Category Archives: Forum

The SANSAD Forum is a space for the discussion of issues of urgent concern to members and friends of SANSAD. Its goal is to develop understanding, solidarity, and direction for change. People are welcome to propose issues that concern them, explaining their urgency if necessary, and focusing them into questions as much as possible. Both questions and responses will be published on the site at the discretion of the moderator. People who raise questions are advised to request particular individuals whose response they consider valuable by email. Comments can be posted directly on the site.

Published opinions are solely the responsibility of the authors and may not be attributed to SANSAD.

Trump, Modi, and the Rise of Right-Wing Populism


Hari Sharma Memorial Lecture 2017

Trump, Modi and the Rise of Right-Wing Populism

David Barsamian

September 8, 2017

6.30 PM -8. 30 PM

Room 1800 SFU Harbor Centre

515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Despite the vast differences in the trajectories of their rise to power Donald Trump and Narendra Modi share some significant similarities. They both speak to and in the name of a “people” they identify with the nation, promise economic transformation addressing the grievances of the middle class in one case and the aspirations of the upwardly mobile in the other, and unify and radicalize their base by scapegoating immigrants and Muslims in the US and Muslims and Christians in India.

While both Trump and Modi attack the traditions and institutions of liberal democracy, Trump has empowered the forces of racism and white supremacy and Modi has supercharged the forces of Hindu nationalism with deadly effect.

Appealing to the Indian people with the promise of prosperity through neoliberal development and a Hindu revivalist state, the Modi government has unleashed violence against all who stand in the way of its agenda The nation is the battle cry: the military and the cow are the holy of holies, in the name of which people can be killed and criticism silenced.

David Barsamian is a tireless and wide-ranging investigative journalists who has altered the independent media landscape, both with his weekly radio show Alternative Radio—now in its 32th year—and his books with Noam Chomsky, Eqbal Ahmad, Howard Zinn, Tariq Ali, Richard Wolff, Arundhati Roy and Edward Said. His forthcoming books are with Noam Chomsky and Arundhati Roy. He lectures on world affairs, imperialism, capitalism, propaganda, the media, the economic crisis and global rebellions.

Barsamian is the winner of the Media Education Award, the ACLU’s Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism, and the Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. The Institute for Alternative Journalism named him one of its Top Ten Media Heroes. He is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center. He was deported from India on account of his work on Kashmir and other revolts and is still barred from traveling there.

This is a free event but RSVP required:  Chin Banerjee,; Harinder  Mahil,


Bilkis Yakub Rasool’s Statement to the Press

All Accused in Bilkis Bano Case, Including Police Officers Finally Convicted


Sets Aside Acquittals of 7 Gujarat Cops & Doctors Convicts them of Evidence Tampering & Cover Up

 Mumbai, May 4, 2017

 Through all of you, friends in the media, I wish to say to all my fellow Indian citizens, my fellow Gujaratis, my fellow Muslims, and to women everywhere – I am grateful that this verdict delivered by the Honorable Judges, has, yet again, vindicated my truth, and upheld my faith in the judiciary.

 My rights, as a human being, as a citizen, woman, and mother were violated in the most brutal manner,  but I have trusted in the democratic institutions of our country. Now, my family and I feel we can begin to lead our lives again, free of fear.

 I am happy that the State and its officials who emboldened, encouraged, and protected the criminals who destroyed the life of an entire community, are no longer unblemished, but today stand convicted of tampering with evidence and cover up. For officers of the state, whose sworn duty it is to protect citizens and enable justice, this should be their great moral shame, to bear forever.

 To fellow Indians, I appeal to all of you, at a time when we hear news everyday of people being attacked and killed because of their religion or community – please help affirm their faith in the secular values of our country and support their struggles for justice, equality, and dignity. For this verdict does not mean the end of hatred but it does mean that somewhere, somehow justice can prevail. This has been an long, seemingly never ending struggle for me, but when you are on the side of truth, you will be heard, and justice will be yours in the end. 

The close friends, who have stood with me through it all, know how much me, my husband Yakub and my family owe to them for their instinting support and love throughout this battle. For journeys like mine cannot be made alone. I am deeply grateful both to the CBI and to my lawyer who represented me during this appeal process in the Honorable Bombay High Court.

Silencing human rights defenders in India

SANSAD News Release, December 30, 2016

Condemn the silencing of human rights defenders in India

SANSAD condemns the arrest and incarceration of the seven-member fact finding mission of the Telengana Democratic Forum on December 26 in Chhatisgarh, India, on the false charge of carrying Maoist literature and the charge by the Bastar police against human rights lawyer, Shalini Gera on December 28 of exchanging demonetized notes for the Maoists.

The fact-finding mission of Telengana Democratic Forum, comprising high court advocates, research scholars, and journalists, who had set out to investigate the killing of a thirteen-year old Adivasi child by the Chhatisgarh police, was arrested by the Telengana police on December 25 and handed over to the Chhaitsgarh police on December 26. They were then arrested by the Chhatisgarh police under the draconian Chhatisgarh Special Public Security Act on the false charge of carrying recently demonetized currency and Maoist literature and jailed on judicial remand. People’s Union for Civil Liberties has called this arrest, “illegal, unprovoked, and malicious.”
Shalini Gera, a human rights lawyer belonging to the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group that had been set up to provide the only legal aid available to the hundreds of Adivasis incarcerated in Chhatisgarh jails for years without trial, falsely charged,  or even without charges, had been forced to leave the area earlier this year when the legal aid group was driven by harassment, intimidation and evicgtion to close their office in Jagdalpur. The current charges were laid following Gera’s attempt to oversee the postmortem of Somaru Pottam, an Adivasi who had been killed in a fake “encounter” by the police.

These arrests and the patently false charges are a part of the established pattern of state terror in Chhatisgarh, where the state’s counter-insurgency measures in defense of extractive rights of corporations against Adivasi resistance have established a regime of impunity. Under this regime labelling someone “Maoist” is a license of kill and any attempt to bring this violence to light is  criminalized as aiding Maoists.

SANSAD, an organization of the South Asian diaspora in Canada, strongly condemns these arrests and the entire policy of state repression of which they are part. We demand that the charges against the Telengana Democratic Forum fact finding mission and Shalini Gera be immediately dropped and that an independent investigative commission be formed with the mandate of bringing to justice the people responsible for this abuse of law and justice.
Board of Directors, South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD)

Further information:

Vandana Shiva in Vancouver: “Seeding the Future”

Seeding The Future : talk by Vandana Shiva

July 14, 2016 at 8pm at St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church. Tickets and more information can be found at

Don’t miss physicist and food activist @drvanadanashiva July 14 courtesy of @IndianSummerCDN! –

Dr. Vandana Shiva is a physicist and social activist, widely regarded as the torchbearer of the international sustainable food movement. In a rare Vancouver appearance, Dr. Shiva will inform and inspire the next generation of environmental leaders in the fight to protect nature and people’s rights to knowledge, biodiversity, water and food.

Dr. Shiva combines sharp intellectual enquiry with courageous activism: her work spans teaching at universities around the world, to working with peasants in rural India. She has won many awards for her work including the Right Livelihood Award (aka the Alternative Nobel Prize), The Lennon/Ono Grant for Peace and the Sydney Peace Prize.

In particular Dr. Shiva campaigns for food security, food sovereignty, and a genuinely democratic and sustainable food system. Many communities worldwide have taken inspiration from her vision and from the work of her organization Navdanya.

ISF16_Social-Seeding the Future