ALERT: UK / India – Write to your Labour MP or Keir Starmer to cut ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

No CAA, Grafitti at Shaheen Bagh protests, New Delhi, 8 January 2020, (c) DiplomatTesterMan CC4

IHRC is asking campaigners to join this campaign demanding equal citizenship for all Indians regardless of religion or other factors. To keep uptodate with IHRC’s Citizen India campaign visit this campaign page here.


Background

Requested Action

Model letter

Recipient Addresses

Background

India has been gripped by anti-Muslim violence following the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act.

IHRC is asking campaigners to join this campaign demanding equal citizenship for all Indians regardless of religion or other factors.

The new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed at the end of 2019, has made religion as the primary criteria for acquiring Indian citizenship. The Act assures refuge to persecuted religious minorities, except Muslims, from the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. This Act, read in conjunction with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National population Register (NPR)  is discriminatory and dangerous.

The alleged need for the NRC arose from the specific context of the state of Assam. The Supreme Court mandated process which deems all those as Indian citizens who can prove they were residents of Assam before 24 March 1971 – the day before the creation of Bangladesh. The process, full of bureaucratic failure and arbitrariness, shifts the burden to prove citizenship on the people and is based on production of a series of documents. The results of the process were published in August 2019 wherein two million people, both Hindus and Muslims were left out of the final list, thereby rendering them stateless. The alleged illegal immigrants risk being put into concentration camps and dispossessed of any property and rights that come with citizenship. However the CAA at this point comes to the rescue of Hindus and other non-Muslims who are excluded from the list of Indian citizens in Assam. They will be granted Indian citizenship.

What about the Muslims? The state of Assam has six detention centres and the government is planning to build 10 more. It is here that “doubtful citizens” or “foreigners” are lodged.  Harsh Mander, a prominent social activist in India described these detention camps to be “worse than prisons”. “In the women’s camp, in particular, the inmates wailed continuously, as though in permanent mourning.”

In July 2019, the Indian Home Minister, Amit Shah, told the parliament that the “government will identify illegal immigrants living on every inch of country’s soil and deport them,” signalling the expansion of the NRC to the rest of India. During the 2019 general elections, the BJP claimed that “illegal immigrants”, or “termites” from Muslim majority Bangladesh have sneaked in and are living off the resources of Indian citizens. (Background courtesy Zulqarnain Banday from The Long View, Volume 2, issue 2, forthcoming).

Requested Action

In the first of its actions in this campaign, IHRC calls upon UK campaigners to write to the new Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer, and to your MP if they are from the Labour Party, demanding the party cuts ties with the BJP party and that they urge the Indian government to stop the state-sanctioned violence against Muslims.

Model letter

Dear [Insert MP name],

You will be aware that Labour figures and MPs have been involved in rehabilitating Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister over the course of the last few years.

This is despite him being once banned from entering this country due to his complicity in the genocide that took place in Gujarat in 2002.

Modi’s government is currently presiding over a series of laws and policies that systematically targets Muslims, minorities and other political dissidents across the country.

We look forward to the new leadership of the party taking a strong stance against him, the BJP party and the ideology behind it.

[insert your name]

Recipient Addresses

Please search for your local Labour MP using the following website:

https://members.parliament.uk/constituencies/ and follow the links to get their email.

Please email the Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer on keir.starmer.mp[AT]parliament.uk.

We do not recommend that under the current circumstances you post letters to your MP.