Chicago South Asians For Justice demands that the leaders attending the World Hindu Congress stand against the current actions and the history of violence that the Hindu nationalist government has aided and abetted against marginalized communities. We recognize that the World Hindu Congress being organized in Chicago on September 7–9 is a platform for Hindu nationalism and the propagators of violence in South Asia. This conference is being organized by the World Hindu Foundation to a number of hate groups including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its sister organizations in the Sangh Parivar including the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bajrang Dal. This network of Hindu nationalist organizations have a long track record of militantly spreading Hindu supremacist ideology and inciting hatred and violence toward caste and religious minorities in India. Importantly, militant Hindu nationalism relies on the financial contributions of Hindu South Asians living in the diaspora to sustain these operations, and relies on anti-black and anti-Muslim racism against Hindus in the United States to perpetuate a narrative of world-wide Hindu persecution.
The ruling party in India, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is the political wing of the Sangh Parivar. Although the BJP denies its ties to militant Hindu nationalist movements, there are clear linkages between the right-wing Hindu nationalist party and the violence of Hindu fascists. Their politicians garland anti-Muslim vigilantes and actively obstruct the legal prosecution of religious fanatics. Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of India’s most populous state and head of a Hindu monastery, shares public stages with men who advocate digging up the graves of Muslim women and raping their corpses. Many of the attendees of the WHC are elected officials from the BJP and members of affiliated hate groups that either directly engage in hate speech or have silently endorsed hate speech inciting people to kill and rape minorities.
Since the BJP came to power in India in 2014, conditions for religious and social minorities have deteriorated substantially, and attacks against them have multiplied exponentially. There have been 100+ mob lynchings of minorities, including members of Dalit (formerly “untouchable” caste) and Muslim communities by these extremist organizations under the disguise of “cow protection”. Bengali Muslim immigrants in Assam and elsewhere face the constant threat of deportation. In states like Kerala, where there are high concentrations of religious minorities, the BJP government has neglected to provide aid in the face of natural disaster. An unprecedented number of South Asians are currently entering the United States through the Mexican border. The reach of Hindu nationalist persecution of religious and caste minorities reaches affected people Kashmiri, Rohingya, and Palestinian communities living under occupation.
With nationalist and fascist movements on the rise around the world, the WHC represents just one component of an interconnected global right. The response to the ascendant and oppressive powers must include an organized global left. The concurrent rise of white nationalism in the United States, and Hindu nationalism in India are not coincidental but rather co-conspirators in the rise of global fascism. We are horrified by the brutal violence and genocidal ideology being perpetuated against marginalized people in our community. As young people, as South Asians, and as Chicagoans, we cannot sit idly by as fascist, nationalist, Hindu-supremacist, and anti-Muslim agendas are propagated just miles away. We reject the presence of Hindutva in Chicago and globally, and we stand against racism, misogyny, caste-discrimination, and religious intolerance.
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