Silicon Valley's Indian Americans Rally in Support of Modi, Yogi

"We are all with you Modiji and Yogiji", says an Indian American man who tweeted a video clip of a a recent car rally in Silicon Valley, California. Rally participants can be seen carrying pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Some also carried BJP's lotus flags. Hindu Americans enjoy the freedom to practice their faith and culture in the United States while at the same time they support Hindutva fascist rule in their country of origin. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Left) with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

Silicon Valley Hindu Americans:

The Silicon Valley Hindu American car rally has come just ahead of the state elections in 5 Indian States, including India's most populous state of Uttar Pradesh whose chief minister Yogi Adityanath is a virulently anti-Muslim Hindu priest with a criminal record. Other states going to the polls in India include Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Punjab.  

Silicon Valley's Indian American Congressman: 

Congressman Ro Khanna angered many of his Indian-American constituents in 2019 when he criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindutva politics and joined US Congress's Pakistan Caucus.  Khanna still won 65% of all votes cast to deal a heavy defeat to pro-Modi candidate Ritesh Tandon in primary elections in California's 17th district that covers part of Silicon Valley. Vast majority of Hindu Americans, including those in Silicon Valley tech community, are supporters of Mr. Modi in spite of his Islamophobic legislation like CAA and his government's extended lock-down in Kashmir and brutal anti-Muslim actions in India.

California 17 Election Results: 

Incumbent Congressman Ro Khanna received 46,657 votes or 65,1% of the votes cast in CA17 district in the 2020 primary elections. His main challenger Ritesh Tandon trailed far behind with 17,337 votes or  24.2% of all votes cast, according to New York Times.

Ro Khanna's Tweet on Islamophobia in Silicon Valley. Source: Twitter

Khanna thanked his supporters in a tweet yesterday after "beating Ritesh Tandon who ran on Islamophobia and right wing nationalism in India".

Congressman Ro Khanna with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Capitol Hill

Ritesh Tandon, an Indian-American technology entrepreneur, said Khanna "has turned his back on our allies all over the world, including the nation of my birth, India by siding with India’s enemies like Pakistan on key security issues”, according to Indica News.

69% of Hindu Americans Support Modi: 

The results of the Indian American Attitudes Survey (IAAS) conducted in 2020 show that India's Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi's massive popularity among Hindu Americans. The findings of the survey sponsored by Washington-based think tank Carnegie Endowment For International Peace reveal that 69% of Hindu Americans approve of Mr. Modi's performance. 70% of Hindu Americans agree or strongly agree that white supremacy is a threat to minorities in the United States, compared to 79% of non-Hindu Indian Americans. Regarding Hindu majoritarianism in India, however, the data point to a much sharper divide: only 40% of Hindus agree that Hindu majoritarianism is a threat to minorities, compared to 67% of non-Hindus, according to the 2020 IAAS Survey.

69% of Hindu Americans Support Modi. Source: Indian American Attitudes Survey 2020

The 7 in 10 approval rating of Mr. Modi by Hindu Indian Americans stands in sharp contrast to that of barely one in five Muslim Indian Americans. Indian American Christians are almost evenly divided: 35 percent disapprove, 34 percent approve, and 30 percent did not express an opinion. Twenty-three percent of respondents without a religious affiliation and 38 percent from other faiths approve of Modi’s performance, respectively. The share of “don’t knows” is the smallest for Hindus and Muslims compared to other religious categories, suggesting that views among respondents of these two faiths are the most consolidated.

Khanna Rejects Hindutva:

L to R: Ro Khanna, Riaz Haq

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) tweeted the following on Aug. 29: “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 & Christians.”  On August 17, Khanna became the first Indian-American to join US Congress's Pakistan caucus headed by Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson of Texas and Republican Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana. Khanna's decision to join the Pakistan caucus came after he met Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan during his July visit to Washington. After his July meeting with Khan Khanna tweeted: "Honored to meet PM Imran Khan. We spoke Hindustani, and I shared that my grandfather, an Indian freedom fighter with Gandhi, always had a hope for reconciliation. South Asian Americans of my generation hope for peace in the subcontinent in the 21st century."

Pakistani-American Support:

Congressman Ro Khanna has received support from Pakistani-American community for his courageous and principled stand on issues affecting South Asia. He regularly attends community events organized by Pakistani-Americans in Silicon Valley. I met him at a dinner hosted at the house of a Pakistani-American family that owns local Mirchi restaurant in Fremont. He assured the community he would continue to work to address issues such as Islamophobia that affect Muslims in America.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys broad support among Hindu Americans in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. Still, the Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna dealt a heavy defeat to his pro-Modi challenger Ritesh Tandon in California's 2020 primary elections. Khanna joined the US Congress's Pakistan Caucus and rejected Hindutva. His actions angered Hindu American supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  Cracks are beginning to appear in the Hindu American community. Democrats from the Progressive Wing of the Party are finding it increasingly difficult to support Prime Minister Modi as he ferociously pushes his hateful Hindutva agenda to target minorities. Vast majority of Hindu Americans, including those in Silicon Valley tech community, are solidly supporting Mr. Modi in spite of his Islamophobic legislation like CAA and his government's extended lock-down in Kashmir and brutal anti-Muslim actions in India.

Here's a video clip of Silicon Valley's Pro-Modi Hindu American car rally: 


 Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Imran Khan in Washington

Modi's Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World

Hinduization of India

Upper Caste Hindu American Professor Acknowledges Internalized Islamophobia

Indian Textbooks

India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said…
#Facebook charged #BJP less for #India election ads than others. The cheaper rates allow the BJP, Facebook’s largest political client in India, to reach more voters for less money. #Modi #Hindutva via @AJEnglish

Facebook’s algorithm offers cheaper advertisement deals to India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over other political parties, according to an analysis of advertisement spending spread across 22 months and 10 elections. In nine of the 10 elections, including the national parliamentary elections of 2019 that BJP won, the party was charged a lower rate for advertisements than its opponents.

The favourable pricing allows the BJP, Facebook’s largest political client in India, to reach more voters for less money, giving it a leg up in the election campaigns.

The Reporters’ Collective (TRC), a non-profit media organisation based in India, and, a research project studying political advertisements on social media, analysed data for 536,070 political advertisements placed on Facebook between February 2019 and November 2020. They accessed the data through the Ad Library Application Programming Interface (API), Meta Platforms Inc’s ‘transparency’ tool that allows access to political advertisement data across its platforms.

On average, Facebook charged the BJP, its candidates and affiliated organisations 41,844 rupees ($546) to show an ad one million times. But the main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, its candidates and affiliated organisations had to pay 53,776 rupees ($702)— nearly 29 percent more—for the same number of views.

TRC and primarily compared the BJP with the Congress because they were the largest spenders on political advertisements. In the 22-month period for which data is available, the BJP and its affiliates spent in total more than 104.1 million rupees ($1.36m) to place advertisements on Facebook through their official pages. In contrast, Congress and its affiliates spent 64.4 million rupees ($841,000).

But going by the higher rate Facebook charged the Congress, it has paid at least 11.7 million rupees ($153,000) more than what it would have paid for the same number of views had its advertisements been priced at the rate given to the BJP.

In Part 2 of this series, TRC and showed how Facebook has allowed a large number of ghost and surrogate advertisers to promote the BJP, boosting its visibility and reach in the elections, even as it blocked almost all such advertisers that were promoting the opposition party and its candidates.

If we include the pricing of surrogate advertisements along with the parties’ official accounts, the deal that the BJP got becomes even sweeter. For all advertisers promoting the BJP, Facebook charged an average of 39,552 rupees ($517) for one million views for an ad, but for all advertisers promoting Congress, it charged an average of 52,150 rupees ($681), nearly 32 percent more.
Riaz Haq said…
US Air Force lets Hindu wear religious symbols amid #hijab row in #Modi’s #India. #US Air Force granted approval to Darshan Shah, a #Hindu, to wear a tilak chandlo (holy mark on the forehead) in uniform #Islamophobia #Hindutva .— Quartz

The idea of freedom of religion through symbolic display isn’t restricted to India as signified by the hijab row.

On Feb. 22, the US Air Force granted approval to Darshan Shah, an aerospace medical technician assigned to the 90th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron in Wyoming, to wear a tilak chandlo (holy mark on the forehead) in uniform.

Born into a Hindu family, Shah is originally from Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Ever since attending the basic military training in June 2020, he had been seeking a waiver in the uniform rules to wear the tilak chandlo while on duty.

“Not only was I wearing the uniform, which is one of my main identities, being a member of the Air Force, but I was also wearing my tilak chandlo,” said Shah, according to a US Air Force website. “It’s who I am. Wearing it is special. It’s my way of getting through hardships and difficulties in life. It provides me guidance…”

The decision by US Air Force has garnered a lot of support from several Hindus across the world. The leader of the sect Shah belongs to shared a phone call from India to discuss the waiver after several Hindu saints spoke to him about Shah’s perseverance.

Around the same time, India has faced turmoil caused by the hijab row in the southern state of Karnataka.

It began some weeks ago when one Karnataka decided to disallow, henceforth, the woman’s headcover on campus. Several Muslim families with woman students of the institution were outraged and boycotted classes. The row ballooned after other colleges in Karnataka began implementing similar bans.

Following days of protests, the Karnataka high court, a few days ago, upheld the ban on hijab. The row has now moved on to some temples in Karnataka now banning Muslim traders from taking part in their fairs and religious festivals.

Riaz Haq said…
Opinion by @RanaAyyub | I tried watching ‘The Kashmir Files.’ I left the theater to screams of ‘Go to Pakistan.’ #Hate in #India now packs courts and movie theaters — and my despair is giving way to fear. The dark forces seem more invincible than ever.

The collective conscience of India is being altered beyond repair with hatred so potent that it even consumes the seemingly most unlikely people — such as the elderly man who arrived in a wheelchair to the theater to watch “The Kashmir Files.”

Two weeks ago, I gathered the courage to go watch the film against the advice of family and friends. “The Kashmir Files,” which portrays the exodus in the 1990s of Kashmiri Pandits, a minority Hindu community, has triggered anti-Muslim hate chants in theaters across India. As soon as I entered the theater in Mumbai, the audience broke into cries of “Bharat Mata ki jai” (Glory to India), a nationalist chant that has been repeatedly weaponized against Muslims. The man in the wheelchair soon joined the chants of “Sab mulle aatankwaadi” (Muslims are terrorists).

I left before the movie even began. I tried again the next day. A group of teenagers sitting in the front row soon began chanting “Bharat Mata ki jai.” I was seated in the fourth row, between an expectant mother and an elderly man who spoke proudly of how history in India was being redeemed under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The film began, and within 20 minutes there were disturbing scenes of Muslims lusting after Hindu women and a Muslim neighbor betraying his Hindu friend to support terrorism. There were scenes of Muslim kids flaunting Kalashnikovs and insulting Hindu deities. At one point in the movie, a Muslim militant tells a Kashmiri Hindu who wore attire depicting a Hindu god that only those chanting “Allahu akbar” will be allowed to flourish in Kashmir.

That’s when the audience started chanting “Jai Shri Ram” (Glory to Lord Ram). The teens in the front row whistled and started clapping at the slogans. Scenes of Muslims in skullcaps brutally murdering Hindus drew painful gasps from the audience.

The expectant mother seated next to me turned to her husband: “These Muslims are born bastards.” Unable to take the hate, I informed them that I am a Muslim and the language they were using was hate speech against my community. “Hate is what your religion teaches, not ours,” the woman responded. Others seated near us started cheering her statement, and I left the theater, just 30 minutes into the movie, feeling humiliated and physically unsafe. A man yelled at me “Ja Pakistan!” (Go to Pakistan).

When I complained to a theater manager about being heckled and abused, he gave a blank look. The film has been a box-office hit. The theaters are packed. The Indian government has even given the film tax privileges, deeming it important for the well-being of the country. That means audiences can buy the tickets at cheaper rates.

The next day, Modi met the cast and crew of the film. In a televised speech, the prime minister mocked the criticism, saying, “Those who always carry the flag of freedom of expression, this entire group has been rattled these past five to six days.”

I’ve written before about the power these films have to stir nationalist fervor and Islamophobic hatred. It’s now a proven formula. But the record-breaking success of “The Kashmir Files” has taken the propaganda to a genocidal level. The film is dominating all discussions. The head of government promotes it while large networks dedicate hours of programming to extolling the bravado in the film.

Riaz Haq said…
"Anti-Minority" Image Will Hurt #Indian Companies, Warns Ex RBI Gov Raghu Rajan the day after #bulldozers tore down #Muslim homes & businesses close to a #mosque in #Delhi's Jahangirpuri area. #Modi #BJP #Islamophobia #Hindutva #genocide via @ndtv

Amid concerns over minorities being targeted in India, former Reserve Bank governor Raghuram Rajan on Thursday cautioned that an 'anti-minority' image for the country can lead to loss of market for Indian products and may also result in foreign governments perceiving the nation as an unreliable partner.
India enters the perception battle from a position of strength, the professor at Chicago's Booth School of Business said, alluding to credentials like democracy and secularism, but warned that this battle is "ours to lose".

The comments came a day after bulldozers tore down several concrete and temporary structures close to a mosque in Jahangirpuri as part of an anti-encroachment drive, days after the northwest Delhi neighbourhood was rocked by communal violence.

Speaking at the Times Network India Economic Conclave, Rajan said, "If we are seen as a democracy treating all our citizens respectfully, and, you know, relatively poor country, we become much more sympathetic. (Consumers say) 'I am buying this stuff from this country which is trying to do the right thing', and therefore, our markets grow."

He added that it is not just consumers who make such choices over whom to patronise, but warmth in international relations too is decided by such perceptions, as governments take a call on whether a country is a "reliable partner" or not, based on how it handles its minorities.

The outspoken academic added that China has been suffering from such image problems because of its treatment of Uighurs and to an extent the Tibetans as well, while Ukraine has seen huge support because President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is seen as someone standing up to defend ideas that a democratic world believes in.

The services sector export presents a large opportunity for Indians and the country will have to seize it, Rajan said, adding that we need to be very conscious of the West's sensitivities on privacy.

One of the opportunities which can be leveraged is in the medical sector, Rajan said, warning that being perceived as a country which does not satisfy data security and privacy concerns can make it difficult to succeed.

He also said undermining the constitutional authorities like the Election Commission, Enforcement Directorate or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) erodes the democratic character of our country.

In other comments on domestic affairs, Rajan said the Indian administration will have to grapple with the challenges of governance by discussing changes with key stakeholders to avoid instances like the three farm laws. The three legislations were repealed last year after protests by farmers.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who also spoke at the event, blamed IT companies for poor planning, saying this lack of foresight has led to wage inflation in the over USD 230 billion sector.

He also said getting high-quality connectivity to every corner through both wired and wireless connectivity is a policy priority and the ministry is working towards the same.

Riaz Haq said…
Muslim Groups Condemn Presence Of Bulldozer At Parade In Edison | Edison, NJ Patch

The 18th Annual India Day Parade was held on Aug. 14, beginning at the intersection of Cinder Rd & Oak Tree Rd in Edison and ending at Middlesex Ave & Oak Tree Rd in Woodbridge.

A bulldozer, with a photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, was part of the parade. The bulldozer is a symbol of the demolition of Muslim homes in India, the groups said, especially in the state of Uttar Pradesh ruled by Adityanath.

“While we support Indian Americans’ right to celebrate their heritage and independence from British colonial rule, we condemn the use of a bulldozer and the glorification of Hindu nationalist figures who have a deeply anti-Muslim track record,” CAIR-NJ Executive Director Salaedin Maksut said in a statement.

The bulldozer became a divisive symbol in India after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) used them to demolish the homes and livelihoods of the Muslim community. Critics say the demolitions are part of a retaliatory response to Muslims protesting or being vocal critics of the government.

In a report published earlier this year, Amnesty International called the practice “bulldozer justice” and condemned it as openly discriminatory and a violation of International Human Rights Laws.

“We need to contextualize what it means to march with bulldozers emblazoned with the images of two openly Hindu supremacist leaders,” IAMC president Mohammed Jawad said in the statement.

“Today in India, 200 million Muslims are at risk of mass violence from a radicalized majority population. Marching with these bulldozers shows support for forced homelessness and mass violence against a vulnerable minority.”

The parade was attended by prominent NJ lawmakers including speaker Craig J. Coughlin, NJ-18 Assemblyman Robert Karabinchack, Sen. Partick Diegnan and the Mayors of Edison and Woodbridge.

The Muslim groups have called on lawmakers to condemn all “acts of hatred.”

“We also call on the mayors of Edison and Woodbridge townships, Sam Joshi and John E. McCormac respectively, and New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, who joined the parade, to condemn these acts of hatred and block Hindu nationalists’ and the BJP’s attempts to interfere in local New Jersey politics,” Maksut said.
Riaz Haq said…

Azad Essa
Tense scenes at Council Meeting in Edison, New Jersey, where some Hindu nationalists have come to defend the inclusion of the bulldozer at the India rally in the town last week.
Riaz Haq said…
Dr. Audrey Truschke
That there are people defending the bulldozer -- whose meaning as a symbol of violent deprivation of human rights is crystal clear to all who follow Indian politics -- speaks volumes to how entrenched Hindutva hate is in New Jersey.
Riaz Haq said…
Tempers flare as Indian organisers refuse to apologise for bulldozer at New Jersey parade
Bulldozer saga exposes divisions amongst the South Asian community at marathon town hall meeting in Edison

New Jersey's Indian Business Association (IBA) has said it will not apologise for bringing a bulldozer to an India Day Parade earlier this month, in a saga that has turned the spotlight on the rising role of Hindu nationalism in US politics.

Speaking on the sidelines of a marathon four-hour township council meeting in Edison, New Jersey, on Wednesday, Chandrakant Patel, the chairman of the IBA, told Middle East Eye that his organisation would not apologise for the incident "because it had not done anything wrong."

"This is a prejudiced complaint. The bulldozer only represents the demolishing of illegal structures on government land (in India)," Patel said.

On 14 August, organisers arranged for a bulldozer to roll through Edison's streets as part of a rally marking the 75th anniversary of India's independence. The excavator was decorated with posters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath, an Indian politician from the state of Uttar Pradesh who is known for his incendiary anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Adityanath, who is a vocal supporter of the Islamophobic "Love Jihad" campaign that aims to stop Muslims from marrying Hindu women, has pejoratively earned the nickname "Bulldozer Baba" over his extensive use of excavators.

In recent years, bulldozers have become a symbol for Hindu nationalists with authorities using them to demolish the homes of Muslim activists under the pretext of the structures being illegal.

Both the UN as well as several international human rights groups have called the practice an act of collective punishment.

Several Indian-American Muslims told MEE on Wednesday that they were particularly aggrieved that the IBA would decide to bring these symbols of hate to Edison given the discrimination plaguing India's religious minorities.

Likewise, organisations such as the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) have demanded action be taken against the IBA.

"In the name of an India parade, they are parading racist Hindutva ideology through the streets of Edison," said one Muslim activist who requested to remain anonymous.

"And if someone says 'I don't know what the bulldozer is', I am sorry you are a liar," the activist added.

At Wednesday's council meeting, tensions flared as several residents accused council member Ajay Patil of a conflict of interest given he was also vice-president of the IBA.

Patil was asked to recuse himself from the issue with residents noting that at the first council meeting after the incident, he was the only member who refrained from condemning the incident.

"Could it be that the one person who did not condemn the act happens to be a vice-president of the IBA?" Bishop Nikolaos G Brown, from Ignite Church, asked the council rhetorically at the meeting.

Another resident, Tony DePasquale, echoed the sentiment: "He should have said nothing or should have been part of the solution, instead he diminished the feelings of people."

Addressing concerns at the end of the meeting, Patil said he wasn't privy to IBA's plans prior to the event and that he did not think he needed to excuse himself from commenting on the issue.

But an official in the Edison Township Municipality, who asked to remain anonymous, told MEE that it was unlikely he wasn't aware and unthinkable that he would characterise himself as an impartial stakeholder.

Both Mayor Samip Joshi's office as well as the leadership of the council did not reply to MEE's request for comment.

Riaz Haq said…

Several representatives and surrogates of the IBA attended Wednesday's meeting and defended the inclusion of the bulldozer at the rally, describing it as a symbol of "law and order" in India.

They argued that the Indian Muslim complaints were baseless and disrespectful to the Indian government as well as to Hinduism.

One Hindu American resident of Edison told the council the issue had been blown out of proportion. He used former President Donald Trump's efforts to root out "illegal immigration" as an example.

"I am a big fan of Trump. I am a Republican. If he wanted to build a wall, people said he is oppressing people. But he is stopping illegal immigrants.

"If someone is removing illegal things, I support them," he said.

Likewise, another resident, Bimal Joshi, said that he "was full of respect for the Muslim community, but at the same time, if they try to portray that someone is doing a hatred [sic] in this town, no, that is wrong,"

"In America if someone is doing the illegal stuff [sic]; if someone is burning the property of the government, then government takes the action," Joshi said, before cautioning the council to reserve judgement about the use of the bulldozer in India until they found out about the "history of India".

"India is the largest democracy in the world. If someone tries to disrespect our prime minister [Modi] as Hitler, they should know what is Hitler," Joshi said.

However, other residents said there was a deliberate attempt by the IBA to obfuscate the facts and confuse both the council and the public.

Dominic Sequeira, an Indian American who said he was brought up Catholic, said the issue was clear. "If you are celebrating Indian 75th independence day, you are celebrating the heritage of the country; you are celebrating the development and prosperity, not literally a symbol of destruction.

"It was by design premeditated. If there is a symbol of hate, this is it," Sequeira added.

Other residents said they found the issue puzzling. "I am looking at the IBA's objectives on their website. They say: 'Protect the civil rights of Indian Americans and other minority communities. And it doesn't sound like that is what is happening," said one resident, who went by the name "Nic".

"And if you can't even apologise for something you've offended a whole bunch of people about, that's probably not a good thing."

Last week, the town's leadership said they did not know a bulldozer would be part of the parade nor were they aware of what it represented.

But Patel, chair of the IBA, told MEE that the city had been informed a bulldozer would be part of the proceedings.

"We even took permission from the township at parade preparation meeting where we presented our plans for the parade. We told them why we were bringing the bulldozer," he said.

Riaz Haq said…

Tempers flare as Indian organisers refuse to apologise for bulldozer at New Jersey parade
Bulldozer saga exposes divisions amongst the South Asian community at marathon town hall meeting in Edison

On 19 August, Edison's mayor described the incident as "unacceptable" and said he would be pursuing an apology from the IBA.

Mayor Joshi's office did not immediately respond to MEE's questions over his next course of actions given the IBA's refusal to apologise.

Since Narendra Modi became India's prime minister in 2014, human rights groups have reported an increase in abuses against minorities, including Muslims and Christians.

His ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has specifically courted the estimated 4.2 million people of Indian origin living in the US for support.

According to a study last year by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the BJP is the most popular party among Indian Americans. It also found that close to 50 percent of Indian Americans approve of Modi's performance.

"This support is greatest among Republicans, Hindus, people in the engineering profession, those not born in the United States, and those who hail from North and West India," the report concluded.
Riaz Haq said…
'This ain't India': #Sikh man seen verbally attacking, spitting on #Indian man in a #Fremont #California Taco Bell.“Walking around with your f*cking toes out. B*tch, this ain’t India,” the man says. “You f*cked India up. You’re f*cking America up.” #Hindu

A Hindu man was verbally attacked in a hate incident by another man at a Taco Bell in Fremont, California.

Krishnan Jayaraman was waiting to pick up his order at a Fremont Taco Bell on Grimmer Boulevard when another customer began to verbally attack him on Aug. 21.

In an 8-minute video recorded by Jayaraman, the man can be heard spewing anti-Hindu speech.

“Walking around with your f*cking toes out. B*tch, this ain’t India,” the man says. “You f*cked India up. You’re f*cking America up.”

The man also repeatedly calls Jayaraman “disgusting” and “nasty,” telling him to not come out in public. At one point, the man also spits at Jayaraman.

In an interview with ABC7 News, Jayaraman recalled the man stating, “You’re a Hindu who bathes in cow urine.”

Jayaraman did not engage with the man.

“I was scared to be honest with you. I was infuriated on the one hand, but I was scared that what if this guy becomes too belligerent and then comes after me?’” Jayaraman told NBC Bay Area.

“I didn’t see a point of me trying to engage somebody who’s hell-bent on picking up a fight and wanting me to engage,” he told ABC7 News. “He was so close to my face. He was throwing his dollars on my face. He was spitting everywhere.”

Jayaraman was surprised to hear the man pronouncing Hindi words and speaking Punjabi towards the end of the video. He believes that the attacker is also of Indian descent but aligns with an independence movement in northern India.

“That group, the Khalistan group was deemed a terrorist organization in India,” Jayaraman said. “At that point, it dawned upon me that he may be somebody who has an ulterior motive to do all these things.”

Taco Bell employees did not intervene to deescalate the situation, according to Jayaraman. The fast-food restaurant company has not commented on the incident.

The Fremont Police Department is actively investigating the incident. There are currently no reports on whether the attacker will face charges.

“We take hate incidents and hate crimes seriously, and understand the significant impact they have on our community. These incidents are despicable,” Police Chief Sean Washington wrote. “We are here to protect all community members, regardless of their gender, race, nationality, religion, and other differences. We would like to urge the community to be respectful of each other and to immediately report any circumstances such as this that, upon investigation, may rise to the level of a crime.”

“In the event of a hate crime, we will devote all available resources to follow up and investigate,” he added. “Fremont is one of the nation’s most diverse communities, and we are thankful for the contributions of community members from different cultures and backgrounds.”
Riaz Haq said…
The Edison bulldozer scandal is a wake-up call for people to learn about Hindutva hate | Opinion by Audrey Truschke

A bulldozer — celebrating far-right Hindu nationalist violence against Muslims — drove through the streets of Edison, last month at an Indian Independence Day parade. Many New Jersey politicians were present and claim to have been unaware of the bulldozer’s appalling symbolism of praising, even encouraging, the violent oppression of Indian religious minorities.

The backlash is continuing to grow, including calls for the organizers to be held accountable (they have since apologized) and for more people to learn about Hindutva hate.

For many New Jerseyans, the Edison bulldozer scandal is the first time that they have heard about the intolerant ideology of Hindu nationalism, also known as Hindutva or Hindu supremacy. But it is unlikely to be the last time.

I have been studying global Hindu nationalism for years, including a recent focus on Hindu Right goals and tactics in the United States. America, especially New Jersey, is a stronghold for Hindu nationalist groups who provide financial support and ideological guidance for the larger global movement. This extremist ideology — which has roots in early 20th-century European fascism — has flourished for decades, largely unchecked, in our state and has had many harmful consequences.

Hindu nationalists propagate their intolerant ideas in the United States through a network of organizations. Some of the most common include the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad-America (VHPA), and the Hindu Students Council (HSC). Sometimes a Hindu nationalist group registers as a foreign agent, such as Overseas Friends of BJP, which promotes the interests of India’s far-right ruling party. More commonly, Hindu nationalist groups try to spread and normalize their extremist ideas under the ruse of promoting Indian culture, such as at the Edison parade.

In the recent parade, the celebration of human rights violations was merely symbolic, but it is sometimes far more visceral for New Jersey communities. In 2021, federal agents raided a Hindu temple in Robbinsville, New Jersey and found Dalit men—who are at the bottom of a hierarchy of social oppression known as the caste system—held in bonded labor. Governor Murphy joined the many who condemned the “horrific, unfathomable” conditions of modern-day slavery. What he did not note is that the Hindu temple, part of the BAPS denomination, has strong ties with India’s Hindu nationalist BJP government. As of now, a case is pending in federal court in New Jersey that accuses BAPS of human trafficking in multiple states.

Hindu nationalists regularly attack lots of people—including Dalits, Christians, and the many Hindus who oppose Hindutva—but Muslims are their most common targets. In India, Muslims are subjected to daily violence and harassment, an abysmal situation documented by human rights groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United States International Commission on Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In 2022, USCIRF recommended India for sanctions for the third year in a row due to rapidly worsening conditions in the country, especially attacks on Muslims.
Riaz Haq said…
The Edison bulldozer scandal is a wake-up call for people to learn about Hindutva hate | Opinion by Audrey Truschke

Here in New Jersey, Indian Muslims are mainly safe from Hindu nationalist violence, although not always. In 2019, the Rutgers-New Brunswick Hindu Students Council — a Hindu nationalist group — invited a Hindutva demagogue from India to speak. The off-campus event featured Islamophobic hate speech. It also involved a recent Rutgers-Newark alum — and Kashmiri Muslim — being heckled and physically assaulted by others present. At the time, few noticed beyond the South Asian American community, but it is one brick in a larger edifice of anti-minority, Hindu nationalist hate.

At a meeting of the Edison city council on Aug. 22, a councilmember applauded the activists who had called out the parade bulldozer as a hate symbol: “By you bringing this to our attention, it stops it from going forward... what you’re doing today by bringing awareness is the first step, and that’s the strong step that needs to be done. You’re educating us.” I appreciate his words. But I wonder if he and the other councilmembers have any idea what that education often costs those brave enough to speak.

U.S.-based Hindu nationalists regularly attack South Asian community groups, such as the Indian American Muslim Council, which has been active on the bulldozer issue. They smear individual members and spread Islamophobic rumors about entire organizations, such as when the far-right Hindu American Foundation and its allies attacked IAMC last year. Hindu Right attacks in the United States can put one’s family at risk and even require the use of safe houses.

As a professor who works on Hindu nationalism, I am also subjected to regular Hindu nationalist attacks. I often require armed protection when I speak publicly in America, due to the threat of Hindu supremacist violence. While law enforcement has kept me safe thus far, it has not stemmed the waves of hate unleashed against me and Rutgers, my employer. Hindu nationalists are part of the Global Far Right, and so we sometimes see bleed-over ideas, such as the anti-Black racism lobbed against Rutgers administrators, including President Jonathan Holloway, in a recent propaganda piece by a Hindu nationalist.

Anti-Asian hate crimes are growing in New Jersey. By targeting South Asian Muslims and Dalits, as well as Hindus who disagree with them, Hindu nationalists in the United States are contributing to that alarming trend. If we are to confront and begin to counter such hateful assaults, we must recognize Hindutva’s deep roots and long-standing harms in New Jersey.

A hard truth is that while many New Jerseyans are only now learning the basics of Hindu nationalism, many of our state’s minority communities — especially South Asian Muslims — have lived for decades with the spectre of fear and intimidation imposed by purveyors of this intolerant ideology. It is time for that era to end, and for us to say together — Hindutva hate has no home in New Jersey.

Riaz Haq said…
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) today released the following statement condemning the use of a bulldozer at the India Day Parade in Edison last month:

“This week, our offices met with leaders and members of New Jersey’s South Asian community who were angered and deeply hurt by the inclusion of a bulldozer in the India Day Parade in Edison last month. The bulldozer has come to be a symbol of intimidation against Muslims and other religious minorities in India, and its inclusion in this event was wrong. New Jersey is proudly home to some of the most diverse communities in the nation, including one of the largest South Asian communities, and all ethnic and religious groups have a right to live without intimidation or fear.”

Riaz Haq said…
Hindu nationalism in India ratchets up tensions among immigrants in the U.S.

In a park in Anaheim last month, hundreds gathered to celebrate Indian Independence Day.

They bought Indian food from booths and settled on the grass to watch traditional song and dance performances. The holiday had special significance this year: Aug. 15 was the 75th anniversary of the end of British rule.

Then, about a dozen people, most of whom were Indian American, marched silently past the crowd, carrying signs that read “Abolish caste” and “Protect India’s Muslim lives.”

A few men from the independence celebration charged at the protesters, grabbing the signs, breaking them and throwing them into trash cans. Some shouted obscenities in Hindi-Urdu. They called the protesters “stupid Muslims” and yelled at them to “get out of here.”

Through a microphone, an announcer led a chant: “Bharat Mata ki jai” — “Victory for Mother India.”

“We are Indian,” Rita Kaur, a protester who is Sikh and was born and raised in Southern California, said later. “We are simply speaking for Indians who are harmed relentlessly.”

Indian Independence Day means vastly different things to different people in a country shaped by religious and ethnic conflicts, as well as caste discrimination.

For many of the majority Hindu religion, the day represents the end of colonialism and the birth of India as an independent nation that became the world’s largest democracy.

For many Muslims and other minorities, it represents the bloody partition of the former British colony into India and Pakistan and the persecution of non-Hindus and lower castes.

Since Narendra Modi became prime minister of India in 2014, his naked appeals to patriotism and his party’s frequent scapegoating of minorities, especially Muslims, have resonated with some who believe he has made the country stronger and safer. Meanwhile, religious minorities, especially Muslims, have faced mob attacks from Hindu vigilante groups.

Those conflicts have sometimes spilled over into Indian communities in the United States.

An Indian Independence Day parade last month in Edison, N.J., featured a bulldozer with a photo of Modi — a provocative symbol when local officials in India have used bulldozers to demolish the homes of Muslims. Parade organizers later apologized.

In Silicon Valley, discrimination against people from the Dalit caste surfaced in a lawsuit filed in 2020 by California officials on behalf of an engineer at Cisco Systems who alleged that higher-caste supervisors gave him lower pay and fewer opportunities. At Google this year, a talk about caste equity was canceled after some employees accused the speaker of being anti-Hindu.

“This poison of sectarian hatred has been getting more widespread,” said Rohit Chopra, a communications professor at Santa Clara University who has long been critical of Modi and his supporters for promoting Hindu nationalism. “That same pattern of increasing aggression and impunity seems to have replicated itself in the diaspora.”

Organizers of the Anaheim Independence Day celebration did not respond to requests for comment. In a statement to NBC Asian America, organizer Manoj Agrawal said the event was “not religion-biased” and included many Muslim vendors.

Agrawal said the protesters intended “to create trouble and then record something which can help them to showcase something.”

The Hindu American Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group, defended the Independence Day organizers. The protesters were seeking to “disrupt children performing on stage inside the event,” the group’s managing director, Samir Kalra, said in a statement.
Riaz Haq said…
Dr. Audrey Truschke
Nice write-up. Note the end bit where this hate monger is continuing to try to radicalize communities in New Jersey.

Ideas have consequences, and Hindutva preaches violence against minorities. It isn’t welcome in #NewJersey.


On 6 December 1992, the day the Babri Masjid was demolished by Hindutva mobs, Sadhvi Rithambara was there, sitting on the Ram Chabutra, a platform constructed slightly away from the masjid and the site from where proponents of the Ram Mandir would address the karsewaks.

Authorities at the Old Paramus Reformed Church in Ridgewood, New Jersey, took the decision following protest calls against the event, reported local news website

Reverend Robert Miller of the church had reportedly stated on Friday that he had revoked approval to use of the church building after hearing from both opponents and event organisers. Miller also said that the church was not aware of the speaker’s background when the reservation was made.

Miller mentioned that the church got a flood of messages opposing Rithambara's appearance, including more than 1,000 emails from across the USA since Thursday and at least 100 phone calls on Friday, a day before the event was scheduled to be held.

Advocacy groups Hindus For Human Rights and Indian American Muslim Council had participated in the protests against the event.

But who is Sadhvi Rithambara, and why did news that she would address an event in a New Jersey church lead to such large protests against the event and its eventual cancellation?

Known as Nisha in her early years, Ritambhara grew up in Doraha in Punjab's Ludhiana.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, she would rise among the Hindutva ranks and go on to play a crucial role in the movement demanding a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya at the site where the Babri Masjid stood at the time.

The Liberhan Commission, which was commissioned by the Government of India to probe the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, compiled a list of 68 people whom they stated were individually culpable for leading the country "to the brink of communal discord".

Sadhvi Rithambara was one of them.

Justice M S Liberhan had submitted his findings to the government in June 2009, after an inquiry spanning nearly 17 years.

However, in the case pertaining to the Babri Masjid demolition, Rithambara would eventually be acquitted by a special CBI court, but more on that in a bit. Let's first look at how Rithambara rose to prominence in the Hindutva ecosystem - and for that, we need to go back to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.

Ram Janmabhoomi Movement: When Rithambara’s Speeches Roared Through Loudspeakers
Rithambara role in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement cannot be understated. During those heady years of the growth of Hindutva, hardline speeches of Rithambara would be disseminated through pre-recorded audio cassettes which would then be played in public via loudspeakers.

Rithambara, then a member of the Central Margdarshak Mandal of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, was considered to be "the most aggressive" and tapes of her speeches were among those which received the most attention, wrote political scientist and author Christophe Jaffrelot in his book 'The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics (1925 to the 1990s)'.

Riaz Haq said…
On 6 December 1992, the day the Babri Masjid was demolished by Hindutva mobs, Sadhvi Rithambara was there, sitting on the Ram Chabutra, a platform constructed slightly away from the masjid and the site from where proponents of the Ram Mandir would address the karsewaks.

In January 1991, India Today had reported that 25-year-old Rithambara had been charged by the Delhi Police for making provocative speeches. The report read, "Audio cassettes with her inflammatory rhetoric on the Ayodhya issue have already been banned by the Delhi Police. A criminal case was registered under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code."

Accused and Acquitted in the Babri Masjid Demolition Case
On 19 April 2017, the Supreme Court ordered day-to-day proceedings in the trial on the Babri Masjid demolition criminal case, and stated that it should be concluded within two years.

The apex court also restored criminal conspiracy charges filed against Rithambara, along with doing the same for LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Vinay Katiyar.

On 30 September 2020, Rithambara and all the other 31 accused in the case were acquitted by a special CBI court in Lucknow.

Rithambara's Anti-Christian Tirade in 1995
In February 1995, Sister Rani Maria, a Catholic nun working in Madhya Pradesh's Udainagar, was dragged out of a bus in broad daylight and stabbed to death. The Christian clergy took to the streets in protest. The police arrested the alleged killer, a local BJP-VHP activist.

Later the same year, Rithambara, then a 30-year-old convener of the Durga Vahini, the VHP's women's wing, visited Udainagar and launched an aggressive tirade against Christian missionaries, specifically Sister Rani Maria.

A day after her Udainagar speech, police arrested Ritambhara in Indore and charged her under Section 153 of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between different groups).

The Madhya Pradesh High Court released her after 11 days of incarceration. Following her release, Rithambara swore revenge against the government and said, "I shall make them pay for every single moment of my illegal detention."

‘India Will Soon Become a Hindu Rashtra’
Over the years, Rithambara has continued her propagation of Hindutva just as stridently.

Just in 2022, in a speech in Uttar Pradesh, Rithambara was reported to have urged every Hindu couple to produce four children and dedicate two of them to the nation, and quoted as saying that India will soon become a "Hindu Rashtra".

"Those who are trying to divide Hindu society through political terrorism will be razed to dust," she said.

Comments such as these, over a period spanning more than 30 years, were among the reasons cited by advocacy groups protesting against Rithambara's event in New Jersey.

Riaz Haq said…
Videos of hundreds of people taking to the streets in Britain's East Leicester were circulated on social media, which showed pro-Hindutva crowds raising "Jai Shri Ram" slogans and marching past Muslim localities on Sunday, 18 September.

The demonstration led to clashes in the area, reported BBC, with the police and the area's community leaders calling for peace.

A police spokesperson told the BBC that they were investigating "several incidents of violence damage" that were reported to the police, taking cognisance of a video being circulated, which shows a man "pulling down a flag outside a religious building" on Melton Road, Leicester.

In its latest statement issued on 18 September, the Leicester Police said that its officers attempted to engage with the crowds to maintain control.

The spate of violence is said to have begun after the India versus Pakistan cricket match held on 28 August, as a part of the 2022 Asia Cup tournament.

Home News World Tensions in Britain's Leicester After Pro-Hindutva Rallies in Muslim Localities

Tensions in Britain's Leicester After Pro-Hindutva Rallies in Muslim Localities
The police and community leaders called for peace after a series of clashes broke out across East Leicester.

Videos of hundreds of people taking to the streets in Britain's East Leicester were circulated on social media, which showed pro-Hindutva crowds raising "Jai Shri Ram" slogans and marching past Muslim localities on Sunday, 18 September.

The demonstration led to clashes in the area, reported BBC, with the police and the area's community leaders calling for peace.

A police spokesperson told the BBC that they were investigating "several incidents of violence damage" that were reported to the police, taking cognisance of a video being circulated, which shows a man "pulling down a flag outside a religious building" on Melton Road, Leicester.

In its latest statement issued on 18 September, the Leicester Police said that its officers attempted to engage with the crowds to maintain control.

The statement gave an update on the situation in East Leicester.

"Two arrests were made – one man on suspicion of conspiracy to commit violent disorder and one man on suspicion of possession of a bladed article. They remain in police custody," the statement reads.
The spate of violence is said to have begun after the India versus Pakistan cricket match held on 28 August, as a part of the 2022 Asia Cup tournament.

Riaz Haq said…
Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: From Leicester to New Jersey, the diaspora is reflecting the divisions of Indian politics
A Vishwaguru wearing a robe of Hindutva cannot but export all the fault lines that come with it

It should not be a matter of surprise that so much of the playbook and fault lines of Indian politics are being reproduced among the Indian diaspora. Perhaps what people are surprised by is the fact that these fault lines are no longer at the level of just the coarsening of discourse or cultural fissures, but are taking overtly confrontational forms. In some ways, this is not surprising. Long-distance diasporic nationalisms have always been a feature of global politics. Culturally, these have often been more intractable than the politics in home countries for a variety of reasons. Diasporic nationalisms and identities are often more abstract, eschewing all complexity, and able to indulge in those abstractions because there is no skin in the game. They often do not have to face the consequences of the violence and dislocations of that identity-mongering. But in some ways, we may be entering a new phase of the ways in which these nationalisms play out. The recent clashes in Leicester in the United Kingdom, and the building polarisation in New Jersey are two recent instances of how diasporic politics, especially on the Hindu-Muslim axis, is taking a new and deeper turn.

That the cultural tensions of South Asia spill over or are even magnified abroad is not news. The proximate cause of the Leicester clashes was ostensibly tensions after an India-Pakistan match. This is ironic. I remember older veterans of what used to be called “race relations” in Britain telling us when we were students in the Eighties that there apparently used to be separate collection drives and mobilisation during the India-Pakistan wars but it never spilt over into conflict between the two communities. In the late Eighties, there was a lot of British Sikh anger against the Indian state, but it was seldom publicly, as far as anyone can remember, directed against other non-Sikhs. If anything, intra-Sikh jostling was far more pronounced over matters of doctrine and institutional control.

The decisive change came in the wake of two developments. The first was the violence in the aftermath of the demolition of the Babari Masjid in India. That moment in Indian politics saw widespread violence in Britain especially in Bradford, Sheffield, Leeds, with temples attacked and a petrol bomb thrown at a Mosque. Many of the current Hindu leaders of the diaspora came out of that moment. The second was the increasing focus on Islamic fundamentalism. The idea of using Britain as a launch pad for jihadi ideology was present in some groups. That in turn licensed full-blown Islamophobia amongst many non-Muslim communities. In this context, the Hindu-Muslim fault line became far more visible, and began to define the contours of diaspora politics more visibly. The clashes in Leicester are not unprecedented.

But there are three things that make this moment in diaspora fractures more distinctive both in the US and the UK. In the Eighties, after clashes broke out, there will still an attempt across communities to see their respective states, or mainstream politicians in those countries, as a relatively neutral arbiter; in fact, the whole point was not to draw politicians in the UK or US in accusations of partisanship in India’s communal conflicts. We are still awaiting a full, authoritative account of the events at Leicester. But in the discourse, at least, one is struck by the fact that the narrative of “Hindu victimhood” is even pointing fingers at the local state, as if it was somehow partisan in failing to protect Hindus.
Riaz Haq said…
Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: From Leicester to New Jersey, the diaspora is reflecting the divisions of Indian politics
A Vishwaguru wearing a robe of Hindutva cannot but export all the fault lines that come with it

In the US, Hindu-Muslim politics is spilling into the inner core of the Democratic party. The Teaneck Democratic Municipal Committee may be a small entity. But it has called for investigation of “domestic branches of foreign hate groups,” especially those aligned with Hindu Nationalism. Hindu nationalists now openly loathe the so-called “Left Wing” of the Democratic Party. Some of these narratives may be self-serving. But increasingly, you will find diaspora politics accusing the politicians of their adopted country of communal bias, in a conflict that has little to do with them. Imagine the situation of New Jersey or Leicester politician who now has to be judged on whether they are, in an Indian context pro-Hindu or pro-Muslim, whether they take Hindu phobia or Islamaphobia more seriously. This is unchartered territory in many ways.

The second big change is the explicit involvement of the Indian state. The Indian state’s statement condemned “the violence perpetrated against the Indian community in Leicester and the vandalisation of premises and symbols of Hindu religion”. Notice no appeal to Hindus not to take out intimidating marches, or the acknowledgement that marches chanting Jai Shri Ram might be adding to the tension. While the statement begins with violence perpetrated against the Indian community (not clear who the “non-Indians” are who perpetrated it), the purpose of the statement was to subtly signal out the Indian state as a protector of Hindus. In short, the Indian state itself is now going to intervene in a partisan manner in these conflicts. It will not be a party of peace but of more polarisation. After all, a Vishwaguru wearing a robe of Hindutva cannot but export all the divisions that come with it.

We need to await verified and authoritative accounts of what happened in Leicester, and which groups were involved; there may also be Islamic organisations fishing in troubled waters created by Hindutva. The playbook seems familiar to anyone who knows Indian riots: The use of rumours, groups from outside the local community, and marches to create polarisation in otherwise peaceful communities.

The locals may have an investment in peace. But the third big change is that their global ideological patrons of conflict will have an investment in politically milking these incidents, in a context where all inhibitions on ethnic nationalism are gone. Now, we are not in the realm of long-distance nationalism, but in a global political market that is looking to construct narratives of victimhood that can be used in any global context. The surveys by Milan Vaishnav, Devesh Kapur and Sumitra Badrinathan, of Indian diasporas in the Anglophone world, paint a complex picture. But there is no doubt that cultural polarisation is growing. There is also no doubt that Hindutva is not about the defence of Hinduism or Hindu interests, but a global ideology of hate and asserting cultural dominance. It is bizarre to think you can have this much dissemination of hate without it having violent political consequences. Now that inhibitions have been broken, brace for more conflict.
Riaz Haq said…
Hindu nationalists now pose a global problem
The recent UK violence should serve as a wake-up call. Hindu nationalism is no longer a worry just in India.

By Somdeep Sen

India’s Hindu right wing has long advocated for its vision across the world. Overseas offshoots of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have helped in this, as have allied groups like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or World Hindu Council.

Now, recent events in Leicester in the United Kingdom suggest that their dream of propagating Hindutva, their political philosophy, is coming true in new ways – violently, on the streets of cities far from India.

On September 17, young Hindu men marched through the streets of Leicester, chanting “Jai Sri Ram” – now a Hindu nationalist war cry – and attacking Muslims. This is the muscular brand of Hindu pride and chauvinism that Hindu nationalists have always aspired to.

These tensions have been in the offing. In May, a Muslim teenager in Leicester had to be hospitalised after an unprovoked attack by a Hindu crowd. In August after India’s win against Pakistan in a cricket match, a Hindu group walked through the streets chanting “Death to Pakistan” before attacking a Sikh man. There were similar reports after a second cricket match between the two countries that India lost. In response, groups of Muslim men have also held protests – in one instance, a man pulled down a flag from outside a Hindu religious centre.

There is, of course, a long history of Hindu nationalist and Conservative Party collaboration in the UK. In the lead-up to the 2016 London mayoral elections, Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith sent anti-Muslim campaign literature to Hindus and Sikhs to bring down his Muslim opponent, Sadiq Khan, of the Labour Party. On the eve of the 2019 UK general elections, there were reports that Hindu nationalist groups in the country were actively campaigning for Conservative candidates, since Labour’s then-leader, Jeremy Corbyn, had criticised the Modi government’s 2019 crackdown in Indian-administered Kashmir. Many of these groups have direct links to the BJP and their actions represented attempts at influencing an overseas election.

However, this is not just a UK problem. The scourge of Hindu nationalism has gone global.

‘True friend in the White House’
Like in the UK, Hindu nationalists have actively campaigned for right-wing, Islamophobic candidates in the United States. This was apparent during the 2016 presidential elections when Hindu groups went all out in their efforts to mobilise Hindu Americans for Republican candidates.

In 2015 an Indian American lobby, the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC), was launched by Chicago-based businessman Shalabh Kumar, who has had close ties to Modi. Its members donated to former US President Donald Trump’s campaign and the RHC supported him as he ran for the presidency. At an event with the group ahead of the vote, Trump declared: “The Indian and Hindu community will have a true friend in the White House.” He also praised Modi, calling him a “great man,” and released a campaign video wooing Hindu Americans.

Riaz Haq said…
Ahead of the 2020 US presidential election, Modi acted almost as a campaigner for Trump, holding two joint rallies with the realtor-turned-politician – one in

Hindu nationalists now pose a global problem
The recent UK violence should serve as a wake-up call. Hindu nationalism is no longer a worry just in India.

By Somdeep Sen

Ahead of the 2020 US presidential election, Modi acted almost as a campaigner for Trump, holding two joint rallies with the realtor-turned-politician – one in Ahmedabad, India, and the other in Houston, Texas. In the latter event, Modi seemed to give tacit backing to Trump’s re-election campaign, even uttering the phrase “Ab ki baar, Trump sarkar (This time, it’s going to be a Trump government)”.

However, like in the UK, the Hindu right in the US has now moved from electoral influence to demonstrations of street might. In August this year, bulldozers adorned with posters of Modi and the BJP chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, appeared at an Indian Independence Day parade in Edison, New Jersey, apparently celebrating the disturbing trend of local governments demolishing the homes of Muslim activists in India. Following criticism, the organiser – the Indian Business Association – apologised for the incident.

Open threats
In Canada too, Hindu nationalists have been making waves. In December last year anti-Sikh slogans and the Hindu swastika appeared outside a Sikh school. Canadian academics have been harassed and faced death and rape threats from diaspora Hindutva supporters for criticising the Modi government in India.

In June, Ron Banerjee, a Canadian Hindu nationalist openly called for the genocide of Muslims and Sikhs. “It is awesome what Modi is doing,” Banerjee said, in an interview to a YouTube channel. “I support the killing of Muslims and Sikhs in the Republic of India because they deserve to die.”

Australia too is witnessing an uptick in hate crimes committed by Hindus against Muslims and Sikhs. One such attacker, Vishal Sood, was eventually arrested for a series of attacks on Sikhs, and was convicted and deported since his visa had expired. When he got back to India, he received a hero’s welcome.

Attempts have also been made by Indian authorities in Australia to silence critics of Modi and his Hindu nationalist policies. Thirteen academic fellows resigned from the Australia India Institute at the University of Melbourne citing interference from the Indian High Commission and attempts to censor research and writing that presented an “unflattering” image of India.

Why has Hindutva gone global?
Undoubtedly, the rise of Hindu nationalism globally has much to do with the rise of Modi.

Since becoming prime minister in 2014, he has overseen a highly controversial citizenship reform that discriminates against Muslim asylum seekers, scrapped the constitutionally guaranteed autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir and built a temple at the location of a historic mosque demolished by Hindu hardliners in 1992. All while going after opposition leaders, activists and critics.
Riaz Haq said…
Ahead of the 2020 US presidential election, Modi acted almost as a campaigner for Trump, holding two joint rallies with the realtor-turned-politician – one in

Hindu nationalists now pose a global problem
The recent UK violence should serve as a wake-up call. Hindu nationalism is no longer a worry just in India.

By Somdeep Sen

Modi’s success in delivering on Hindutva’s promises at home has inspired his supporters in the diaspora to exude a sense of chauvinistic pride abroad.

However, world leaders are guilty too, of legitimising Modi, giving this subsection of Hindu expatriates the conviction that their bigoted vision has some global cache. From Trump to former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and from former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, multiple right-wing politicians have presented themselves as “friends” of Modi.

Even those Western leaders who do not have a particularly pronounced right-wing agenda have been keen to establish and develop their economic and strategic ties with India while turning a blind eye to the Modi government’s dismal human rights record.

What is next?
Islamophobia now appears to be a matter of public and foreign policy for India. The Indian High Commission in the UK responded to the events in Leicester by specifically referring only to the worries of the Hindu community there.

However, Leicester should serve as a wake-up call: Hindu nationalism cannot be ignored any more as a domestic, Indian issue. The movement has gone international – and is taking an increasingly violent form in other countries too. It is now a threat to democratic principles, equality and human rights everywhere. India under Modi will not address it. The world must.

Riaz Haq said…
In the UK, local Muslim groups and elected officials sought to ban her entry into the country. Sadhvi Rithambara was denied entry even to transit through London airport on her way back to India from the U.S. She was not allowed to board the London-bound flight at the Los Angeles airport, though her visit to U.K. destinations had been canceled and she was to board a connecting flight at the London airport. The next day, she went to New York and took a direct flight to India.

Muslim groups in the U.S. launched a campaign against the visit of a Hindu woman religious leader from India and called for the cancellation of her scheduled discourses. Sadhvi Rithambara was the target of protest by Indian American Muslim Council, Hindus for Human Rights, and other organizations.

Hindu groups and organizers hosted the event as scheduled in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New Jersey, Los Angeles.

In Atlanta, the meeting was held and Muslim groups protested outside the venue. In Houston, there was no protest. Authorities at the Old Paramus Reformed Church in Ridgewood, New Jersey, withdrew permission for the fundraising event following protest calls and the event was moved to a local Sheraton hotel.

In the UK, local Muslim groups and elected officials sought to ban her entry into the country. Sadhvi Rithambara was denied entry even to transit through London airport on her way back to India from the U.S. She was not allowed to board the London-bound flight at the Los Angeles airport, though her visit to U.K. destinations had been canceled and she was to board a connecting flight at the London airport. The next day, she went to New York and took a direct flight to India.

Here is an article by Rajiv Satyal, a well known American comedian, who was attacked for his appearance at Sadhvi Rithambara’s event as an emcee.


This past Saturday, 17 September 2022, I emceed a program for the Param Shakti Peeth of America Foundation, as one does. I got the opportunity through Anil Parekh, a man here in LA who’d been trying to book me at an event for years; we finally connected on this one.

I started doing some digging when I received this email on 12 September, five days before the event:

Dear Rajiv

“I’ve followed your comedy and am surprised and disappointed that you’ve chosen to perform at an event that has invited the highly polarising and bigoted figure of Sadhvi Rithambara from India. You have spoken up for diversity, multiculturalism and religious freedoms several times in your acts and that’s why your association with the Sadhvi is so problematic.

“As a public figure who values social justice and civil liberties and who believes in equality and freedom for all, I hope you are aware of the campaign against minorities and democratic values that is being waged in India by the very organizations that Sadhvi Rithambara represents.

“Some information for your consideration:

“Rithambara’s hateful speeches have been described as “the single most powerful instrument for whipping up anti-Muslim violence in various Indian states.

In 1992, during the run-up to the demolition of the historic Babri Mosque in India, her speeches calling for a Hindu war against Muslims were made into audio cassettes and sold across the country, played a major role in the destruction of the Babri Masjid. The riots that followed the mosque’s demolition saw 2,000 killed, mostly Muslims.
Riaz Haq said…
India’s government is exporting its #Hindu nationalism. Example: #Leicester in #UK. #Modi paints India as a kind of Hindu Zion. #Islamophobia is rampant among bjp stalwarts. Authorities have bulldozed Muslim homes in #Delhi & #BJP ruled states. #Hindutva

The violence that erupted two weeks ago between Muslims and Hindus in the English city of Leicester, home to a large population of Britons with South Asian ancestry, appears at last to be dying down as police flood the streets. It began with brawls and quickly escalated into attacks on mosques and temples.

Events in faraway Leicester bear on Banyan’s Asian preoccupations, largely because of the reaction of the government of India. Its high commission in London condemned the “violence perpetrated against the Indian community in Leicester and vandalisation of premises and symbols of [the] Hindu religion”, but, pointedly, did not condemn Hindus’ violence against Muslims.

Admittedly, Pakistan decried a “systematic campaign” of violence and intimidation against Muslims. But then Pakistan, a state founded on putting Islam (and by extension communalism) at its core, would look after its own, wouldn’t it? The Indian state, by contrast, long sought to represent a secular ideal that rose above communal divisions.

That ideal also informed the internationalist, inclusionary rhetoric of India’s foreign policy. The notable omissions in the Indian High Commission’s statement are indicative of a break in policy since the rise to power in 2014 of Narendra Modi, the prime minister. He is cheerleader-in-chief for Hindutva, a strident form of Hindu nativism promoted by his Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp).

The Indian government’s response was notable in another respect. Most of Leicester’s South Asian Muslims have their ancestral roots not in Pakistan but, like its Hindus, within the borders of India itself. Mukul Kesavan, an Indian writer, writes that to identify only with its Hindus “is to withdraw...the ancestral claim to India from the Muslims of Leicester.”

This is all of a piece with the bjp’s majoritarian approach at home, where Hindus constitute four-fifths of the country’s 1.4bn people and Muslims about one-seventh. Islamophobia is rampant among bjp stalwarts (though Mr Modi usually carries a dog whistle). When Hindus and Muslims have clashed in Delhi or in bjp-ruled states, authorities have bulldozed Muslim homes in retribution. Mr Modi’s Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019 grants Indian citizenship to refugees from neighbouring countries—so long as they are not Muslim.

As Mr Kesavan argues, standing up for Hindus abroad bolsters Mr Modi’s standing among Hindus at home. Mr Modi has long understood this aspect of personal power. Before the pandemic he staged huge rallies for the Indian diaspora in America and Britain. On visits abroad he pointedly combines diplomacy with prayer. Mr Modi paints India as a kind of Hindu Zion.

In the American capital this week the foreign minister, S. Jaishankar, lambasted those supposedly spreading false views of India, such as the Washington Post. He defended the government’s suspension of the rule of law and the internet in majority-Muslim Kashmir as motivated only by pure intentions. The minister is representative of Hindutva at the heart of the foreign-policy establishment. A paper in International Affairs, an academic journal, by Kira Huju of Oxford University describes how Indian diplomats hewing to the secular, internationalist line have been squeezed out, silenced or marginalised in favour of hardline hacks. Not only that, diplomats abroad must now promote a Hindu-inflected alternative medicine known as Ayurveda, as well as take instruction in the promotion and practice of yoga.

Riaz Haq said…
US academic conference on ‘Hindutva’ targeted by Hindu groups
‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ organisers and speakers face harassment and intimidation by Hindu right-wing groups in the US and India.

For the first time in the United States, scholars and academics from various American and international universities have come together to organise a major online conference on Hindutva.

Cosponsored by departments and centres of more than 53 universities, most of them from the US, including Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton, the “Dismantling Global Hindutva” conference will discuss various issues relating to the Hindu supremacist ideology in India and elsewhere.

Hindutva refers to a century-old right-wing movement that aims to create an ethnic Hindu state out of a multicultural India, home to more than 200 million Muslims.

The three-day conference, starting on September 10, will host various panels on global Hindutva, caste oppression, Islamophobia, and the persecution of minorities in India, featuring more than 25 academicians, activists, and journalists as speakers.

Over the past three weeks, the organisers and speakers of the conference have been on a receiving end of harassment and intimidation by various Hindu right-wing groups and individuals staunchly opposing the conference, calling it a “Hinduphobic gathering”.

The organisers insist the conference only aims to discuss the global implications of Hindutva and develop resources for an anti-Hindutva pedagogy in the academy.

‘Textbook Hindutva approach’
Since the day Meena Kandasamy’s name was released by the conference organisers as one of the speakers, she has been incessantly harassed and abused online.

A poet and caste activist, Kandasamy told Al Jazeera that a poem she wrote 10 years ago was picked up by Hindu groups, alleging it was offensive and ridiculed Hindu gods.

Kandasamy received multiple emails warning her against participating in the conference. On Twitter and Instagram, the Hindu right targeted her family, her children and even issued death threats.

“This is the textbook Hindutva approach. They just indulge in character assassination, slandering my personal life, questioning the parentage of my children, asking if they were born to one father,” Kandasamy told Al Jazeera.

“The Hindutva groups both in the US and India are miffed at the huge academic support for the conference and they just want to silence us at any cost.”

On September 3, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, a far-right group whose members are accused of assassinating journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh in 2017, wrote a letter to India’s Home Minister Amit Shah, seeking action against the India-based speakers of the conference.

Delhi University professor Nandani Sundar, who is also one of the speakers at the conference, received hateful emails and was trolled on Twitter.

“This is what Hindutva groups have been doing in India – shutting down seminars by threatening the organisers, physical disruption etc. Now they are doing the same thing globally,” Sundar told Al Jazeera.
Riaz Haq said…
Tensions That Roiled English City Have Roots in #India. #LeicesterCity clashes reflect a spread of sometimes violent extremism across the broader Indian #diaspora driven by #Hindutva, the divisive political ideology supported by #Modi & #BJP. #Islamophobia

Experts say it is only the latest example of how the toxic politics that are roiling India — and leading to the persecution of Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities — have migrated to other parts of the globe.

Across the Indian diaspora, ugly divisions are emerging. A bulldozer, which has become a symbol of oppression against India’s Muslim minority, was rolled down a street in a New Jersey town during a parade this summer, offending many people. Last year, attacks on Sikh men in Australia were linked to extremist nationalist ideology. In April, Canadian academics told CBC News that they faced death threats over their criticism of growing Hindu nationalism and violence against minorities in India.

Since India’s independence struggle, Hindu nationalists have espoused a vision that places Hindu culture and religious worship at the center of Indian identity. That view, once fringe, was made mainstream when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party came to power.

Human rights observers have since documented a sharp rise in violence against minorities in India, particularly targeting Muslims, but also Christians. Activists and journalists, including many Muslims, have been jailed or threatened with prosecution under an antiterrorism law that has received scrutiny from India’s highest court.

Mr. Modi has largely responded to this violence with silence, which experts say his most extreme supporters interpret as a tacit sign of approval. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a prominent Indian public intellectual, last month wrote that the Leicester episode followed a playbook “familiar for anyone who knows Indian riots: The use of rumors, groups from outside the local community, and marches to create polarization in otherwise peaceful communities.”

The tensions that spilled onto the streets last month have prompted soul searching among the different religious communities in Leicester, a city of about 368,000 in England’s Midlands. Leicester has one of Britain’s highest proportions of South Asians, a vast majority of them people of Indian heritage, who make up some 22.3 percent of the city’s overall population, according to the most recent government statistics.

Leicester is 13 percent Muslim and 12.3 percent Hindu, and most of the people from both religious groups are ethnically Indian.

After British rule ended with the partition of India in 1947, creating a separate state of Pakistan, subsequent legislation allowed citizens from across the Commonwealth to move to Britain. Another wave of South Asians arrived in the 1970s after Uganda’s dictator, Idi Amin, suddenly expelled thousands of people of mostly Indian origin from Uganda. By then, Leicester had gained a reputation as a city that was generally welcoming to immigrants.

“Leicester has always been proud of the fact that we have new people coming from all parts of the world,” said Rita Patel, a local councilor and member of a South Asian women’s collective working toward peacebuilding.

Riaz Haq said…
The social media company should now focus its attention on user behaviour within three countries in particular, according to a new study, which found the US, the UK, and India contributed a staggering 86 percent of anti-Muslim content on Twitter during a three-year period.

The study by the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) – the apex Muslim body in the Australian state of Victoria which represents an estimated 270,000 community members– found nearly four million anti-Muslim posts made during a 24-month period between 2017 and 2019.

The ICV also flagged a vicious cycle of hatred manifesting in both online and offline attacks on the community globally. Indian users alone generated more than half of these hateful and hurtful posts.

Among India-based Twitter users, researchers blame India’s ruling party – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – for the dissemination and amplification of anti-Muslim hate, saying, “(the) BJP has actively normalised hatred towards Muslims such that 55.12 percent of anti-Muslim hatred tweets now originate in India.”

ICV also pointed to discriminatory laws that deny Muslims citizenship and other civil rights for the rise of anti-Muslim hatred online among Indian Twitter accounts.

In the United States, the proliferation of anti-Muslim hate on Twitter is almost inseparable from the hateful rhetoric and policies of former president Donald Trump, who ranks as the third most frequently mentioned user in anti-Muslim posts, according to the researchers, with many tweets associated with defending his Muslim immigration ban and anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, including those that posit Democrats as collaborating with “Islamists” to take over the West.

As for the United Kingdom, researchers attributed the prevalence of anti-Muslim tweets to a multitude of factors, including the global reach of Trump’s anti-Muslim animus, anti-immigration sentiments sparked by the refugee crisis, and the discourse surrounding Brexit, along with the casual racism of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who once compared niqab-wearing Muslim women to “letter boxes”.

By analysing the anti-Muslim content produced by the three countries, researchers were able to identify several key themes, including the association of Islam with terrorism, the depiction of Muslims as perpetrators of sexual violence, the fear that Muslims wish to impose Sharia on others, the conspiracy that alleges Muslim immigrants are replacing white in the West and Hindus in India, and the characterisation of halal as an inhumane practice that typifies the so-called “barbarity” of Islam.

“Even more concerning, however, is our discovery that only a mere 14.83 percent of anti-Muslim tweets end up being removed,” said the researchers, which is continuing to drive an upward surge in hate crimes against Muslim minority communities, and, in turn, even more, anti-Muslim hate speech online.

The 2019 Christchurch Mosque attack is illustrative of this vicious cycle.

The gunman was radicalised by anti-Muslim online content, and in the week after he murdered 52 Muslim worshippers, incidents of anti-Muslim abuse spiked upwards by a staggering 1300 percent in New Zealand and 600 percent in the UK, which triggered or inspired a wave of anti-Muslim violence in England and Scotland, including an attack on a mosque in Stanwell, and stabbing of a Muslim teenager in Surrey.

A recent report documented over 800 attacks against mosques by right-wing extremists in Germany since 2014.

The past month has seen attacks carried out by right-wing Indian Hindu migrants against Muslim communities in Anaheim in the US and Leicester in the UK.

These attacks not only inflict a major psychological impact on Muslims but also on the broader community. It’s unconscionable that Twitter has done little or nothing to remove the overwhelming majority of anti-Muslim content on its platform.

Riaz Haq said…
India claims ‘vandalism’ of Toronto park sign is hate crime but police deny any such incident

India on Sunday claimed that the sign of Shri Bhagavad Gita Park in Toronto had been vandalised and this constituted a hate crime, even though the local police denied any damage to the property.

“We condemn the hate crime at the Shri Bhagavad Gita Park in Brampton,” the High Commission of India in Ottawa wrote on Twitter. “We urge Canadian authorities and Peel Police to investigate and take prompt action on the perpetrators.”

“Permanent sign is still waiting for the lettering to be applied and it was a temporary park sign used in the park naming ceremony,” they said, “There was no evidence of vandalism to permanent sign or any park structure.”

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, who had initially confirmed vandalism, on Monday endorsed a report by the city’s Parks Department. It stated that the builder placed a blank sign as a placeholder until the Shri Bhagavad Gita Park board was installed.

The garden was previously called Troyers Park. It was renamed Shri Bhagavad Gita Park on September 28.

Brown, during the park’s inauguration, had said that the renaming commemorated the contributions of Hindus to Brampton.
Riaz Haq said…
2022: A Look back at hate crimes against Dalits and Adivasis in Modi's India

To witness such incidents even in this day and age is not only disheartening but should shock the conscience of the nation.

As per the statistics provided in the NCRB report, atrocities/Crime against Scheduled Castes have increased by 1.2% in 2021 (50,900) over 2020 (50,291 cases).

Uttar Pradesh (13,146 cases) reported the highest number of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SCs) accounting for 25.82% followed by Rajasthan with 14.7% (7,524) and Madhya Pradesh with 14.1% (7,214) during 2021. The next two states in the list are Bihar accounting for 11.4% (5,842) and Odisha 4.5% (2,327). The above top five states reported 70.8% of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes.

Furthermore, as per the report, Atrocities/Crime against Scheduled Tribes have increased by 6.4% in 2021 (8,802 cases) over 2020 (8,272 cases).

Madhya Pradesh (2627, cases) reported the highest number of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Tribes (STs) accounting for 29.8% followed by Rajasthan with 24% (2121 cases) and Odisha with 7.6% (676 cases) during 2021. Maharashtra was next in the list with 7.13% (628 cases) followed by Telangana at 5.81% (512 cases). The above top five states reported 74.57% of cases of atrocities against Scheduled Tribes.

In terms of ratio to the overall population, Dalits (SCs) are estimated to be at 16.6 per cent of the population and Adivasis/Indigenous peoples (STs) at 8.6 per cent.

We look at some of the most shocking instances of crimes against Dalits and Adivasis in 2022.

Riaz Haq said…
Wells Fargo sacks #India VP Shankar Mishra for #urinating on #AirIndia co-passenger. Shankar Mishra, in an inebriated state, urinated on a senior citizen in her 70s, in business class of an Air India flight from #NewYork to #NewDelhi. #urinator #drunk

American financial services company Wells Fargo, on January 6, sacked Shankar Mishra, India Vice-President of its entity in India as Mishra, in an inebriated state, urinated on a woman in her 70s, in business class of an Air India flight from New York to New Delhi.

“This individual has been terminated from Wells Fargo. We are cooperating with law enforcement and ask that any additional inquiries be directed to them,” the company said in a statement released on January 6.

The company also said it holds its employees to the highest standards of professional and personal behaviour and that it found these allegations deeply disturbing.

After news of Mishra urinating on a woman co-passenger on board an Air India flight on November 26, 2022, was reported, the Delhi Police on January 5 wrote to the concerned authorities seeking a Look Out Circular (LOC) against Shankar Mishra.

Riaz Haq said…
Hindutva Hate Crimes against Muslims, Christians and members of the lower-ranked castes

By Pranshu Verma

Raqib Hameed Naik, 29, is the founder of, one of the most robust real-time data sets of human rights abuses in the world’s largest democracy. Using video and picture evidence submitted by a network of Indian activists, along with news aggregation, the site tracks hate crimes by Hindus against Muslims, Christians and members of the lower-ranked castes. Since its founding in April 2021, it has catalogued more than 1,000 instances of violent attacks and rhetoric. (Hindutva refers to political ideology that advocates for Hindu supremacy.)
It is likely an undercount, Indian political experts said. Still, the website has angered the increasingly authoritarian government of right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which critics charge promotes the idea that the Hindu majority is superior and tolerates deadly crimes against Muslims and Christians.
At least 11 times, Naik said, the government or Indian law enforcement have petitioned Twitter to suspend its account or take down some of its content, one of its most important venues for publicizing its findings. As of Sunday, its Twitter account remains active.Until he agreed to an interview with The Washington Post, Naik, who is Muslim, ran both the site and its Twitter account anonymously from Cambridge, Mass., where he settled after fleeing India in 2020.
With Twitter now in the hands of Elon Musk, his work has become more complicated. In India, the third-largest market for Twitter, Musk has fired nearly 90 percent of the staff, according to news reports. Hindu extremists have been allowed back onto the site, and hate speech has soared. Naik worries that Musk might acquiesce to the Modi administration’s attempts to stifle Hindutvawatch.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Despite that, he has decided to make his work public, hoping to build his homegrown site into a major operation aimed at warning the Indian government that its human rights violations are being catalogued.“At some point, it becomes very important for you to come out in the public and look into the eye of your oppressor,” Naik said in an interview with The Post. To say: “I’m watching you, whatever you’re doing. And preserving evidence.”Preserving evidence of hate crimesAfter gaining independence from the British Empire in 1947, India aspired to be a secular nation where people of all faiths could live in peace. But religious tensions have repeatedly flared rarely with as much vitriol as under Modi.Since Modi took control in 2014, hate crimes against minorities in India have skyrocketed by 300 percent, according to a 2019 study by Deepankar Basu, an economics professor who studies South Asian politics at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
Riaz Haq said…
How Desis in Illinois Fought Off a Law Altering the Definition of 'Indian'

Two things stood out in the Act:

How it defined an Indian: "Indian" means a person descended from any of the countries of the subcontinent that are not primarily Muslim in character, including India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

The Act said that the purpose of the council, among other things, is "to enhance trade and cooperation between Indian-majority countries and this state."

The Bill – HB4070 – was filed with the House clerk on 22 April 2021 by Lewis. It was eventually passed by both the chambers in April 2022 and became an Act on 10 June 2022 when Illinois Governor Jay Pritzker signed the Bill.

The law, however, came to the Illinois south Asian community's attention sometime in September, said Pushkar Sharma, Co-Founder of Chicago Coalition for Human Rights in India (CCHRI).

Subsequently, members of a group representing south Asian communities approached State Senator Ram Villivalam, a Democrat and the chief sponsor of the Bill in the State Senate.

"A group of Illinois citizens representing the Asian American community, particularly the south Asian American community, spoke with State Senators and Representatives to learn more about what had happened. We learned that community members had not been involved in drafting this text. As far as we know, Representative Seth Lewis also did not consult with the members of the community," Sharma said.

"Legislators we spoke with said that they receive 6,000 pieces of legislation, and advisory councils like this (and there are many of them) are not as urgent as other legislative priorities."
Pushkar Sharma
Senator Villivalam also admitted mistake but said that he did not read the text clearly as he receives many such legislations on his desk.

The amendment changed the name of the Act to the 'Illinois South Asian American Advisory Council Act', renamed the advisory council to the 'Illinois South Asian American Advisory Council', removed the term 'Indian', and defined 'South Asian' as "a person descended from any of the countries of the South Asian subcontinent."

South Asian American Advisory Council Act

The Trailer Bill was passed by the State Senate in late November 2022 and was approved by the House of Representatives on 11 January 2023. It will become a law after the governor signs the amendment.

Seth Lewis: The Republican Behind the Law
The brainchild behind the Indian American Advisory Council Act, Seth Lewis, was a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from District 45 for two years after being elected in 2020; he held office from January 2021 to January 2023.
Riaz Haq said…
#SiliconValley's #Indian-#American Congressman Ro Khanna talks of the threat of growing #Hindu nationalism. Khanna: “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva" #Hindutva #Islamophobia #Modi #BJP

Khanna said that, having spent much of his career in Northern California's Silicon Valley, he has been immersed in Indian American issues for years. The rising tide of Hindu nationalism is on the forefront of the diaspora’s collective consciousness; from professional spheres to college campuses, reports of Islamophobia and casteism abound in South Asian spaces.

Khanna hasn’t shied away from such conversations, and his vocalness has sparked outrage from right-wing Indian Americans. In 2019, 230 Hindu and Indian American entities wrote letter criticizing Khanna for denouncing Hindu nationalism (also known as Hindutva) and for advocating religious equality on the subcontinent.

“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 & Christians,” Khanna tweeted at the time.

They also criticized Khanna for joining the Congressional Pakistan Caucus and for speaking out against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s revoking the state of Kashmir’s autonomy.

“Of course, we have to fulfill the strategic partnership and we have to respect the democratically elected leadership in India,” Khanna told NBC News. “I will work to strengthen that while also upholding these human rights values.”
Riaz Haq said…
#Facebook rejected complaints about posts in #India offering #guns for sale in a forum devoted to an extremist #Hindu nationalist org, then later removed them on Tuesday after Wall Street Journal inquired about the posts. #BJP #Modi #Hindutva via @WSJ

Firearms are heavily restricted in India, which requires buyers to be at least 21 years old and possess gun licenses. Sellers must also be licensed.

Posts offering firearms for sale have appeared in Groups, as Facebook’s forums for like-minded users are known, that pledge allegiance to Bajrang Dal, a youth wing of a conservative Hindu organization, the Vishva Hindu Parishad, or VHP.

The VHP is affiliated with Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh organization, known as the RSS, for which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi worked for decades before his landslide election victory in 2014.

Bajrang Dal was in 2018 deemed a militant religious organization by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Its members have in past years been jailed in India for religiously motivated killings.

A spokesman for Bajrang Dal and the VHP said the U.S. government’s assessment of Bajrang Dal is misguided, that none of its members would purchase firearms and that the groups don’t believe in violence.

Spokesmen for the RSS and the Prime Minister’s Office didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The posts offering guns for sale in five different Groups dedicated to Bajrang Dal were tracked by Mr. Naik, the founder of the research group Hindutva Watch. Some sellers promised they could deliver the firearms within 24 hours, according to posts reviewed by the Journal.

In one of the posts last month, a user shared images of five pistols, some silver and some black in color, with one resting on a motorcycle seat and another held in someone’s hand. Bronze-colored bullets emerge from a clip in one photo.

Any “brother” who needs a “Desi katta pistol,” an Indian homemade gun, should contact the user via Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service at a mobile number provided, the person wrote in Hindi.

When Mr. Naik contacted the seller via WhatsApp, the person responded that one of the pistols could be purchased for 11,000 Indian rupees, equivalent to $133, according to messages reviewed by the Journal.

Users in Facebook Groups devoted to Bajrang Dal have also made threats to use weapons against Muslims, according to separate posts seen by the Journal.

Mr. Naik said the material is alarming given ongoing religious tensions in Hindu-majority India, where Muslims make up about 14% of the population. The Journal in 2021 reported that internal Facebook documents showed researchers determined the company’s services were rife with inflammatory content that one internal report connected to deadly religious riots in India.

A Facebook spokesman said at the time that the company had invested significantly in technology to find hate speech across languages, and that globally such content on the platform was declining.

Facebook in the U.S. has confronted the issue of gun sales before. In 2016, it banned the private sale of guns following controversy over users selling firearms through its Groups.

India is a vital market for Facebook, since it isn’t allowed to operate in China, the only other country with more than one billion people. In 2020, Facebook announced a $5.7 billion investment in a new partnership with an Indian telecom operator to expand operations in the country, its biggest foreign investment.

Facebook in 2020 determined Bajrang Dal likely qualified as a “dangerous organization” that should be banned from the platform, the Journal reported that year, citing people familiar with the matter.

Facebook didn’t remove the group following warnings in a report from its security team that cracking down on it might endanger both the company’s business prospects and its staff in India, the people said.
Riaz Haq said…
Edward Luce
"...India, which is jailing its opposition leader on a trumped up defamation charge; Netanyahu, who wants to quash Israel's independent courts; & Mexico, where Obrador aims to end free & fair elections. With pals like these, democracy needs no foes." Me.

President Joe Biden’s second summit for democracy, which is taking place this week, is both virtual and surreal. Among the participants are India, which is in the process of jailing opposition leader Rahul Gandhi on a trumped up defamation ruling; Israel, whose leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, wants to shut down judicial independence; and Mexico, whose leader, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is trying to end free and fair elections. With friends such as these, democracy hardly needs enemies.

Biden’s aims are noble, and it is noteworthy that neither Hungary nor Turkey, regarded in Washington and western Europe as illiberal democracies, was invited. But the president’s means are open to doubt. According to V-Dem, a Swedish research institute, almost three quarters of the world’s population now live in autocracies against less than half a decade ago. That vertiginous shift justifies the term “democratic recession”.

It is difficult to believe a liberal democratic Russia would have invaded Ukraine. It is equally hard to imagine the people of an autocratic Ukraine fighting as fiercely for their freedom as they are doing now. It is thus reasonable for the US to think that spreading democracy is in its national interest. The problem is that America is not very good at it.

Nowhere has the US expended more guns and butter than in the Middle East. The democratic returns have been almost uniformly negative. The Arab world’s only recent convert, Tunisia, was recently lost to a coup d’état. Israel’s democracy, meanwhile, hangs in the balance. That is without mentioning the fact that the Jewish nation state is not exactly democratic with the Arab territories it occupies.

Sarah Margon, whom Biden named to lead his administration’s efforts on democracy and human rights, withdrew her name in January after senators objected to her criticisms of Israel. Having a record of arguing for democracy seems like an odd rap against the person whose job that will be.


As India’s foreign minister, S Jaishankar, put it last year: “Europe has to grow out of the mindset that Europe’s problems are the world’s problems, but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems.” What Jaishankar really meant, of course, was the west as a whole. But he was careful to exclude the US, just as Biden is careful not to mention India’s democratic backsliding. Each needs the other to counter China.

Here it gets even muddier. India’s treatment of its Muslim minorities is arguably as bad as China’s policies in Xinjiang. The US State Department has labelled the latter “genocide” — the gravest charge possible. Yet barely a peep is heard from Washington about what is going on in Kashmir.

When the west can be bothered to listen, the global south’s consistent refrain is for more dollars to help their shift to clean energy, better infrastructure and modern healthcare. Which of the two great powers, China or the US, helps the most is likeliest to shape their political future and foreign policy alignment. One of the by-products of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is that it has brought this pressing question to the fore.

Biden’s White House is trying to come up with a coherent US approach to the global south, but officials admit it is a work in progress. China has pumped more money into the developing world than all the west combined — with both good and bad effects. Whether the Malis, Cambodias and Bolivias of this world become democracies lies in their hands. The best way of nudging them down that path is to lecture less and listen more.

Riaz Haq said…
The Mughals | Empire-builders of medieval India - The Hindu

Within hours of the National Council of Educational Research and Training’s (NCERT) decision to remove a chapter on the Mughals from the history textbooks for Class XII students, noted historians of the country issued a statement, denouncing the deletions. “The selective dropping of chapters which do not fit into the ideological orientation of the present dispensation exposes the partisan agenda of the regime,” a statement signed by Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, Aditya Mukherjee, Barbara Metcalf, Dilip Simeon and Mridula Mukherjee, among others, read. “Driven by such an agenda, the chapter titled ‘Kings and Chronicles: The Mughal Courts’ has been deleted... In medieval times, the Mughal empire and the Vijayanagara Empire were two of the most important empires... In the revised version, while the chapter on the Mughals has been deleted, the chapter on the Vijayanagara Empire has been retained.”

It’s hard to understand the history of modern India without the contribution of the Mughals, who, including Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, were all born in undivided India; and were buried here. None of them ever left the country, not even to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.“Is there anything in India today which does not owe to the Mughals?” asks Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi, secretary, Indian History Congress. “From legal system to legal jargon, we owe to the Mughal and Turkish Sultanate before them. Words like vakalatnama, kacheri, durbar, we owe them all to the Mughals. Today, when a large number of Indians consider Lord Ram as a major deity, we have to thank Tulsidas who wrote his version of Ramayana during the Mughal period. Also, Vrindavan, associated with Lord Krishna, developed thanks to Chaitanya saints who were given grants by Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjahan, and helped Vrindavan and Mathura emerge as a key centre of Krishna Bhakti.”

The richness was owed substantially to the Rajputs, who were sharers of power from the time of Akbar, who defeated Rana Pratap in the Battle of Haldighati, and co-opted them in his empire through matrimonial alliances. Most Mughal rulers after Jahangir were born to Rajput women. As a result, within the family, Hindavi was often the language of communication. Aurangzeb, incidentally, conversed in Hindi and composed in Braj bhasha.
Riaz Haq said…
#Indian court acquits 69 people of murder of 11 #Muslims during 2002 #Gujarat riots, overseen by current PM #Modi who was Chief Minister of Gujarat State. Former minister from ruling #BJP party among Hindus acquitted of killings in city of #Ahmedabad

The case related to the deaths of 11 Muslims who were killed after their homes in the city of Ahmedabad were set alight by Hindu mobs who rampaged through the streets during communal riots that took place in February 2002. According to an investigation into the attack afterwards, “there was no police help received by the Muslims and they were simply at the mercy of the miscreants”.

Thursday’s verdict by the special court dealt another blow for those still fighting for justice for the Gujarat riots. Over the past two decades, the state has been accused of protecting alleged Hindu perpetrators – including those who now hold some of the most powerful political offices in the country – as well as obstructing justice, intimidating Muslim victims and recently releasing some of the few who had been convicted of rape and violence against Muslims in the riots.

Shamshad Pathan, who represented the victims, said they would challenge the court’s decision in a higher court. “Justice has eluded the victims once again,” he said.

The Gujarat riots began after Muslims were suspected of setting alight a train carriage carrying Hindu pilgrims, sparking revenge attacks by Hindu groups in what became one of the worst outbreaks of religious bloodshed in India’s post-independence history. Officially about 1,000 people died in the violence, mostly Muslims, but civil society groups say the number was much higher.

India’s current prime minister, Narendra Modi, who leads the Hindu nationalist BJP government, was chief minister of Gujarat at the time and was accused of complicity in the bloodshed by allowing the Hindu groups to carry out the revenge attacks and encouraging police and authorities not to intervene to stop the violence. Modi denies any role and a supreme court panel found there was not enough evidence to prosecute him.

In this particular case, 86 Hindus were accused but 17 had died during the trial. Among those acquitted was Maya Kodnani, a former minister for Modi, who was a lawmaker at the time of the riots. She was also an accused in a case relating to the murder of 97 people during the riots and was convicted but later cleared by a higher court.

Those involved in rightwing Hindu vigilante groups Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which both have close links to them BJP, were also among the accused cleared of charges. As the verdict was announced, cries of “Jai Sri Ram”, a Hindu religious greeting that has been increasingly co-opted and weaponised by Hindu nationalists as a battle cry, were shouted outside the court.

“We have been saying from the first day that they were framed,” said the defence lawyer Chetan Shah. “Some of the accused were not present at the scene on the day of the incident.”

The acquittal of the 69 comes after the Gujarat government, which is still ruled by the BJP, recently decided to give early release to 11 Hindu convicts who had been sentenced to life imprisonment for the gang-rape of a Muslim woman and the murder of members of her family, one of the few convictions successfully made in the Gujarat riots.

Riaz Haq said…
#Jews and #Christians attacked by #Hindu Nationalists in #Manipur, #India. Tensions have been exacerbated by the political influence of the Hindu nationalist organizations Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (#RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (#BJP). #Modi

Bnei Menashe community member killed, 2 synagogues torched in India violence
Foreign Ministry says Israel watching events closely after ethnic clashes erupt in northeast state of Manipur between religious, tribal communities; MK appeals for coalition’s help


Rioting mobs have taken the lives of at least six people and destroyed or burned down 25 churches in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur. Since May 3, thousands of victims, the majority of them Christians, have fled as their homes and businesses have gone up in flames.

While tensions over property rights and economic interests have existed between the state’s ethnic groups for decades, local leaders told CT that church burnings are the result of the growth of Hindu nationalism among the dominant Meite community.


Manipur borders Myanmar and is home to a diverse range of ethnic groups, including Meiteis, who are a numerical majority in the state and are predominantly Hindu, and various tribal communities, who are largely Christian.

Primarily based in Imphal Valley, a region which includes Manipur’s capital, the Meiteis have long dominated the state's political and economic landscape. Meanwhile, tribal communities make up around a third of the population (35.4%) and are mainly concentrated in the hills surrounding the valley, 90 percent of the state’s geographical area.

For decades, the issue of land ownership and control has been a source of conflict between the two groups. But in recent years, these tensions have been exacerbated by the political influence of the Hindu nationalist organizations Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which have sought to promote their faith as the dominant religion in India and have used the Meitei community to advance their political agenda in the state.

Riaz Haq said…
Hindu Violence against Buddhism in India has NO Parallel

by Syed Ehtisham

The ruthless demolition of Buddha statues by the Taliban leaders in Afghanistan has invited severe criticisms from different quarters of the world. It is quite surprising to note that the Hindu Nazi-led Indian Govt. supported by all other Hindu Nazis has condemned the Taliban action. It appears paradoxical that the ancestors of the present Hindu Nazis in India wantonly destroyed the Buddhist statues and brutally killed the followers of Buddha in India. An impartial student of history can unequivocally remark that the Indian Nazis have no moral right to criticise the Taliban action.

Hundreds of the Buddhist statues, Stupas and Viharas were destroyed in India between 830 AD and 966 AD in the name of the revival of Hinduism. Indigenous and foreign sources, both literary and archaeological, speak volumes of the havoc done to Buddhism by the Nazis in India.

Role of Sankaracharya
Nazi leaders like the Sankaracharyas and many kings and rulers took pride in demolishing the Buddhist images aiming at the total eradication of the Buddhist culture. Today, their descendants destroyed the Babri Masjid and they have also published a list of mosques to be destroyed in the near future. It is with this sin of pride that they are condemning the deed on the part of the Afghans.

The Hindu ruler, Pushyamitra Sunga, demolished 84,000 Buddhist stupas which had been built by Ashoka the Great (Romila Thaper, Ashoka and Decline of Mauryas, London, 1961, p 200). It was followed by the smashing of the Buddhist centres in Magadha. Thousands of Buddhist monks were mercilessly killed. King Jalaluka destroyed the Buddhist viharas within his jurisdiction on the ground that the chanting of the hymns by the Buddhist devotees disturbed his sleep. (Kalhana, Rajatharangini, 1:40). In Kashmir, King Kinnara demolished thousands of Viharas and captured the Buddhists villages to please the Brahmins. (Kalhana 1:80).

Demon’s role

A large number of Buddhist viharas were usurped by the Brahmins and converted into Hindu temples where the Untouchables were given no entrance. The Buddhist places were projected as the Hindu temples by writing Puranas which were concocted myths or pseudo-history.

The important temples found at Tirupati, Ahoble, Undavalli, Ellora, Bengal, Puri, Badrinath, Mathura, Ayodhya, Sringeri, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Delhi, Nalanda, Gudimallam, NagarjunaKonda, Srisailam and Sabarimala (Lord Ayyappa) in Kerala are some of the striking examples of the Brahmanic usurpation of the Buddhist centres.

At Nagarjunakonda, the Adi Sankara played a demon’s role in destroying the Buddhist statues and monuments. Longhurst who conducted excavations at Nagarjunakonda has recorded this in his book Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India No: 54, The Buddhist Antiquities of Nagarjunakonda (Delhi, 1938, p.6.).

Non-Brahmins burnt alive
The ruthless manner in which all the buildings at Nagarjunakonda were destroyed is simply appalling and cannot represent the work of treasure-seekers because many of the pillars, statues, and sculptures have been wantonly smashed to pieces. Local tradition relates that the Brahmin teacher Sankaracharya came to Nagarjunakonda with a host of followers and destroyed the Buddhist monuments. The cultivated lands on which the ruined buildings stand was a religious grant made to Sankaracharya.

In Kerala, Sankaracharya and his close associate Kumarila Bhatta, an avowed enemy of Buddhism, organized a religious crusade against the Buddhists. We get a vivid description of the pleasure of Sankaracharya on seeing the people of non-Brahmanic faith being burnt to death from the book Sankara Digvijaya.

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