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End Cast Discrimination in India: 20 August 2016 – Protest Outside Indian High Commission in London

(London Post – PR)   Protest and street theatre demanding freedom, dignity and an end to caste discrimination, violence and exploitation

2.00- 4.00pm, 20 August, 2016, Indian High Commission, Aldwych, London, WC2B 4NA

More than 200 people from Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton and London are due to converge on the Indian High Commission at 2.00pm, on 20 August, to protest about the impunity with which upper-caste Hindu supremacist gangs linked to India’s ruling party, the BJP, are attacking and killing Dalits and Muslims in the name of cow protection, and the shameful discrimination practised against Dalits in India even as the country enters its 70th year of independence. The protest is organised by Castewatch UK the largest Dalit organisations in the UK, South Asia Solidarity Group, and eleven other organisations see end of Press Release

The protest on 20 August is also in solidarity with the massive Dalit protests which are rocking India following a horrific attack on four Dalit men in Una, Gujarat on 11 July. The so-called cow vigilantes tied the men to a car and beat them brutally with sticks and iron pipes. They then accused the Dalits of cow slaughter. In reality, they were skinning a dead cow as part of their work – since this unpleasant task, like that of getting rid of dead animals carcasses, is still regarded as work suitable only and exclusively for Dalits. The attackers filmed the incident (which took place with the collusion of the Gujarat police) and circulated it widely on social media aiming to humiliate and intimidate the Dalit community. In fact, it acted as a spark which ignited the already simmering anger and resistance of Dalits who refused to clear cow carcasses, which were left rotting all over towns in Gujarat. A massive Dalit Asmita (or pride) march left Ahmadabad, gathering strength as it marched through Gujarat and reaching Una on 15 August, India’s Independence day. Muslim organisations have joined Dalits in solidarity as have Left and progressive organisations.

The protesters will hand in a memorandum and a charter of demands to the High Commission addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi: The memorandum states that:

 “the Hindu supremacist BJP government, led by you, Mr Modi, which has been in power since May 2014, together with the numerous Hindutva killer gangs who stand behind the BJP, has unleashed an increasingly violent reign of terror and repression on Dalits, Muslims and other minorities. This appalling state of affairs has got far worse in the last two years, deteriorating first during your election campaign in 2013, and then deteriorating, even more acutely, since you have come to power in 2014.
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 Official figures show a 44 percent increase in violence against Dalits in 2014 as compared to 2010, with 30 percent of the 47,064 crimes in 2014 committed in BJP-ruled states-Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh.

 This is happening against a background where dominant castes, who in rural India are the landowners, perpetrate the most heinous crimes of rape, arson, and murder of Dalits, specifically targeting women and children. Dalit women are forced to parade naked sometimes for the most minor of disagreements, or else even for ‘not showing respect’. In the last few months, that “‘Gau Rakshaks’ or Cow protection vigilantes have become the latest face of Hindutva’s killer gangs. They roam the countryside attacking and killing Muslims and Dalits whom they accuse of cow slaughter, or of consuming or intending to consume beef.”

The charter of demands to Narendra Modi

 ensure that all those who participated in the attack on the Dalits in Una are arrested and charged under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activity Act (PASA).

 that cases filed against Dalits during recent protests are withdrawn an immediate investigation launched into the 2012 police firing in Thangadh, Gujarat in which 3 Dalits were killed.

 that all those who attacked Dalits participating in the Dalit Asmita march and Una rally be arrested and charged

 that Gau Raksha Samitis (Cow Protection Vigilante Groups) are immediately banned

 exemplary punishment imposed on perpetrators of caste violence with national media coverage acting as a deterrent.

 Special Courts set up for offences under the Atrocities Act, as required by the law.

 Five Acre Plots of land allocated forthwith to Dalit families as is required under Section 3(1)(f) of the Atrocities Act.

 A Reservation Act in Gujarat enacted immediately (All reservations/affirmative actions in Gujarat are currently at the discretion of the Executive and are initiated or effected only through a government resolution).

 Housing units provided to Dalits in urban areas because they continue to be socially boycotted, discriminated against and exploited socially, economically and sexually in villages.

 The Gujarat Government must apologise publicly to Dalits for withdrawing and pulping the book on Dr Babsaheb Ambedkar which described his radical thoughts on Hindusim and the 22 point oath he took to convert to Buddhism in 1956.

The protest is organised by CasteWatch UK, South Asia Solidarity Group, Ambedkar International

Mission, London, Dr Ambedkar Buddhist Action Committee Birmingham,

Dr Ambedkar Buddhist Organisation Birmingham UK, Central Valmik Sabha UK, Shri Guru

Ravidass Cultural Association, Birmingham, Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha , Manor Park, London

Shri Guru Ravidass Temple, Wolverhampton, Ravidassia Association Coventry, Dr Ambedkar

Memorial Committee of Great Britain, Voice of Dalit International UK, International Asian Christian Front, South Asian Alliance

Further details from South Asia Solidarity: southasiasolidaritygroup@gmail.com or

@SAsiaSolidarity or call 07846873341 and CasteWatchUK info@castewatchuk.org or @castewatchuk

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