By M Ghazali Khan
London: Ignoring chilly cold weather in the cloudy and depressing Saturday afternoon, representatives of South Asian organisations in UK stood for more than two hours outside the Indian High Commission protesting against human rights violation in India.
Shouting slogans demanding Democracy, Human Rights and Justice and against Hindutva, they held large photographs of Gauri Lankesh, Akhlaq and Rohith Vemula, all lynched or murdered by Hindutva gangs.
The slogans included, “Modi, Modi shame shame, no more killings in our names”; “Modi, Modi shame on you, no more rapes in our names”; “Who killed Asifa? RSS and BJP”; “Who killed Gauri Lankesh; RSS and BJP”; “Who killed Rohith Vemula? RSS and BJP”; “Gali gali meN chor haiN, Modi-Shah chor haiN”.
The vigil was organised by South Asia Solidarity Group, CasteWatch UK, SOAS India Society, Dr Ambedkar Memorial Committee GB and Ambedkar International Mission
A joint press release issued by these groups said:
“India’s general election is due to begin on 11 April, in an atmosphere which causes us deep concern.
“We are holding this protest and vigil as part of a global day of action with a similar protest taking place in New York and in solidarity with the massive People’s Agenda 2019 event taking place in Delhi today. We strongly support the following demands which are being voiced by those in India who are bravely standing up for democracy, human rights and the Constitution:
“On Mob Lynching and RSS-sponsored terror
Ensure justice for the victims and survivors of lynch mobs, and that all those who perpetrate and incite mob lynchings, caste, communal and ethnic massacres and rapes, and extra-judicial killings are arrested and prosecuted.
“Enact The Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) law;
“Enact a law against discrimination, hate crimes and atrocities against religious, ethnic and racial minorities;
“Scrap all ‘cow protection’ and ‘anti-conversion’ laws;
“Enact a law for protection of inter-caste, inter-faith and same-gotra couples;
“Set up a Task Force specifically to counter and dismantle communal and far-right terror groups; bring the perpetrators of assassinations of dissenters and journalists to justice
“On Bhima Koregaon
“Immediately arrest and prosecute Milind Ekbote, Sambhaji Bhide and others from the Hindutva groups responsible for conspiracy, hate, incitement and violence against Dalits during the 200th anniversary commemorations of Bhima Koregaon on 1 January 2018;
“Close FIRs and unconditionally withdraw charges against all those who participated in protests on 2 January 2018 against the violence against Dalits in Bhima Koregaon, and all those arrested in the witch hunt of Dalit youth and children which followed.
“Immediately release all human rights activists, lawyers, academics and artists arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon incidents and drop the fake charges against them.
“On Dr GN Saibaba
“End the torture of disabled academic and human rights activist Dr GN Saibaba and immediately release him.
“Against Draconian Laws and State Repression
“Scrap all draconian laws including Sections124A (sedition), 499 (criminal defamation), Unlawful Activities (Preventions) Act (UAPA), National Security Act (NSA), Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and free all prisoners arrested under these and older draconian laws like TADA;
“Set up a Supreme Court monitored high-powered tribunal to look into countrywide cases of custodial torture and killings;
“Enact police reforms to ensure the police force is held accountable to the Constitution and FIR is registered in every encounter, and every incident of custodial violence;
“End militarisation of civilian areas in Kashmir, Bastar and the Northeast;
“End detention camps for “suspected illegal immigrants” in all states.
“For Dalit and Adivasi People’s Rights
Implement the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 2018, punish police officials for failing to file FIRs/record evidence;
“Increase funding, and utilise all funds allocated for scholarships and schemes for members of SCs and STs;
“Enact a law (Rohith Act) against caste discrimination in educational institutions;
“Approach the Supreme Court to fast-track pending appeals against acquittals in Dalit massacre cases in Bihar and other states;
“Enforce the Forest Rights Act, accept all community and individual claims;
“Release the thousands of adivasi under-trial prisoners languishing in jails on false charges, especially in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana.’