OFMI – Tulsi Gabbard refuses invitation to “Howdy Modi” event in Texas

Gabbard drops out after Hindu-American congressman’s call to “reject Hindutva”

Houston – Texas – USA, 15 September 2019. An anonymous source within Tulsi Gabbard’s 2020 presidential campaign has confirmed to the Organization for Minorities of India that, despite widespread reportage by Indian media that she will attend, the US congresswoman has refused an invitation to join Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 22 September pep rally in Houston, Texas.

Gabbard’s decision to drop out of the event, dubbed “Howdy Modi,” follows on the heels of Congressman Ro Khanna’s statement, issued last month, that “it’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Christians.”

Her action marks a significant change in engagement with India’s controversial premier considering she has previously met with him on four occasions.

“Khanna’s statement was immediately recognized by South Asian politicos as a seismic shift in Indo-centric politics,” wrote Amar Shergill on September 3.

An attorney who serves as an executive board member of the California Democratic Party, Shergill continued, “He is the highest ranking American elected official of Indian origin, with a deep understanding of and connection to South Asian politics, and, yet, he stated in decisive moral terms that the dominant political ideology of India must be rejected as a matter of fundamental human rights.”

Hindutva, defined by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom as an ideology that treats non-Hindus as foreign to India, is the guiding philosophy of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

The BJP’s Modi, who campaigned as a Hindu nationalist, stated in 2013, “My identity is of a Hindutvawadi [follower of Hindutva].” V D Savarkar, who popularized Hindutva as a religious nationalist political ideology in his 1923 book of the same name, stated, “India must be a Hindu land, reserved for the Hindus.”

In 2014, Gabbard appeared at events celebrating Modi’s election, even wearing scarves bearing the BJP logo. Later, at their first meeting, Gabbard gifted Modi her childhood copy of the Bhagavad Gita on which she had taken the oath of office.

In 2016, she called Modi “a leader whose example and dedication to the people he serves should be an inspiration to elected official everywhere.”

Since 2018, the Hawaiian congresswoman has faced repeated protest for her long-term association with American Hindutva groups, particularly the Overseas Friends of the BJP and the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh.

HSS is the international wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a paramilitary founded on Savarkar’s Hindutva ideology and inspired by fascist movements in Europe. Gabbard’s oldest and most faithful donors include HSS Vice-President Ramesh Bhutada of Houston, who joined BJP (and former RSS) spokesperson Ram Madhav at her 2015 wedding in Hawaii.

Bhutada, as reported by a recent profile of Gabbard, worked from Texas to help elect Modi in India. He reportedly organized a phone bank of 700 volunteers and described US-based preparations for supporting Modi’s campaign as “almost like that for an Indian wedding.” He later called Modi’s election “a second independence for India.”

Several of Gabbard’s other Houston-based donors, such as Bhutada’s relative and business associate Vijay Pallod, traveled to India to campaign for the BJP.

“This is the second time I’ve seen Tulsi drop out of an RSS-sponsored event at the very last minute,” says Jada Bernard, an activist who has protested Gabbard on the presidential campaign trail. In September 2018, Bernard explains, Gabbard announced her withdrawal from the World Hindu Congress in Chicago just three days before the event began.

“Tulsi only withdrew after months of fierce protests by Indian minorities and her own constituents.” he adds. “Because the RSS chief was the keynote speaker, several other Hindu politicians also backed out. We’re seeing Hindus around the world speaking out against Hindutva and reject it as an embarrassment to their religion.”

“As the American public grows more knowledgeable about the violence and hate produced by Hindutva, Congresswoman Gabbard has faced increasing pressure to disassociate from groups that embrace this supremacist ideology,” remarks OFMI’s Arvin Valmuci.

“As Modi’s regime has done nothing except fuel the rise of the RSS and its vicious atrocities against India’s Dalits, Sikhs, Christians, and Muslims, we are encouraged to see Hindu politicians like Ro Khanna and Tulsi Gabbard rejecting association with him.
We call on all other American politicians of every background to follow their lead and abandon their support for Modi and his agenda of supremacy.”

Balbir Singh Dhillon, president of West Sacramento Sikh Gurdwara, says he wants more congressional representatives to speak out against Modi. “This is such a risky situation that Modi has created in South Asia,” comments Dhillon.

“Look at how his policy in Kashmir has caused tension between these three nuclear-armed powers: China, Pakistan, India. Standing up against Hindu nationalism is a matter of grave concern for American foreign policy.”

Organization for Minorities of India was founded in 2006 to advance individual liberties of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and all Mulnivasi people of South Asia by encouraging secularism, progressive human rights, liberation of oppressed peoples, and universal human dignity.

Visit www.OFMI.org for more information.

OFMI – Democratic Party’s “Silence” on Tulsi Gabbard’s RSS links condemned

Over 120 Indian academics and journalists call
US Congresswoman to denounce RSS

New Delhi – India, 14 September 2019, Over 120 Indian academics and journalists have issued a statement denouncing US Congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard’s “sullied association” with the RSS, an Indian paramilitary, and demanding that the Democratic Party “cut all ties with her” unless she denounces it.

“We, the undersigned, condemn the immoral silence of the Democratic Party and its members on Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s association with the Hindu-militant organization, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and its American affiliates,” says the statement.

Signatories include Ashok Swain (Professor, Uppsala University), Richa Nagar (Professor, University of Minnesota), Chaman Lal (Retired Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University), Ram Puniyani (Retired Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay), Umar Khalid (United Against Hate), John Dayal (Spokesperson, United Christian Forum), and Shabnam Hashmi (social activist).

“The rise in the world of politics for Gabbard, who projects herself as a progressive espousing ‘American liberal values’, was made possible by a network which unapologetically professes an ideology of hate-and-divide which is enshrined in their supremacist beliefs,” continues the statement.

Citing a recent profile of Gabbard published by India’s Caravan magazine, it explains, “Since the beginning of her political career, Gabbard has been funded by members of groups like Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, Overseas Friends of the BJP, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and Ekal Foundation, which have direct links with the RSS.”

Noting that Gabbard “benefited from her close association with BJP-RSS and their affiliates,” the statement argues, “It would be a moral failure of members of the Democratic Party to have within their ranks a person like Gabbard who has supported and is backed by a network under whose rule India has witnessed increasing violence against Christians, Muslims and Dalits, disenfranchising of minority groups, illegal detention and clampdown on human rights of Kashmiris, and crushing of rational and progressive voices.”

The statement concludes: “We demand that unless Gabbard unequivocally and publicly denounces the hate politics of RSS, the Democratic Party leaders hold her accountable for being hand-in-glove with forces of hate and cut all ties with her.”

“We welcome this broad coalition of voices from India speaking out against Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s extensive ties to the RSS,” comments Arvin Valmuci, a spokesperson for Organization for Minorities of India. “The RSS has led pogroms against minorities in India on multiple occasions and is responsible for the gruesome massacre of Christians and Muslims.

It has a vast network within the United States which has worked closely with Gabbard to whitewash its crimes in India. The Democratic Party must speak out against her association with these supremacist groups.”

Gabbard, who is also known for her close association with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will join Modi in Houston, Texas on September 22 for a pep rally organized by various US affiliates of the RSS.

Organization for Minorities of India was founded in 2006 to advance individual liberties of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and all Mulnivasi people of South Asia by encouraging secularism, progressive human rights, liberation of oppressed peoples, and universal human dignity.

Visit www.ofmi.org for more information.

Tolo News – Negotiations impossible without ceasefire: Ghani

President Ghani says the Afghan government is ready to continue peace negotiations.

Kabul – Kabul Province – Afghanistan, 09 September 2019. President Ashraf Ghani, who addressed a ceremony on the appointment of the new head of the National Directorate of Security, said that the Afghan government is ready to continue peace negotiations, but they are not possible without a ceasefire.

“Our way is clear. We have chosen sustainable and dignified peace and we will not go back,” Mr Ghani said. “Negotiations [with the Taliban] are impossible without a ceasefire.”

He said that the people want peace and that the ownership of the process is by Afghans. “We created national and international consensus on peace. We created the environment for peace, but the Taliban took it wrong,” he said.

Mr Ghani said the Afghan government has a proper plan for peace and is strengthening its regional and international relations in this respect. He said that the Islami Republic of Afghanistan and the Afghan forces will not be compromised in the peace process.

Mr Ghani said that the Taliban has safe havens in other countries, without naming a specific country. “If you [the Taliban] will leave these relations, you will be embraced by Afghans. You will be embraced by Afghans if you leave drugs business,” he said.

President Ghani called on all political elites in Afghanistan to show their commitment to the Afghan people and build a proper relationship. He assured the nation that peace will come but it will be a real peace which is the main demand of Afghans.

Mr Ghani said that election is the only solution for “the inherited crisis” of the past four decades. This comes as US President Donald Trump called off negotiations with the Taliban.

His decision was faced with mixed reaction among Afghan politicians and the ordinary Afghans.

https://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/negotiations-impossible-without-ceasefire-ghani

OFMI – India West Diaspora Newspaper Sells Out to RSS Paramilitary

San Leandro, California – USA, 12 August 2019. One of the US’s oldest Indian diaspora newspapers, India West, has angered segments of the Indian-American community after publishing a front-page ad featuring the founding fathers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, including MS Golwalkar, who praised Nazi Germany’s racial policies.

The full-page ad celebrates the Indian government’s controversial decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomous status and strip the region of statehood. The add states that “Akhand Bharat”, a Hindu nationalist demand for an “Undivided India,” is “finally a reality.” Showing a saffron flag planted in J&K, the ad features images of Golwalkar and RSS founder KB Hedgewar.

“India West has sold out to the RSS, a fascist paramilitary responsible for pogroms and lynchings of India’s minorities,” states Arvin Valmuci of Organization for Minorities of India. “The publishers of this newspaper are a disgrace to journalism.

They have showered contempt on the millions of Indians who are persecuted by the RSS. Does India West stand by Golwalkar’s praise for the Nazi purge of the Jews? We demand a retraction of the paper and a sincere apology from the publishers.”

Golwalkar, who led the RSS from 1940 to 1973, infamously wrote in 1939: “To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races, the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here.

Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”

Subsequently, in 1966, Golwalkar endorsed annexation of Pakistan, calling for “the hoisting of our flag in Lahore and other parts of Pakistan.” The long-standing demand of Hindu nationalist outfits like the RSS includes establishment of a mythical “Akhand Bharat.” Such a nation might include every South Asian country from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka to Myanmar.

“We’re shocked at India West’s complete lack of judgement in approving advertisers,” says Balbir Singh Dhillon, the president of West Sacramento Sikh Gurdwara.

“The RSS wants to purge India of Sikhs, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and anyone else who isn’t Hindu. Fascists like the RSS are celebrating Modi’s tyranny in Kashmir, but Sikhs here in California are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our oppressed Kashmiri brothers and sisters. The publishers of India West should be ashamed of themselves.”

Dhillon, who spent months in jail in India in the 1990s on false charges, adds that the torture he experienced is a regular feature of life in Kashmir. “So many Kashmiris have been tortured like I was,” he says. “Tens and tens of thousands of Kashmiris have been simply murdered. The Sikhs in Punjab suffered the same thing.”

Last week, the Bharatiya Janata Party ruled Indian government passed a bill stripping J&K of statehood. The move was preceded by a presidential order abrogating Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, which had officially granted J&K autonomy in most of its domestic affairs.

Kashmiris generally considered the article as the primary legal justification for their state’s alignment with India. The BJP’s actions prompted international outcry.

Kashmiris have remained under martial law for over a week. Phone and internet service is blocked. A few images obtained by international outlets like The New York Times show furious Kashmiris clashing with Indian security forces. Reports from the BBC show security forces using tear gas to disperse a protest rally. India denies the protest occurred.

“The growing instability in this nuclear region presents a global threat,” concludes Dhillon. “By placing this ad, India West is openly intimidating minorities of Indian origin who are living in the US.

India West’s publishers are sending a chilling message that they endorse the lynchings, torture, killings, and forced assimilation of India’s minorities under the saffron flag of Hindu supremacists.”

India West, a weekly print newspaper based in California, was founded in 1975 by Ramesh and Bina Murarka.

http://www.ofmi.org/india-west-diaspora-newspaper-sells-out-to-rss-paramilitary/

World Sikh News – Harvard University launches short term Sikhism studies through scriptures

Published 3 months ago – WSN News Bureau USA

The School of Humanities and South Asian Studies at Harvard University launches short term studies in Sikhism, which will go online on 6 August and will be available online and on iPad and iPhone. Celebrating 550 years of Guru Nanak Sahib, the founder of Sikhism, Harvard University is launching an online course on fundamentals of the Sikh way of life.

Sikhism, a monotheistic religious tradition with twenty-five to thirty million adherents across the globe, as one of the six major religions of the world, encomasses a number of religious, social, economic and political institutions, most of which were established and nurtured by Guru Nanak and his nine successors, known as the Sikh Gurus.

For the 4-week free self-paced course in the English language, with the coaching of 5-10 hours per week and verified certificate learners can enrol at https://​www.edx.org/​course/​sikhism-through-its-scrip­tures.

The course will teach aspirants:

  • Exploration of a foundational Sikh text, the Japji, which was composed by Guru Nanak and is recited by Sikhs as part of their morning prayers.
  • The place of Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture, in Sikh life.
  • Interpretative skills to engage in a nuanced reading of Guru Granth Sahib.
  • Gurmat Sangeet, the Sikh musical tradition, as represented in the Sikh scripture and its cultural context.
  • The aesthetics of Sikhi, including literature, art, and music.
  • The political dimensions of Sikh scripture and its impact on the evolution of Sikhs as a Panth or community.

As per the course details available on the website, the course “examines the Sikh scripture from a doctrinal and historical perspective by providing an overview of Sikh teachings as well as the historical context within which the scripture evolved and became canonized.

It also examines the musical and aesthetic dimensions of the Sikh scripture, as well as ways in which the voluminous text has provided Sikhs with a social, ethical, spiritual and political message to help them respond to and shape the world around them.”

Harpreet Singh of South Asian Studies at the Harvard University and Ravinder Singh and Damanpreet Singh as Teaching Assistants, will be three guides and instructors running the course. The course will be in association with the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

http://www.theworldsikhnews.com/harvard-university-launches-short-term-sikhism-studies-through-scriptures/

OFMI – Hindu-American Congressman Ro Khanna: Duty to Reject Hindutva

Khanna mentions “important article” documenting Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s RSS ties

Arvin Valmuci

Santa Clara – California – USA, 02 September 2019. USA Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), a Hindu of Indian origin, recently urged his fellow Hindu-American lawmakers to “reject Hindutva,” referring to a religious nationalist political ideology which treats non-Hindus as foreign to India.

“It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist[s] & Christians,” wrote Congressman Khanna on Twitter on August 29. “That is the vision of India my grandfather Amarnath Vidyalankar fought for.”

Vidyalankar (1901-1985), who was repeatedly jailed for participating in India’s struggle for independence, later served as a Member of Parliament in the Republic of India.

Referring to a profile of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard published by Caravan magazine in August, Khanna called it an “important article.” The 18,000-word cover story documents how Gabbard’s early congressional career was heavily financed by leaders and members in American affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an Indian paramilitary which promotes Hindutva.

Entitled “All in the Family: The American Sangh’s Affair With Tulsi Gabbard,” the article states, “By the end of her first term, one Indian paper was describing Tulsi Gabbard as ‘the RSS fraternity’s newest mascot.’ Few in the United States realize that Gabbard’s relationship with the RSS does not agree at all with the progressive image she cultivates.”

“The Sangh in America backed Gabbard because they understand that the international community is worried about the sectarian violent politics of the Sangh in India,” states Dr Ashok Swain in the article. A Hindu professor working in Sweden, Swain claims, “They want some powerful political personalities on their side, particularly in the United States.

They believe Tulsi can be one of them, who can provide them cover from international sanctions. Tulsi has also done that in the past.” Discussing Gabbard’s interactions with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the article notes, “Gabbard emerged on the US political scene at a pivotal moment for the Sangh’s aspiration to see Modi as the Indian prime minister.

The greatest diplomatic triumph for the American Sangh was rehabilitating Modi’s tainted reputation in the United States. Gabbard played a significant part in that project.”

The article identifies nearly 60 executives in Sangh organizations, including the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (international wing of the RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (international wing of VHP, the religious wing of RSS), and the Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party (international wing of the BJP), as donors to Gabbard’s congressional campaign between 2011 and 2014.

It states that over 20 percent of Gabbard’s campaign financing came from “Sangh and pro-Modi sources” during 2013, her first year in office. It discusses how she met with then BJP President Rajnath Singh and then RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav in Washington, D.C. in 2013, the year before Modi was elected.

Additionally, it discusses how she spoke at multiple HSS, VHPA, and OFBJP events as well as worked against legislation and hearings opposed by her American Sangh donors.

“Congressman Khanna’s courage in denouncing Hindutva is an example we hope all will follow,” comments Arvin Valmuci of the Organization for Minorities of India.

“As recent documentation published by Caravan shows, the RSS is not only involved in pogroms and massacres against Christians, Dalits, Muslims, and Sikhs in India, but it is also trying to cultivate politicians in America. Last year, Illinois State Senator Ram Villavalam took a similar courageous stand against supremacy. We hope to see words translated into action.”

Villavalam, a Hindu-American, had in 2018 stated, “I do not support any group and/or an event arranged or led by organizations that intimidate minorities, incite discrimination and violence, commit acts of terror based on race or ethnic background, promote hate speech, and/or believe in faith based nationalism.

As a Hindu American, I stand with my brothers and sisters in the Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Sikh, and other religious and ethnic minority communities against hate, discrimination, and persecution.”

“The American Sangh is especially hard at work in California right now, where they are trying to elect BJP activist Rishi Kumar to US Congress,” added Valmuci. Kumar is a Saratoga, CA city councillor who is challenging incumbent Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) for the 18th congressional district, which borders the 17th congressional district represented by Khanna.

Valmuci, however, remarks, “Kumar has a long track-record of working with the OFBJP to interfere in India’s elections from America. He joined HSS leaders Khanderao Kand and Chandru Bhambhra in 2015 to organize Modi’s ‘rock-star reception’ in San Jose. Kumar is an example of a politician who rejects pluralism and embraces Hindutva.”

Written by Pieter Friedrich, an analyst of South Asian affairs, the Caravan magazine article, which was published on August 1 and behind a paywall for the first month of publication, is now available to read online for free.

Organization for Minorities of India was founded in 2006 to advance individual liberties of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and all Mulnivasi people of South Asia by encouraging secularism, progressive human rights, liberation of oppressed peoples, and universal human dignity. Visit www.OFMI.org for more information.

India’s Caravan Magazine’s Cover Story on Tulsi Gabbard & Sangh Parivar

Pieter Friedrich 02 September 2019

“All in the Family: The American Sangh’s Affair With Tulsi Gabbard”

India’s only narrative journalism magazine, The Caravan, published an August 2019 cover story by Pieter Friedrich about USA Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a presidential candidate, and her extensive ties (financial and otherwise) to the American affiliates of the Sangh Parivar (the family of organizations springing from India’s Rashtriya Swamasevak Sangh – RSS).

Hidden behind a paywall for the month of August, the article is now free to read.

The article details how and why hundreds of Indian Americans affiliated with Sangh groups, including nearly 60 executives in organizations like Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, and Overseas Friends of the BJP, donated extensively to Representative Tulsi Gabbard’s congressional campaign.

It documents how she received over 20% of her congressional campaign financing from these sources during 2013, her first year in office, rising to nearly 25% in 2014.

It further explains how Gabbard’s rise in US politics is inexplicable until one considers how Sangh donations gave her a leg up when she was a virtual unknown.

The first Indian-American donors to her congressional campaign are top executives in RSS affiliates in the US. Gabbard emerged on the US political scene at a pivotal moment for the Sangh’s aspiration to see Modi as the Indian prime minister.

Many of her most generous oldest and most generous Sangh-affiliated donors were the key organizers of a US campaign to assist Modi’s election, several of them even traveled to India to campaign for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in person.

The greatest diplomatic triumph for the Sangh was rehabilitating Modi’s reputation in the US. Gabbard played a significant part in that.

Comments About Caravan profile on Tulsi Gabbard

“Important article. It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Christians.” — Congressman Ro Khanna

“For anyone STILL lionizing Tulsi Gabbard, this article… detailing how US affiliates of RSS, Hindu nationalist paramilitary in India, financed her rise should disabuse you of any confusion.” — Azadeh Shahshahani, social justice attorney

“Extremely detailed piece.” — Shaukeen Phoenix, journalist

“Reminder that Tulsi Gabbard’s rise in American politics is based on a blood-stained foundation of Hindu nationalism.” — Dr. Alf Gunvald Nilsen, professor

“How (extreme) right-leaning Indian-Americans are a big financial backbone for the 2020 Presidential aspirant.” — Raju Narisetti, journalist

“Interesting – very long read.” — Harini Calamur, filmmaker

“This looks like a really fascinating long read about Tulsi Gabbard and her relationship with American Hindutva organizations.” — Hari Prasad, Middle East & South Asia researcher

“A deep probe.” — Richard Fox Young, professor

“A timely reminder of Gabbard’s deep ties to the diaspora Hindu right.” — Anjali Kamat, journalist

“Fascinating.” — Caroline Gray, policy program coordinator

“A fascinating story of how Indian Americans and Hindu nationalists in India are backing Tulsi Gabbard.” — Darryn Boodan, writer

“In the race to be the US Democratic Presidential candidate, but being promoted by India’s Hindu Supremacists.” — Ashok Swain, professor

Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California. He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent. Discover more by him at

www.pieterfriedrich.net.

Dawn – PM Imran, US Senator Sanders call attention to India’s ‘unacceptable’ actions in occupied Kashmir

Prime Minister Imran Khan and US Senator Bernie Sanders on Sunday raised the plight of Kashmiris, who have been living under a lockdown for four weeks in occupied Kashmir, while separately addressing the 56th Convention of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

Houston – Texas – USA, 01 September 2019. Speaking at the event, Sanders, a Democratic presidential hopeful for the US Elections 2020, termed India’s move to annex occupied Kashmir as “unacceptable”.

“I am also deeply concerned about the situation in Kashmir where the Indian government has revoked Kashmiri autonomy, cracked down on dissent and instituted a communications blackout.

“The crackdown in the name of security is also denying the Kashmiri people access to medical care. Even many respected doctors in India have acknowledged that the Indian government-imposed restrictions on travel are threatening the life-saving care that patients need,” he said.

“The communications blockade must be lifted immediately and the United States government must speak out boldly in support of international humanitarian law and in support of a UN-backed peaceful resolution that respects the will of the Kashmiri people,” the senator stated.

Prime Minister Imran in his address, via video link, spoke about the need to understand the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) party, said to be a parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“I am trying my best but from ISNA’s platform you have to make the concerted effort to make people understand this phenomenon which has taken over India. You have to make the Western societies understand the RSS.”

He said that the RSS party believed in the racial supremacy of the Hindu civilisation and the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from India, and urged people to research and find out about its origins.

“After the recently won elections by the BJP, they have come back as a stronger force. We are talking about a country of over a billion people with nuclear weapons taken over by an extreme ideology.

“What the Nazi party proved was that a small, highly organised ideologically motivated group could actually take over a country.

“That is what has happened in India. An extreme ideology has taken over India.

“The BJP government wants to change the demography; change a Muslim majority province into a Muslim minority province by bringing in outsettlers to come in and change the demography. This is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention Article 49. You cannot change the demography of an occupied land.”

“We believe what is happening in Kashmir is that RSS goons have been let loose amongst the population,” the premier said, urging ISNA to raise awareness about what was happening in occupied Kashmir.

“I am afraid that this ideology is not going to stop here; they have let out a genie out of a bottle. It is not going to go back in; this genie of hatred, of Hindu supremacy.

“It’s not just Muslims who are going to be at threat.

“We fear in Pakistan that we are not dealing with a rational government in India,” Prime Minister Imran stated, adding: “We believe that the sort of oppression they will do in Kashmir and are already doing, they will need to divert the world’s attention to Pakistan and we believe as they did in February, they will take some sort of an action, an attack in Pakistan.”

Prime Minister Imran said that he had asked the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to play its role. Additionally, he said he would raise the issue at the United Nations General Assembly.

He urged ISNA to make people aware of what was going on in India.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1502936/pm-imran-us-senator-sanders-call-attention-to-indias-unacceptable-actions-in-occupied-kashmir

Dawn – ‘Dialogue can start only when India reverses its illegal annexation of Kashmir,’ writes PM Imran in New York Times

The premier, in an op-ed for The New York Times, says international community should think beyond trade, business advantages. “Dialogue can start only when India reverses its illegal annexation of Kashmir, ends the curfew and lockdown, and withdraws its troops to the barracks,” wrote Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his opinion piece for The New York Times.

The article, titled ‘The world can’t ignore Kashmir. We are all in danger’, was published on Friday, coinciding with the government’s call to observe Kashmir Hour across the country to show solidarity with Kashmiris in India-occupied Kashmir, whose rights were stripped by the Indian government earlier this month.

New York – State of New York – USA, 30 August 2019. Cities came to a standstill as tens of thousands of people poured onto the streets while the national anthems of Pakistan and Kashmir played across television and radio.

Traffic came to a standstill, traffic lights were switched off and trains stopped briefly as part of the premier’s campaign to draw global attention to the plight of the Kashmiris.

“We are with them in their testing times. The message that goes out of here today is that as long as Kashmiris don’t get freedom, we will stand with them,” Prime Minister Imran told thousands of demonstrators in the capital.

In the article, which was published shortly after his address, the premier reiterated the importance of dialogue.

“With the nuclear shadow hovering over South Asia, we realise that Pakistan and India have to move out of a zero-sum mind-set to begin dialogue on Kashmir, various strategic matters and trade. On Kashmir, the dialogue must include all stakeholders, especially the Kashmiris,” he wrote.

“We have already prepared multiple options that can be worked on while honoring the right to self-determination the Kashmiris were promised by the Security Council resolutions and India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Through dialogue and negotiations, the stakeholders can arrive at a viable solution to end the decades of suffering of the Kashmiri people and move toward a stable and just peace in the region.

“But dialogue can start only when India reverses its illegal annexation of Kashmir, ends the curfew and lockdown, and withdraws its troops to the barracks,” said the premier, referring to the lockdown and communications clampdown in occupied Kashmir since 05 August.

“It is imperative that the international community think beyond trade and business advantages. World War II happened because of appeasement at Munich. A similar threat looms over the world again, but this time under the nuclear shadow,” warned the premier.

A blood bath is feared in Kashmir when the curfew is lifted – PM Imran Khan

“On July 26, 2018, in my first televised address to Pakistan after winning the elections, I stated we wanted peace with India and if it took one step forward, we would take two steps. After that, a meeting between our two foreign ministers was arranged on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in September 2018, but India canceled the meeting.

That September I also wrote my first of three letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling for dialogue and peace.

“Unfortunately, all my efforts to start a dialogue for peace were rebuffed by India. Initially, we assumed that Mr Modi’s increasingly hard-line positions and his rhetoric against Pakistan were aimed to whip up a nationalist frenzy among the Indian voters with an eye on the Indian elections in May.

“On 14 February a few months before those elections, a young Kashmiri man carried out a suicide attack against Indian troops in Indian-occupied Kashmir. The Indian government promptly blamed Pakistan.

“We asked for evidence, but Mr Modi sent Indian Air Force fighter planes across the border to Pakistan. Our Air Force brought down an Indian plane and captured the pilot. We struck back to signal we could defend ourselves but chose not to strike a target that would cause loss of life.

I made a conscious decision to show that Pakistan had no intent of aggravating the conflict between two nuclear-armed states. We returned the captured Indian pilot, with no preconditions.

Evidently Mr Modi had mistaken our desire for peace in a nuclear neighborhood as appeasement – PM Imran Khan

“On 23 May, after Mr Modi’s re-election, I congratulated him and hoped we could work for “peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia.” In June, I sent another letter to Mr Modi offering dialogue to work toward peace. Again, India chose not to respond.

And we found out that while I was making peace overtures, India had been lobbying to get Pakistan placed on the “blacklist” at the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, which could lead to severe economic sanctions and push us toward bankruptcy.

“Evidently Mr Modi had mistaken our desire for peace in a nuclear neighborhood as appeasement. We were not simply up against a hostile government. We were up against a “New India,” which is governed by leaders and a party that are the products of the Hindu supremacist mother ship, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or the RSS.

“On 05 Aug 2019, in its most brazen and egregious move, Mr Modi’s government altered the status of Indian-occupied Kashmir through the revocation of Article 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution.

The move is illegal under the Constitution of India, but more important, it is a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and the Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan.

“And Mr Modi’s “New India” chose to do this by imposing a military curfew in Kashmir, imprisoning its population in their homes and cutting off their phone, internet and television connections, rendering them without news of the world or their loved ones. The siege was followed by a purge: Thousands of Kashmiris have been arrested and thrown into prisons across India.

“A blood bath is feared in Kashmir when the curfew is lifted,” wrote the premier, drawing attention to the fact that “Kashmiris coming out in defiance of the curfew are being shot and killed”.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1502596/dialogue-can-start-only-when-india-reverses-its-illegal-annexation-of-kashmir-writes-pm-imran-in-nyt

OFMI – International Wing of RSS Penetrates Government Offices Across America

USA affiliate of Indian paramilitary hosts events with police, fire departments, and elected officials

USA – 26 August 2019. Since 09 August, the international wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has hosted events in at least 17 government offices throughout the US, including those of two congressmen and nine law enforcement departments, in a coordinated campaign which a US-based human rights group warns is “an attempt to legitimize a fascist paramilitary responsible for pogroms against minorities in India.”

“Under the guise of celebrating Raksha Bandhan, a traditional Hindu ceremony, the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh infiltrated multiple government offices, including many police departments,” says Arvin Valmuci of Organization for Minorities of India.

“Leaving aside the question of whether or not these government agencies should officially participate in a religious ceremony, they should absolutely have nothing to do with the HSS, which is the international wing of the RSS. This is an attempt by the HSS to legitimize a fascist paramilitary responsible for pogroms against minorities in India.”

Participating government agencies include nine law enforcement departments in eight states, four fire departments in four states, and four elected officials in four states. US Congressional Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL) and Scott Peters (D-CA) are among the participants.

In Texas, Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Meyers faced outcry on Facebook after sharing pictures of his participation. He subsequently revised his post to note that he was approached by a charter school requesting that he meet with local students, implying that he was not informed that the event would be hosted by the HSS. He has since deleted the post entirely.

“The HSS is the international wing of the RSS, a violent and supremacist paramilitary in India whose founders praised Nazi racial policy and modeled themselves along the same lines as the Hitler Youth,” wrote Haziq Jeelani on the Facebook of New Jersey’s Woodbridge Township Mayor John McCormac.

“They display pictures of these founders at most of their gatherings. They are a fascist organization not a religious group. They are trying to normalize themselves and lend credibility to themselves by such photo ops. Please refrain from associating with them.”

“Hi, actual person with ties to Coppell here,” wrote Sai Chimata on the Facebook of Texas’s Coppell Police Department. “Why the hell did y’all take these people seriously? Next time, do your research!

The HSS is a foreign offshoot of the RSS, a militant Hindu nationalist organization in India, a literal paramilitary that’s been involved in some of India’s worst riots and pogroms. HSS-USA is essentially engaged in whitewashing Hindu nationalism abroad and promoting it among the diaspora.”

On the Facebook of Illinois’s Naperville Police Department, Khalid Azam wrote, “What a disgrace!” Azam, a founding member of Indian American Muslim Council, continued, “This is a fascist organization (fascist is not being used as a slur here), HSS and its parent org, RSS, was founded by Moonje and others who visited Mussolini and Hitler and sought advice on how a similar organization and movement rooted in Fascism can be created in India.

These founders have statements on the record defending fascism and Hitler’s treatment of Jews.”

“Seems RSS Hindutva Fascists, who are killing innocent Christians and other minorities, wanting an all Hindu state, are preparing groundwork in the US,” wrote Ranjit Singh on the Facebook of California’s San Ramon Police Department. “It seems they have vested very heavily into pulling this off in all police stations in the US. Wow, watch out!”

“Clearly, the Howard County Police Department is not aware that the HSS is the international wing of the RSS,” wrote Miriam Joseph on the Facebook of the Maryland law enforcement agency. “They are extremist Hindu supremacists who regularly lynch and kill Christians and Muslims in India. It was one of their members who shot and killed Mahatma Gandhi.”

In the 21st century, the RSS is most notorious for staging two major pogroms against Indian minorities.

In 2008, around 100 Christians were massacred in the Indian state of Odisha. Their churches and homes were burned and tens of thousands were made refugees. Odishan Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who was in office during the pogrom, reported, “Members of RSS were involved in the violence.”

In 2002, around 2000 Muslims were massacred in the Indian state of Gujarat. Reporting on the violence, Human Rights Watch stated, “The groups most directly responsible for violence against Muslims in Gujarat include the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal, the ruling BJP, and the umbrella organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Corps, RSS), all of whom collectively form the Sangh Parivar (or ‘family’ of Hindu nationalist groups).

These organizations, although different in many respects, have all promoted the argument that because Hindus constitute the majority of Indians, India should be a Hindu state.”

HRW’s report was entitled “We Have No Orders To Save You,” which is what several witnesses reported the police told them when they appealed for rescue from their attackers. Graffiti discovered on torched Muslim institutions declared, “The police are with us.”
After the violence ended, many testified that police refused to file charges on behalf of the victims or record the names of the accused.

Award-winning Indian author Arundhati Roy explains that, in the years before the pogrom in Gujarat, “the police, the administration, and the political cadres at every level” were “systematically penetrated.” Roy states, “The RSS runs a shadow government that functions through tens of thousands of shakhas (branches) and other ideologically affiliated organizations with different names, some of them astonishingly violent, spread across the country. The RSS today has white supremacists and racists from the United States and Europe circling around it.”

“We appreciate the open welcome government agencies in America provide to people of all religions, races, and backgrounds,” comments OFMI’s Valmuci. “Yet the RSS is, by its very nature, opposed to diversity and multiculturalism. The presence of the RSS’s international wing in American police departments frightens minorities of Indian origin and inculcates a feeling of deep insecurity.

We want these government agencies to apologize for hosting the HSS, to issue statements distancing themselves, and to disavow all future events with this international wing of a supremacist paramilitary.”

The full list of government offices which participated includes: Coppell Police Department, Carmel Police Department, Dunwoody Police Department, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department, Howard County Police Department, Naperville Police Department, San Ramon Police Department, Tredyffrin Township Police Department, and West Des Moines Police Department; Arlington Heights Fire Department, Harrisburg Fire Department, Louisville Fire Department, and Phoenix Fire Department; Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Meyers, Woodbridge Township Mayor John McCormac, and US Congressmen Bill Foster and Scott Peters.

Organization for Minorities of India was founded in 2006 to advance individual liberties of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and all Mulnivasi people of South Asia by encouraging secularism, progressive human rights, liberation of oppressed peoples, and universal human dignity.

Visit www.OFMI.org for more information.