Sikh Federation – International community must recognise and respond to increasing threat and challenge of extreme Hindu nationalism in India

From: Sikh Federation (UK) sikhfederationuk@yahoo.co.uk
To: sikh_news_discussion@yahoogroups.com

Right wing Indian politicians, cricketers and Bollywood stars join in abuse and fail to distance themselves from rape and death threats against dead army man’s daughter, 21-year old Gurmehar Kaur for her stance on peace and free speech

London, 1 March 2017. The Sikh Federation (UK) following the abuse and threats targeting 21-year old Gurmehar Kaur has written to the five permanent members of the United Nations and appealed to the international community to recognise the increasing threat and challenge of Hindutva.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

“The international community and governments across the globe need to come together and recognise and stand up to the rising threat of extreme Hindu nationalism being openly promoted by the ruling establishment in India.”

“Indian politicians and officials appear to be able to intimidate and silence many individual governments with its threats, often linked to trade with India. Only countries like the United States and China are strong enough and prepared to openly criticise those running India, but it requires a collective effort to tackle the rising threat.”

“If the international community does not respond and extreme Hindu nationalists are allowed to literally get away with murdering minorities and those that stand up to them while they simply watch, this will become an international problem that could easily get out of control.”

“The BJP ruling party has now been allowed in the last three years to get away with supporting extreme actions by right wing Hindu groups.

Today a 21-year old Sikh student is not only being intimidated and ridiculed, but openly threatened with rape and murder. Those hounding her are being protected and encouraged by those with power and influence. She is standing up for peace and free speech while governments are choosing to coward away and be silent.”

Gurmehar Kaur, an English literature student and an ambassador for Postcards for Peace, a charitable organisation that helps eliminate any form of discrimination has reportedly left Delhi, after receiving threats of rape and murder.

She lost her father, Captain Mandeep Singh in an attack in 1999 when she was just two years old.

On Friday, she mounted a rather simple protest against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s (ABVP) violence at Ramjas College last week. ABVP is the students’ wing of the Rashtriya Swamayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

She posted a picture of herself on a social media site holding up a placard that read: “I am a student of Delhi University. I am not afraid of the ABVP. I am not alone. Every student of India is with me.” Her post incited extreme reactions from the ruling establishment.

Rape and death threats have been made against her, but shockingly she has been ridiculed and trolled by celebrities like cricketer Virender Sehwag and mocked by Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda. One of the RSS’s top intellectuals, Rakesh Sinha, ludicrously said that Gurmehar Kaur was “trolling” her dead father.

The Union government rather than engaging with the serious issue being raised has resorted to bullying Gurmehar Kaur, with Minister Kiren Rijuju asking, “Who’s polluting this young girl’s mind?” BJP MP Pratap Simha outrageously compared Gurmehar Kaur to India’s most-wanted terrorist, Dawood Ibrahim.

The rise of Hindutva that started in the 1980s is not restricted to the ruling party and unleashed powerful forces.
Today, even cricketers, wrestlers, actors and social media users propagate its basic ideas. Foreign governments will be forced to respond as the Modi government in a more significant and worrying move has reached out to persons of Indian origin in foreign lands, making them a part of his political rhetoric.

Every time Modi holds a gala in New York or London with foreign politicians sucking up to him and gets American or British Hindus to support him. This overseas support is seen as approval for his Hindutva policies.

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

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