandey alleged.


In Muzaffarnagar, the local Member of Parliament Sanjeev Baliyan allegedly led a mob attack on an orphanage, Pandey said. Police illegally detained many orphans. Twenty-one-year-old clothes vendor Noor Mohammad died after being shot in his forehead. was killed by a bullet injury in his forehead.

Another 13-year-old student and his older sister, who was to wed shortly, were wounded when the police attacked their home.


All those who were killed in the firing were Muslims.

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India must repeal CAA, stop crackdown on protesters, Amnesty International USA tells U.S. Congress

CAA-NRC will create the world’s biggest crisis of statelessness’

Washington, D.C., January 29, 2020


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi must repeal the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and stop the brutal crackdown on anti-CAA protesters, Amnesty International has said.


The world’s premier civil rights watchdog has also said that the CAA and the National Register for Citizens (NRC) would create the world’s biggest crisis of statelessness.


“The CAA, both in structure and in intent, is exclusionary and inconsistent with India’s Constitution and human rights obligation,” Francisco Bencosme, Asia Pacific Advocacy Manager, Amnesty International USA, said at a Briefing at U.S. Congress. It “may deprive minorities of their citizenship in India. If implemented, this stands to create the biggest stateless crisis of the world causing immense human suffering.”


“We ask here today for the Modi government to repeal the CAA and stop cracking down on protesters and ensure that its citizens have the right to peaceful assembly.”


Bencosme was speaking at a Briefing on “Implications of India’s Citizenship Law (CAA)” attended by dozens of Congressional staffs of Senators, Congresspersons and House committees. Also in the audience were officials of Department of State.

The briefing, held on Monday, was organized by Indian American Muslim Council, the largest Indian American group advocating for Constitutional secularism in India; Hindus for Human Rights; Emgage Action; and Council on American-Islamic Relations.


Bencosme said the prime minister’s “silence” on the police brutalities and crackdown “has spoken louder than his words”. “When he [Modi] has spoken about the protest he has been divisive, instead of healing the wounds of the country.”


Bencosme also said Amnesty International had documented “a clear pattern of the use of excessive force during protests and arrests of peaceful protesters”. There were also instances of “delayed access to legal counsel, differential treatment of assemblies, and bias in police and administrative response.”


Across India, anti-CAA protests had occurred in at least 94 districts across 14 states. At least 31 people have died in the violence. More than 110 have been arrested, and more than 600 have been kept in preventative detention, Bencosme said.


Most deaths have occurred in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state where Mr. Modi’s party is in power. “Arbitrary detention, use of excessive force, differential treatment of assemblies, and torture in custody have sadly become commonplace in Uttar Pradesh,” Bencosme said. “The way the state government has, by and large, chosen to respond to the anti-CAA protests has been massively disproportionate, unwarranted and unlawful. We call on them to end the brutal crackdown immediately.”


Speaking of Prime Minister Modi’s parliamentary constituency, Varanasi, Bencosme police had continued their “intimidation and crackdown”. Many who were injured in December had left homes and sought medical treatment in other areas “due to fear of reprisals from authorities”. There was constant police patrolling even at night, he said.


Houses have been vandalized across Varanasi. In at least two instances, the police broke into houses “in the middle of the night to make arrests, destroying property”. The police have “induced a climate of fear in citizens’ homes in India.”


Bencosme quoted a Varanasi resident as saying, “if you are trying to participate in anti-CAA protests, the government will arrest you and threaten you and slap laws like sedition on you. But if you are pro-CAA, you can organize rally and solidarity events.”


On October 22, Bencosme had testified on the ground situation in Kashmir before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Asia, Pacific and Nonproliferation. He had at that time criticized the Modi government for curtailing civil rights in Kashmir.

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Alliance for Justice and Accountability: Indian Americans demand Yogi Adityanath’s resignation as UP Chief Minister

Hindutva poster boy is accountable for the rising death toll, brutality against protesters and innocent civilians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 21, 2019

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella organization of diverse South Asian groups across the United States today gave voice to the outrage within the Indian diaspora over police repression of protests against the draconian Citizenship Amendment Act, as well as escalating anti-Muslim violence across the state of Uttar Pradesh. The coalition has called for the resignation of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and urged the Supreme Court of India to take suo motu cognizance of the killings, mass arrests and inhuman blockade imposed in various parts of the state. The situation is similar in several other BJP ruled states with the police playing the role of Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) foot soldiers.

This latest wave of Hindutva supremacist repression is happening in the wake of a stunning eruption of massive protests against the deeply bigoted Citizenship Amendment Act, which will provide citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Christian and Parsi migrants from neighboring countries, but denying the same to Muslims. People of conscience across the country are rightly outraged by a legislation that goes against not only India’s secular Constitution, but also against the country’s centuries old heritage of diversity and pluralism.

Together with the National Registry of Citizens (NRC), the CAA threatens to disenfranchise millions of bonafide Muslim citizens of their voting rights. Already noted citizens such as the families of former Indian President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed as well as Muslim soldiers who gave their lives fighting the Indian side in the Kargil war have been targeted by this law. Massive detentions reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps are underway in the state of Assam.In just the last five days, the death toll in police led violence against protesters in Uttar Pradesh has mounted to 22 .

An 8-year old boy in Varanasi was among the victims. The UP police have themselves acknowledged the arrest of 705 people in a massive crackdown on popular protests comprising of citizens from all walks of life.While news media has covered the death toll and the arrests, reports from people on the ground paint a very grim picture of the entire state machinery turning against Muslims and those looking to stand in solidarity with them. “Locals are calling in saying it is a carnage.

Muzaffarnagar, Sambal and Kanpur right now are the hotbeds of anti Muslim violence. Cops barging into homes, destroying property, beating children, detaining youth,vandalizing. Calls not getting through. Many are calling in from landlines. Disturbing videos of bloodbath,” wrote noted journalist Rana Ayyub in a Facebook post today.Renowned historian of South Asian history, Dr. Audrey Truschke who has faced death threats for her candid assessment of both Indian history and the fascist roots of Hindutva supremacy, today deplored the violence in a powerful tweet. 

“This is turning into a bloodbath. Key point, especially for media reporting on this: It’s the police, not the protesters, who are enacting systematic, targeted violence. There’s a history of this in India, and a specific history of Modi overseeing such violence (Gujarat, 2002),” wrote Truschke . Indeed the systematic nature of the police violence can be gauged from Prime Minister Modi’s absurd declaration that those committing arson could be identified by their clothes. ”Equally telling is noted Supreme Court lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan’s comment , that “this is much worse than anything we saw during the Emergency of 1975. We are faced with a govt that devours it’s own people.”The entire BJP administration, most notably Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, have blood on their hands,” said Theresa Matthews of South Asia Solidarity Initiative.

Noted activist Kanhayya Kumar has rightly pointed to the irony of those who were trying to protect the Constitution being termed “anti-nationals” while those who were destroying it calling themselves “patriots.”“We fully expect this evil law to eventually target all marginalized communities. This is why all caste oppressed communities are standing together with our Muslim brothers and sisters” said Thenmozhi Soundararajan the Executive Director of Equality Labs.AJA has lauded the courage of the protesters and called on the intern ational community to hold India accountable for its massive human rights violations. AJA is also leading protests against the CAA in several cities across the US.

Contact:
Alliance for Justice and Accountability
Phone/fax:  1-800-839-7270
Email: outreach@iamc.com

References:
Video Suggests UP Cop Opened Fire In Kanpur, Contrary To “No Police Firing” Claim
https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/citizenship-amendment-act-protests-video-suggests-up-cop-opened-fire-in-kanpur-contrary-to-no-police-2152566?pfrom=home-topscroll

As Modi talks of identifying violent protesters by their clothes, what should Indian Muslims do?
https://scroll.in/article/947024/as-modi-talks-of-identifying-violent-protesters-by-their-clothes-indian-muslims-face-a-double-bind

‘Look at Their Clothes’: Modi Plays Communal Card on CAA, Targets Muslim Protestors
https://thewire.in/communalism/narendra-modi-citizenship-amendment-act-protests-clothes

India citizenship law protests leave 22 deadhttps://www.cnn.com/2019/12/21/asia/india-death-toll-protests-intl/index.html

‘Will Take Revenge’: Yogi Adityanath On Protesters Vandalisng Public Properties
https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-will-take-revenge-yogi-adityanath-on-anti-caa-protesters-vandalisng-public-properties/344396

Activists, Muslim Groups Allege Indiscriminate, Mass Arrests; Urge SC Intervention
https://caravandaily.com/activists-muslim-groups-allege-indiscriminate-mass-arrests-urge-sc-intervention/
Alliance for Justice and Accountability is an umbrella coalition of various organizations dedicated to promoting the common values of pluralism, tolerance, social justice and respect for human rights that form the basis of the world’s two largest secular democracies – the United States and India.

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Thousands of Indian Americans and US based civil rights activists gearing up for massive protests against Hindutva and racism

Indian Americans Announce Protest Against Modi’s Houston Visit

[See also: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/protesters-get-ready-for-narendra-modis-houston-rally/article29472579.ece ]

Thousands of Indian Americans and US based civil rights activists gearing up for massive protests against Hindutva and racism at Modi event venue
HOUSTON, (TX)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), a broad coalition of Indian American organizations, has announced it is leading a protest comprising of thousands of Indian Americans and US based civil rights activists to coincide with Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Houston on Sunday, September 22, 2019.  The protest will be against the Modi government’s repressive policies, and the Hindutva supremacist ideology whose agenda his administration is implementing, the AJA has announced.
The AJA comprises of Hindu, Muslim, Dalit, Sikh and Christian groups, among others. They include the Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), a progressive Hindu group that opposes Hindutva; the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC); and the Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI).
Several US-based civil rights organizations such as Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP) and Black Lives Matter have announced they will join AJA’s protests, besides local politicians and candidates who are running for local offices in Houston. “We are a bona fide group of Indian Americans with roots in India, and not connected with any other nationality or separatist causes,” the AJA said in a statement released here on Saturday. “We have one and only one goal: to expose the undemocratic, anti-people and anti-minorities agenda of Mr. Modi’s government and the Hindutva brigade that is effectively in power.”
HfHR Co-Founder Sunita Viswanath said her organization was joining the protest because Hindus cannot accept human rights violations in the name of Hinduism.
“We are horrified that our religion which teaches Vasudaiva Kutumbakam is being hijacked by extremists and nationalists who are lynching Muslims, trampling on democracy and law and order, and arresting if not murdering those who are speaking out,” Ms. Viswanath said. “We are especially appalled by the most recent nightmare of the Kashmiri people, and the situation of 1.9 million people in India who are rendered stateless due to the imposition of the travesty called the National Register of Citizens.”
Added Ashton P. Woods, Co-founder of Black Lives Matter in Houston: “Prime Minister Modi has committed atrocities that cannot be overlooked. While I am fighting for my rights, and I ask people to support me, I also extend my support to the marginalized. My right to exist is contingent to everyone rights to exist. And we cannot allow those guilty of ethnic cleansing to enter our country.”
On Mr. Modi’s event “Howdy, Modi”, Pieter Friedrich, an American author and activist who has exposed the Hindu rightwing operations in the U.S.,  decried the participation of American politicians at the event. Mr. Friedrich is the author of a detailed paper on how Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was funded hugely by the Hindutva groups including the Hindu Swayam Sevak Sangh (HSS), the international wing of RSS in the US. “It’s shameful for any American politician to participate in a propaganda campaign by a pogrom-tainted foreign leader on US soil,” Mr. Friedrich said. Pieter’s talk at the Houston Town Hall meeting, a couple of days ago, where he made an impassioned plea, why the red carpet should not be laid out for Modi, has since then got viral.
The AJA statement further said that the behavior of Mr. Modi’s administration and the BJP’s state governments is reflective of the long-held ideological agenda of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which explicitly seeks to convert India into a Hindu supremacist nation with second-class status for Muslims and other minorities. “Over the last five years, Hindu extremist lynch mobs have killed nearly 100 Muslims in street across India simply because they were Muslims,” the AJA said. “In a number of such cases, the police have refused to bring criminal charges against the killer mobs.”
Ayman Elsawa, Egyptian activist, in a reference to Mr. Trump bragging about Egyptian President Sisi being his favorite dictator wondered if President Trump was now looking to replace Sisi with Modi, as his favorite dictator. Sarah Philips, who represents student activist group, Azaad Austin, emphasized that espousing progressive politics in US, but not caring for rising Hindutva influence in India was a blatant contradiction. “Since Modi came to power, the atrocities against minorities has jumped up by 500%,” she stated
Daniel Cohen, a Professional Communicator described Modi as someone who is building the world’s largest outdoor concentration camp. He thought it fitting that the US president would welcome him, because tyrants run together and will be on one stage. “Those who want to oppress, separate people, deny them their rights and liberties run together. What however doesn’t make sense is that the progressives who speak the same language as us, will join them, just to line their pockets”, he said.
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.
Alliance for Justice and Accountability is an umbrella coalition of various organizations dedicated to promoting the common values of pluralism, tolerance, social justice and respect for human rights that form the basis of the world’s two largest secular democracies – the United States and India.
CONTACT:
AJA Media Desk,
Office: (202)509-3835
Mobile: (301)543-0451

 

See Also:

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/protesters-get-ready-for-narendra-modis-houston-rally/article29472579.ece

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Indian Americans condemn unconstitutional revocation of Article 370, massive repression in Kashmir

IAMC calls on civil society to stand up to despotism that shows no regard for democracy and fairness

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 7, 2019

The Indian American Muslim Council ( IAMC ), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has condemned the revocation of the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir that had been bestowed on the state under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. IAMC has also condemned the Indian Government’s decision to bifurcate the state and downgrade its status from full statehood to a centrally-administered territory.

The decision of the Indian Government announced August 5, 2019, to withdraw the special status by presidential diktat, without consultation with and participation from the people of the state, violates both the Indian Constitution and international law, and disregards the universal principles of liberty and justice, IAMC said today.

IAMC also condemned the manner in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration rushed through Parliament the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill 2019, a law that has effectively abrogated Article 370 that had from 1954 recognized the special rights and citizenship of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

In bringing the law, Mr. Modi’s government kept hundreds of Members of Parliament in the dark until the last moment and refused to refer the issue to broader consultation in parliamentary committees to deliberate its constitutionality, legality and desirability.

IAMC has long held that lasting peace cannot come to Jammu and Kashmir without active participation of, and consultation with, the state’s people in the formulation of any decision, executive and/or legislative, that aims to resolve the protracted conflict. Unfortunately, successive Indian Governments over the last 30 years have thrust one-sided diktat as policy. Unsurprisingly, all such efforts have failed to bring peace.

Ahead of its announcement on Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Government unleashed massive repression in the state bringing in tens of thousands of troops in addition to the hundreds of thousands that have been placed in the region for three decades, making Kashmir one of the world’s most militarized zones. Mr. Modi’s administration has arrested political leaders, including two former heads of state governments, and continues to blockade telephone and internet services and restrict peaceful assembly.

This behavior of the Indian government’s is a hallmark of authoritarian despotism and not of Constitutional democracies. Veteran Indian lawyer and jurist A.G. Noorani has called the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status “utterly and palpably unconstitutional” and a “deed accomplished by deceitful means.”

This revocation has also besmirched India internationally. Amnesty International said the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was likely to inflame tensions in the area and increase the risk of further human rights violations. The Geneva-based International Commission for Jurists said the revocation violated the rights of representation and participation guaranteed by Indian Constitution and international law and was a blow to the rule of law and human rights in the state and in India.

The Indian Government’s brazenly unlawful and undemocratic decision on Jammu and Kashmir also lends credence to the fears of India’s 180 million Muslims that Mr. Modi’s rightwing administration has a vile agenda to victimize and brutalize them in fulfillment of the long-held vision of Hindu supremacists to convert Indian into a Hindu nation.

There is widespread concern that the recent change in India’s anti-terrorism law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), that allows the state wide authority to hold and jail people without charge, usually even before a crime has been committed, and to declare individuals as terrorists without a trial, will be largely used to target Muslims.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a self-styled social organization that is the ideological parent of Mr. Modi’s political party, the BJP, has for decades openly espoused the creation of a Hindu India where non-Hindus, including Muslims and Christians, would be second-class citizens. The decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, coming quickly after the UAPA amendment, strongly suggests that Mr. Modi’s administration is bent on delivering this Hindu supremacist agenda.

IAMC, therefore, urges India’s and international civil society institutions to stand up for democracy and human rights in India and not give a free pass to the unconstitutional revocation of Article 370 and to the massive repression that has accompanied it.

Reference:

India Tempts Fate in Kashmir, ‘The Most Dangerous Place in the World’
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/opinion/kashmir-article-370.html

Constitution Torn to Shreds as RSS Indulges Article 370 Fantasy in Kashmir
https://thewire.in/politics/constitution-torn-to-shreds-as-rss-indulges-article-370-fantasy-in-kashmir

The story of Indian democracy written in blood and betrayal
https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/jammu-kashmir-article-370-scrapped-special-status-amit-shah-narendra-modi-bjp-5880797/

ICJ Condemns Legislative Steps Taken by India in Kashmir, Says ‘All Eyes on Indian SC’
https://caravandaily.com/icj-condemns-legislative-steps-taken-by-india-in-kashmir-says-all-eyes-on-indian-sc/

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation.
For more information, please visit our website at: www.iamc.com

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Indian Americans condemn attack on Hindu priest in New York

IAMC welcomes Governor Andrew Cuomo’s move to have state authorities assist in investigation of hate crime

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 23, 2019

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC ), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has expressed unequivocal condemnation for the cowardly attack on Swami Harischander Puri, a Hindu priest based in Queens, NY on July 22, 2019. The attack happened around 11 AM just blocks from the Shiv Shakti Peeth Temple near 85th Ave. on Glen Oaks. Swami Puri, a resident of Queens for 30 years, later said he does not know his attacker, raising the likelihood that he was attacked for his faith and ethnicity, which would be hate crime.

The fact that NYPD made a swift arrest in the case and that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed state authorities to help NYPD investigate it as a hate crime are welcome developments. Although the Swami has forgiven his attacker, the law must take its course, so that justice is served.

“The apparent hate attack on Swami Harish Chander Puri is reflective of the xenophobia and racism that is threatening  our shared American values,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of the Indian American Muslim Council. “We call upon Indian Americans of all faiths, and indeed all people of conscience, to come together to combat bigotry in all its forms, whether it is in India or the United States,” added Mr. Khan.

A delegation of IAMC volunteers from NY/NJ area visited Swami Puri and wished him speedy recovery.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com

References:

https://indianexpress.com/article/world/hindu-priest-attacked-near-temple-in-us-5840096/

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270

Email:info@iamc.com

Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council

Twitter: @IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Indian Americans Protest Surge in Attacks on Minorities

The Indian American Muslim Council and other coalition partner organizations held protests across various US cities to express outrage over the recent surge in attacks against minorities.

In last few weeks, IAMC chapters organized protest demonstrations in New York, San Jose, Dallas, Seattle, Chicago and Boston to condemn the tactical support given by the leaders of ruling party that is emboldening such forces.

The last few years have seen brutal killings of mostly Muslims and Dalits in the name of cow protection. In last few months, many minority community members were beaten across the country and forced to chant Jai Shri Ram by Hindutva fanatics.

Since 2010, 97% of beef related violence has taken place after the BJP-led Hindu nationalist government came to power. Since 2015, an increasing number of Muslims have been lynched, hanged or brutalized in the cruelest manner on mere suspicion of possessing or cooking beef.

Last month, Tabrez Ansari, 24, was beaten to death by a Hindu mob in Kharsawan district in Jharkhand on suspicion of theft, causing a public uproar.

Holding “Stop India from Fascism” and “Stop Lynching” placards, hundreds of protestors from all walks of life and religious backgrounds demanded an immediate end to atrocities against Muslims and other marginalized groups in India.

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Pulwama backlash – Terror unleashed against innocent Kashmiris must cease, demand Indian Americans

Calls to boycott and harass Kashmiris are unacceptable and must be condemned by all parties

February 25, 2019

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), today called on the state and central governments in India to enforce law and order and defend ordinary Kashmiris from harassment and mob attacks in the wake of the Pulwama attacks in which over 40 Indian soldiers were killed.

Kashmiri students and businessmen in other states have been attacked, and in some cases given ultimatums to go back to Kashmir within 24 hours. Dozens of cars have been set on fire in Jammu, while a helpline setup by the Jammu and Kashmir Student Organization received over 1,600 distress calls from Kashmiris across Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and West Bengal.

Perhaps one of the most condemnable action by a state leader came from the Governor of Meghalaya who has recently supported a call for boycott of “everything Kashmiri.” Such incendiary rhetoric further inflames passions, creates a dangerously divisive atmosphere and is ultimately a disservice to the memory of the soldiers who laid down their lives at Pulwama. It is such state-sponsored harassment and violence that has prompted the Supreme Court of India to order the government to protect Kashmiris from the backlash.

“The attacks on Kashmiris across India are a result of vested interests politicizing the Pulwama attacks and using it to foment sectarian strife ahead of the elections, ” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of the Indian American Muslim Council. “The people of India must see through these divisive attacks and hold accountable those who are using human lives as pawns in a cynical abuse of state power,” added Mr. Khan.

IAMC commends the actions of the ordinary citizens going out of their way to help Kashmiris who are under siege in various states, the Punjab police’s decision to setup a helpline for Kashmiris facing threats, should be emulated by other states. IAMC has called on civil society institutions to condemn not only the terror attacks of Pulwama but also the terror unleashed against innocent Kashmiris in the name of nationalism.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/

 

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270

Email: info@iamc.com

Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council

Twitter: @IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

 

REFERENCES:

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IAMC condemns dastardly terror attack in Kashmir

IAMC condemns dastardly terror attack in Kashmir

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), today condemned in the strongest terms the dastardly act of terror in Kashmir that has claimed the lives of 40 personnel from India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The brave CRPF personnel who laid down their lives reflected the diversity of India united in their ultimate sacrifice for the nation.

 

IAMC calls for a thorough investigation and bringing the perpetrators to justice. IAMC also demands that swift action be taken against the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed that has claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

IAMC recognizes that cross-border terrorism perpetrated by militant outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammed have only made matters worse in Kashmir. We condemn terrorism in all its forms, and call for a resolution to the Kashmir issue through a process of dialogue that reflects compassion, respect and a commitment by all parties to uphold human rights and religious freedom.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation.
For more information, please visit our website at: www.iamc.com

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Indian-Americans celebrate Republic Day across USA, with pledges to uphold the Constitution and combat hate

Indian-Americans celebrate Republic Day across USA with pledges to uphold the Constitution and combat hate

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, marked India’s 70th Republic Day on Saturday January 26, 2019, with celebrations at chapters across the United States.

This year’s Republic Day celebrations continue in a tradition IAMC has established over the last 17 years of celebrating the adoption of India’s Constitution and its fundamental emphasis on pluralism and equality before the law for people of all faiths.

At the chapter event in South Brunswick., NJ, board member Mr. Jawad Mohammed remarked, “The Constitution of India was shaped by the diverse nature of India; its diversity of languages, religions, and ethnic communities. Thus, with its adoption, India became a sovereign, secular, democratic Republic and its foundations of liberty, justice and equality became integrated into the fabric of the nation. It is truly an extraordinary document.”

Mr. Mohammed also drew attention to the fact that the Constitution of India was under a sustained attack on account of the shrinking space for religious freedom of minorities and human rights violations of minorities, “lower castes” and women.

The commemoration in Dallas was held at Fun Asia in Richardson, TX. IAMC-Dallas President Rahmath Baig said “We hold the constitutions of both the United States and India in high regard as Indian-Americans, and have a duty to preserve the ideals of both.” Richardson, TX, Mayor Mark Soloman, and City Councilman Bob Doobay were also in attendance. Councilman Doobay expressed his felicitations on the 70th Republic Day celebrations as well as his appreciation for the Indian American Muslim Council promoting peace, equality and a commitment to uphold civil liberties.

IAMC-Dallas member Arshad Qawi noted, “We are extremely proud of our Indian heritage. India is blessed to have a constitution which protects basic civil liberties and secular principles. Unfortunately the socio-political environment in India today, is marked by an unprecedented level of intolerance and religious bigotry. It’s imperative upon all of us as responsible members of the diaspora ,to get involved and make a concerted effort to promote peace and social justice for all.”

The four hour events included fun activities for children including a Drawing Competition, as well as Fancy Dress and Spot Quiz Contests based on Indian themes. The US national anthem was followed by the national anthem of India.

Speaking on the theme for the occasion “Strength in diversity, IAMC Vice President, Syed Afzal Ali, said “we gather today to recommit ourselves to the founding principles of the Constitution of liberty, equality and justice for all. We want to leave the world better for our children and that requires us to push back against the tide of hate and destruction and continue to build bridge of unity and hope. As Indian Americans dedicated to pluralism and human rights, we have a double reason to celebrate the founding of the Indian Republic. IAMC’s Republic Day celebrations are an expression of profound appreciation for the ideals of justice, pluralism and democracy – the shared values of India and the United States.”

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation.
For more information, please visit our website at: www.iamc.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Citizenship Bill excluding Muslim immigrants taking India further into an abyss of bigotry say Indian Americans

 
 
IAMC calls for US Senate to conduct hearing on sustained attacks on religious freedom and human rights in India
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
January 09, 2019
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has called the bill passed by the lower house of India’s Parliament, granting citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from neighboring countries unconstitutional and reflective of the Modi administration’s deep animus towards Muslims and other minorities. In addition the IAMC has called on the US Senate to conduct a hearing on the sustained attacks against religious freedom of minorities in India.
The issue of illegal immigration into India has long been a political flashpoint in India, especially in the northern states bordering Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, with the BJP and others in the Hindutva fraternity using it to label even Indian Muslim citizens as illegal infiltrators. In July 2018, the government published a draft of the National Citizenship Registry that excluded four million citizens, mostly Muslims, accusing them of being illegal immigrants.  The outrage was exacerbated by the fact that among those excluded from the registry was the family of the fifth President of India, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed. This week India’s ruling party went a step further in its brazen attempts to detach India from its secular moorings and turn it into a Hindu state. The lower house passed a bill granting citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from neighboring countries. The bill seeks to permit illegal immigrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities from neighboring countries to settle in India and avoid deportation. If the citizenship bill and the national citizenship registry are seen in conjunction, it becomes clear that the government is keen on keeping out only Muslim migrants to the country while actively seeking to strip millions of Indian Muslims of their citizenship.
Article 14 of India’s Constitution declares, “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.” The shocking irony of Indian lawmakers attempting to legislate a violation of the Constitution has rightly generated outrage among minorities and people of conscience across India. The bill is also a violation of the Assam accord of 1985. The Accord requires that the government deport all illegal immigrants who came to the country after 1971 when Bangladesh gained independence.
There is a strong possibility that this bill, given it is such an open exercise in religious discrimination, will not stand judicial scrutiny. However, the government’s actions are part of a larger pattern of shrinking religious freedom for India’s minorities. Recently the Chief Minister of a major state called on Muslims to refrain from using public spaces to offer prayers. This stunning comment was followed by a police directive to major companies holding them responsible if their employees were to use a public park for Friday prayers.
The fact that India’s right-wing Hindu nationalist administration has come this far in advancing its agenda of turning Indian Muslims into second-class citizens while legislating preferential treatment of Hindus should generate international concern over the future of India as a secular, democratic polity,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “While the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) had consistently placed India in the Tier 2 list of countries where religious freedom is at risk even before the Modi administration came to power, it is time to acknowledge that the RSS and its ideological affiliates have taken India further down into the abyss of hate and religious bigotry, ” added Mr. Khan.
IAMC has urged members of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India’s Parliament to reject the bill outright and prevent further division and tension in the country. IAMC has also called on protesters to maintain peace while expressing their outrage against the government’s unconstitutional actions.
Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com
REFERENCES:

1. Four million people excluded from draft of India’s National Register of Citizens

 

2. Family of India’s former President excluded from National Register of Citizens

 

3. India’s lower house passes citizenship bill that excludes Muslims’

4. Times of India Editorial on Citizenship Bill

 

5. Haryana Chief Minister asks Muslims to not pray in public places

 

6. Police warn companies about their employees praying in a park

 

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IAMCs Response to Times Now

Press Releases

1) Times Now’s India Upfront program coverage of the Religious Freedom briefing in Capitol Hill : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qa31df3KRmQ

Original Video of briefing: https://www.facebook.com/IndianAmericanMuslimCouncil/videos/1912060422205443?sfns=1

 

December 12, 2018

To
Mr. Rahul Shivshankar
Editor-in-Chief
Times Now
New Delhi

Subject: India Upfront program coverage of the Religious Freedom briefing in Capitol Hill

Dear Mr. Shivshankar,

Greetings.

We write to you with reference to your program “India Upfront” broadcast on Times Now network
on November 30, 2018 at 7:55 PM, covering an event titled “Religious Freedom in India: A
Briefing on Capitol Hill”.

This event was held at the Russell Senate Office Building at the Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.,
on November 29 and was organized by Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an organization
dedicated to promoting peace, pluralism, justice and liberty for all.

We, the undersigned, were among the speakers at that event, and we are writing now to express
our dismay and disappointment with the content of your aforementioned show which was, to
say the least, duplicitous and defamatory towards us and our organizations.

Firstly, as the newscaster, you repeatedly said that the views expressed at the briefing were akin
to the positions held by India’s opposition parties. At one point in the show, you asked: “Is it a
possibility that some of these [organizations] are sponsored by political opponents of the
governments here [in India] because the points that were made were very political in nature?”

The insinuation that political opponents in India might sponsor us or our organizations is not only
preposterous but false and defamatory and we reject it outright. We advocate for freedom of
religion and a free press as guaranteed in the Indian constitution and understood by the
international community. We are not partisans and have worked to bring attention to violations
of these principles under different Indian administrations. There is no question that any of us,
individually or collectively, are linked with India’s political parties, ruling or in the opposition.

The Briefing was headlined by Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, a towering advocate for human rights
and religious freedom and the daughter of Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to win a seat
on U.S. Congress, and who created the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. To suggest that
she would be fronting for any domestic stakeholders in India insults her global stature.

Indeed, in speaking at the Briefing, all of us, the undersigned, were simply invoking our right to
free speech guaranteed to us under the United States Constitution that allows its citizens
unrestricted freedom to organize, demonstrate and propagate any cause or causes, domestic or
international, they deem as critical to upholding America’s national and political interest.

We believe that the RSS’s rising Hindutva majoritarianism that has unleashed violence against
India’s social and religious minorities — notably, Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs
— is antithetical to the moral commitments of the U.S. and Indian governments to democracy
and the safety and security of social and religious minorities around the world.

It is not only our right but also our duty to ask U.S. Congress and U.S. Government to hold the
Government of India to account for failing to protect its social and religious minorities and uphold
the constitutionally mandated guarantees of right to life and freedom of religion.

Secondly, it speaks poorly of your journalistic values that though you made numerous allegations
and insinuations against the briefing, your editorial team did not once reach out to any of us for
our version. Balanced reporting, including the right to reply, is fundamental to free and fair
journalism, and your program and your network clearly failed on that global standard.

Thirdly, it is surprising that you allowed the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) to call IAMC anti-
Hindu and anti-India without giving IAMC a chance to counter that blatant falsehood. IAMC
believes India is strongest when it lives up to its democratic and inclusive promise.

Fourthly, you and your program falsely claimed that “there was no conversation” at our Briefing
“on attacks that have taken place on Hindus”. In fact, the Briefing prominently discussed the
arson at the ashram of Swami Sandeepananda Giri, who has supported the entry of women at
Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, and the physical violence against Swami Agnivesh, a Hindu monk.

Fifthly, your program claimed that it had “access” to the footage of the event, insinuating that
the Briefing was a secret venture. The fact is that this was a public briefing that had been well
publicized ahead of its occurrence, including on social media platforms such as Facebook.

Sixthly, it is surprising that throughout the program you chose to ignore the fact that a leading
Hindu group in the U.S. — Sadhana: Coalition for Progressive Hindus — was also represented
at the Briefing via its co-Founder Sunita Viswanath. Sadhana has been a leading Hindu voice
expressing strong opposition to the politics of extremism and intolerance in the U.S. and India.

You also belittled the fact that several speakers at the briefing are from the social and religious
minorities facing the brunt of the Hindutva violence. They included Rev. Dr. Sarah C. Anderson-
Rajarigam, who is a Dalit Christian woman and a Lutheran priest in the U.S.; Pawan Singh, who
is Sikh by faith; and Vishavjit Singh, also a Sikh and a survivor of the mass violence against the
Sikhs in India in 1984 following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

It is no less astounding that your program did not address a single issue raised at the Briefing
where the increasing violence against the religious minorities in India was graphically detailed.

Indeed, this briefing has received wide coverage by leading news organizations in India, including
by your sister organization, The Times of India, which fairly represented the briefing for what it
was — a briefing on religious freedom in India organized on Capitol Hill — and accurately
summarized the points made and issues raised by various speakers at the event.

We now urge to you acknowledge the wrongs in your program as outlined above as also carry
our statement on your network prominently so as to redress the grievance you have caused us.
We would also like to let you know that we will publicly release this letter for publication in leading
platforms, including on social media and in the digital space.

With warm regards,

AHSAN KHAN, President, Indian American Muslim Council
KHALID ANSARI, Co-ordinator, Coalition for the Defense of the Constitution and Democracy
LISA HENDRICKSON, Director of Government Relations, Hardwired Global
MIKE GHOUSE, Founder, Center for Pluralism
PAWAN SINGH, Director, Organization for Minorities of India
SARAH C. ANDERSON-RAJARIGAM, Dalit priest, Grace Lutheran Church
SUNITA VISWANATH, Co-Founder, Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus
VISHAVJIT SINGH, Performance artist and survivor 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom

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U.S. Groups Condemn PM Modi for Failure to Stop Attacks on Religious Minorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Religious freedom activists from across the U.S. have criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his failure to stop the violence carried out by Hindutva groups against religious minorities, including Muslims and Christians.

At an event titled “Religious Freedom in India: A Briefing on Capitol Hill”, organized by the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) on the Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the activists urged the Indian prime minister to condemn such violence against religious minorities as well as take all necessary measures to curb the rise of Hindutva extremism and punish the Hindutva groups involved in violence.

“The failure of Prime Minister Modi to definitively condemn and to definitively distance himself from the extreme elements of his party has played a substantial and significant role in bringing about the situation that we see today,” said Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, former Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent bipartisan federal commission tasked with defending religious freedom outside the U.S.

“Inflammatory rhetoric and a conception of India’s national identity increasingly based on religion have contributed to an atmosphere of intimidation, exclusion, and even violence directed at non-Hindus,” she added, saying Muslims and Christians are the “primary victims”.

Dr. Katrina Lantos speaking at the Religious Freedom In India Briefing at the Capitol Hill

Dr. Lantos Swett, who is the daughter of Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to have ever been elected to U.S. Congress and who founded the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, said India’s religious freedom violation had a “long-standing pattern of impunity and immunity”.

“We see it in the lack of accountability for large-scale communal violence such as the horrors we know took place in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, and in the more individualized crimes committed against members of minorities faiths,” she said.

The briefing was held in a Senate Building before an audience that also included Congressional staffs, officials from the Department of State and USCIRF, and civil society members.

Jeff King, President of International Christian Concern (ICC), quoted a survey saying 82% of Indian Christians were “very concerned” for their safety, 73% experienced discrimination “at least once” last year, 85% saw an “increase in aggression” by Hindu nationalists, and 84% said minorities were “less protected” under Modi.

“If the prime minister were to condemn acts of aggression and violence and push for prosecution, this [violence] would fairly quickly dry up,” King said. “But it’s not happening.” He asked Modi to “use the bully pulpit and condemn acts of aggression and violence.” King urged the Indian Government to allow a team of USCIRF to visit India on a fact-finding mission.

Matthew Bulger, Legislative Director of the American Humanist Association, a U.S. organization promoting theism and agnosticism since 1941, said that compared to global religious freedom standards, “India is failing”. Several Indian laws and policies “restrict religious freedom rights” and have led to arrests and prosecution of individuals, “which is just unacceptable”.

He criticized Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code as a “relic” of British colonial law and “essentially a blasphemy and anti-religious incitement law “inconsistent with the pluralistic and democratic values India publicly accepts. Laws which restrict religious freedom can serve as a catalyst for vigilante violence, such as that seen in India recently regarding the lynchings by Hindu nationalists of people, most often Muslims, suspected of smuggling or killing cows.”

Bulger noted that although Pehlu Khan, a Muslim dairy farmer murdered by cow vigilantes in April 2017, named six suspects in his “death-bed statement” criminal charges against them were dismissed. “Sadly, this is not an isolated case, as over a dozen similar murders have happened in the last two years alone.”

Rev. Sarah C. Anderson-Rajarigam, a Dalit Christian Lutheran church priest from Philadelphia, said the status of Dalits had worsened under the Modi government. “Modi’s government has deliberately and openly made violence against Dalits a non-issue by offering impunity.”

The perpetrators of violence against Dalits were not only free but “elevated to the status of a hero”, she said, adding: “The patter of violence continues unabated… But there is no shame experienced either by the perpetrators or by Prime Minister Modi and other ministers.”

Pawan Singh, a Sikh representing the Organization for Minorities of India, said the “fascist ideology” of the RSS that “a small group of people are born superior to others… needs to be checked.” He said: “There is the curtain of democracy that they use, and then go on with their business of killing individuals of dissenting opinion, or because they do not like them.”

Singh said the “pseudo institutions” connected with the RSS, such as the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, the Bajrang Dal and the Hindu American Foundation “were a threat to our freedom”.

Citing the World Hindu Congress organized in Chicago in September, Singh said the spread of Hindutva was “not just India’s problem any more… That is what gives me the shivers: these rightwing saffron terrorists [are] roaming in the free world, threatening our free institutions.”

He criticized the U.S. government for giving a visa to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who, he said, “should be tried for crimes against humanity”, and slammed Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamurthy for speaking at the Hindu Congress. “These people are wearing facades, while they carry big knives to kill us, to kill the dissenting opinion, to kill anybody and everybody who will speak for equality, for justice and freedom for all.”

Sunita Viswanath, Co-founder of Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, a New York-based nonprofit, said the “chilling repression of open debate and political expression” in India and the violence against Muslims and Christians was alarming. “This repression and violence is taking place in the name of Hinduism, one that we do not recognize and cannot accept,” she said.

Viswanath noted that the police had named the Sanatan Sanstha, an extremist right-wing Hindutva organization, for the September 2017 killing of Gauri Lankesh, a Bangalore-based activist and journalist. “The Sanatan Sanstha was also involved in the killing of other activists,” she said. “Despite this, it has not yet been banned or classified as a terrorist organization.”

Vishavjit Singh, a cartoonist and performance artist from New York, and a survivor of the mass violence against Sikhs in the aftermath of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984, said that violence targeting Sikhs “set the stage for the powers to be – doesn’t matter, BJP, Congress, anybody else – to know [that] you can kill with impunity, as many people as you like, in a democracy, and get away with it.”

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/

 

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CONTACT: Indian American Muslim Council

phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270

email: info@iamc.com

Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council

Twitter: @IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053

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Activists disrupt Hindu supremacist conclave in Chicago, evoke violent reaction from extremists

Anti-fascists slogans call for a stop to Hindu fascism during plenary session of World Hindu Congress

September 9, 2018

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella organization of progressive South Asian groups across the United States in coordination with the local community, today lauded the activists who disrupted the plenary session of the World Hindu Congress, a conclave convened by organizations aligned with the Hindu supremacist ideology that is spearheading the violation of human rights and religious freedom of minorities in India.

The event has been deeply mired in controversy since the Alliance for Justice and Accountability, along with a wide range of Indian diaspora organizations have denounced it as an attempt to mainstream Hindu fascism in the United States. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard who had initially agreed to chair the three day Congress severed all connections with the event.

On Friday evening, several young activists from Chicago South Asians for Justice raised signs and called out, “RSS Turn Around, We don’t want you in Our Town,” and “Stop Hindu Fascism.” Some conference attendees erupted in a violent rage, spitting on the protesters, shoving them to the floor, and choking one of them. Two protesters were arrested and charged with trespass and disorderly conduct, while one conference attendee was charged with battery. “We endured extremely violent and demeaning behavior from a bunch of self-righteous Hindutva fanatics who refuse to acknowledge their complicity in promoting and furthering fascism. Their response is indicative of their fascist mindset that brooks no dissent, and we refuse to allow it to be promulgated in our state without a fight,” said one of the protesters who courted arrest.

“This is deeply significant,” said Nesamani Rajamani of AJA. “These young leaders did what Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi could not, which is to speak truth to power. This courageous act confronting hate on its own ground is the first direct action against caste in the diaspora. The brave hearts made a choice as people of conscience to stand up to Hindu Fascism and Brahminsm, and we believe that as long as the RSS and the Sangh continue to go after Dalit Bahujan peoples, people of conscience will stand up and resist together,” added Mr. Rajamani.

Earlier on Friday, a truck bearing billboard size messages “Boycott World Hindu Congress” drove around the Lombard area. Hindutva is the term for a politicized ideology of Hindu ethno-nationalism associated with brutal violence toward India’s minority communities, particularly Dalits (those previously designated “untouchable” by the traditional caste system) and Muslims, as well as Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, and secular critics. Some of the most virulent hatemongers of Hindutva are featured speakers at the WHC, such as RSS chief Mohan Rao Bhagwat and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, both of whom have a long public record of advancing misogyny, hate crimes and attacks on minorities, as well as assurances of impunity for its perpetrators.

On Saturday, AJA held a protest outside the conference venue, with the stated goal of “standing in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in India who are fighting against the #HIndutva rule and will not be silent in the face of mob lynchings, rapes, murders, and the targeting of our leaders and academics.”

AJA’s Ashwin Khobragade said, “Antifascists in the South Asian diaspora who care about racial and caste justice, and who disagree with the blanket criminalization of Muslims, have to be no less vigilant in standing against the VHP and RSS than we do against American neo-nazi, white supremacist, and ethno-nationalist groups. The time has come to organize, unite, and to win”.

While the WHC promotes its agenda as “a global platform for Hindus” to network, inspire and strategize for “the common good,” its true agenda is to advance the jaundiced view of the world espoused by the VHP of America, American branch of the India-based Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP); the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, American branch of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which was founded under the inspiration of Nazism; and the Hindu American Foundation (HAF). These groups are also affiliated with the ruling nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), under whose rule since 2014 there have been over a hundred lynchings of Dalits, adivasis and Muslims, often using the dog whistle of “cow protection.”

Calling for a boycott of the event, AJA engaged in outreach to a number of US politicians including Tulsi Gabbard, Ash Kalra, Jay Chaudhuri and Raja Krishnamoorthy, who had initially been slated to participate under the guise of cultural pluralism and interfaith harmony. After learning of the partisan and extremist nature of the event, Gabbard, Kalra and Chaudhuri severed their connections with it. In a separate development, The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago condemned the appearance of fascists speakers at the conference.

Krishnamoorthi did attend, chairing a panel on political leadership, but indicated that he wishes to hold a meeting with Muslim groups in his constituency who have expressed their deep objections to his support for anti-Muslim activities in India. South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) has issued a statement taking Krishnamoorthi to task for sharing a platform with RSS ideologues and rescinding their offer to him to speak at their Congressional Briefing on hate violence and post-9/11 policies.

AJA has launched a twitter campaign #StopHinduFascism, to shed light on the violence and demand accountability from speakers and sponsors of the event. The impact of the twitterstorm awoke many Americans to the rising issues of #HinduFascism in the world.

Contact:
The Alliance for Justice and Accountability
Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: stophindufascism@protonmail.com

Alliance for Justice and Accountability, 6321 W. Dempster St., Suite# 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053-2848

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Persecution of activists an expression of fascism say Indian Americans

Persecution of activists an expression of fascism say Indian Americans

Arrest of prominent intellectuals and dissidents widely condemned by diaspora

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 28, 2018

The Alliance for Justice And Accountability (AJA), an umbrella coalition of progressive organizations across the United States, today condemned the sweeping attacks against activists and intellectuals in India, leading to the arrest of five prominent public figures known for their courage and tenacity in combating caste oppression.

Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira were all arrested on the same day from their homes in different Indian cities on Tuesday, August 28, 2018. The arrests have been roundly condemned as a “massive crackdown” by prominent personalities across India, as well as by international human rights groups such as Amnesty International.

The fact that the police waited for Republic TV to arrive after having arrested Sudha Bharadwaj, shows the intent was to sensationalize the arrest and demonize activists such as Ms. Bhardwaj.

“It is deeply alarming to see the government arrest activists who seek to defend justice and human dignity, as opposed to arresting those who perpetrate violations of human rights and religious freedom, ” said Mr. Bhajan Singh, founding director of Organization of Minorities in India (OFMI).

AJA has demanded dropping of all the false and malicious charges against these intellectuals and an investigation into the political motives behind their harrassment.

“The fact that a BJP lawmaker from Karnataka recently advocated the killing of all intellectuals, is an indication of India’s accelerating trajectory towards mob rule, ” said Mr. Umang Kumar, a noted community activist who is part of AJA. “Attack on human rights defenders such as Swami Agnivesh and Umar Khalid are a direct outcome of such vitriol coming from the ruling party,” added Mr. Umang.

“Clearly, the government seems to be playing to polarize the nation before the 2019 elections. Such open subversion of the rule of law does not help any community,” added Mr. Ahsan Khan, President Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC).

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability has pledged to work with people of all faiths to defend India from the onslaught of hate and divisiveness.

Contact:
Alliance for Justice and Accountability
Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com

References:

1) Indian activists decry police arrests and searches after caste riots
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/indian-activists-decry-police-arrests-and-searches-after-caste-riots/2018/08/28/d44e9a7a-aabf-11e8-8f4b-aee063e14538_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0d1ab2b19a98

2) Top Indian activists held over caste violence
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-45328323

3) Intellectuals condemn arrest of activists, call it ‘perilous, chilling, fascist’
https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/intellectuals-condemn-arrest-of-activists-call-it-perilous-chilling-fascist/story-6e1jF1dPX9ZmQUA5HGwNOK.html

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IAMC celebrates 72nd India Independence Day – Diaspora pledges commitment to pluralism

IAMC celebrates 72nd India Independence Day – Diaspora pledges commitment to pluralism

August 15, 2018

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, today joined millions of people, in India and around the world, to celebrate the 72nd India’s Independence Day.
While sharing in the joy of India’s independence from colonial rule, activists and community members marked the occasion as a sober reminder of how far India has come from its founding principles.

The brutal mob lynchings, the shrinking space for a free press, and the incessant hateful rhetoric are all indicative of a nation under attack. “We need yet another freedom struggle,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “We need to break ourselves free from the stranglehold of vicious ideology that is intent on turning Indians against one another on the basis of religion, caste and creed,” added Mr. Khan.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Exclusion of 4 million from Citizens’ Registry a horrible atrocity says Indian Americans

Relatives of former President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed among those at risk of becoming stateless; Targeting of religious minorities apparent motive say Muslim organizations

August 2, 2018

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has called for the immediate suspension of the National Registry of Citizens, until irregularities that have resulted in four million people being excluded from the list are resolved. The ethnic group that is the worst victim of this mass disenfranchisement is the Bengali speaking Muslim community in Assam, accused of being “infiltrators,” although they are Indian citizens.

International bodies such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch as well as civil society institutions across India have expressed concern about the process that could render the four million people stateless. “It is possible that the process will arbitrarily deprive people, who have lived in India for decades, of their nationality,” Amnesty said in a statement.

 

“The fact that this is an exercise in subversion of democracy and has a clearly bigoted, discriminatory agenda, is reflected in the exclusion of the relatives of the former President of India,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “The entire program should be suspended until the criteria for exclusion are clearly defined,” added Mr. Khan

The stark contrast between the government’s warm welcome of the Hindu migrants from Bangladesh and its openly hostile attitude to Rohingya refugees reeks of bigotry and a penchant to view some refugees as less deserving of humanitarian treatment only due to the religion they practice.

As local organizations have pointed out, the update process that was under the supervision of the Supreme Court experienced a number of interventions by the state government. Human rights activist Suhas Chakma rightly dubbed the NRC list the “biggest exercise for disenfranchisement in human history.”

IAMC has called on the central government not to allow religious differences to define the socio-political landscape of the country, where something as basic as a citizen’s right to be called a citizen of the country is arbitrarily snatched away.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/

CONTACT: Indian American Muslim Council Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270 Email: info@iamc.com Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council Twitter: @IAMCouncil Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

REFERENCES:

 

  1. As India Clamps Down on Migration, Millions May Lose Citizenship

 

  1. India’s crackdown on illegal immigration could leave 4 million people stateless

 

  1. Muslim survivors of Indian massacre shaken by citizenship test

 

  1. Millions potentially excluded from Indian citizenship in controversial registry

 

  1. UN Urges India Not to Strip Millions of People of Their Rights

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

 

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Waves of coordinated vigils continue across United States, denouncing the horrific rapes in Kathua and Unnao and stepping up calls for fair and speedy trials

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Indian Americans stand in disgust and shame at the horrific nature of rapes and the government’s subsequent handling of the cases which gave patronage to the accused.

April 30, 2018

Hundreds of Indian Americans came together in cities across United States for candlelight vigils and demonstrations demanding fair and speedy trials of the accused in the now infamous Kathua and Unnao rape cases. Vigils were held over the weekend in San Jose (CA), San Diego (CA), and Ft. Lauderdale (FL), with hundreds of Indian Americans showing an outpouring of support for the rape victims. The vigils were marked with chants of “Justice for Asifa”, “Justice for Unnao”, and railed the Indian government’s failure to properly investigate the cases for several months after the crimes. In the previous weeks, similar vigils where held in several other cities including Washington D.C., New York (NY), New Jersey, Baltimore (MD), Boston (MA), Seattle (WA), Raleigh (NC) and Minneapolis (MN).

Earlier this year, Asifa, an eight-year old girl was abducted in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir state, imprisoned for a week in a temple, where she was starved, drugged and gang raped repeatedly before being murdered. According to the police charge sheet of those arrested, the rape and subsequent murder was planned and executed in order to terrorize the Bakarwal Muslim community and drive them out of the area. The attempts to file a charge sheet against the accused at a local court was repeatedly blocked and followed by violent protests in their defense by extremist groups aligned with the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). Two BJP ministers who attended the protests urged the crowd to obstruct the prosecution of the accused. In yet another incident from Unnao, a powerful BJP lawmaker in the Uttar Pradesh State Assembly, Kuldeep Singh Sengar, is accused of raping a teenage girl, obstructing justice, and then conspiring with his brother to kill the girl’s father after the family filed a police report.

“Words cannot do justice to the terror that the victims of these crimes have had to suffer. The preachers of Hindutva, who are feted not punished, are responsible for an epidemic of hate inspired brutal rapes and mob lynchings. Sometimes these crimes are justified on the pretext that the victims have consumed beef or slaughtered cows. Sometimes simply being a Muslim is enough to invite violence,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, the President of Indian American Muslim Council and one of the organizers of yesterday’s candlelight vigil in San Jose (CA). “In the four years of Prime Minister Modi’s rule, the intimidation of religious minorities and violence against them have reached levels that have not been witnessed in the history of independent India. In both Kathua and Unnao rape case, we demand speedy trials free of all political interference as well as thorough investigations into the role of extremist outfits like Hindu Ekta Manch in spreading hate and obstructing justice,” added Mr. Khan.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/

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Follow us on Twitter

REFERENCES:
1. An 8-Year-Old’s Rape and Killing Fuels Religious Tensions in India
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/world/asia/india-girl-rape.html 

2. Child’s rape, killing in India mire in religious politics
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/childs-rape-murder-in-india-mired-in-religious-politics/2018/04/12/30f8956a-3e1d-11e8-955b-7d2e19b79966_story.html

3. Kathua rape case: Chargesheet filed by Jammu and Kashmir Police
https://www.firstpost.com/india/kathua-rape-case-chargesheet-filed-by-jammu-and-kashmir-police-reveals-details-of-horrific-crime-4427405.html

4. Asifa, Betrayed Over And Over
https://www.ndtv.com/blog/asifa-betrayed-over-and-over-1836718

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Peace Vigil in Seattle to demand justice for rape and murder victims in India

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Peace Vigil in Seattle to demand justice for rape and murder victims in India

Protestors demand that the Government of India set up fast-track courts for trials in rape cases and expedite justice delivery to the victims.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Seattle, USA,  Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Seattle chapter of Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC, www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, organized a candle light vigil on Saturday, April 21 at the Crossroads Park in Bellevue, Washington.

The event was cosponsored by multiple groups across the spectrum:

1:Association for India’s Development (AID) – Seattle chapter (aidindia.org/seattle-chapter/)
2: Unity Across Identities
3: Tasveer (www.tasveer.org)
4: India Association of Western Washington (IAWW) (https://www.iaww.org/)
5: Brahma Kumaris – Washington (http://www.bkwashington.org/)
6: Eastside Refugee and Immigrants Coalition (ERIC) (http://ericmembers.org)
7: API Chaya (https://www.apichaya.org)

 

 

Local elected officials also attended the event. The keynote speakers were Ms. Manka Dhingra (State Senator. 45th Dist. – Redmond) and Ms. Kshama Sawant (Councilwoman, District 3, Seattle)

“We are here to collectively demand justice for the victim girl”, said Ms. Kshama Sawant, Councilwoman in District 3, Seattle who was one of the keynote speakers at the event.

 

Ms. Sawant was joined by hundreds of Americans of Indian origin, living in the Seattle area. “It seems so incomprehensible that human beings could perpetrate such heinous acts against children,” she added.

 

“We as a society have to have zero tolerance for gender violence,” said Ms. Manka Dhingra who is a  State Senator in 45th District of Redmond. Ms. Dhingra, who spoke passionately at the event, further said that women bodies cannot be used to wage religious, political and economic warfare. She was referring to the politicization of the Kathua rape and murder and the various protest organized by the Hindu extremists group in India, in support of the accused.

 

Recently, on a visit to the UK, Mr. Modi did condemn the act but only to save face, after the incident received international attention.

 

“We have had enough of these belated remonstrations and promises to bring justice when the communal pot is forever kept boiling by his own ministers”, said Javed Sikander, a resident of Redmond, WA.

 

The group demanded  Mr. Modi immediately reach out to the families of the victims and apologize on behalf of all Indians as the society had failed to protect their loved ones. They also demanded the government of India to set up fast-track courts for trials in rape cases and expedite justice delivery to the victims.

 

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States.

 

For more information please visit www.iamc.com

 

 

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270

Email: info@iamc.com

Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council

Twitter: @IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

 

REFERENCES:

1.      NYTimes: An 8-Year-Old’s Rape and Killing Fuels Religious Tensions in India

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/world/asia/india-girl-rape.html

2.      NYTimes: A young girl’s rape in India becomes a crisis for Modi

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/14/world/asia/india-girl-rape.html

3.      CNN: Rape cases spark political protest movement in India

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/16/asia/india-rape-bjp-protests-intl/index.html

4.      WashPost: Hindu ‘nationalists’ defend accused rapists and shame India

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/04/11/hindu-nationalists-defend-accused-rapists-and-shame-india/?utm_term=.c2489b08c33c

5.      BBC: Asifa Bano: The child rape and murder that has Kashmir on edge

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-43722714

6.      CBS: Young girl’s brutal rape and murder highlights a religious divide

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/india-rape-murder-muslim-girl-asifa-bano-hindu-radials-rally-for-suspects/

 

 

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Acquittals in Mecca Masjid blast and Naroda Patia massacre a travesty of justice say Indian Americans

Acquittals in Mecca Masjid blast and Naroda Patia massacre a travesty of justice say Indian Americans
‘Justice should be delivered to the victim families so that their faith in judiciary is restored’
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington D.C Sunday, April 22, 2018
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has strongly condemned the acquittal of accused in 2007 Mecca Masjid attack and 2002 Naroda Patia massacre case and termed it a travesty of justice.
On April 16, five accused linked to extremist Hindutva organizations, including self-confessed perpetrator Swami Aseemanand, were acquitted by a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Hyderabad. Under tremendous pressure from fellow Hindutva fanatics, Aseemanand retracted his confession about his role in the bomb blast which claimed nine lives and wounded 58 others.
 Separately, on April 20, in a shocking judgement, the Gujarat High Court  acquitted former BJP minister Maya Kodnani, who was convicted in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riots case, in which 97 people, mostly women and children were cruelly massacred. Ms. Kodnani was termed the “kingpin” of the gruesome crime by the special fast-track court when it convicted her in 2012 and sentenced her to 28 years in prison.
In both cases, survivors and families of victims have deplored the verdict and plan to appeal the judgements.
“The acquittal of accused in both the cases, despite incontrovertible evidence and confessions, represents a failure of the judiciary in upholding the rule of law,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC.
On one hand, cases involving BJP and right wing leaders and their associates’ like Amit Shah, Aseemanand, Maya Kodnani, DG Vanzara etc. are increasingly resulting in acquittals, on the other hand, the victims of Muzaffarnagar riots, families of dozens of Muslims lynched by cow terrorists and killed in hate crimes are being denied justice through delayed trials, quick approval of bail, or judgements that outrightly fly in the face of reason, logic and basic norms of justice.
The killers of Pehlu Khan as well as the infamous Colonel Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, both accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case were granted bail last year despite facing stringent terror charges. Yogi Adityanath, accused in dozens of cases of rioting and murder, has now directed all cases against himself to be withdrawn, after his rise in the BJP culminated in his elevation to the post of Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
Exacerbating the situation are endemic issues with the Indian judicial system, widely acknowledged as being among the most resource-starved in the world. Indian courts have a backlog of 30 million cases, four million of which are being adjudicated in its 24 high courts, while sixty thousand cases remain pending in the federal Supreme Court which has only 31 judges.
“The rampant abuse of political power in a way that aims to shield the culprits, in the context of a judicial system that is not equipped to deliver justice, demonstrates the culture of impunity that has taken hold in India,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan. “This is why the international community needs to take notice of the rapidly declining state of human rights and religious freedom in India,” he added.
Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/
REFERENCES:
CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council

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Indian Americans Express Outrage over the Horror of child rapes in Kathua and Unnao; demand speedy trial and maximum punishment for the perpetrators

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Indian Americans Express Outrage over the Horror of child rapes in Kathua and Unnao; demand speedy trial and maximum punishment for the perpetrators
Fury in diaspora over the stomach-turning details of the heinous crimes, the political motives behind them, and the patronage given to the accused
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2018
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has joined millions of Indians and people of conscience across the world in expressing its outrage and disgust over the gang-rape and murder of 8-year old Asifa Bano in January, as well as the rape of the 17 year old Dalit girl in Unnao, UP. The ghastliness and brazenness of the crimes has been coupled with outrageous attempts by Hindutva goons to protect the perpetrators.
Asifa Bano, belonging to the Bakarwal community in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, was kidnapped, drugged and brutally gang raped for three days. Her strangled body that was found on January 17, 2018 bore mute testimony to the inhumanity of her tormentors.
Police reports indicate Asifa was locked inside a temple and repeatedly raped for three days and finally strangled to death. The perpetrators, including the temple custodian have been apprehended, and the police have DNA evidence linking the men to the crime. Their motive was apparently to push Asifa’s community away from the area. Furthering the violence carried out by the four men, a mob of BJP-affiliated lawyers blocked the police officers from making their way to file the police report, making bogus claims that the men would not get due process.
This was done as part of a premeditated terror tactic to drive out a Muslim nomad community to which Asifa belonged. Different arms of the local government and political groups colluded to subvert the initial investigation and are using extrajudicial means to protect the accused.
In the case the of 17-year Dalit girl from Unnao village in UP, a powerful BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sehgar raped her last year and intimidated her whole family against complaining to the police. The family had to flee for safety to Delhi but her old father persisted in lodging the complaint. As a result he was tortured and killed in cold blood while in police custody. Despite prima facie evidence, the administration of Yogi Adhityanath did not place the culprit under arrest, until after a week of sustained public outrage, and international media attention.
During a recent interview given to media the girl broke down and even fainted while narrating the horror “Jaise papa ko maara tha. Woh joota pehan leta hai. Aur jalte hue cycle ka tyre chhua chhua ke maarta hai. Paani daal daal ke maarta hai” (He would torment people the way he killed my father. He puts on his boots and uses burning bicycle tyres to torture his victims).” In an act of extreme depression the victim even tried to burn herself outside the residence of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adithyanath.
“Asifa’s and Unnao rape survivors horror stories are examples that illustrate cowardly attempts to protect the beasts who committed these heinous acts. Moreover the Hindu Ekta Manch rally in Jammu is a low point in the history of the country where obstruction of justice and rewarding rapists have become new benchmarks in service to religious fascism,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “We call upon the state and central governments to demonstrate their own humanity, by holding the perpetrators accountable to the full extent of the law,” added Mr. Khan.
This is the most ghastly tragedy in a pattern of brutalities against Muslims and Dalits under the current regime. Anti-Muslim and Dalit rhetoric has become mainstream. The political motivations behind these heinous crimes are often euphemistically expressed in prime time television by the ruling party’s spokespersons and associates.
Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/
CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
REFERENCES:
1. An 8-Year-Old’s Rape and Killing Fuels Religious Tensions in India
2. Child’s rape, killing in India mire in religious politics
3. Kathua rape case: Chargesheet filed by Jammu and Kashmir Police
4. Asifa, Betrayed Over And Over
5. Unnao Rape Case: What Has Happened So Far – A Timeline
6. India ruling party lawmaker arrested on rape allegation

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IAMC led citizens consortium publishes Fact-Finding Report on 2016 Jharkhand lynching cases

IAMC led citizens consortium publishes Fact-Finding Report on 2016 Jharkhand lynching cases
Assalam-o-Alaikum All –
Today marks yet another day in our struggle for justice for Indian Muslims. We are grateful to Allah swt as we complete a very important investigation about the gruesome Jharkhand lynching and bring the facts of this case to light.
Earlier today, a consortium of citizens group led by IAMC published its fact-finding report on the 2016 Jharkhand lynching case where 2 Muslim cattle traders in the town of Latehar were mercilessly beaten up and hanged to death.  The report was released by a panel of eminent lawyers and human rights activists at a press conference in New Delhi. The panelists spoke out against the alarming nexus between law enforcement and members of the ruling BJP administration to obstruct justice and protect the accused in such cases.
 
In what has now become a predictable pattern, the report uncovers shocking levels of dereliction of duty by the police in properly investigating the murders despite several eye witness accounts and shoddy practices in recording police report and confessions, all of which were seemingly geared towards weakening the case and protecting the accused from prosecution.
The report cites Vinod Prajapati, a local BJP leader as one of the perpetrators of the crime according to Mohammed Nizamuddin who was an eye witness and a business partner of one of the victims Mazloom Ansari. In his statement, Nizamuddin said as he reached the spot he found Prajapati standing near the oxen. Upon seeing him, Prajapati shouted to his companions that he (Nizamuddin) was the ‘real cattle trader’ and they should catch him,” the report said. Nizamuddin subsequently escaped on his motorcycle.
The fact-finding report demands that in order for justice to be served, the Latehar police and the prosecution must take the following actions immediately:
  • Arrest Vinod Prajapati and charge-sheet him for trial
  • Move to Supreme Court for the cancellation of bail of eight accused
  • Magistrate should record statements of the accused under section 164 of the Code of criminal procedure (CrPC)
  • Include other IPC sections for conspiracy, abduction and assault, wrongful confinement, use of weapons, and promoting religious enmity
  • Investigate Hindutva groups for possible link with the double murders
  • Take action against police officers responsible for the delay in registration of FIR as well as failure to include all details in it
The full report is available at IAMC’s web site and can be found here. The video recording of the press conference event in New Delhi is available on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/181102125240055/videos/2102279099789005/
This is the second fact finding report on the series of lynching cases that have rocked India since the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014. The first report, released in October 2017, investigated the lynching of Pehlu Khan in Alwar, Rajasthan, and highlighted a similar pattern of cover-up and collusion between law enforcement officials and the members of the ruling BJP to protect the accused from prosecution.
Indian American Muslim Council stands committed to advocating for peace and justice for Indian Muslims. We rely upon your financial support to advocate on behalf of Indian Muslims. Please consider making a donation today. An investment in IAMC is an investment towards justice and human rights of Indian Muslims. IAMC is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com. We are a 501c (3) non-profit organization.
 
From:
IAMC Team
References:
 
Independent Investigation into Latehar Lynching Accuses Police Probe of Sabotage

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Indian Americans mark Republic Day with pledge to safeguard India’s Constitution

January 28 2018

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, organized celebrations in two cities in the United States to commemorate the 69th anniversary of India’s Republic Day. The Republic Day marks the day when India’s Constitution came into effect, ushering in the birth of a modern, secular and democratic Republic. The celebrations were held in Washington, D.C. as well as in San Diego, California.

Mr. Musaddique Thange, Trustee IAMC, speaking at the India Republic Day event in San Diego, California

“The guarantees of Justice, Liberty and Equality for all citizens, enshrined in the preamble to the Constitution collectively represent one of the greatest accomplishments in the cause of pluralism. A remarkable document that should be cherished and celebrated and that represents the highest aspirations of the world’s largest democracy,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, National President of IAMC. “These guarantees are also a reminder of the ideals we need to live up to and the promises we still need to keep,” added Mr. Khan.

IAMC Washington, D.C. chapter celebrates Republic Day

Commenting on the occasion, Ms. Seema Salim, the National Vice President of IAMC expressed pride over the ideals espoused by the Indian constitution as well as concern over the prevailing socio-political environment in India. She called for an awakening of the silent majority against the increasing divisiveness, violence and hate unleashed upon the religious minorities in India. “The Republic Day celebrations remind us yet again, that the foundations of the Indian Republic are based on the ideals of justice, pluralism and democracy,” said Ms. Salim. “Unfortunately, the Indian Constitution remains under threat, by the onslaught of a relentlessly divisive and hateful agenda, espoused by narrow sectarian interests. Certainly, we can’t achieve a real democracy when the nation is in the grips of a sectarian divide, with citizens pitted against each other on the basis of caste and religion,” Ms. Salim further added.

IAMC has consistently marked Annual Republic Day celebrations in different cities across the US for over 11 years. This year’s festivities include speeches celebrating the Constitution, a fancy-dress competition, Impromptu speaking, Drawing competition and events highlighting India’s diversity.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/

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CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Indian Americans mark Republic Day with pledge to safeguard India’s Constitution

Indian Americans mark Republic Day with pledge to safeguard India’s Constitution
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 January

 28 2018
 
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, organized celebrations in two cities in the United States to commemorate the 69th anniversary of India’s Republic Day. The Republic Day marks the day when India’s Constitution came into effect, ushering in the birth of a modern, secular and democratic Republic. The celebrations were held in Washington, D.C. as well as in San Diego, California.

Mr. Musaddique Thange, Trustee IAMC, speaking at the India Republic Day event in San Diego, California

“The guarantees of Justice, Liberty and Equality for all citizens, enshrined in the preamble to the Constitution collectively represent one of the greatest accomplishments in the cause of pluralism. A remarkable document that should be cherished and celebrated and that represents the highest aspirations of the world’s largest democracy,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, National President of IAMC. “These guarantees are also a reminder of the ideals we need to live up to and the promises we still need to keep,” added Mr. Khan.

IAMC Washington, D.C. chapter celebrates Republic Day
Commenting on the occasion, Ms. Seema Salim, the National Vice President of IAMC expressed pride over the ideals espoused by the Indian constitution as well as concern over the prevailing socio-political environment in India. She called for an awakening of the silent majority against the increasing divisiveness, violence and hate unleashed upon the religious minorities in India. “The Republic Day celebrations remind us yet again, that the foundations of the Indian Republic are based on the ideals of justice, pluralism and democracy,” said Ms. Salim. “Unfortunately, the Indian Constitution remains under threat, by the onslaught of a relentlessly divisive and hateful agenda, espoused by narrow sectarian interests. Certainly, we can’t achieve a real democracy when the nation is in the grips of a sectarian divide, with citizens pitted against each other on the basis of caste and religion,” Ms. Salim further added.
IAMC has consistently marked Annual Republic Day celebrations in different cities across the US for over 11 years. This year’s festivities include speeches celebrating the Constitution, a fancy-dress competition, Impromptu speaking, Drawing competition and events highlighting India’s diversity.
Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/
CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Heinous killing of cleric and desecration of Andhra Pradesh mosque trigger outrage, revulsion among Indian Americans

December 31 2017

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today condemned yet another barbaric killing of a Muslim, in the heinous murder of Mohammed Farooq, a cleric at Noorani Mosque in Talacheru village in Rajahmundry district of Andhra Pradesh. According to media sources, Mohammed Farooq was bludgeoned to death and was found lying in a pool of blood inside the mosque. In addition, the mosque was desecrated by the attackers who left behind a trail of destruction including burnt pages of the Holy Quran, cigarette butts and signs of urination on the mosque floor.

The year 2017 recorded the highest death toll (11 deaths) and the most number of incidents of hate violence (37 incidents) related to cows and religion since 2010, according to an IndiaSpend database that records cow-related hate crime.

“This murder of an innocent cleric and the desecration of the mosque represents a worsening of the human rights situation of Dalits and minorities in India. We call upon the Andhra Pradesh administration not only to take every step to apprehend the killers of Mohammed Farooq, but also to check the hateful rhetoric and bigotry that enables such senseless and brutal violence” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, the National President of IAMC. “This hate crime is an aberration in an otherwise peaceful Rajahmundry district which has a history of peaceful coexistence amongst people from all religious communities.

India has been gripped by an alarming rise in hate crimes and attacks on its religious minorities ever since the Narendra Modi administration came to power in May 2014. This year alone, there have been 28 recorded incidents of Hindutva vigilante led lynching and mob attacks on Muslims, Christians and Dalits. However, the continued failure of the law enforcement to prevent these attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice has emboldened the individuals and organizations behind such hate crimes. Earlier this month, Mohammed Afrazul, a migrant worker was hacked to death in Rajasthan by a self-styled Hindutva vigilante who recorded the killing on video and proclaimed that he committed the murder to stop Muslims from love-jihad – a fake claim made by Hindutva supremacist groups that Muslims are running some kind of campaign men to convert Hindu women to Islam through false expressions of love.

Commenting on this issue, Ms. Seema Salim, National Vice President of IAMC, expressed grave concern at the rising tide of hate crimes across India. “Andhra Pradesh has traditionally been marked peaceful coexistence amongst communities of all religious backgrounds even as many of the BJP ruled states have been gripped by rising tide of Islamophobia and hate crimes against religious minorities. We call upon the Andhra Pradesh state administration for an impartial and expeditious investigation into this hate crime in Rajahmundry while ensuring that this incident is not used to spread hate and discord in the community”, Ms. Salim added.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/

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Follow us on Twitter

Contact:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

References:

Muslim man found brutally murdered inside Masjid in Andhra
https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/muslim-man-found-brutally-murdered-inside-masjid-andhra-police-probe-underway-73950 

AP: Muazzin assassinated in attack on masjid, Quran desecrated
https://www.siasat.com/news/ap-muazzin-assassinated-attack-masjid-quran-desecrated-1289808/

Cleric in Andhra Pradesh’s Rajahmundry found dead, protests erupt
https://www.msn.com/en-in/entertainment/bollywood/cleric-in-andhra-pradeshs-rajahmundry-found-dead-protests-erupt/vp-BBHuUAT

A Year of Hate Crimes in India
http://www.firstpost.com/india/2017-a-year-of-hate-crimes-in-india-number-of-violent-incidents-related-to-cows-religion-is-rising-4278751.html

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Heinous killing of cleric and desecration of Andhra Pradesh mosque trigger outrage, revulsion among Indian Americans

Heinous killing of cleric and desecration of Andhra Pradesh mosque trigger outrage, revulsion among Indian Americans
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 31 2017
 
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today condemned yet another barbaric killing of a Muslim, in the heinous murder of Mohammed Farooq, a cleric at Noorani Mosque in Talacheru village in Rajahmundry district of Andhra Pradesh. According to media sources, Mohammed Farooq was bludgeoned to death and was found lying in a pool of blood inside the mosque. In addition, the mosque was desecrated by the attackers who left behind a trail of destruction including burnt pages of the Holy Quran, cigarette butts and signs of urination on the mosque floor.
The year 2017 recorded the highest death toll (11 deaths) and the most number of incidents of hate violence (37 incidents) related to cows and religion since 2010, according to an IndiaSpend database that records cow-related hate crime.
“This murder of an innocent cleric and the desecration of the mosque represents a worsening of the human rights situation of Dalits and minorities in India. We call upon the Andhra Pradesh administration not only to take every step to apprehend the killers of Mohammed Farooq, but also to check the hateful rhetoric and bigotry that enables such senseless and brutal violence” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, the National President of IAMC. “This hate crime is an aberration in an otherwise peaceful Rajahmundry district which has a history of peaceful coexistence amongst people from all religious communities.
India has been gripped by an alarming rise in hate crimes and attacks on its religious minorities ever since the Narendra Modi administration came to power in May 2014. This year alone, there have been 28 recorded incidents of Hindutva vigilante led lynching and mob attacks on Muslims, Christians and Dalits. However, the continued failure of the law enforcement to prevent these attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice has emboldened the individuals and organizations behind such hate crimes. Earlier this month, Mohammed Afrazul, a migrant worker was hacked to death in Rajasthan by a self-styled Hindutva vigilante who recorded the killing on video and proclaimed that he committed the murder to stop Muslims from love-jihad – a fake claim made by Hindutva supremacist groups that Muslims are running some kind of campaign men to convert Hindu women to Islam through false expressions of love.

Commenting on this issue, Ms. Seema Salim, National Vice President of IAMC, expressed grave concern at the rising tide of hate crimes across India. “Andhra Pradesh has traditionally been marked eaceful coexistence amongst communities of all religious backgrounds even as many of the BJP ruled states have been gripped by rising tide of Islamophobia and hate crimes against religious minorities. We  call upon the Andhra Pradesh state administration for an impartial and expeditious investigation into this hate crime in Rajahmundry while ensuring that this incident is not used to spread hate and discord in the community”, Ms. Salim added.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/
CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.
References:

Muslim man found brutally murdered inside Masjid in Andhra

AP: Muazzin assassinated in attack on masjid, Quran desecrated

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Murder of Muslim laborer in Rajasthan sparks outrage among Indian Americans

Diaspora sees direct connection between culture of impunity and the reckless, incendiary rhetoric of the Hindutva complex

December 8 2017

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today noted the sense of outrage among millions of Indians, both within India and across the diaspora over the heinous murder of Mohammed Afrazul, a Muslim migrant worker from West Bengal, who was hacked with a cleaver and his body set on fire in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district. The accused in the case, Shambulal Regar, is captured on video committing the crime and claiming that he committed the murder to “stop Muslims from love-jihad” – a term publicized by Hindu supremacist groups to refer to Muslim men supposedly marrying Hindu women and converting them to Islam as part of some grand conspiracy.

“We are appalled at the horrifying level of hate and violence that not only exists but is worsening by the day, particularly in the state of Rajasthan,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, the National President of IAMC. “We call upon the Rajasthan Chief Minister Ms. Vasundhara Raje to uphold her constitutional duty to protect the lives of all citizens, regardless of caste and creed. This would include reining in organizations like RSS, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad who have been on the frontlines of spreading hate and discord against the state’s Muslim minorities,” Mr. Khan further added.

Mohammed Afrazul’s killing is the fourth hate crime against Muslims in Rajasthan in the last nine months. Earlier in April, Pehlu Khan was brutally assaulted by self-styled cow vigilantes that led to his death two days later. Later in June, Zafar Hussein was killed after he objected to city officials photographing women defecating in the open. In November, cow vigilantes attacked Mohammed Umar and his colleagues who were transporting cattle, and Umar was later found dead. The perpetrators of these hate crimes are emboldened by the failure of state administration to effectively prosecute these cases of hate crimes. In September, the Rajasthan police closed its investigation into murder of Pehlu Khan and exonerated all six individuals named by Mr. Khan in his dying declaration.

Commenting on this issue, Ms. Seema Salim, National Vice President of IAMC, expressed grave concern at the rising tide of hate crimes in Rajasthan. “The Chief Minister, Ms. Raje must demonstrate the political will to ensure security of the state’s Muslim minorities and dismantle the culture of absolute impunity and protection accorded to the perpetrators of these hate crimes,” said Ms. Seema.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

References:

1. Rajasthan: Labourer burnt alive, video of the incident goes
https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/rajasthan-labourer-burnt-alive-video-of-the-incident-goes/1204300

2. As Filmed Murder of Muslim Man in Rajasthan Goes Viral, Official Culture of Impunity Towards Hate Crimes Blamed
https://thewire.in/202831/rajasthan-muslim-man-hacked-to-death-video/

3. Man hacked to death, set ablaze in Rajasthan: Nephew says Afrazul didn’t wrong anyone
http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/smoking-was-afrazul-s-only-vice-says-nephew/story-Jt7LTzCcITMDIl21DmvlsI.html

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Explosive Fact-finding Investigation of Pehlu Khan’s murder shows high-level Police cover up of murderers

Explosive Fact-finding Investigation of Pehlu Khan’s murder shows high-level Police cover up of murderers

Renowned Human Rights Defenders and Activists weigh in on the path towards justice
October 28 2017
 
IAMC is pleased to have been an active supporter of the momentous fact-finding investigation of the gruesome mob lynching of dairy farmer, Pehlu Khan, and the subsequent cover-up by Rajasthan police. The investigation’s report was endorsed by IAMC and several human rights organizations in India, US and UK and is making waves in India for its shocking expose of police complicity in cow terrorism. The report’s release was the culminated of a four-month investigation by independent journalist  Ajit Sahi. During the press conference organized at the Press Club of India in the nation’s capital New Delhi, human rights defenders and activists referred to the report’s findings as a watershed moment in the struggle to bring Pehlu’s killers to justice. The report highlights the role played by the Rajasthan Police in systematically sabotaging the case against the perpetrators of Pehlu’s cold-blooded murder and facilitating their “exoneration.”  The report is a powerful declaration by human rights defenders that the pursuit of justice will not be deterred. Widespread coverage of the report and the press conference has again brought Pehlu’s brutal killing, and the subsequent cover-up by the Rajasthan police back into the national conversation in India.

The report has exposed blatant acts by the Rajasthan police and government institutions that has led to an intentional miscarriage of justice, with the killers not being arrested despite six of them being named in Pehlu’s “dying declaration.”

The report and its impact on mainstream discourse in India has given a boost to Indian civil society as well as the Indian Muslim community to stay the course in demanding justice and equality before the law within the framework of the Constitution of India. Additionally, it has encouraged all in the pursuit of justice to push forward with other cases of lynching such as those perpetrated against Hafiz Junaid and Mohammed Akhlaq.

The press conference with India’s top human rights advocates exposed the high level coordination and strategy used by cow vigilantes (gau rakshaks). It also demonstrated complicity between criminals and fanatics and individuals at the highest levels of state law enforcement machinery.

The press conference and the ensuing social media campaign following the report’s release has put Indian Muslim issues on the global radar and influenced mainstream discourse in a positive direction. IAMC remains committed to the struggle for peace, pluralism and justice.

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.
References:
Pehlu Khan lynching probe: 10 loopholes likely to be challenged in courts
Police Diluted Charges Against Accused in Pehlu Khan’s Murder Case: Fact-Finding Report
Pehlu Khan’s son demands SC-monitored probe in lynching case
Pehlu Khan’s family wants Supreme Court to order fresh murder probe
Alwar lynching: Pehlu Khan’s family demand case to be shifted out of Rajasthan, seek court-monitored probe
Rajasthan police deliberately weakened Pehlu Khan lynching case, says independent report; family sees little hope for justice
 गाय के नाम पर राजनीति का बदलता रंग
Police diluted Pehlu Khan lynching case, finds independent probe
Pehlu’s family wants justice, not compensation: Jaising
RAJASTHAN BJP GOVT, POLICE PROTECTING THE KILLERS OF PEHLU KHAN, REVEALS INDEPENDENT PROBE
Police Deliberately Weakened Charges Against Accused In Pehlu Khan Lynching Case, Finds Probe
Gau rakshaks storm troopers from Hitler’s Germany: Activists
Pehlu killer shield slur on Rajasthan

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Indian Americans express outrage over Nuh encounter killing; call for prosecution of police officers involved

UP in the grip of an “encounter mania” under Yogi Adityanath

September 21, 2017

The Indian American Muslim Council (http://www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has called for the immediate suspension, arrest and criminal prosecution of the four police officers of Haryana’s Central Investigation Agency, involved in the grisly murder and cover up of Munfaid Hussain, a 30-year old young farmer belonging to the Meo community in the Nuh district of Haryana.

According to a report by a fact-finding team constituted by Citizens Against Hate, Munfaid was ordered by officers of the Haryana CIA to perform work for them on September 15, 2017 a day before he was brutally killed. The deceased was told if he complied they would remove false allegations from his records. Munfaid’s father and father-in-law told him to comply with the officers’ requests to have false accusations against him removed. However, the next morning, Munfaid’s family received the news of his killing.

The fact-finding team found that the police took the victim’s body first to Nalhad Medical College Hospital, Nuh and then to CHC, Nuh and then to a private doctor to get the post-mortem performed before the victim’s family could arrive, in an apparent attempt to tamper with the evidence.

Per the autopsy report, a reddish contusion and firearm entry wounds were found on the front side of the body, along with a deformed metallic bullet found over the right side of second thoracic vertebrae.

“We condemn this police atrocity against an innocent man, in the strongest possible terms,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “The members of the victim’s family should be given witness protection immediately, in order to ensure a thorough and independent investigation into this murder,” added Mr. Khan.

What makes this encounter especially egregious are the discrepancies between the official police account and the corroborating accounts of the local physicians’ statement of not complying with an illegal post-mortem ordered by the police officers. In addition, the account of three witnesses, the father of the victim and the testimonies of the villagers speaks volumes about the high levels of impunity in the state apparatus, tasked with protecting the lives of citizens.

Munfaid’s murder by the State is the sixteenth extrajudicial killing of young Muslim men by police in Mewat within the last few years.

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

References:

1. Nuh encounter: A night before killing, Munfaid was called by the police to do their work, reports fact-finding team
http://twocircles.net/2017sep19/416789.html

2. Mewat, Haryana on the Boil After Another Muslim Youth Killed in Staged Encounter
http://caravandaily.com/portal/mewat-haryana-on-the-boil-after-another-muslim-youth-killed-in-staged-encounter/ 

3. ‘Police Encounter’ Witnessed By 3 Friends of the Victim Who Have Gone Into Hiding, Says Fact Finding Report
http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/NewsDetail/index/2/11775/Police-Encounter-Witnessed-By–3–Frie 
4. ‘Police Encounter’ Witnessed By 3 Friends of the Victim Who Have Gone Into Hiding, Says Fact Finding Report
https://in.news.yahoo.com/killed-30-old-farmer-munfaid-145700432.html 
5. Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh is in the grip of an encounter mania; Ab tak Attharah (18) and counting
http://www.firstpost.com/india/yogi-adityanaths-uttar-pradesh-is-in-the-grip-of-an-encounter-mania-ab-tak-attharah-18-and-counting-4062869.html 

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Indian Americans express outrage over Nuh encounter killing; call for prosecution of police officers involved

Indian Americans express outrage over Nuh encounter killing; call for prosecution of police officers involved

UP in the grip of an “encounter mania” under Yogi Adityanath
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2017

 

The Indian American Muslim Council (www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has called for the immediate suspension, arrest and criminal prosecution of the four police officers of Haryana’s Central Investigation Agency, involved in the grisly murder and cover up of Munfaid Hussain, a 30-year old young farmer belonging to the Meo community in the Nuh district of Haryana.
According to a report by a fact-finding team constituted by Citizens Against Hate, Munfaid was ordered by officers of the Haryana CIA to perform work for them on September 15, 2017 a day before he was brutally killed. The deceased was told if he complied they would remove false allegations from his records. Munfaid’s father and father-in-law told him to comply with the officers’ requests to have false accusations against him removed. However, the next morning, Munfaid’s family received the news of his killing.
The fact-finding team found that the police took the victim’s body first to Nalhad Medical College Hospital, Nuh and then to CHC, Nuh and then to a private doctor to get the post-mortem performed before the victim’s family could arrive, in an apparent attempt to tamper with the evidence.
Per the autopsy report, a reddish contusion and firearm entry wounds were found on the front side of the body, along with a deformed metallic bullet found over the right side of second thoracic vertebrae.
“We condemn this police atrocity against an innocent man, in the strongest possible terms,” said Mr. Ahsan Khan, President of IAMC. “The members of the victim’s family should be given witness protection immediately, in order to ensure a thorough and independent investigation into this murder,” added Mr. Khan.

What makes this encounter especially egregious are the discrepancies between the official police account and the corroborating accounts of the local physicians’ statement of not complying with an illegal post-mortem ordered by the police officers. In addition, the account of three witnesses, the father of the victim and the testimonies of the villagers speaks volumes about the high levels of impunity in the state apparatus, tasked with protecting the lives of citizens.

Munfaid’s murder by the State is the sixteenth extrajudicial killing of young Muslim men by police in Mewat within the last few years.
CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.
References:
  1. Nuh encounter: A night before killing, Munfaid was called by the police to do their work, reports fact-finding team
    2.  Mewat, Haryana on the Boil After Another Muslim Youth Killed in Staged Encounter
    3.  ‘Police Encounter’ Witnessed By 3 Friends of the Victim Who Have Gone Into Hiding, Says Fact Finding Report
    4.  ‘Police Encounter’ Witnessed By 3 Friends of the Victim Who Have Gone Into Hiding, Says Fact Finding Report
    5. Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh is in the grip of an encounter mania; Ab tak Attharah (18) and counting…

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Indian Americans express outrage over mob lynchings in India through protests across US

Government’s inaction and cruel politics of Hindutva focus of protests; protesters demand immediate action to restore the rule of law

July 16, 2017

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella coalition of progressive organizations across the United States and various coalition partners today held protests in three cities across the US, to express their outrage over the growing mob rule against minorities in India and the policies of the government that are emboldening such forces. Protests were held in Washington, DC, San Diego and San Jose. A fourth protest is scheduled to be held in New York City on July 23, 2017.

These protests are similar to the “Not In My Name” protests that have been held across various cities in India. Besides the AJA coalition, the protests in San Jose were jointly organized with the “Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice.” The South Asia Solidarity Initiative (SASI), will be part of the protests in New York City on July 23rd.

The last few years has seen brutal killings of mostly Muslims and Dalits in the name of cow protection, over a dozen of them only since September last year. These killings have been orchestrated by Hindu supremacist groups ideologically aligned with the BJP-led federal government and drawing inspiration from the beef ban imposed by the governments in various states. The increasing hostility towards minorities displayed by even central ministers in the form of incendiary rhetoric has only added fuel to the fire. Since 2010, 97% of beef related violence has taken place after the BJP-led Hindu nationalist government came to power. Since 2015, an increasing number of Muslims have been lynched, hanged or brutalized in the most cruel manner on mere suspicion of possessing or cooking beef.

Protests in San Jose, CA

Protesters carried signs, such as “India – Hostage to Hindutva?” and “Beef Ban is Cultural Fascism.” They came from various communities in the diaspora and were united in their condemnation of the killings and the beef ban.

Protest in downtown San Diego, CA near the USS Midway Museum

“The reign of terror unleashed by Hindu supremacist cow “vigilantes” is clearly targeted at browbeating the nation’s religious minorities into the status of second class citizens,” said Mr. Suhail Syed, one of the organizers of the protests in Washington, DC. “How can the government of India respond so casually to the mob lynchings of Muslims and Dalits?,” asked San Uddin, one of the organizers of the protests in New York. “That shows the killings are not spontaneous but executed with a tacit approval of Hindu supremacists that are an integral part of the ruling party,” added Ms. Sana.

In a recent statement, Amnesty International India expressed deep worry over the “pattern of hate crimes committed against Muslims with seeming impunity – many of them in states where the Bharatiya Janata Party is in power.”

Protest in Washington, DC

In April 2017, a mob beat a 55-year-old Muslim man, Pehlu Khan, to death in Rajasthan after accusing him of transporting cows for slaughter. An exposé by a television news station showed the attackers belonged to the BJP and its affiliates. In a recent killing that shook India, 15-tear-old Junaid Khan was stabbed to death on board a train in northern India as he headed home from Eid shopping. While such killings have drawn international condemnation, the suffering of millions who have lost their source of livelihood as a result of the beef ban has not received adequate attention. In a bizarre and shocking expose of the Sangh Parivar’s hypocrisy, the BJP and RSS joined hands to sell beef in Kerala, the very act for which they are enabling the lynching of Muslims.

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability has pledged to work with people of all faiths to defend India from the onslaught of hate and divisiveness.

Contact:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Capitol Hill briefing delivers scathing indictment of minority rights violations in India

Capitol Hill briefing delivers scathing indictment of minority rights violations in India
Alliance releases report as NDA government in India completes three years
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2017
The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella coalition of progressive organizations across the United States, today held a briefing in Washington, DC at the Rayburn Building at the US Capitol on “Minority Rights Violations in India,” to mark the 3 year anniversary of BJP-led Hindu nationalist government in India. A key aspect of the briefing was the release of a comprehensive report on violation of human rights and religious freedom of minorities in India over the course of the last 3 years.

Besides the coalition partners of AJA, the panelists at the briefing included Ms. Jennifer Prestholdt (Deputy Director, The Advocates for Human Rights), veteran journalist Mr. Kannan Srinivasan, and Mr. Ajit Sahi (Advocacy Director, Indian American Muslim Council). Each speaker highlighted different aspects of the multi-faceted issue of the rapid decline in human rights and religious freedom in India, for Dalits, Adivasis and religious minorities, especially over the course of the last three years.
The organizations endorsing the report were Indian American Muslim Council, Dalit American Council, Organization of Minorities from India, TwoCircles.net and South Asian Solidarity Initiative. Among the attendees were representatives of US bodies such as the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the US Commission for International Religious Freedom, as well as personnel from various media outlets. The event was live streamed and made available to hundreds of supporters online.
“The same forces that have perpetuated caste discrimination are also spearheading India’s seemingly relentless drift away from secularism and religious pluralism, especially over the course of the last three years. In 2016, a global index of human rights and social and religious freedoms by Pew Research Center placed India among the worst 10 of the world’s 198 countries when judged for ‘social hostilities,'” says the report.
“Laws curbing religious conversion, the ban on sale and possession of beef in many states and the curbs placed on NGOs represent the state’s response to forced conversions, the brutal violence of “cow protection” groups and the harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders respectively. In all cases, the state has become an enabler of repression, often going to great lengths to defend and normalize the abuse,” the report further adds.
“The release of this report is a plea to the international community for help in influencing the government of India to safeguard the rights of “lower” castes and religious minorities,” said Mr. Ajit Sahi, IAMC’s new Advocacy Director.
The Alliance for Justice and Accountability has pledged to work with people of all faiths to defend India from the onslaught of hate and divisiveness.
Contact:
Mr.Ajit Sahi
Tel: (571) 325-7997
Email: media@iamc.com
REFERENCES:

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Teesta Setalvad delivers an indictment at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on the human rights situation in India

Teesta Setalvad delivers an indictment at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on the human rights situation in India
Renowned Indian activist speaks on behalf of IAMC, Advocates for Human Rights and other partner organizations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2017

 

Indian American Muslim Council (http://www.iamc.com) a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, today welcomed Ms. Teesta Setalvad’s hard hitting testimony at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 15, 2017.
One of India’s most recognized activists and a strident voice against hate and sectarianism, Ms. Setalvad spoke on behalf of The Advocates for Human Rights, Indian American Muslim Council, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association and the Quill Foundation.  Her testimony was part of a larger effort by IAMC and its partner organizations that includes a joint submission to the UN Human Rights Council for India’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) scheduled for May 4,2017.  IAMC has also made a separate joint submission with Ms.Setalvad’s organization “Citizens for Justice and Peace,” for the same UPR.
Her brief testimony was before a full session of the UN Human Rights Council, with all the UN member countries in attendance, convened to review the report of the UN Rapporteur on Minority Rights. Ms.Setalvad noted that since the UN Special Rapporteur’s 2013 General Assembly report, the following developments had taken place in India:
  1. Speeches by political leaders and members of Parliament had exacerbated the violence in Muzaffarnagar that claimed over 60 lives and left thousands homeless
  2. The targeting of religious minorities accused of “improper” conversions from Hinduism
  3. In the wake of state laws banning the sale of beef, mob attacks on people alleged to have beef in their possession have becoming a recurring event
  4. The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial or arbitrary executions noted that encounter killings “have become virtually a part of unofficial State policy” in India
  5. The above acts are often committed with impunity stemming in part from close alignment between the government and non-state actors
  6. Law enforcement agencies fabricate terrorism cases where Muslims are often targets
Ms. Setalvad then went on to mention that “progress in minority rights protection is under threat, including by hate speech, xenophobic rhetoric and incitement to hatred against minorities.” She then voiced the partner organizations’ position, joining the Special Rapporteur “in calling on UN Member States and the Human Rights Council to recognize that States bear the primary duty to protect the security of religious minorities with positive and preventive actions, through active engagement with religious minorities.”
“Ms. Teesta Setalvad’s testimony and the joint submissions of the partner organizations mark a turning point in international spotlight on the human rights situation in India”, said Mr. Ajit Sahi, noted journalist and Advocacy Director for the Indian American Muslim Council. Mr. Sahi, along with Jawad Khan, President of IAMC and Jennifer Presthold V.P. of AHR were also present at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/
CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.
References:
  1. Video of Teesta Setalvad Testimony at UN Human Rights Council at 22 minutes in link below

http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/human-rights-council/watch/id-sr-on-minority-issues-contd-39th-meeting-34th-regular-session-human-rights-council-/5359444074001

  2.  Joint Submission of Indian American Muslim Council, The Advocates
for Human Rights, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association and the Quill Foundation
  3.  UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Minorities/SRMinorities/Pages/SRminorityissuesIndex.aspx

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Indian Americans decry increasing hate crimes in the US; appreciate support from fellow Americans against bias and harassment

People listen as Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant addresses a peace vigil for Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the 32-year-old Indian engineer killed at a bar Olathe, Kansas, in Bellevue, Washington on March 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Jason Redmond (Photo credit should read JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images)

US Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-WA, addresses a peace vigil for Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the 32-year-old Indian engineer killed at a bar Olathe, Kansas, in Bellevue, Washington on March 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Jason Redmond (Photo credit should read JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images)

Indian Americans decry increasing hate crimes in the US; appreciate support from fellow Americans against bias and harassment
Multiple attacks on Indian Americans including shooting of Sikh man in Washington
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 06, 2017


Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com) a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to promoting the shared values of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for human rights, today condemned increasing hate crimes in the US, including those targeting Indian Americans.
On 22 February, Indian engineers Mr. Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani were shot by suspected gunman Adam Purinton in Kansas, who yelled “get out of my country,” when opening fire at them. Mr. Kuchibhotla died while Mr. Madasani was injured. Mr. Ian Grillot, who was shot while trying to intervene, has been rightly called a “hero” by Indians, including India’s foreign minister, Ms. Sushma Swaraj.
On March 03, a Sikh man was shot and injured in Kent, WA, near Seattle, with the gunman yelling a similar hateful sentiment asking the victim to “go back to your own country.”  Police have confirmed the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
“We express our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Kuchibhotla, and wish a speedy recovery for Mr. Madasani, Mr. Grillot and the Sikh victim who has chosen to not be identified publicly,” said Mr. Jawad Khan, President of IAMC. “We continue to work with our coalition partners in increasing interfaith and inter-community understanding in the US, with a particular focus on the Indian diaspora,” added Mr. Khan.
In a separate incident, a businessman of Indian origin, Mr. Harnish Patel was shot dead in South Carolina, although its not clear at this point whether this was a hate crime.
“IAMC expresses its utmost gratitude to countless fellow Americans who have openly expressed their rejection of anti-immigrant and Islamophobic sentiments emerging from the highest echelons of power. In this context, the outpouring of support for Indian Americans and Muslims is deeply heartening as they underscore diversity and religious freedom as core American values,” said Ms. Seema Sufia Salim, Vice-President of IAMC. “Thanks are especially due to a number of public-spirited non-governmental organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, and the International Refugee Assistance Project, besides others, for their active and enthusiastic support for refugees, immigrants and Muslims,” added Ms. Salim.

IndianAmerican Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

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Uttar Pradesh Members of Parliament Performance Report

Introduction
 
The study conducted by US-based news portal TwoCircles.net and commissioned by IAMC, finds that 71 crores of the unspent funds were in 17 Dalit-majority constituencies and over 64 crores unspent in 16 other constituencies where Muslims are over 20% of the population. The MPs in both cases are from the BJP. Every MP is given Rs. 5 crore per annum for development works in their respective constituencies.
 
BJP’s claim of inclusive development, as articulated in their slogan of “sabka saath sabka vikaas,” rings hollow in the face of such indifference and inaction. It is also an indication of what UP can expect, given BJP’s penchant for granting election tickets to criminals.
 
Report Observations:
 
  • There are a whopping 333.6 crores of MPLAD funds that remain unspent. 71 crores of these funds are allocated for 17 reserved seats.
  •  All “Muslim and Dalit seats” are represented by BJP. Three “Muslim seats” are reserved i.e. only SC candidates can contest from there.
  • Three ministers come from the “Muslim seats” but only one from “Dalit seats”. Krishna Raj, from Shahjahanpur(SC) was inducted in June, 2016 as Minister of State for Women and Children Development.
  • BJP has 10 female MPs from UP and five of those are from reserved seats and three of those five seats are also “Muslim seats.”
  • Average of the percent utilized for MPLAD funds drops for “Dalit seats” to 58.9% while it goes up significantly for “Muslim seats” to 67.8% while the average of all seats is 60.8%.
  • Average of debate participation by MPs drops from 54 for all to 44 for “Muslim seats” and to only 29 for “Dalit Seats”.
  • Average number of questions by all MPs is 99, for “Muslim seats” 98, and drops significantly for Dalit MPs with just 85 questions. Three Dalit MPs have zero questions asked; another Dalit MP has so far asked just one question in the last 2.5 years.
  • Out of total of 93 private member bills presented in the parliament by UP MPs only four are from Dalit MPs.

 

Uttar Pradesh Members of Parliament Performance Report by Indian American Muslim Council on Scribd


Download Report Click Here

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Report on performance of UP MPs shows shocking indifference say Indian Americans

Report on performance of UP MPs shows shocking indifference say Indian Americans
A whopping Rs. 333 crores of development funds unspent due to MP inaction
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 11, 2017


Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com) a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, today expressed dismay over the shocking indifference of Members of Parliament from UP, as demonstrated by a report it released yesterday. The report, titled “Uttar Pradesh Members of Parliament Performance Report,” shows Lok Sabha MPs, 71 of them from the BJP are responsible for over 333 crores of development funds lying unspent, only due to their inaction and indifference.
The study, conducted by US-based news portal TwoCircles.net and commissioned by IAMC, finds that 71 crores of the unspent funds were in 17 Dalit-majority constituencies and over 64 crores unspent in 16 other constituencies where Muslims are over 20% of the population. The MPs in both cases are from the BJP. Every MP is given Rs 5 crore per annum for development works in their respective constituencies.
BJP’s claim of inclusive development, as articulated in their slogan of “sabka saath sabka vikaas,” rings hollow in the face of such indifference and inaction. It is also an indication of what UP can expect, given BJP’s penchant for granting election tickets to criminals.
“Elected officials have a duty to serve their constituents through every possible mechanism made available to them by the system,” said Mr. Jawad Khan, President of IAMC. “Funds allocated for development lying unspent due to MP inaction is highly deplorable,” added Mr. Khan.
In the face of upcoming elections in UP, the BJP’s strategy of unleashing fierce Hindutva through shutting down of slaughterhouses and threatening to use vigilantes, is cynical and dangerous. It also points to the party’s desperate efforts to deflect attention from the demonetisation disaster.
IndianAmerican Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com
CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.
REFERENCES:

 

1. Uttar Pradesh Members of Parliament Performance Report

 

2. Uttar Pradesh: Lok Sabha MPs, 71 of them from BJP, could not spend Rs 333 Cr of development fund

3. BJP tops list of candidates with criminal charges

 

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Bhopal “encounter” killings; Indian Americans demand Chief Minister’s resignation, judicial probe

Shocking videos show cold-blooded execution; ATS Chief justifies killing unarmed men
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 03, 2016
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today demanded the resignation of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, over the shocking and audacious killing of 8 unarmed undertrials in Bhopal. IAMC also joined activists, opposition parties and people of conscience in demanding a judicial probe into the gruesome incident. Videos of the killing show the men were unarmed, and were even waving to the policemen in an apparent attempt to surrender. Demonstrating a shocking level of impunity, the chief of Madhya Pradesh’s Anti-Terror Squad Mr. Sanjeev Shami confirmed the men were unarmed and defiantly maintained the killing was justified.
The official account that these eight men escaped from a high-security jail by making keys out of toothbrushes and scaling walls 30 ft high using bedsheets defies logic. Added to these outrageous fabrications, is the idea that the “escaped” undertrials all stayed together after their escape until they were conveniently found in one place to be done to death by the police. It also flies in the face of videos showing the men were unarmed, and the police fired even after the men were mowed down, including at a man who happened to be grievously injured but still alive. The motive behind this fake encounter appears to be the fact that the case against at least four of the undertrials was drawing to a close, with a judgement expected in their favor.  This was articulated by Tahawwur Khan, one of the defence lawyers of the men killed in the encounter.
The killings fit a pattern of ongoing state repression of minorities, including fake encounters, abductions and denial of justice. The disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmad who went missing after an assault on the campus, is only the latest in a series of shocking incidents involving activists and whistleblowers. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who has lost the moral legitimacy to continue in office, appears to be following the “Gujarat Model,” in its pattern of framing innocent youth and engaging in extrajudicial killings.
“The cold-blooded execution of these eight men before the court pronounced its judgement on them, is a grim demonstration of the state-sponsored repression of minorities and Dalits in India, even by law enforcement that is sworn to protect all citizens, regardless of caste or creed,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “A high-level judicial probe should be constituted immediately to unearth all the facts surrounding this incident. The justification of this gruesome killing by the ATS chief is an open admission of impunity, and the extent to which police forces consider themselves above the law. This does not bode well for the country,” he added.
Among those condemning the staged encounter are opposition parties, and top media commentators such as Shekhar Gupta and academic organizations like the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association. As Rahul Kanwal, Managing Editor of India Today said in his tweet, “Exposing a fake encounter is not anti-national. Staying silent when you know that an encounter appears fake is what is truly anti-national.”
Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/
CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.
REFERENCES:
Did Indian police just gun down 8 prison fugitives in cold blood? The government would prefer you didn’t ask.

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/8-simi-men-had-no-weapons-at-encounter-spot-anti-terror-chief-tells-ndtv-1620458The bogey of SIMI: Bhopal killings must not be allowed to fall into a legal blackhole

 

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Bhopal “encounter” killings; Indian Americans demand Chief Minister’s resignation, judicial probe

Bhopal “encounter” killings; Indian Americans demand Chief Minister’s resignation, judicial probe

Shocking videos show cold-blooded execution; ATS Chief justifies killing unarmed men
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 03, 2016


The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today demanded the resignation of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, over the shocking and audacious killing of 8 unarmed undertrials in Bhopal. IAMC also joined activists, opposition parties and people of conscience in demanding a judicial probe into the gruesome incident. Videos of the killing show the men were unarmed, and were even waving to the policemen in an apparent attempt to surrender. Demonstrating a shocking level of impunity, the chief of Madhya Pradesh’s Anti-Terror Squad Mr. Sanjeev Shami confirmed the men were unarmed and defiantly maintained the killing was justified.
The official account that these eight men escaped from a high-security jail by making keys out of toothbrushes and scaling walls 30 ft high using bedsheets defies logic. Added to these outrageous fabrications, is the idea that the “escaped” undertrials all stayed together after their escape until they were conveniently found in one place to be done to death by the police. It also flies in the face of videos showing the men were unarmed, and the police fired even after the men were mowed down, including at a man who happened to be grievously injured but still alive. The motive behind this fake encounter appears to be the fact that the case against at least four of the undertrials was drawing to a close, with a judgement expected in their favor.  This was articulated by Tahawwur Khan, one of the defence lawyers of the men killed in the encounter.
The killings fit a pattern of ongoing state repression of minorities, including fake encounters, abductions and denial of justice. The disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmad who went missing after an assault on the campus, is only the latest in a series of shocking incidents involving activists and whistleblowers. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who has lost the moral legitimacy to continue in office, appears to be following the “Gujarat Model,” in its pattern of framing innocent youth and engaging in extrajudicial killings.
“The cold-blooded execution of these eight men before the court pronounced its judgement on them, is a grim demonstration of the state-sponsored repression of minorities and Dalits in India, even by law enforcement that is sworn to protect all citizens, regardless of caste or creed,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “A high-level judicial probe should be constituted immediately to unearth all the facts surrounding this incident. The justification of this gruesome killing by the ATS chief is an open admission of impunity, and the extent to which police forces consider themselves above the law. This does not bode well for the country,” he added.

Among those condemning the staged encounter are opposition parties, and top media commentators such as Shekhar Gupta and academic organizations like the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association. As Rahul Kanwal, Managing Editor of India Today said in his tweet, “Exposing a fake encounter is not anti-national. Staying silent when you know that an encounter appears fake is what is truly anti-national.”

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/
CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.
REFERENCES:
Did Indian police just gun down 8 prison fugitives in cold blood? The government would prefer you didn’t ask.
http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/8-simi-men-had-no-weapons-at-encounter-spot-anti-terror-chief-tells-ndtv-1620458

The bogey of SIMI: Bhopal killings must not be allowed to fall into a legal blackhole

Read More

Indian Americans demand withdrawal of sedition case against Amnesty International India

Malicious case is intended to stifle dissent and create fear among NGOs and activists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy organization dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has condemned the filing of a case of sedition against Amnesty International India over claims that slogans favoring Kashmiri independence were raised at an event organized by the reputed human rights organization in Bangalore last Monday.

“The fact that the Bengaluru Police has registered the said case at the behest of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is indicative the political and ideological motivations behind it,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “Clearly, the aim is to silence views and opinions contrary to the shrill nationalist construct of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),” added Mr. Malick.

IAMC has expressed solidarity with Amnesty and demanded the immediate withdrawal of the case. Not only does the police action violate India’s constitutional promise and premise of free speech, it is significant to note that Amnesty’s event had been called to discuss the issue of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, a topic by no means anti-national or seditious. The violation of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir over several decades, both by State and non-State actors, is a matter of fact and has been acknowledged and accepted even by the Indian judiciary, from time to time. The international community, too, has been unsparing in its criticism of such violations.

It may be recalled that last March the ABVP had leveled a similar allegation of “azadi” slogans being raised at a public event in New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University that had led to the arrests of JNU students, including its current students’ union president. That illiberal, anti-democratic campaign by the ABVP too was widely condemned and eventually exposed as nothing more than a brute attempt by show of strength to forestall any discussion of the state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir.

The police action against Amnesty is completely characteristic of the regressive attitude of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government which has, since taking power in May 2014, carried out a witch hunt and vendetta against hundreds of national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Many of these have long worked in India across various social sectors, especially in human rights and civil liberties.
CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:
1. Amnesty International India Denies Sedition Allegations
http://www.wsj.com/articles/amnesty-international-india-denies-sedition-allegations-1471359235

2. Space for Civil Society and dissent is shrinking; Amnesty International India Executive Director
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/08/aakar-patel-answers-questions/

3. Amnesty shuts office on police advice
http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/amnestyabvp-row-amnesty-india-asks-employees-to-work-from-home/article9002766.ece

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Indian Americans demand withdrawal of sedition case against Amnesty International India

Indian Americans demand withdrawal of sedition case against Amnesty International India
 
Malicious case is intended to suppress dissent and create fear among NGOs and activists
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2016

 

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy organization dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has condemned the filing of a case of sedition against Amnesty International India over claims that slogans favoring Kashmiri independence were raised at an event organized by the reputed human rights organization in Bengaluru last Monday.

“The fact that the Bengaluru Police has registered the case at the behest of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is indicative of the political and ideological motivations behind it,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “Clearly, the aim is to silence views and opinions contrary to the shrill nationalist construct of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),” added Mr. Malick.

IAMC has expressed solidarity with Amnesty and demanded the immediate withdrawal of the case. Not only does the police action violate India’s constitutional promise of free speech, it is significant to note that Amnesty’s event had been called to discuss the issue of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, a topic by no means anti-national or seditious. The violation of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir over several decades, both by State and non-State actors, is a matter of fact and has been acknowledged even by the Indian judiciary, from time to time. The international community too has been unsparing in its criticism of such violations.

It may be recalled that last March the ABVP had leveled a similar allegation of “azadi” slogans being raised at a public event in New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University that had led to the arrests of JNU students, including its current students’ union president. That illiberal, anti-democratic campaign by the ABVP too was widely condemned and eventually exposed as nothing more than a brute attempt by show of strength to forestall any discussion of the state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir.

 The police action against Amnesty is completely characteristic of the regressive attitude of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government which has, since taking power in May 2014, carried out a witch-hunt and vendetta against hundreds of national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Many of these have long worked in India across various social sectors, especially in human rights and civil liberties.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at:

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: media@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.
REFERENCES:

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Indian Independence Day celebrations marked by solemn pledges to protect pluralism

Indian American Muslims organize celebratory event in Florida; participate in protests against targeting of Dalits and minorities in the name of cow protection

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today joined millions of people in India and around the world, in celebrating India’s 70th Independence Day. Activists and community members across the US marked the occasion by resolving to continue the struggle for justice, and for defending pluralism in India.

Independence-1

A celebratory event was organized by IAMC in Florida on August 14th, the eve of the Independence Day, with participation from broad sections of the Indian American community, including Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs. In the days leading up to Independence Day, IAMC volunteers and office bearers participated in protests against increasing attacks on Dalits and other minorities in India. The event included a flag hoisting ceremony at Gandhi Square in Fort Lauderdale.

“IAMC congratulates all Indians and people of Indian origin on this joyous occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day. Indeed, India has made great strides in many areas of endeavor since breaking free from British rule. However, Independence Day is also a sober reminder of how far we have come from our founding principles, with the increasing assaults on pluralism and the secular ethos of our constitution,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “The deepening divides in Indian society along caste and religious lines demand that all people of conscience join hands to engage in yet another freedom struggle; the struggle to free India from caste discrimination and violations of religious freedom,” added Mr. Malick.

In Florida, Mr. Victor Swaroop, the President of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) was one of the chief guests and a keynote speaker. A community activist and founding member of Gandhi Square, Mr. Swaroop shared how he lives by Mahatma Gandhi’s motto, “In order to find yourself, lose yourself in the service of others.”

Independence-2

Imam Zakaria, another keynote speaker, reminded the audience of how Indian Muslims were an integral part of India’s freedom struggle, and read out a long list of prominent Muslims who made the ultimate sacrifice for India’s Independence.

The celebration was marked with festivities and the singing of songs expressing deep love for India and its people.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:
1) Full Text: President Pranab Mukherjee’s speech on the eve of Independence Day
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/pranab-mukherjee-speech-independence-day-2975379/

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Indian Independence Day celebrations marked by solemn pledges to protect pluralism

Indian Independence Day celebrations marked by solemn pledges to protect pluralism

Indian American Muslims organize celebratory event in Florida; participate in protests against targeting of Dalits and minorities in the name of cow protection
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2016


The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today joined millions of people in India and around the world, in celebrating India’s 70th Independence Day. Activists and community members across the US marked the occasion by resolving to continue the struggle for justice, and for defending pluralism in India.
A celebratory event was organized by IAMC in Florida on August 14th, the eve of the Independence Day, with participation from broad sections of the Indian American community, including Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs. In the days leading up to Independence Day, IAMC volunteers and office bearers participated in protests against increasing attacks on  Dalits and other minorities in India. The event included a flag hoisting ceremony at Gandhi Square in Fort Lauderdale.

“IAMC congratulates all Indians and people of Indian origin on this joyous occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day. Indeed, India has made great strides in many areas of endeavor since breaking free from British rule. However, Independence Day is also a sober reminder of how far we have come from our founding principles, with the increasing assaults on pluralism and the secular ethos of our constitution,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “The deepening divides in Indian society along caste and religious lines demand that all people of conscience join hands to engage in yet another freedom struggle; the struggle to free India from caste discrimination and violations of religious freedom,” added Mr. Malick.

In Florida, Mr. Victor Swaroop, the President of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) was one of the chief guests and a keynote speaker. A community activist and founding member of Gandhi Square, Mr. Swaroop shared how he lives by Mahatma Gandhi’s motto, “In order to find yourself, lose yourself in the service of others.”
Imam Zakaria, another keynote speaker, reminded the audience of how Indian Muslims were an integral part of India’s freedom struggle, and read out a long list of prominent Muslims who made the ultimate sacrifice for India’s Independence.

The celebration was marked with festivities and the singing of songs expressing deep love for India and its people.

IndianAmerican Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com
CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.
REFERENCES:
  1. Full Text: President Pranab Mukherjee’s speech on the eve of Independence Day                                              http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/pranab-mukherjee-speech-independence-day-2975379/

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Indian Americans demand CBI inquiry into atrocities against Dalits and Muslims under the pretext of cow protection

Justifiable outrage over open flogging of Dalit youth for skinning dead cows

July 25, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today joined millions of Indians and people of conscience across the world, in expressing outrage over the ongoing atrocities against Dalits and minorities by “cow protection” extremists in India. Recent violence in the state of Gujarat on July 11 triggered a wave of mass protests and suicide attempts by Dalit youth, only to be followed by more atrocities in the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra. IAMC has called for a CBI enquiry that would cover not only the recent atrocities against Dalits but also include a full investigation into the functioning of “cow protection” groups and their near total disregard for the law.

Violence against Dalits and minorities have intensified under the BJP-led administration, whose worldview is aligned with the ideology of upper caste Hindu supremacy, known as Hindutva. While the protests continue to spread, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is yet to make a statement, much less commit to any action.

The Gujarat protests were in response to the public flogging of four Dalit youth by a “cow protection” group, when the youth were found skinning a dead cow. The flogging was recorded by the perpetrators themselves and circulated to serve as a lesson for others. The sheer viciousness and impunity of the crime has inflamed Dalit and other “lower caste” communities.

Violence by militant groups related to cow slaughter, possession of beef and transport of cattle has assumed an organized and institutionalized character under the present administration. On the India-Bangladesh border, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had in fact instructed the Border Security Force to stop cow transport as a top priority. News reports have indicated the involvement of India’s paramilitary force in at least one instance of the killing of cattle traders, shot down while attempting to transport cattle across the border. Cattle traders often come from impoverished Muslim or Dalit households.

Although the Gujarat Chief Secretary G. R. Aloria acknowledged hooliganism in the name of “cow protection,” the role of the Sangh Parivar in granting legitimacy to such hooligans and the complicity of officials in enabling their violence needs to be fully exposed and prosecuted under the law.

“We demand that those brought to book for the anti-Dalit atrocities should include, besides the perpetrators of the crimes, those who seek to create conditions that enable and justify such violence, in the name of protecting the cow,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of the Indian American Muslim Council. “The latest round of atrocities against ‘lower caste’ communities that have endured centuries of cruelty, should serve as a unifying call to all who care about justice and the rule of law,” added Mr. Malick.

Among the anti-Dalit atrocities that grabbed international attention was the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, driven to taking his own life after a witch-hunt by officials in the University of Hyderabad and the burning alive of two children from a Dalit family in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Indian American Muslim Council has made the following recommendations:

1. The Central administration should institute a CBI inquiry whose mandate should go beyond the recent atrocities against Dalits, and include the investigation of “gau raksha” or “cow protection” committees set up across the country

2. Global human rights organizations as well as international media should intensify their scrutiny of the treatment meted out to India’s Dalits and religious minorities. India is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but has been regularly cited as a country with one of the world’s poorest records on human rights.

While atrocities against “lower castes” are unfortunately common across India, Gujarat in particular is worse off than the rest of the country. The state has a mere 2.33 per cent of the country’s Dalit population, but ranks in the top half of the country in the percentage of crimes against Dalits, according to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Crimes Record Bureau. It may be recalled that intense media spin pursued by Mr. Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat, touted the state as a model of development, which contributed to his party’s success in the country’s general election and his elevation to the post of Prime Minister of India.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/

CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

1. Video of public flogging of Dalit youth in Una district of Gujarat
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfcNNfNlaok

2. Dalit family in Karnataka attacked over rumors of eating beef
http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/dalit-family-attacked-in-karnataka-over-beef-rumours-1435399m

3. Dalit men in Maharashtra beaten up by 25 people for overtaking
http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/dalit-men-beaten-up-by-25-people-allegedly-for-overtaking-in-maharashtra-1435546

4. Paramilitary forces kill cattle smugglers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFyedFrS2aI

5. In Gujarat, 95 of 100 suspects in crimes against Dalits acquitted
http://twocircles.net/2016jul23/1469258201.html

6. Protect us from cow vigilante groups, trade hit: Punjab soap industry to police
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/protect-us-from-cow-vigilante-groups-trade-hit-punjab-soap-industry-to-police/

7. BSF must check cow smuggling, says Rajnath
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bsf-must-check-cow-smuggling-says-rajnath/article8627344.ece

8. Modi Should Have Spoken In Parliament On Dalit Attacks
http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/modi-should-have-spoken-in-parliament-on-dalit-attacks-1435303

9. Atrocities, discrimination led to Dalit wave of anger in Gujarat: Martin Macwan
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/una-incident-martin-macwan-on-dalit-wave-of-anger-in-gujarat/article8887091.ece

10. India Report 2015 / 2016 – Amnesty International
https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/india/report-india/

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Indian Americans demand CBI inquiry into atrocities against Dalits and Muslims under the pretext of cow protection

Justifiable outrage over open flogging of Dalit youth for skinning dead cows

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today joined millions of Indians and people of conscience across the world, in expressing outrage over the ongoing atrocities against Dalits and minorities by “cow protection” extremists in India. Recent violence in the state of Gujarat on July 11 triggered a wave of mass protests and suicide attempts by Dalit youth, only to be followed by more atrocities in the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra. IAMC has called for a CBI enquiry that would cover not only the recent atrocities against Dalits but also include a full investigation into the functioning of “cow protection” groups and their near total disregard for the law.

Violence against Dalits and minorities have intensified under the BJP-led administration, whose worldview is aligned with the ideology of upper caste Hindu supremacy, known as Hindutva. While the protests continue to spread, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is yet to make a statement, much less commit to any action.

The Gujarat protests were in response to the public flogging of four Dalit youth by a “cow protection” group, when the youth were found skinning a dead cow. The flogging was recorded by the perpetrators themselves and circulated to serve as a lesson for others. The sheer viciousness and impunity of the crime has inflamed Dalit and other “lower caste” communities.

Violence by militant groups related to cow slaughter, possession of beef and transport of cattle has assumed an organized and institutionalized character under the present administration. On the India-Bangladesh border, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had in fact instructed the Border Security Force to stop cow transport as a top priority. News reports have indicated the involvement of India’s paramilitary force in at least one instance of the killing of cattle traders , shot down while attempting to transport cattle across the border. Cattle traders often come from impoverished Muslim or Dalit households.

Although the Gujarat Chief Secretary G. R. Aloria acknowledged hooliganism in the name of “cow protection,” the role of the Sangh Parivar in granting legitimacy to such hooligans and the complicity of officials in enabling their violence needs to be fully exposed and prosecuted under the law.

“We demand that those brought to book for the anti-Dalit atrocities should include, besides the perpetrators of the crimes, those who seek to create conditions that enable and justify such violence, in the name of protecting the cow,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of the Indian American Muslim Council. “The latest round of atrocities against ‘lower caste’ communities that have endured centuries of cruelty, should serve as a unifying call to all who care about justice and the rule of law,” added Mr. Malick.

Among the anti-Dalit atrocities that grabbed international attention was the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, driven to taking his own life after a witch-hunt by officials in the University of Hyderabad and the burning alive of two children from a Dalit family in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Indian American Muslim Council has made the following recommendations:
1. The Central administration should institute a CBI inquiry whose mandate should go beyond the recent atrocities against Dalits, and include the investigation of “gau raksha” or “cow protection” committees set up across the country
2. Global human rights organizations as well as international media should intensify their scrutiny of the treatment meted out to India’s Dalits and religious minorities. India is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but has been regularly cited as a country with one of the world’s poorest records on human rights.

While atrocities against “lower castes” are unfortunately common across India, Gujarat in particular is worse off than the rest of the country. The state has a mere 2.33 per cent of the country’s Dalit population, but ranks in the top half of the country in the percentage of crimes against Dalits, according to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Crimes Record Bureau. It may be recalled that intense media spin pursued by Mr. Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat, touted the state as a model of development, which contributed to his party’s success in the country’s general election and his elevation to the post of Prime Minister of India.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

1. Video of public flogging of Dalit youth in Una district of Gujarat
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfcNNfNlaok

2. Dalit family in Karnataka attacked over rumors of eating beef
http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/dalit-family-attacked-in-karnataka-over-beef-rumours-1435399

3. Dalit men in Maharashtra beaten up by 25 people for overtaking
http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/dalit-men-beaten-up-by-25-people-allegedly-for-overtaking-in-maharashtra-1435546

4. Paramilitary forces kill cattle smugglers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFyedFrS2aI

5. In Gujarat, 95 of 100 suspects in crimes against Dalits acquitted
http://twocircles.net/2016jul23/1469258201.html#.V5WB66KVlX-

6. Protect us from cow vigilante groups, trade hit: Punjab soap industry to police
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/protect-us-from-cow-vigilante-groups-trade-hit-punjab-soap-industry-to-police/

7. BSF must check cow smuggling, says Rajnath
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bsf-must-check-cow-smuggling-says-rajnath/article8627344.ece

8. Modi Should Have Spoken In Parliament On Dalit Attacks
http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/modi-should-have-spoken-in-parliament-on-dalit-attacks-1435303

9. Atrocities, discrimination led to Dalit wave of anger in Gujarat: Martin Macwan
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/una-incident-martin-macwan-on-dalit-wave-of-anger-in-gujarat/article8887091.ece

10. India Report 2015 / 2016 – Amnesty International
https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/india/report-india/

Read More

Indian Americans demand CBI inquiry into atrocities against Dalits and Muslims under the pretext of cow protection

Indian Americans demand CBI inquiry into atrocities against Dalits and Muslims under the pretext of cow protection

Justifiable outrage over open flogging of Dalit youth for skinning dead cows
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2016


The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos today joined millions of Indians and people of conscience across the world, in expressing outrage over the ongoing atrocities against Dalits and minorities by “cow protection” extremists in India. Recent violence in the state of Gujarat on July 11 triggered a wave of mass protests and suicide attempts by Dalit youth, only to be followed by more atrocities in the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra.  IAMC has called for a CBI enquiry that would cover not only the recent atrocities against Dalits but also include a full investigation into the functioning of “cow protection” groups and their near total disregard for the law.

Violence against Dalits and minorities have intensified under the BJP-led administration, whose worldview is aligned with the ideology of upper caste Hindu supremacy, known as Hindutva. While the protests continue to spread, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is yet to make a statement, much less commit to any action.
The Gujarat protests were in response to the public flogging of four Dalit youth by a “cow protection” group, when the youth were found skinning a dead cow. The flogging was recorded by the perpetrators themselves and circulated to serve as a lesson for others. The sheer viciousness and impunity of the crime has inflamed Dalit and other “lower caste” communities.
Violence by militant groups related to cow slaughter, possession of beef and transport of cattle has assumed an organized and institutionalized character under the present administration. On the India-Bangladesh border, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had in fact instructed the Border Security Force to stop cow transport as a top priority. News reports have indicated the involvement of India’s paramilitary force in at least one instance of the killing of cattle traders , shot down while attempting to transport cattle across the border. Cattle traders often come from impoverished Muslim or Dalit households.
Although the Gujarat Chief Secretary G. R. Aloria acknowledged hooliganism in the name of “cow protection,” the role of the Sangh Parivar in granting legitimacy to such hooligans and the complicity of officials in enabling their violence needs to be fully exposed and prosecuted under the law.
“We demand that those brought to book for the anti-Dalit atrocities should include, besides the perpetrators of the crimes, those who seek to create conditions that enable and justify such violence, in the name of protecting the cow,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of the Indian American Muslim Council. “The latest round of atrocities against ‘lower caste’ communities that have endured centuries of cruelty, should serve as a unifying call to all who care about justice and the rule of law,” added Mr. Malick.
Among the anti-Dalit atrocities that grabbed international attention was the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, driven to taking his own life after a witch-hunt by officials in the University of Hyderabad and the burning alive of two children from a Dalit family in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Indian American Muslim Council has made the following recommendations:
  1. The Central administration should institute a CBI inquiry whose mandate should go beyond the recent atrocities against Dalits, and include the investigation of “gau raksha” or “cow protection” committees set up across the country
2. Global human rights organizations as well as international media should intensify their scrutiny of the treatment meted out to India’s Dalits and religious minorities. India is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but has been regularly cited as a country with one of the world’s poorest records on human rights.

While atrocities against “lower castes” are unfortunately common across India, Gujarat in particular is worse off than the rest of the country. The state has a mere 2.33 per cent of the country’s Dalit population, but ranks in the top half of the country in the percentage of crimes against Dalits, according to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Crimes Record Bureau. It may be recalled that intense media spin pursued by Mr. Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat, touted the state as a model of development, which contributed to his party’s success in the country’s general election and his elevation to the post of Prime Minister of India.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/
CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.
REFERENCES:
1. Video of public flogging of Dalit youth in Una district of Gujarat
2. Dalit family in Karnataka attacked over rumors of eating beef
3. Dalit men in Maharashtra beaten up by 25 people for overtaking
4. Paramilitary forces kill cattle smugglers
5. In Gujarat, 95 of 100 suspects in crimes against Dalits acquitted
6. Protect us from cow vigilante groups, trade hit: Punjab soap industry to police

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California makes important corrections to history of Islam and South Asia

State Board of Education accepts some recommendations from scholars to reverse Islamophobic edits pushed by US based Hindu nationalist groups

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos expressed satisfaction that progress was made in reversing some of the Islamophobic content that had been injected into the California curriculum. At the public hearing in Sacramento on July 14th, the Board of Education responded positively to a letter by the Muslim Studies Faculty Group, a formidable collective of 25 scholars on Islam and Muslim Civilization from premier institutions such as Harvard, UCLA, Georgetown University and Berkeley. The scholars had called on the Board to delete Islamophobic content from the curriculum, while also urging a reversal of false and malicious statements on Islamic history introduced by the Hindu nationalist lobby in the US

Adding to the weight of scholarship represented by the letter from the Muslim Studies Faculty Group, was a letter from the major American Muslim organizations , urging the State Board of Education to reverse the factually incorrect and biased edits that had made their way into the curriculum framework during the review process. These edits comprised of painting Islamic history in the Indian subcontinent as one of forced conversions, and projecting Islam as an inherently war-mongering religion. The hearing witnessed a large turnout from the American Muslim community, who were motivated by the desire to ensure that their faith was not misrepresented in order to serve an Islamophobic and Hindu supremacist narrative.

Essentially, the State Board of Education accepted three of the five edits recommended by the Muslim Studies Faculty Group, and overturned several edits proposed by the alliance of Hindu nationalist organizations comprising of Hindu American Foundation (HAF), Uberoi Foundation and the Hindu Education Foundation (HEF).

IAMC has expressed its sincere appreciation for all the coalition partners in the “South Asian Histories For All” (SAHFA) coalition, a broad-based interfaith and inter-caste alliance comprising of Dalits, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, as well as the American Muslim organizations whose support was instrumental in achieving this progress.

Despite much pressure brought upon the State Board of Education (SBE) by the Hindu nationalist groups, the SBE accepted alternative language recommended by the Muslim Studies Faculty Group that represent a more accurate and balanced portrayal of the faith and its complex history.
“It is ironic that while publicly claiming to seek a fair portrayal of Hinduism, Hindu nationalist organizations expended considerable resources in order to inject Islamophobia into the California curriculum,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of the Indian American Muslim Council. “The State Board of Education’s courageous stance in resisting political pressure and a well-funded PR machinery demonstrates that those seeking to normalize anti-Muslim bigotry are running a fool’s errand,” added Mr. Malick.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

1. Full text of scholars’ letter to Board of Education
https://drive.google.com/a/iamc.com/file/d/0B-8zLJH_QRTzMWY4UzJtZThXeW5Bak9yVTJ6aENBNmYyNExB/view

2. Full text of letter by American Muslim organizations
https://drive.google.com/a/iamc.com/file/d/0B-8zLJH_QRTzRGpwU0dxZ2Q3YkUzSUt5S3dpRnZWendPcXcw/viewÂ

3. California removes “forced conversions” from textbooks
http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/california-removes-forced-conversions-from-textbooks/article8856104.ece

4. Scholars concerned over reference to “forced conversions” in California curriculum
http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/scholars-concerned-over-reference-to-forced-conversions-in-california-curriculum/article8844854.ece

5. After hours of testimony, State Board adopts history guidelines
https://edsource.org/2016/after-hours-of-testimony-state-board-adopts-history-guidelines-history-and-social-studies-framework/567055

6. California textbooks: The next stage of the battle
http://indianexpress.com/article/blogs/california-textbooks-the-next-stage-of-the-battle/

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IAMC testifies before Congressional Human Rights Commission on “Challenges and Opportunities: The Advancement of Human Rights in India”

Testimony on the eve of Modi’s address to US Congress highlights his administration’s active contribution to religious freedom violations in the face of judicial ineffectiveness
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday June 8, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), today joined representatives of internationally recognized institutions such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to testify before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington DC at the hearing titled ‘Challenges & Opportunities: The Advancement of Human Rights in India.

IAMC’s testimony, delivered by its Communications Director, Mr. Musaddique Thange, was a forthright exposition of the role played by India’s current administration and its espousal of the divisive Hindutva ideology in brutal human rights violations of religious minorities. The testimony included recommendations on how the US could play a constructive role in improving the situation while respecting India’s sovereignty.

Besides IAMC, other witnesses that testified at the hearing were Mr. Jeff King, President, International Christian Concern; Mr. John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch; Mr. T. Kumar, Asia Advocacy Director, Amnesty International; Ms. Martina E. Vandenberg, Founder & President, The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center; Mr. Raj Cherukonda, Representative, Dalit American Federation and Mr. Ajit Sahi, human rights activist & investigative journalist, formerly with the Tehelka Magazine.

tomlantos

The hearing, chaired by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) and Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), sought to “provide concrete recommendations for how U.S. policy makers can most effectively encourage the protection of human rights given the strategic importance and continued growth of the U.S. – India bilateral relationship.”

Mr. Musaddique Thange, Communications Director of IAMC provided oral testimony to the commission and submitted a written testimony detailing the systematic erosion of the legacy of respectful coexistence of many faiths. In a passionate plea to the commission, Mr. Thange called for human rights to be included as part of the annual US-India Strategic Dialogue and called out the ineffectiveness of the Indian judiciary as enabling and perpetuating the human rights violations.

The written testimony also recommended the recognition of the work of the vast network of NGOs that are at the forefront of upholding the constitutional values despite persistent targeting and harassment by the Modi led government. It also appealed to take up at the highest levels of government, for USCIRF and other institutions to be able to freely assess the situation in India first hand, without any hindrance from the government of India.

Congressional Letter to Speaker on Human Rights in India

In a separate development, eighteen members of the United States Congress led by Rep. Trent Franks and Rep. Betty McCollum wrote a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan urging him to take up the issue of rapidly eroding religious freedom in India.

“Human rights groups in India have reported extensively on these types of attacks, and have traced many of them to Hindu nationalist groups and to government officials supportive of those groups.  As a result of those groups and officials supporting extremists, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other religious minority communities continue to experience incidents of discrimination, intimidation, harassment and violent attacks. Unfortunately, because of India’s current climate of impunity with regard to such attacks, many victims may never receive justice.” asserted the congresspersons in their letter.

“In February of this year, 34 Members of the House and Senate wrote to Prime Minister Modi urging him to take steps to ensure the fundamental rights of religious minorities are protected and perpetrators of such violence are held accountable. In 2015, President Obama acknowledged concerns related to religious freedom in his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast following his visit to India, stating, ‘…in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs — acts of intolerance.'” the letter further stated.

IAMC welcomed the letter as a much needed reminder to Prime Minister Modi on the deteriorating situation of human rights under his regime.
Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/
CONTACT:Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

1. Challenges & Opportunities: The Advancement of Human Rights in India. Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. 07 Jun 2016.
2. Video recording of the hearing session. YouTube. 07 Jun 2016.
3. Oral testimony of Musaddique Thange (IAMC). 07 Jun 2016.
4. Written testimony of Musaddique Thange (IAMC). 07 Jun 2016.
5. While PM Modi meets Obama, US human rights commission to discuss India. Indian Express. 01 Jun 2016.
6. US Commission To Hold Hearing On India’s Human Rights Record. NDTV. 01 Jun 2016.

Read More

IAMC testifies before Congressional Human Rights Commission on “Challenges and Opportunities: The Advancement of Human Rights in India”

IAMC testifies before Congressional Human Rights Commission on “Challenges and Opportunities: The Advancement of Human Rights in India”

Testimony on the eve of Modi’s address to US Congress highlights his administration’s active contribution to religious freedom violations in the face of judicial ineffectiveness


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday June 8, 2016
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), today joined representatives of internationally recognized institutions such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to testify before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington DC at the hearing titled ‘Challenges & Opportunities: The Advancement of Human Rights in India.
IAMC’s testimony, delivered by its Communications Director, Mr. Musaddique Thange, was a forthright exposition of the role played by India’s current administration and its espousal of the divisive Hindutva ideology in brutal human rights violations of religious minorities. The testimony included recommendations on how the US could play a constructive role in improving the situation while respecting India’s sovereignty.
Besides IAMC, other witnesses that testified at the hearing were Mr. Jeff King, President, International Christian Concern; Mr. John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch; Mr. T. Kumar, Asia Advocacy Director, Amnesty International; Ms. Martina E. Vandenberg, Founder & President, The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center; Mr. Raj Cherukonda, Representative, Dalit American Federation and Mr. Ajit Sahi, human rights activist & investigative journalist, formerly with the Tehelka Magazine.
Video of Musaddique Thange (IAMC) testifying at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on human rights in India
Video of Musaddique Thange (IAMC) testifying at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on human rights in India
The hearing, chaired by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) and Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), sought to “provide concrete recommendations for how U.S. policy makers can most effectively encourage the protection of human rights given the strategic importance and continued growth of the U.S. – India bilateral relationship.”
Mr. Musaddique Thange, Communications Director of IAMC provided oral testimony to the commission and submitted a written testimony detailing the systematic erosion of the legacy of respectful coexistence of many faiths. In a passionate plea to the commission, Mr. Thange called for human rights to be included as part of the annual US-India Strategic Dialogue and called out the ineffectiveness of the Indian judiciary as enabling and perpetuating the human rights violations.
The written testimony also recommended the recognition of the work of the vast network of NGOs that are at the forefront of upholding the constitutional values despite persistent targeting and harassment by the Modi led government. It also appealed to take up at the highest levels of government, for USCIRF and other institutions to be able to freely assess the situation in India first hand, without any hindrance from the government of India.
Congressional Letter to Speaker on Human Rights in India
In a separate development, eighteen members of the United States Congress led by Rep. Trent Franks and Rep. Betty McCollum wrote a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan urging him to take up the issue of rapidly eroding religious freedom in India.
“Human rights groups in India have reported extensively on these types of attacks, and have traced many of them to Hindu nationalist groups and to government officials supportive of those groups.  As a result of those groups and officials supporting extremists, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other religious minority communities continue to experience incidents of discrimination, intimidation, harassment and violent attacks. Unfortunately, because of India’s current climate of impunity with regard to such attacks, many victims may never receive justice.” asserted the congresspersons in their letter.
“In February of this year, 34 Members of the House and Senate wrote to Prime Minister Modi urging him to take steps to ensure the fundamental rights of religious minorities are protected and perpetrators of such violence are held accountable. In 2015, President Obama acknowledged concerns related to religious freedom in his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast following his visit to India, stating, ‘…in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs — acts of intolerance.'” the letter further stated.
IAMC welcomed the letter as a much needed reminder to Prime Minister Modi on the deteriorating situation of human rights under his regime.
Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/
CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.
REFERENCES:
1. Challenges & Opportunities: The Advancement of Human Rights in India. Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. 07 Jun 2016.
2. Video recording of the hearing session. YouTube. 07 Jun 2016.
3. Oral testimony of Musaddique Thange (IAMC). 07 Jun 2016.
4. Written testimony of Musaddique Thange (IAMC). 07 Jun 2016.
5. While PM Modi meets Obama, US human rights commission to discuss India. Indian Express. 01 Jun 2016.
6. US Commission To Hold Hearing On India’s Human Rights Record. NDTV. 01 Jun 2016.

Read More

Indian Americans express shock, disgust over horrific church attack in Chhattisgarh; demand justice for victims

Suspected Hindutva activists from Bajrang Dal doused pastor and his pregnant wife with petrol in an attempt to burn them alive 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 23, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has joined millions of Indians and people of conscience around the world, in strongly condemning the barbaric attack on a Christian pastor and his wife, in the state of Chhattisgarh in India. The incident took place last Sunday, April 17th, and reported in the media a few days thereafter.

Two attackers stormed into the church in Bastar district, set ablaze a Bible and other articles, before viciously assaulting the pastor and his pregnant wife. The couple managed to escape alive, after the men doused them in petrol in an attempt to burn them alive. News reports indicate the assailants were armed with a gun, rods and knives. Their brutal assault on Pastor Dinbandhu Sameli, his 7-month pregnant wife and daughter Roushni Vidya, represents an escalation of attacks on minorities in India since the government of Mr. Narendra Modi came to power.

Instead of filing charges of attempted murder, causing grievous injury, etc, the police have filed lesser charges  such as house trespass, dacoity, committing mischief by fire and injuring or defiling a place of worship.

Mr. Arun Pannalal, the President of Chhattisgarh’s Christian Forum stated in a quote appearing in the media, “Around 15-20 men with saffron bands on their forehead entered the church while Sunday prayer was under way at around 12 pm, and started vandalising the premises and started breaking everything,” Pannalal said and claimed that the “Bajrang Dal youth indulged in sloganeering and were raising Jai Shree Ram slogans. They started damaging chairs and fans. They did not spare women and even tore up their clothes. They also thrashed an infant,” he said.

Mr. Pannalal further referred to the perpetrators of the murderous assault as members of the Bajrang Dal, a radical Hindu supremacist organization affiliated to the RSS.The RSS is the fountainhead of Hindutva and the ideological reference point for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government headed by Mr. Narendra Modi. The increasing attacks on minorities and lower castes in recent years are consistent with the extremism and intolerance Mr. Modi and his party have espoused. Mr. Modi himself has been a lifelong worker of the RSS.

“The hate and venom spewed by the RSS and its affiliates and echoed by prominent members of Mr. Modi’s administration are directly responsible for this barbaric attack on Pastor Sameli and his family, ” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of Indian American Muslim Council. “Those who felicitate Mr. Modi during his foreign jaunts, should seriously consider the implications of what they are tacitly endorsing,” added Mr. Malick.

The attack in Chhattisgarh is part of a pattern of violence and hateful rhetoric against minorities in India. There have been scores of attacks on Christians and Muslims since India gained independence. However, the violence has gained in intensity, and the discourse become more vitriolic since the political ascendancy of the Hindu nationalist movement in the late-1980s. The situation has become even more dire with Mr. Modi’s victory in the 2014 general elections on promises of economic development that have been largely unfulfilled.

Leading global human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have expressed grave concern over the worsening situation of religious minorities in India. Prime Minister Modi’s government, “failed to address increasing attacks on free expression and against religious minorities,” Human Rights Watch stated in its recent 659-page World Report.

“We demand not only that the perpetrators be held accountable, but also those who are engaging in a cover-up of the gruesome episode, and those that are enabling the sectarian hate that leads to such crimes,” Mr. Khalid Ansari, Vice-President of IAMC.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our at: http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

  1. Chhattisgarh: Church attacked in Bastar, pastor and pregnant wife barely escape

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-church-attacked-in-bastar-pastor-and-pregnant-wife-barely-escape-2203684

  1. Youths vandalize Church, thrash worshippers in Chhattisgarh

http://www.news18.com/news/india/youths-vandalise-church-thrash-worshippers-in-chhattisgarh-1212813.html

  1. Why it is no longer safe to be Christian in Chhattisgarh

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/indias-refusal-admit-us-religious-freedom-watchdog-seen-attempt-hide

  1. Indian government failed to address attacks on minorities: Human Rights groups

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2016-01-27/news/70120366_1_meenakshi-ganguly-human-rights-watch-rights-groups

  1. Revoke NSA charges against right-wing leader: Home Ministry reportedly issues diktat to UP govt

http://www.firstpost.com/india/mha-reportedly-asked-up-to-revoke-nsa-charges-against-right-wing-leader-accused-of-assaulting-muslim-man-2571114.html

  1. Rohith Vemula’s death sparks outrage within Indian diaspora

http://twocircles.net/2016jan28/1453995780.html#.Vxxeh_krJzV

  1. 110 Journalists Killed In 2015, India Deadliest Asian Nation For Reporters: Study

http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/110-journalists-killed-in-2015-most-in-peaceful-countries-reporters-without-borders-1260240

 

 

Read More

Indian Americans express shock, disgust over horrific church attack in Chhattisgarh; demand justice for victims

Indian Americans express shock, disgust over horrific church attack in Chhattisgarh; demand justice for victims
Suspected Hindutva activists from Bajrang Dal doused pastor and his pregnant wife with petrol in an attempt to burn them alive 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2016
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has joined millions of Indians and people of conscience around the world, in strongly condemning the barbaric attack on a Christian pastor and his wife, in the state of Chhattisgarh in India. The incident took place last Sunday, April 17th, and reported in the media a few days thereafter.
Two attackers stormed into the church in Bastar district, set ablaze a Bible and other articles, before viciously assaulting the pastor and his pregnant wife. The couple managed to escape alive, after the men doused them in petrol in an attempt to burn them alive. News reports indicate the assailants were armed with a gun, rods and knives. Their brutal assault on Pastor Dinbandhu Sameli, his 7-month pregnant wife and daughter Roushni Vidya, represents an escalation of attacks on minorities in India since the government of Mr. Narendra Modi came to power.

Instead of filing charges of attempted murder, causing grievous injury, etc, the police have filed lesser charges  such as house trespass, dacoity, committing mischief by fire and injuring or defiling a place of worship.

Mr. Arun Pannalal, the President of Chhattisgarh’s Christian Forum stated in a quote appearing in the media, “Around 15-20 men with saffron bands on their forehead entered the church while Sunday prayer was under way at around 12 pm, and started vandalising the premises and started breaking everything,” Pannalal said and claimed that the “Bajrang Dal youth indulged in sloganeering and were raising Jai Shree Ram slogans. They started damaging chairs and fans. They did not spare women and even tore up their clothes. They also thrashed an infant,” he said
Mr. Pannalal further referred to the perpetrators of the murderous assault as members of the Bajrang Dal, a radical Hindu supremacist organization affiliated to the RSS.The RSS is the fountainhead of Hindutva and the ideological reference point for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government headed by Mr. Narendra Modi. The increasing attacks on minorities and lower castes in recent years are consistent with the extremism and intolerance Mr. Modi and his party have espoused. Mr. Modi himself has been a lifelong worker of the RSS.
“The hate and venom spewed by the RSS and its affiliates and echoed by prominent members of Mr. Modi’s administration are directly responsible for this barbaric attack on Pastor Sameli and his family, ” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of Indian American Muslim Council. “Those who felicitate Mr. Modi during his foreign jaunts, should seriously consider the implications of what they are tacitly endorsing,” added Mr. Malick.
The attack in Chhattisgarh is part of a pattern of violence and hateful rhetoric against minorities in India. There have been scores of attacks on Christians and Muslims since India gained independence. However, the violence has gained in intensity, and the discourse become more vitriolic since the political ascendancy of the Hindu nationalist movement in the late-1980s. The situation has become even more dire with Mr. Modi’s victory in the 2014 general elections on promises of economic development that have been largely unfulfilled.
Leading global human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have expressed grave concern over the worsening situation of religious minorities in India. Prime Minister Modi’s government, “failed to address increasing attacks on free expression and against religious minorities,” Human Rights Watch stated in its recent 659-page World Report.
“We demand not only that the perpetrators be held accountable, but also those who are engaging in a cover-up of the gruesome episode, and those that are enabling the sectarian hate that leads to such crimes,” Mr. Khalid Ansari, Vice-President of IAMC.

IndianAmerican Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:


Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:


1. Chhattisgarh: Church attacked in Bastar, pastor and pregnant wife barely escape

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-church-attacked-in-bastar-pastor-and-pregnant-wife-barely-escape-2203684

4. Indian government failed to address attacks on minorities: Human Rights groups

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2016-01-27/news/70120366_1_meenakshi-ganguly-human-rights-watch-rights-groups

5. Revoke NSA charges against right-wing leader: Home Ministry reportedly issues diktat to UP govt

http://www.firstpost.com/india/mha-reportedly-asked-up-to-revoke-nsa-charges-against-right-wing-leader-accused-of-assaulting-muslim-man-2571114.html

6. Rohith Vemula’s death sparks outrage within Indian diaspora

http://twocircles.net/2016jan28/1453995780.html#.Vxxeh_krJzV

7. 110 Journalists Killed In 2015, India Deadliest Asian Nation For Reporters: Study
CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com

Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council

Twitter: @IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

Read More

Indian Americans condemn Saudi award for Prime Minister Modi

Award defies logic given Mr. Modi’s record before and after taking office as Prime Minister

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 04, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has condemned the Saudi government’s decision to confer Indian Prime Minister Modi with the nation’s highest civilian award.

“It is expected that the Indian Prime Minister is accorded the respect befitting a head of state. However, conferring of the highest civilian award on Mr. Modi by those who claim to be the custodians of the two Holy Mosques is a slap in the face of survivors of the Gujarat pogroms of 2002. It is also a demonstration of indifference to the increased attacks and threats against the religious minorities and Dalits in India,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC.

Mr. Modi and the Saudi monarchy have much in common. As Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Modi presided over one of the worst episodes of sectarian violence in independent India, when over 2,000 people were massacred by mobs instigated by the Hindu-supremacist groups. The horrific killings were accompanied by rape and pillage, resulting in the displacement of over 150,000 Muslims from their homes, many of whom are still struggling to pick up the pieces of their lives. Mr. Modi continues to have a case pending against him in the Gujarat High Court and a tainted Special Investigation Team failed to initiate prosecution of Mr. Modi. The handful of convictions in the cases related to the pogroms in Gujarat have happened as a result of tireless and courageous work by activists and whistleblowers, whom the Modi government has harassed and intimidated.

Since coming to power, the Modi administration has worked steadily to erode religious freedom and India’s long-cherished traditions of tolerance among its diverse populace. Ranging from attacks on churches and mob violence against Muslims and Dalits, to felicitating the killer of Mahatma Gandhi, Mr. Modi’s administration and its supporters have relentlessly pursued a divisive agenda, that is antithetical to the country’s Constitution and its egalitarian ideals. The demonization of intellectuals, the vigilantism encouraged by the state, and the weakening of institutions are all indications of a besieged Indian democracy.

Saudi forces are conducting indiscriminate airstrikes in Yemen that are widely acknowledged to have caused huge loss of civilian lives, creating an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe. Incidentally, the monarchy had conferred the same award given to Mr. Modi, on Mr. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt.

“Coming from the Saudi monarchy, which is known for its repressive domestic policies and human rights violations, the award itself is of dubious value. It diminishes, rather than enhances the office of the Prime Minister of India,” added Mr. Malick.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com

 

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270

Email:info@iamc.com

Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council

Twitter: @IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

 

REFERENCES:

1.Indian government failed to address attacks on minorities: Human Rights groups http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2016-01-27/news/70120366_1_meenakshi-ganguly-human-rights-watch-rights-groups

2. India Gov’t Turning a Blind Eye to Religious Attacks http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2016/march/india-govt-turning-a-blind-eye-to-religious-attacks

3. India’s Refusal to Admit U.S. Religious Freedom Watchdog Seen As Attempt to Hide ‘Crimes’ Against Religious Minorities http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/indias-refusal-admit-us-religious-freedom-watchdog-seen-attempt-hide

4. Two Muslim Cattle Traders Hanged To Death In Jharkhand By Suspected ‘Cattle-Protection Vigilantes’ http://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/two-muslim-cattle-traders-hanged-to-death-in-jharkhand-by-suspected-cattle-protection-vigilantes-252255.html

5. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighting the “growing attacks” on the minority community, including the latest Latehar killings. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/latehar-killings-ghulam-nabi-azad-letter-pm-modi-jharkand-cattle-traders/

6. The BJP has Unleashed the Bhasmasura of Aggressive Nationalism. Good Luck Controlling It. http://thewire.in/2016/02/25/the-bjp-has-unleashed-the-bhasmasura-of-aggressive-nationalism-good-luck-controlling-it-22643/

7. Modi government’s AYUSH ministry says ‘we don’t recruit Muslims’ http://www.milligazette.com/news/13831-we-dont-recruit-indian-muslims-modi-govts-ayush-ministry

8. Rohith Vemula’s death sparks outrage within Indian diaspora http://twocircles.net/2016jan28/1453995780.html#.VrIxb7IrLIU

9. Human Rights Advocates: U.S.-Backed Saudi Offensive in Yemen a “Dark Mark” on Obama’s Presidency http://www.democracynow.org/2016/4/1/human_rights_advocates_us_backed_saudi

 

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Indian Americans honor Rep. Keith Ellison as “Champion of Human Rights”

Indian Americans honor Rep. Keith Ellison as “Champion of Human Rights”
Event to mark India’s Republic Day held on first weekend after January 26th 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 03, 2016
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, honored Congressman Keith Ellision (D-MN) as a “Champion of Human Rights,” at an India Republic Day celebration held in Minneapolis. Although Republic Day is on January 26th, the celebrations were held over the weekend, to enable optimal participation from the community.
Among the speakers was Ms. Robin Phillips, of Advocates for Human Rights, a prominent organization that has done commendable work in highlighting issues related to human rights and religious freedom of minorities in India.
The highlight of the event was the “Champion of Human Rights,” award given to Congressman Keith Ellison, in recognition of his work to advance human rights, both in the United States and around the world. Mike Siebenaler, Constituents Services Director in Rep. Ellison’s office, accepted the award on behalf of the Congressman.

Award


Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International
, both leading global human rights groups, recently expressed grave concern over the situation of minorities and the clampdown on dissent in India. Prime Minister Modi’s government, “failed to address increasing attacks on free expression and against religious minorities,”  Human Rights Watch stated in its 659-page World Report. Amnesty International sought to bring international attention to the Modi government’s targeting of activists and protest groups for political ends.

“Speaking out against the violations of human rights and civil liberties of minorities in India, is an obligation of entire Indian diaspora and not just the privilege of a few,” said Mr. Robin Phillips, Executive Director of Advocates for Human Rights. “AHR, whose mission is to promote civil society and to reinforce the rule of law, feels almost obligated to work with IAMC whose main goal is freedom, justice, and peace for all in India,” added Ms. Phillips.
Attendees and speakers noted the continued assault on minorities and lower castes. Delegates also expressed profound respect for Mr. Rohith Vemula, a Dalit research scholar who was driven to commit suicide as a result of the harassment and intimidation at the University of Hyderabad, in which even Union ministers were involved. Outrage over Mr. Vemula’s treatment and subsequent death has been expressed in the form of mass protests to erupt at major universities and cities across US and around the world.
“This year’s Republic Day celebrations are marked by a grim reminder that the struggle to uphold justice and equality before the law for all people, regardless of caste and creed, is now more urgent than ever,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC.
Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com
CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270

Email:info@iamc.com 

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:
1. Indian government failed to address attacks on minorities: Human Rights groups
2. Rohith Vemula’s death spark outrage within Indian diaspora

Read More

Dalit scholar’s suicide in Hyderabad an indictment of BJP’s Hindutva agenda say Indian Americans

Dalit scholar’s suicide in Hyderabad an indictment of BJP’s
Hindutva agenda say Indian Americans
Charges against Union Minister and Vice-Chancellor indicative of administration’s anti-Dalit and anti-minority focus rooted in Hindutva
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 19, 2016
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has expressed  shock and outrage over the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula at Hyderabad University. Mr. Vemula and four other members of Ambedkar Students Association were victimized and subjected to relentless harassment by the University officials. Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and the Vice-Chancellor  of the University Appa Rao Podile along with a BJP legislator and two student leaders face charges of abetting Rohith’s suicide, under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Rohith Vemula and his associates were clearly targeted for raising issues that were inconvenient not only for upper caste outfits and University officials, but also for the blatantly anti-Dalit and sectarian BJP administration at the Centre. Their harassment by the University on flimsy grounds included discontinuation of the monthly stipend since July and suspension from the University since September last year.
This incident also exposes the role of Smriti Irani’s Human Resource and Development (HRD) Ministry. This is the second instance where Smriti Irani’s Ministry is found exerting overbearing political pressure and interference in University affairs. The IIT Madras decision to ban the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) followed the receipt of a letter from Smriti Irani’s HRD Ministry. In this case, Smriti Irani’s HRD Ministry sent five letters to the Hyderabad university for action on Labour Minister Bandaru Dattareya’s complaint regarding “anti national activities” on the campus and the alleged “violent attack” on an ABVP leader. The involvement of a Union Minister in ensuring University officials remained hostile to Rohith and his fellow ASA members, and the Vice-Chancellor’s role in the tragedy has been called out in the charges brought against the minister and the Vice-Chancellor by the police.
In an earlier letter to the Vice-Chancellor, Rohith had written, “Please give us poison at the time of admission itself instead of humiliating us like this.” Rohith’s suicide note also points to the psychological trauma he was going through on account of the continued harassment and intimidation.
“Rohith Vemula’s suicide is a chilling example of the deeply entrenched caste-based oppression in India,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of Indian American Muslim Council. “His death is not only an occasion for profound sorrow but also a call to action for all who care about human rights and religious freedom. Continuing caste-based oppression in modern India and anti-minority repression are the bitter fruits of Hindutva,” added Mr. Malick.
While the charges against Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and the Vice-Chancellor of the University are a step in the right direction, justice could be elusive unless there is mass outrage over Rohith’s suicide, as well as sustained action by civil society institutions. IAMC has urged all people of conscience, in India and across the world, to recognize caste-based oppression as a form of racism.
IndianAmerican Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com
CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com

Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council

Twitter: @IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:
1. Rohith Vemula: The student who died for Dalit rights

2. Rohith Vemula suicide: Why did HRD ministry write 4 letters on the ‘matter’ to Hyderabad Central University?
3. IIT Madras and Modi Government Play Big Brother, Ban Student Group

4. Trail Of Letters That Prove The Direct Involvement Of MHRD Under Smriti Irani In The Suicide Of Rohith Vemula

Read More

Dalit scholar’s suicide in Hyderabad an indictment of BJP’s Hindutva agenda say Indian Americans

Charges against Union Minister and Vice-Chancellor indicative of administration’s anti-Dalit and anti-minority focus rooted in Hindutva

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 19, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has expressed  shock and outrage over the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula at Hyderabad University. Mr. Vemula and four other members of Ambedkar Students Association were victimized and subjected to relentless harassment by the University officials. Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and the Vice-Chancellor  of the University Appa Rao Podile along with a BJP legislator and two student leaders face charges of abetting Rohith’s suicide, under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Rohith Vemula and his associates were clearly targeted for raising issues that were inconvenient not only for upper caste outfits and University officials, but also for the blatantly anti-Dalit and sectarian BJP administration at the Centre. Their harassment by the University on flimsy grounds included discontinuation of the monthly stipend since July and suspension from the University since September last year.

This incident also exposes the role of Smriti Irani’s Human Resource and Development (HRD) Ministry. This is the second instance where Smriti Irani’s Ministry is found exerting overbearing political pressure and interference in University affairs. The IIT Madras decision to ban the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) followed the receipt of a letter from Smriti Irani’s HRD Ministry. In this case, Smriti Irani’s HRD Ministry sent five letters to the Hyderabad university for action on Labour Minister Bandaru Dattareya’s complaint regarding “anti national activities” on the campus and the alleged “violent attack” on an ABVP leader. The involvement of a Union Minister in ensuring University officials remained hostile to Rohith and his fellow ASA members, and the Vice-Chancellor’s role in the tragedy has been called out in the charges brought against the minister and the Vice-Chancellor by the police.

In an earlier letter to the Vice-Chancellor, Rohith had written, “Please give us poison at the time of admission itself instead of humiliating us like this.” Rohith’s suicide note also points to the psychological trauma he was going through on account of the continued harassment and intimidation.

“Rohith Vemula’s suicide is a chilling example of the deeply entrenched caste-based oppression in India,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of Indian American Muslim Council. “His death is not only an occasion for profound sorrow but also a call to action for all who care about human rights and religious freedom. Continuing caste-based oppression in modern India and anti-minority repression are the bitter fruits of Hindutva,” added Mr. Malick.

While the charges against Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and the Vice-Chancellor of the University are a step in the right direction, justice could be elusive unless there is mass outrage over Rohith’s suicide, as well as sustained action by civil society institutions. IAMC has urged all people of conscience, in India and across the world, to recognize caste-based oppression as a form of racism.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270

Email:info@iamc.com

Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council

Twitter: @IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

  1. Rohith Vemula: The student who died for Dalit rights

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-35349790

  1. Rohith Vemula suicide: Why did HRD ministry write 4 letters on the ‘matter’ to Hyderabad Central University?

http://www.firstpost.com/politics/rohith-vemula-suicide-why-did-hrd-ministry-write-4-letters-on-the-matter-to-hyderabad-central-university-2590846.html

  1. IIT Madras and Modi Government Play Big Brother, Ban Student Group

http://thewire.in/2015/05/29/iit-madras-and-modi-government-play-big-brother-ban-student-group-2688/

  1. Trail Of Letters That Prove The Direct Involvement Of MHRD Under Smriti Irani In The Suicide Of Rohith Vemula

http://www.countercurrents.org/rti190116.htm

Read More

Indian Americans express support for VP Rajeena, victimized for speaking up against child abuse

Journalist shared her experiences  at a Madrasa (traditional Islamic school) during her childhood
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 29, 2015
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has expressed support for journalist VP Rajeena, who described instances of sexual abuse of children that she witnessed in a Madrasa (traditional Islamic school) over two decades ago.

Ms. Rajeena, who works for a Malayalam newspaper, posted on Facebook her childhood experiences at a Madrasa, where an “ustad” (teacher) allegedly engaged in abusive behavior with both boys and girls. Unfortunately, instead of taking the journalist’s revelations with the seriousness they deserve, many Muslims questioned her motives or launched a harassment campaign online including threats and hateful remarks. Its heartening to note she has received some support as well. Ms. Rajeena has repeatedly stated her post was not intended to be a generalization of all Madrasas, but a sharing of her own experience. Since Ms. Rajeena’s revelations, Kerala filmmaker Ali Akbar has come forward alleging abuse by an Ustad at a Madrasa in Wayanad district.
“There are many Madrasas across India that have made positive contributions to Islamic scholarship and to the religious and spiritual upbringing of Muslims. However it does not mean all Madrasas are automatically immune to problems in the wider society,” said Umar Malick, President of Indian American Muslim Council. “We support Ms. Rajeena’s right not only to speak up about past abuse but also warn the community about the potential for such abuse, that would victimize innocent children,” added Mr. Malick.
IAMC has called for an internal but independent and transparent assessment by credible community leaders, leading up to an investigation by law enforcement in all instances where there are grounds to believe the law has been violated.
Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com
CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com 

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES: 
1) Journalist comes under online attack for Facebook post

Read More

Indian Americans express support for VP Rajeena, victimized for speaking up against child abuse

Indian Americans express support for VP Rajeena, victimized for speaking up against child abuse
Journalist shared her experiences  at a Madrasa (traditional Islamic school) during her childhood
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 29, 2015
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has expressed support for journalist VP Rajeena, who described instances of sexual abuse of children that she witnessed in a Madrasa (traditional Islamic school) over two decades ago.

Ms. Rajeena, who works for a Malayalam newspaper, posted on Facebook her childhood experiences at a Madrasa, where an “ustad” (teacher) allegedly engaged in abusive behavior with both boys and girls. Unfortunately, instead of taking the journalist’s revelations with the seriousness they deserve, many Muslims questioned her motives or launched a harassment campaign online including threats and hateful remarks. Its heartening to note she has received some support as well. Ms. Rajeena has repeatedly stated her post was not intended to be a generalization of all Madrasas, but a sharing of her own experience. Since Ms. Rajeena’s revelations, Kerala filmmaker Ali Akbar has come forward alleging abuse by an Ustad at a Madrasa in Wayanad district.
“There are many Madrasas across India that have made positive contributions to Islamic scholarship and to the religious and spiritual upbringing of Muslims. However it does not mean all Madrasas are automatically immune to problems in the wider society,” said Umar Malick, President of Indian American Muslim Council. “We support Ms. Rajeena’s right not only to speak up about past abuse but also warn the community about the potential for such abuse, that would victimize innocent children,” added Mr. Malick.
IAMC has called for an internal but independent and transparent assessment by credible community leaders, leading up to an investigation by law enforcement in all instances where there are grounds to believe the law has been violated.
IndianAmerican Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com
CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com

Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council

Twitter: @IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES: 
1) Journalist comes under online attack for Facebook post

Read More

Reported rape of dead Muslim woman evokes anger, revulsion amongst Indian Americans

Calls to rape dead Muslim women had been made at a function presided over by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2015
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has joined in the outrage and revulsion felt by Indian Americans and people of conscience everywhere, over news reports that a Muslim woman’s corpse was dug out from her grave in Talheta village near the border of Meerut and Ghaziabad districts. Her body was found without any clothes 20 meters from the grave. The police believed the ghastly incident was anattempt to stoke “communal violence” in the region.
It may be recalled that in March 2015, video reports showed BJP MP Yogi Adityanath presiding over a Hindutva supremacist rally, where calls were made to rape dead Muslim women. Mr. Adityanath continued on the stage while such a despicable idea was being expressed. Subsequently Yogi Adityanath was promoted to the BJP’s national executive committee.
The reaction of Indians around the world over the continuing attacks on the dignity and basic freedoms of India’s religious minorities as well as Dalits (lower-castes), has been eloquently expressed by former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Ramdas, in a recentopen letter to the President and Prime Minister of India. Drawing the attention of the highest offices in the land to the “threats to our shared heritage,” Admiral Ramdas unequivocally separated Hinduism, the faith he was raised in, from “Hindutva, that seems to be fanning the flames of division and fear across the country.”
Recent months have also seen a sharp increase in attacks on Dalits. Two Dalit children were burned alive in the Faridabad district of Uttar Pradesh state by upper-caste miscreants who set the house on fire while the family was sleeping. The incident has sent shock-waves across India.
“Today, as a veteran in my eighties, I am forced to hang my head in shame as I witness a series of incidents and assaults on our fellow citizens, especially minorities and dalits,” wrote Admiral Ramdas. Further in the letter, he states, “”Most shocking of all is the fact there has been no unambiguous condemnation of such actions and behaviour by those at the helm of affairs in the country.”
The letter draws attention to the “systematic and well orchestrated attempt to impose a majoritarian single point agenda of creating a Hindu Rashtra in India – led by the RSS and their network of groups…” The full text of the letter is available online.
“The ‘total disregard for the rule of law,’ that Admiral Ramdas referred to in his letter, has been evident, time and again, in atrocities committed by the foot soldiers of the Hindutva supremacist ideology espoused by the RSS and its affiliates,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “Indians of all faiths need to come together, to unequivocally condemn inhuman behavior and the ideology that supports such actions,”added Mr. Malick.
IAMC lauds Admiral Ramdas for his courage, as well as the Indian writers who have protested against the rising attacks on minorities and intellectuals, by returning their awards. In recent weeks, more than 40 eminent writers returned their Sahitya Akademi Award, which is India’s highest literary award.
Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at:
CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com 

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES: 
 
1. Yogi Adityanath’s Men Telling Hindus To Rape Dead Muslim Women Is Beyond Shocking

  
3. Modi Plays Anti-Muslim Card at Bihar Rally to Woo Dalits, OBCs

4. Two Dalit children burned alive in Faridabad after upper-caste people set their house on fire

5. Dalit children burnt alive: Whither is humanity?

6. Who or what is fanning intolerance in India?

7. India’s Narendra Modi must rein in his Hindu supremacist allies

Read More

Reported rape of dead Muslim woman evokes anger, revulsion among Indian Americans

Reported rape of dead Muslim woman evokes anger, revulsion among Indian Americans
Calls to rape dead Muslim women had been made at a function presided over by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2015
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has joined in the outrage and revulsion felt by Indian Americans and people of conscience everywhere, over news reports that a Muslim woman’s corpse was dug out from her grave in Talheta village near the border of Meerut and Ghaziabad districts. Her body was found without any clothes 20 meters from the grave. The police believed the ghastly incident was an attempt to stoke “communal violence” in the region.
It may be recalled that in March 2015, video reports showed BJP MP Yogi Adityanath presiding over a Hindutva supremacist rally, where calls were made to rape dead Muslim women. Mr. Adityanath continued on the stage while such a despicable idea was being expressed. Subsequently Yogi Adityanath was promoted to the BJP’s national executive committee.
The reaction of Indians around the world over the continuing attacks on the dignity and basic freedoms of India’s religious minorities as well as Dalits (lower-castes), has been eloquently expressed by former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Ramdas, in a recent open letter to the President and Prime Minister of India. Drawing the attention of the highest offices in the land to the “threats to our shared heritage,” Admiral Ramdas unequivocally separated Hinduism, the faith he was raised in, from “Hindutva, that seems to be fanning the flames of division and fear across the country.”
Recent months have also seen a sharp increase in attacks on Dalits. Two Dalit children were burned alive in the Faridabad district of Uttar Pradesh state by upper-caste miscreants who set the house on fire while the family was sleeping. The incident has sent shock-waves across India.
“Today, as a veteran in my eighties, I am forced to hang my head in shame as I witness a series of incidents and assaults on our fellow citizens, especially minorities and dalits,” wrote Admiral Ramdas. Further in the letter, he states, “Most shocking of all is the fact there has been no unambiguous condemnation of such actions and behaviour by those at the helm of affairs in the country.”
The letter draws attention to the “systematic and well orchestrated attempt to impose a majoritarian single point agenda of creating a Hindu Rashtra in India – led by the RSS and their network of groups…” The full text of the letter is available online.
“The ‘total disregard for the rule of law,’ that Admiral Ramdas referred to in his letter, has been evident, time and again, in atrocities committed by the foot soldiers of the Hindutva supremacist ideology espoused by the RSS and its affiliates,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “Indians of all faiths need to come together, to unequivocally condemn inhuman behavior and the ideology that supports such actions,” added Mr. Malick.
IAMC lauds Admiral Ramdas for his courage, as well as the Indian writers who have protested against the rising attacks on minorities and intellectuals, by returning their awards. In recent weeks, more than 40 eminent writers returned their Sahitya Akademi Award, which is India’s highest literary recognition.
IndianAmerican Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at:
CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com

Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council

Twitter: @IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:
1. Yogi Adityanath’s Men Telling Hindus To Rape Dead Muslim Women Is Beyond Shocking

3. Modi Plays Anti-Muslim Card at Bihar Rally to Woo Dalits, OBCs

4. Two Dalit children burned alive in Faridabad after upper-caste people set their house on fire

5. Dalit children burnt alive: Whither is humanity?

6. Who or what is fanning intolerance in India?

7. India’s Narendra Modi must rein in his Hindu supremacist allies

Read More

Horrific lynching in India a planned uptick in Hindu supremacist violence against minorities say Indian Americans

Brutal killing over mere suspicion of eating beef intended to terrorize local Muslims and polarize communities along religious lines
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 03, 2015

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has strongly condemned the latest episode of anti-minority violence in India, in the form of a mob lynching of a Muslim man and his son in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, over mere suspicion of having eaten beef. Although the incident was made to appear like a spontaneous act of violence by an unruly crowd, there are strong indications that this was a planned act, intended to terrorize the Muslim population of the district and suppress dissent across India over the beef ban implemented in some states.

News reports indicate the son of a local politician from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) instigated the mob of over 200 people, to attack Mohammad Akhlaq and his son. They beat Akhlaq to death, while his 22 year-old son Danish was injured and is in critical condition. Another son of Mohammed Akhlaq is a serving corporal in the Indian Air Force.

Beyond the mob’s inhuman behavior, it is alarming to note that the police have sent the meat from the victim’s refrigerator to a forensic lab to be tested, out of apparent respect for the mob’s feelings. This effectively turns the victim into the accused, despite the fact that even if the family were in possession of beef, they were not in violation of the Uttar Pradesh Cow Protection Act. Besides the law enforcement machinery, even the regional Hindi media has joined hands in labeling the victim, Mohammed Akhlaq as a cow-killer. Journalists from major media outlets attempting to visit the village in order to cover the story have been attacked by locals.

In a brazen act of state complicity with the killers, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate has threatened the family of the victim with “dire consequences” if they speak out. The fact that the local BJP leader Srichand Sharma announced a “mahapanchayat” (grand village gathering) to protest the arrests made in the case, is an indication of how Hindu nationalist forces are rallying behind the killers.

BJP and other Sangh-affiliated organizations have sought to make beef a deeply contentious issue across India. Although cow slaughter has traditionally been restricted, some BJP ruled states have banned the sale of all beef. India ranks 5th in the world in beef production, 7th in domestic consumption, and 1st in exporting. In 2014 India surpassed Brazil as the world’s top beef exporter. In the run-up to the last Parliamentary elections Mr. Modi had decried the “pink revolution,” lamenting India’s position as a major exporter of meat, although the industry is a source of livelihood for millions of Indians.
“Both the BJP, as well as Prime Minister Modi bear responsibility for the poison being spread through a twisted form of cultural nationalism,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “It involves the PM wooing global audiences over promises of development, while giving a free hand to Hindu militias to terrorize and uproot hapless minorities,” added Mr. Malick.

 

The fact that this has happened in Uttar Pradesh, ruled by the Samajwadi Party (SP), is not a coincidence. The Sahay Committee, constituted to investigate the anti-Muslim pogrom in Muzaffarnagar in 2013, found both SP and BJP responsible for the mass violence that claimed over a 100 lives and resulted in the displacement of over 50,000 people.IAMC has called on the national media to brave the attacks from local Hindu supremacist goons, and to expose the larger design behind the Dadri lynchings. Civil society must resist the increasingly fascist positions adopted by the Sangh and its affiliates. IAMC has also urged world leaders and technology titans that PM Modi has been courting since he came to office, to condemn Hindu nationalist fanaticism and diminishing religious freedom in India.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at:   http://www.iamc.com
CONTACT:
Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com 
Facebook: 
Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.
REFERENCES:

3. Dadri lynching reminds us how PM Modi bears responsibility for the poison being spread
http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/the-party-and-its-poison/

4. UP ‘beef lynching’: How the police have turned the victims into the accused
http://scroll.in/article/759030/by-seizing-meat-from-fridge-uttar-pradesh-police-is-blaming-murdered-man-for-mobs-crime

5. India: World’s Top Beef Exporter
http://apps.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/circulars/livestock_poultry.pdf

6. Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Dadri threaten’s victim’s family from speaking out
http://twocircles.net/2015oct03/1443833030.html#.VhAhOPlVikp

8. UP Beef Lynching: Indian Air Force mulls moving victim’s kin to its area
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/UP-beef-lynching-Indian-Air-Force-mulls-moving-victims-kin-to-its-area-two-main-accused-arrested/articleshow/49207307.cms

10. “The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future” Martha Nussbaum, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2009)

11. Sahay Committee finds SP, BJP hand in Muzaffernagar riots
http://www.business-standard.com/article/politics/sahay-committee-finds-sp-bjp-hand-in-muzaffarnagar-riots-115092400237_1.html

12. Uttar Pradesh Cow Protection Act
http://vidhibharti.org/view_gos.php?c=164

 

Read More

Horrific lynching in India a planned uptick in Hindu supremacist violence against minorities say Indian Americans

Horrific lynching in India a planned uptick in Hindu supremacist violence against minorities say Indian Americans
Brutal killing over mere suspicion of eating beef intended to terrorize local Muslims and polarize communities along religious lines
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 03, 2015
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has strongly condemned the latest episode of anti-minority violence in India, in the form of a mob lynching of a Muslim man and his son in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, over mere suspicion of having eaten beef. Although the incident was made to appear like a spontaneous act of violence by an unruly crowd, there are strong indications that this was a planned act, intended to terrorize the Muslim population of the district and suppress dissent across India over the beef ban implemented in some states.
News reports indicate the son of a local politician from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) instigated the mob of over 200 people, to attack Mohammad Akhlaq and his son. They beat Akhlaq to death, while his 22 year-old son Danish was injured and is in critical condition. Another son of Mohammed Akhlaq is a serving corporal in the Indian Air Force.
Beyond the mob’s inhuman behavior, it is alarming to note that the police have sent the meat from the victim’s refrigerator to a forensic lab to be tested, out of apparent respect for the mob’s feelings. This effectively turns the victim into the accused, despite the fact that even if the family were in possession of beef, they were not in violation of the Uttar Pradesh Cow Protection Act. Besides the law enforcement machinery, even the regional Hindi media has joined hands in labeling the victim, Mohammed Akhlaq as a cow-killer. Journalists from major media outlets attempting to visit the village in order to cover the story have been attacked by locals.
In a brazen act of state complicity with the killers, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate has threatened the family of the victim with “dire consequences” if they speak out. The fact that the local BJP leader Srichand Sharma announced a “mahapanchayat” (grand village gathering) to protest the arrests made in the case, is an indication of how Hindu nationalist forces are rallying behind the killers.
BJP and other Sangh-affiliated organizations have sought to make beef a deeply contentious issue across India. Although cow slaughter has traditionally been restricted, some BJP ruled states have banned the sale of all beef. India ranks 5th in the world in beef production, 7th in domestic consumption, and 1st in exporting. In 2014 India surpassed Brazil as the world’s top beef exporter. In the run-up to the last Parliamentary elections Mr. Modi had decried the “pink revolution,” lamenting India’s position as a major exporter of meat, although the industry is a source of livelihood for millions of Indians.
“Both the BJP, as well as Prime Minister Modi bear responsibility for the poison being spread through a twisted form of cultural nationalism,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “It involves the PM wooing global audiences over promises of development, while giving a free hand to Hindu militias to terrorize and uproot hapless minorities,” added Mr. Malick.
The fact that this has happened in Uttar Pradesh, ruled by the Samajwadi Party (SP), is not a coincidence. The Sahay Committee, constituted to investigate the anti-Muslim pogrom in Muzaffarnagar in 2013, found both SP and BJP responsible for the mass violence that claimed over a 100 lives and resulted in the displacement of over 50,000 people.
IAMC has called on the national media to brave the attacks from local Hindu supremacist goons, and to expose the larger design behind the Dadri lynchings. Civil society must resist the increasingly fascist positions adopted by the Sangh and its affiliates. IAMC has also urged world leaders and technology titans that PM Modi has been courting since he came to office, to condemn Hindu nationalist fanaticism and diminishing religious freedom in India.
IndianAmerican Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our website at:
CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com

Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council

Twitter: @IAMCouncil

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

2. Dadri lynching: Local BJP member’s son instigated crowd to attack Mohammed Iqlakh

 

3. Dadri lynching reminds us how PM Modi bears responsibility for the poison being spread

 

4. UP ‘beef lynching’: How the police have turned the victims into the accused

 

5. India: World’s Top Beef Exporter

 

6. Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Dadri threaten’s victim’s family from speaking out

7. New York Times: A ban on beef in India is not the answer

 

8. UP Beef Lynching: Indian Air Force mulls moving victim’s kin to its area

 

10. “The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future” Martha Nussbaum, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2009)

 

11. Sahay Committee finds SP, BJP hand in Muzaffernagar riots

http://www.business-standard.com/article/politics/sahay-committee-finds-sp-bjp-hand-in-muzaffarnagar-riots-115092400237_1.html 

12. Uttar Pradesh Cow Protection Act

http://vidhibharti.org/view_gos.php?c=164

Read More

Indian Americans celebrate India Independence Day, call for unified action to secure life, liberty and justice for all

IAMC calls the defense of secularism in India a struggle to save the soul of the nation 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, August 15, 2015
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has joined millions of people of Indian origin, living in India and across the world, in celebrating  the nation’s 69th Independence Day. IAMC today participated in the India Day celebrations in Michigan, organized by a large group of community organizations to mark the joyous occasion.  The event was attended by over 25,000 people from the Indian American community, with Padma Shri award winner Milkha Singh as the chief guest.

IAMC Booth at India Day Celebrations in Michigan

It is noteworthy that India’s freedom struggle was a truly nationalistic effort, undertaken by people of all faiths, including countless Muslims.  Among the thousands who laid down their lives for India’s freedom were hundreds of Muslim scholars and individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice so we could enjoy the fruits of liberty.
While celebrating India’s freedom from colonial rule, the stark reality is that its continued existence as a pluralist, secular society is threatened by the destructive fervor of a divisive ideology that mirrors fascism in its brutality and jaundiced worldview.  Focusing our attention and resources to meeting this challenge is the need of the hour, for all Indians who care about the nation’s future. It is therefore important to mark Independence Day not only as a celebration of India’s freedom and democracy, but also as a means of overtly expressing solidarity and unity against fascist forces that threaten these ideals.
The long list of gravely disturbing events in the recent past includes physical violence, arson, desecration of churches and attempts to forcibly “reconvert” thousands of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism, all documented in the recent 2015 Annual Reportof the US Commission for International Religious Freedom.
There is a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation of human rights activistsand whistleblowers as well as a crackdown on renowned international organizations such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International and the Ford Foundation when they have taken positions that are critical of the government. These have grave implications for freedom of dissent and the future of civil society institutions in India.
Outrageously misogynistic remarks such as calling rape “sometime right, sometimes wrong,” have come from politicians in positions of power within the ruling party, while inflammatory calls for the disenfranchisement of Muslims and calls for the forced sterilization of Muslims and Christians from prominent individuals within the Hindutva movement have not been censured by the administration.
While the country may have unshackled itself from the yoke of colonial rule in 1947, a genuine and lasting freedom will come when the state truly considers all citizens as equal before the law, and when the government considers safeguarding the constitution as its primary obligation; more important than any ideological loyalties.
“As we celebrate Independence Day, true patriotism requires that we acknowledge the profound challenges in front of us and marshal all resources to address them,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC). “Rapid erosion of religious freedom and civil liberties, at the behest of the government itself, requires the citizenry to step up to the challenge of saving the nation and its institutions from bigotry,” added Mr. Malick.
Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation.   For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com
CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com 

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES: 

India League of America – Michigan: India Day Celebrations

USCIRF Report 2015: Chapter on India

Modi government’s hounding of Teesta Setalvad is a message to all dissidents

U.S. Ambassador Criticizes India’s Crackdown on Charities and Activist Groups

Indian Political Party Advocates the Denial of Voting Rights for Muslims

Hindu Mahasabha leader calls for forcible  sterilization of Christians and Muslims

‘Reconversion’ of Religious Minorities Roils India’s Politics

Read More