In October 2022, The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) an Indian right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary group held a conference which included prominent Hindu priests, and MPs of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). At this conference, prominent Hindutva priest Yogeshwar Acharya, called for the killing of Muslims, saying that Hindus need to “kill them one by one”. The conference also included BJP member of parliament, Parvesh Verm. Verm is well known for making Islamophobic comments and, in this speech, he called for the boycott of Muslims;
“Wherever you see them, if you want to set them straight there is only one solution — total boycott. Do you agree? Raise your hands if you agree. Say with me: We will boycott them. We will not buy anything from their shops, we will not employ them. Just do this, this is the solution.”
Both Verm and Acharya, spoke about the recent murder of a Hindu man, simply known in the media by the name “Manish”, who was stabbed over twenty times in Delhi by men who happened to be Muslim because he would not withdraw a complaint to the police regarding being robbed. They have tried to claim that this killing was because Manish was Hindu and the killer was a Muslim.
What is also scary is how this Hindutva ideology adopted by the RSS has spread to the UK. We have recently seen provocative hate marches by Hindutva mobs through neighbourhoods with high Muslim populations in Leicester. Despite this, politicians and others are not doing enough to speak out against or combat this extremism, rather implying that they are isolated incidents. Thus, not connected to hate groups such as the RSS or BJP, or they claim they are done in response to Islamic extremism. Also, in the week afterwards, posters were put up outside a Hindu temple in Wembley, which were seen as obviously fake by Muslims due to spelling errors, and because the organisation who had supposedly written them did not exist.
That such a hate-filled ideology as the Hindutva is being spread across the UK, by forces that use such hate and division to stay in power within India, shows an unacceptable failure and unwillingness by the UK government to tackle these issues, whilst it also shows similar traits within the United Nations and even Muslim majority countries, who would rather keep a good relationship with the BJP government than speak out about these issues.
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To the UN Special Rapporteur for freedom of religion or belief:
Re. The freedom of Muslims to practise in India
Dear Mr Shaheed,
The recent Virat Hindu Sabha Conference in New Delhi, and the response to it, have shown that India is dangerously on a path, following Myanmar, in perpetrating genocide against its Muslim population. This is not an exaggeration, evidence shows that just like in Myanmar, prominent religious priests are calling for the killing of Muslims, to quote Yogeshwar Acharya; “We need to kill them one by one”, and the campaign to boycott Muslims simply for being Muslim is also being expressed, this time by Parvesh Verm, an MP for the ruling party.
The Hindutva ideology has risen at an extremely fast pace in the last few decades and is only growing more intense and dangerous. It is espoused in much of the media and being spread through schools, not only in India, but even within the Hindu community in UK, who until recently have lived peacefully alongside their Muslim neighbours. A report on UK television channel ITV, showed an undercover reporter in some of these schools, were speakers said that they were part of the RSS, a Hindutva terrorist group, but that they couldn’t admit it in the UK. Muslims and Sikhs are starting to feel scared both in India and even in UK cities such as Leicester, where they are targeted by the Hindutva ideology.
I urge you to put more pressure on the United Nations to condemn the Hindutva ideology and request that the general assembly discuss a motion recognising Hindutva as inherently Islamophobic. I would like to remind you that the right to practise your religion without discrimination or oppression are protected by Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.
India is a country with a beautiful mix of religions, which together could be an example to the World on plurality, but instead these differences have been used by external countries and the current ruling government in order to fight for power. Please stop this before we see a similar situation in India as in Myanmar, against the 200 million Muslims living there, and possibly other religious minorities as well.
To your MP:
Re. The spread of Hindutva within the UK
Dear [Insert name]
There has been a long history of various communities working together within the UK, particularly amongst those who had suffered similar racism together in the South Asian community. This has resulted in a united struggle amongst Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Jews, who have worked together for the betterment of their local communities and is part of the wonderful multiculturalism that we have witnessed in parts of the United Kingdom.
It is therefore distressing to see extremist ideologies, such as Hindutva, being imported into our neighbourhoods and completely destroy this community cohesion. It is a very sad case of affairs to see how this ideology, which has caused huge disruption and hatred in India is now becoming prevalent in the UK and causing a disintegration of our unity.
There are prime examples of this, such as the riots in Leicester, started by Hindutva gangs marching through Muslim majority neighbourhoods chanting anti-Muslim rallying cries. There have also been fake posters put up in Wembley in order to incite Islamophobia, which have been picked up and promoted by MP Barry Gardiner, causing panic within the local Muslim and Hindu communities that the troubles in Leicester could spread there. There has also been attempts by some organisations to invite Sadhvi Rithambara, a well-known hate preacher, whose speeches have incited riots that have destroyed a mosque and resulted in the deaths of over 2000 people, to speak to 5 Hindu temples in the UK. An undercover reporter with ITV has exposed how this ideology has been taught in UK schools run by the charity HSS, and within this documentary we also saw one of the speakers say that the HSS was the British educational section of the RSS. The RSS is a violent Hindutva group whose founding was inspired by Mussolini and has later admitted to being inspired by the holocaust.
We demand that you take a stand against the Hindutva ideology being imported into our communities, that you push for the RSS to be proscribed a terrorist group and work with Hindu groups that are opposing this ideology to help bring our Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities together.
UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief:
Mr. Ahmed Shaheed / OHCHR
Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations at Geneva
8-14 avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10
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