Mon Feb 24, 2014


NEW DELHI: On Wednesday 26 February 2014, British MP from Ealing Southall Virendra Sharma will host a meeting on Narendra Modi and the rise of Hindu Fascism and release a report titled “Narendra Modi exposed: challenging the myths surrounding the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.” This represents a fresh effort by organisations and individuals to pressure the UK government to have no engagement with Modi until “he has answered to a court of law” and for the setting up of an international tribunal to try the “genocide” in Gujarat.

The report is jointly published by the Awaaz Network and the Monitoring Group. It states, “As Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat in 2002, Modi presided over a massacre of Muslims that conforms to the UN definition of genocide. At the time this had evoked widespread domestic and international condemnation. Recently, however, there has been a determined campaign to paint him in a different light. One prong of the campaign has been to argue that the events of 2002 should be consigned to the past as the Supreme Court of India has given Modi a ‘clean chit’. The second prong has been to present Modi as a uniquely competent administrator who has worked miracles in Gujarat.”

The report is presented as “a collection of briefings [that] presents facts that challenge both these claims and argues that Modi remains a figure deserving international opprobrium.”

A statement by the organisers says, “Modi is the Chief Minister of Gujarat and a leading figure in the far-right Bharatiya Janata Party, controversy surrounds him, largely because of his role in communal violence against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, when over 1500 died (including three British nationals), hundreds of women were raped and 200,000 people driven from their homes.”

Human Rights Watch described the 2002 Gujarat events as:‘what happened in Gujarat was not a spontaneous uprising, it was a carefully orchestrated attack against Muslims. The attacks were planned in advance and organized with extensive participation of the police and state government officials.’

A number of MP’s, lawyers, academics and human rights activists will address the meeting. The list includes Yusuf Dawood from West Yorkshire, two of whose brothers were among the victims and whose family has campaigned for justice. Suresh Grover of the Monitoring Group will describe key events of 2002. Professor Chetan Bhatt, Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics, will describe Modi’s links with the ‘Hindutva’ movement, which uses the guise of religion for its extremist brand of politics. Pragna Patel, of Southall Black Sisters, will speak on its disturbing links with violence against and control of women. Professor Gautam Appa, emeritus professor at the London School of Economics, will expose the inaccuracy of claims often made by BJP supporters that the Supreme Court has cleared Modi of responsibility for the Gujarat pogrom and that the state is a model of good governance and prosperity.

An Early Day Motion to the House of Commons will be announced, along with a delegation of MPs to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office asking that there should be no engagement with Modi until he has answered to a court of law or judicial inquiry for his role in the violence. The meeting will also call for an international tribunal, involving eminent jurists, on genocide in Gujarat.


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