Category Archives: Solidarity Links

ICW statement on “Hindus for Trump”

Resist Bigotry, Recover Solidarity: Say No to “Hindus for Trump”

 

February 12, 2018:  We, the members of India Civil Watch (ICW) reject unequivocally the rank opportunism of “Hindus for Trump” (henceforth HFT) that leads them to offer to pay for President Trump’s proposed wall at the Mexican border as long as it will facilitate their own presumed ability to stay in the U.S.

 

The enthusiastic support of HFT’s members – immigrants or children of immigrants themselves – for Trump’s racist anti-immigration policies is the worst kind of political expediency. Supporting thus the bigoted and vindictive policies of an administration that openly expresses racist contempt against immigrants, minorities, and non-white populations of the world is an affront to South Asian communities in the U.S., a diverse population in terms of class, caste and status, which often shares with other Americans of color their struggles for dignity and a stable livelihood, and aspirations for lives free of racist and sexist discrimination.

 

HFT’s demands for exceptional treatment in the immigration process are based in ‘model minority’ rhetoric, and an expectation that their class status should grant them immunity from America’s social hierarchies and legal regimes. They would however do well to heed Dalip Singh Saund, the first Asian-American elected representative in U.S. Congress, who compared caste in India with race in the U.S. while demanding civil rights for all.

 

HFT’s support for Trump’s “merit-based” immigration system is consistent with their opposition to affirmative action (known as “reservations”) in India, designed to provide access to jobs and educational opportunities to those suffering from centuries of oppression under India’s caste system. A large proportion of Indian immigrants are from communities of privilege that have benefited from caste hierarchy, which denied economic and social opportunities to generations of those consigned to so-called “lower caste” communities. It is not surprising that HFT is an avid supporter of the Islamophobic and casteist policies of Indian Prime Minister Modi, who, inspired by Hindu Supremacist ideology (known as “Hindutva”) sees non-Hindus and oppressed castes as permanent second-class citizens.

 

HFT’s embrace of white supremacist rhetoric about immigration is particularly contradictory given the discrimination and exploitation that Indian workers historically faced in the U.S. It was barely a hundred years ago that Punjabi farm workers laboring in the fields of California made common cause and built community with Mexican immigrants working alongside them, navigating exclusionary laws around land ownership and civil rights, but also drawing hope in the commonality of their lived experiences.

 

ICW believes that our political work should be based on relationships of solidarity and a recognition of shared histories of neocolonial exploitation as seen in the shining example of the drivers from the New York Taxi Workers’ Alliance who staged an impromptu strike at JFK to protest against Trump’s Muslim ban. We list below a brief sampling of statements from South Asian and Indian groups fighting for labor, immigrant, and minority rights that have explicitly dissented from groups like HFT that support Trump’s bigoted policies.

 

A community that has produced a Ravi Ragbir who stands for the rights of the undocumented, should not have to settle for a Shalli Kumar (founder of ‘Hindus for Trump’), who seeks to ingratiate himself to white supremacists for a shameful seat at the table of injustice. Indian Americans can draw inspiration and take pride in a Kshama Sawant who fights for working people, instead of being embarrassed globally by a Nikki Haley who serves the dangerously militaristic foreign policies of the Trump administration. ICW calls on Indian communities in the U.S. to actively participate in anti-racist, anti-caste and and anti-colonial politics, both in the U.S. and in India.

 

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List of Statements:

 

India Civil Watch is a collective of Indian-Americans committed to furthering progressive politics in the USA and India. For more information, please write to indiacivilwatch@gmail.com

 

 

Canada must sign the Ban Treaty

Vancouver Sun
Canada must change course on nuclear disarmament

On Sunday, Japanese-Canadian Setsuko Thurlow was recognized at the award ceremony for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. But rather than celebrating this momentous occasion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has dismissed the effort for which the prize is being awarded: the creation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the Ban Treaty. The treaty bans the development, production, possession, use, and threat of use of nuclear weapons and was adopted by 122 countries at the United Nations this year.

The Nobel was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the group that advocated for the Ban Treaty. In turn, ICAN chose to have Thurlow, one of the last living survivors of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, receive the award along with its executive director. Thurlow immigrated to Canada as an adult and has tirelessly advocated for the abolition of nuclear weapons. She was made a member of the Order of Canada in recognition of her work emphasizing the cataclysmic humanitarian consequences of war and the need for peace. Her speeches recounting the sheer horror of that fateful day in August 1945 when the people of Hiroshima were burnt, blasted, and irradiated by the bomb dropped by the U.S. helped propel the campaign for the Ban Treaty.

One of those moving speeches was delivered at the United Nations earlier this year when the Ban Treaty was being negotiated. But there was no Canadian delegation present to hear it. Canada’s absence was likely due to a note last year from the U.S. Mission to NATO with clear instructions: “The United States calls on all allies and partners to vote against negotiations on a nuclear weapons treaty ban, not to merely abstain. In addition, if negotiations do commence, we ask allies and partners to refrain from joining them.”

Canada’s government did refrain. When the Ban Treaty opened for signature at the United Nations in September of this year, Canada was not among the 53 nations that signed.

The Canadian government offers a rationale and an alternative. It claims that the Ban Treaty was “certain to be ineffective” because of lack of participation by nuclear weapon states. Trudeau went as far as to deem the treaty “sort of useless” in Parliament, even before negotiations concluded and the contours of the treaty finalized.

The government’s preferred alternative disarmament strategy involves what is sometimes called a step-by-step approach involving the negotiation and implementation of a series of arms control treaties. There are two problems with this approach. First, the two main treaties that have been talked about — a ban on nuclear weapons explosions and a ban on the production of fissile material to make nuclear weapons — have been stalled since 1996. Differing views among the nuclear weapon states have prevented even the commencement of negotiations on the latter treaty. The second problem with the step-by-step approach is that it allows the nuclear weapon states to establish the pace of disarmament.

The leading nuclear weapon states today are shifting farther away from even this glacial approach to disarmament. Earlier this year, Christopher Ford, a Trump administration official, stated: “The traditional post-cold war approach of seeking to demonstrate disarmament bona fides by showing steady numerical movement towards elimination…has largely run its course and is no longer tenable.”

This leaves Canada in a tight spot. In October of this year, after the announcement about Thurlow and the peace prize, Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters: “any time you’re going to talk about moving forward on a nuclear-free world, you have to focus on the countries that already have nuclear weapons and therefore look at reducing that amount.”

If this were indeed true, Canada should stop talking about a nuclear-free world, or it should start calling upon the United States—its ally—to reduce its arsenal. At a time when there is widespread concern that nuclear weapons might be used on the Korean peninsula, it is critical that we continue talking about the importance of a nuclear-free world. Abandoning the pursuit of nuclear disarmament would be an unfortunate choice. Encouraging the United States to move towards eliminating nuclear weapons would be timely, but perhaps not so palatable to the Trump administration as it embarks on upgrading its nuclear weapons at an estimated cost of $1.25 trillion.

If Prime Minister Trudeau does not find either of these options appealing, the international community now offers him an alternative: join the vast majority of countries in banning nuclear weapons.

M.V. Ramana is professor and Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the UBC’s Liu Institute for Global Issues, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs; Lauren J. Borja is a post-doctoral fellow at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs.

Need for high level judicial inquiry into death of Judge B. H. Loya

From: Concerned Citizens <constitutionalconduct@gmail.com>

December 2, 2017

Dear friends in the media,

Please find below an appeal to the Chief Justice of India and the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court to institute a “high level judicial enquiry” into the controversial circumstances surrounding the death of Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya. The appeal cites the report on Admiral (Retd.) L.Ramdas’ request in this regard as also the opinions of Justice (Retd.) B.H.Marlapalle, formerly of the Bombay High Court and Justice (Retd.) A.P.Shah, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court on the need for a probe or enquiry.

Amongst the 32  signatories listed in the appeal are at least 10 officers who retired either as Secretaries to the Government of India or from posts in that rank, 4 former Ambassadors from the Indian Foreign Service, a former Chief Information Commissioner of a State Government, 2 former Chief Secretaries of State Governments, at least 4 officers of the rank of Additional Chief Secretaries and several others who retired at the rank of Secretary to State Governments or above. Almost all these officers were also signatories to an open letter written on June 10 this year in which they asserted that they had no political affiliations as a group but were bound only to the credo of impartiality, neutrality and commitment to the Constitution of India.

We will be grateful if you cover our appeal in print, digital/ social media or visual media.

December 2, 2017

The Honourable Chief Justice of India

The Honourable Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court

 

Honourable Chief Justices,

Please find attached a report about the request made by Admiral (Retd.) L.Ramdas to yourselves that a high level judicial enquiry be initiated into the controversial circumstances of the death of Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya. Justice (Retd.) B.H.Marlapalle, former judge of the Bombay High Court, and Justice (Retd.) A.P.Shah, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, have also expressed the opinion that a probe or enquiry is needed.

We, the undersigned retired civil servants, would like to place on record our support for the request made by Admiral (Retd.) L.Ramdas to institute a “high level judicial inquiry” into this matter and urge you to take appropriate action for all the reasons mentioned in his representation. 

Yours faithfully,

1.    S.P. Ambrose, IAS (Retd.), former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping and Transport, GoI.

2.    Ishrat Aziz, IFS (Retd.), former Ambassador to Brazil

3.    G.Balagopal, IAS (Retd.), former Resident Representative, UNICEF, North Korea

4.    Sundar Burra, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra

5.    Kalyani Chaudhuri, IAS (Retd.), former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal

6.    Vibha Puri Das, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs,GoI

7.    Keshav Desiraju, IAS (Retd.), former Health Secretary, GoI

8.     M.G.Devasahayam, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary to Govt. of Haryana   

9.    Sushil Dubey, IFS (Retd.), former Ambassador to Sweden

10. K.P.Fabian, IFS (Retd.), former Ambassador to Italy

11. Meena Gupta, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, GoI

12. Deepa Hari, IRS (Resigned)

13. Dr. Sajjad Hassan, IAS (Retd.), former Commissioner (Planning), Govt. of Manipur

14. K. John Koshy, IAS (Retd.), former State Chief Information Commissioner, West Bengal

15. Ajai Kumar, Indian Forest Service (Resigned), former Director, Ministry of Agriculture, GoI

16. Arun Kumar, IAS (Retd.), former Chairman, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority

17. Harsh Mander, IAS (Retd.), Govt. of Madhya Pradesh

18. Aditi Mehta, IAS (Retd.), former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan

19. Sunil Mitra, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI

20. Deb Mukharji, IFS (Retd.), former Ambassador to Nepal

21. Anup Mukerji, IAS (Retd.), former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Bihar

22. Alok Perti, IAS (Retd.) former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI

23. N.K. Raghupathy, IAS (Retd.), former Chairman, Staff Selection Commission, GoI

24. Aruna Roy, IAS (Resigned)

25. Manab Roy, IAS (Retd.), former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal 

26. Umrao Salodia, IAS (Retd.), former Chairman, Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation, Govt. of Rajasthan

27. Deepak Sanan, IAS (Retd.), former Principal Adviser (AR) to the Chief Minister of the Govt. of Himachal Pradesh

28. E.A.S. Sarma, IAS, (Retd.), former Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, GoI

29. Dr.N.C.Saxena, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI

30. Ardhendu Sen, IAS (Retd.), former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal

31. Dr. Raju Sharma, IAS (Retd.), former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh

32. Jawhar Sircar, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, and CEO, Prasar Bharati

Report on Admir…s’ request pdf.pdf

Regarding Admiral (Retd.) L.Ramdas’ request

Former Navy Chief Admiral L. Ramdas has requested that a “high level judicial inquiry” into “mysterious circumstances” of the death of Brijgopal Harkishan Loya , the Special CBI Judge presiding over the trial of BJP President Amit Shah and several Gujarat Police Officers in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case. In a letter addressed to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Admiral L. Ramdas has requested that a “hig h level judicial inquiry” be immediately initiated.

Former Bombay High Court Judge, Justice (Retd.) B.H. Marlapalle, also has sought an SIT probe into the Judge’s death.

Former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice A.P. Shah had also recently spoken o ut about the allegations, opining that not enquiring into the allegations made by the family “would send a very wrong signal to the judiciary, particularly the lower cadre”. He had also expressed concerns over allegations of corruption, as Judge Loya was a llegedly offered a bribe of Rs. 100 crore.

Full text of Admiral L. Ramdas’s letter.

Dear Hon Chief Justice of India,

NEED FOR A SPECIAL JUDICIAL ENQUIRY TO INVESTIGATE INTO THE SUDDEN DEATH OF JUSTICE LOYA

All Democracies exist and survive on three main pi llars – namely the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary. Freedom from British rule, was won after a prolonged struggle and The Indian Constitution was evolved after nearly two and a half years of debate in the Constituent Assembly, and passed on 29 Nov ember 1949 and India became a Republic on 26 January 1950. Our Constitution became effective. This one and only holy book which matters, subscribes to the above concept of our Democracy, wherein all our citizens are considered to be equal in the eyes of th e law.

This is all the more important when a CBI judge, Justice Loya, specially appointed by the CJI of the Mumbai High Court to investigate the murder of Sohrabbudin , dies under mysterious circumstances while on a visit to Nagpur. The silence of the two judges who apparently persuaded the late Judge Loya to travel to Nagpur, and accompanied him, is disturbing to say the least. The inaction of the judiciary about this sequence of events thus far is indeed surprising. This is all the more puzzling in the co ntext of the recent revelations by family members of the late Justice Loya, who have raised certain questions, apprehending foul play in the circumstances leading to his sudden death.

A judicial probe at this point, at least to respond to the queries raise d by the family, and to uphold the image of the judiciary in the eyes of the people of India, is absolutely necessary. As a former Chief of the Indian Navy, I feel strongly that it is critically important to clear any doubts about this entire incident. The refore , in the larger interests of the nation and its people, and above all in upholding the Constitution of India and the image of our entire legal system, a high level judicial enquiry be initiated immediately .

http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/11/28/admiral – ramdas – requests – judicial – enquiry – into – judge – loyas – mysterious – death/


Lalita Ramdas

We either win this war to save our land, or we will be exterminated, because we have nowhere to run to.Ken Saro Wiwa–

`LARA’ – Ramu Farm,
Village Bhaimala,
PO Kamarle,
Alibag-402209
Raigad Dist, Maharashtra, INDIA

Phone: +91-2141-248711
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CERAS statement on Amarnath pilgrims

 

14 July 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — ATTACK ON HINDU PILGRIMS IN KASHMIR

CERAS condemns the fatal attack on Hindu pilgrims on their way to Amarnath, one of the most revered Hindu shrines, during this pilgrimage season. It also urges caution in ascribing blame.  The attack took place around 8.10 pm (IST) on Monday 10th July at Botengo village in Anantnag district in South Kashmir on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.

Nobody has as yet claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack.  However, at least initially, unspoken assumptions and innuendo seemed to imply that Monday’s attack is the work of armed Kashmiri nationalists.  In this context, it is important to note that if indeed this were so, it would be a major aberration.

In fact Kashmiri nationalists have often publicly stated, and this year is no exception, that the pilgrims will not be harmed. A month ago well-known Kashmiri nationalist Syed Ali Shah Geelani stated: “The yatra [pilgrimage to Amarnath] has been going on for decades and the people here have treated the pilgrims with unique hospitality. They have always been hospitable, decent and received the pilgrims as their guests”.  And in the wake of yesterday’s attack, nationalist leaders have “expressed deep sorrow and grief over the killing of Amarnath Yatris in Anantnag … and strongly condemned it;” the attack “goes against the very grain of Kashmiri ethos”.

Since 1989 with the increase in Kashmiri nationalist militancy, many Pandits (Kashmiri Hindus) fled.  But many also remained.  Repeated invitations from Kashmiri nationalist guerrillas to Pandits to return to the valley, subvert any communalist narrative of the situation.  Just last year the guerrilla leader Zakir Rashid Bhat stated: “We request Kashmiri Pandits to return to their homes. We take the responsibility of their protection. They should look at those Pandits who have been living in the [Kashmir] Valley. Did they face any problems here?” The nationalists have always made it clear that their conflict is with the Indian state (which maintains one of the largest militarized presences in the world in Kashmir as a way of stamping out militant nationalism); that this is not a Hindu-Muslim conflict, nor is it a conflict where civilians are targeted.

In this context, the attack on the pilgrims yesterday raises many questions.  If it is not nationalist guerrillas who perpetrated the attack, then who is responsible?  And why? In the current state of affairs in India where there is steep escalation in Hindu nationalist rhetoric and actions, where fake news about Muslims killing Hindus has become standard operating procedure, and where Muslims have been attacked and killed by lynch mobs (7 in the last two years), the attack on the Hindu pilgrims to Amarnath has incendiary potential.

As details emerge there seems to be a somewhat better understanding of how the event unfolded.The bus had developed a flat tire and stopped so it could be fixed. Security forces cover the national highway from 4 AM to 7 PM for the Amarnath yatra  and there are definite time schedules for the movement of vehicles carrying pilgrims. The delay resulted in the bus being on the road after the 7pm curfew. The Director-General of the Central Reserve Police Force (one of many government para-military forces in Kashmir) stated: “These yatris [pilgrims] had not registered themselves, as is advised, and did not even become part of the yatra [pilgrimage] convoy, which is escorted by security forces, both to and from Amarnath, everyday. They also violated the 7 pm curfew on movement of yatris.”

One of the pilgrims in the bus, Yogesh Prajapati said that an Army jeep had started following the bus at some point and the terrorists might have aimed at the jeep but ended up hitting the bus.  Some in the media are also making reference to another incident in 2000 when pilgrims and locals who serve them as porters and horsemen were killed in crossfire between Indian security forces unidentified armed fighters.  However it needs to be pointed out that in that instance civilians, including pilgrims to Amarnath were not the targets, but were killed in the crossfire.

As of now there are no answers about who carried out this attack.  For decades, Kashmir has been used as a political football within India and across the border by Pakistan.  While condemning this terrible act of violence, it is also important not to engage in an unsubstantiated blame game, to not conflate communalism and nationalism and to be cognizant that those responsible focus on their own objectives with cynical disregard for the people whose lives are destroyed by their actions.

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cerasmontreal@gmail.com