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Hundreds rally in US, Europe against anti-Muslim massacre in Indian capital

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Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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Indian Americans organize protests after violence in the Indian capital that was worst since 1984. Hundreds of Indian Americans of different faiths rallied outside Indian consulates in major American cities on Friday evening to protest against the recent massacre of Muslims in Delhi that has killed at least 42 and injured hundreds.

Bloodshed erupted in the Indian capital on Monday, leading to a three-day-long rampage, with Hindu mobs attacking Muslim homes, shops and mosques. The attacks were carried out on protesters, who have been rallying against a new citizenship law, after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kapil Mishra threatened peaceful sit-ins would be removed from the streets. India's extreme Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is meant to help persecuted minorities from neighboring countries, but critics say the law, which makes faith a basis for granting citizenship, is against the country's secular ethos.

The CAA, passed last December, has been compared to US President Donald Trump's Muslim ban as it blocks naturalization for Muslims, who form nearly 15 percent of India's 1.3 billion population. Several dozen people have been killed in a violent police crackdown on nationwide peaceful sit-ins against the anti-Muslim law. Outside the Indian consulate in New York on Friday evening, protesters gathered chanting "Shame!" at officials as they tried to exit or enter the building, according to Al Jazeera report.

"We are exhausted," Sana Qutubuddin, an activist with Alliance for Justice and Accountability - a coalition of South Asian groups that organised Friday's rally alongside the Indian American Muslim Council, South Asia Solidarity Initiative, and Equality Labs - said during her speech at the rally. Other civil-society organizations such as the Alliance for South Asians Taking Action, Chicago Against Hindu Fascism and Bay Area Against Hindu Fascism also protested against the worst bloodshed in Delhi since 1984, when more than 3,000 Sikh minority were killed following the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. "I was there to have an opportunity to grieve with a community that understands how egregious the genocidal violence that occurred in Delhi was," Qutubuddin told Al Jazeera, "and to be in a space that recognises what this moment means in modern Indian history." Organizers estimated nearly 300 people turned up at the New York rally where they chanted slogans to repeal the CAA, and highlight the current BJP government's "fascist" ideologies that target lower-caste Hindus and other religious minorities.

The BJP's ideological parent is Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) - a Hindu paramilitary supremacist organization inspired by European fascists and Nazis - which has called for India, an officially secular nation, to be declared a Hindu Rashtra or nation of Hindus. At the New York rally, protesters played music, and rallied around the block "to let the neighbors of the consulate know that their silence makes them a party to genocide," Al Jazeera quoted the organizers as saying. The protests - from San Francisco to Chicago and Atlanta - were brought together by organisers who identify as multi-faith and/or inter-faith and inter-caste collectives. "Attendees were reminded that this state-sanctioned violence is consistent with Indian history - citing the murders of Muslims in Gujarat [in 2002] and the Sikh genocide in 1984, as well the constant violence enacted on Dalits [the former untouchables] within caste oppression," Jihan, one of the organizers in San Francisco, told Al Jazeera. They estimated about 100 people showed up for the protest.

Earlier in the week, an estimated 50 people gathered at Harvard University in Boston, immediately after the Delhi violence began. In Chicago, organizers said teachers, IT professionals, senior citizens were among the hundred protesters who came out on Friday. An estimated 80 people showed up at Friday's protest in Atlanta, organisers said.

A protester with "Atlanta Rejects CAA", who did not wish to be named, told Al Jazeera that members from the consulate took photos of protesters and tried to intimidate them by taking their names. One of the organizers criticized Trump, who has been accused of endorsing white supremacists in the US, for backing Modi's "fascist" agenda. Protests take place across Europe Protests against the Delhi massacre, NRC and CAA took place across Europe on Saturday, as gatherings were held in multiple cities against the incidents of violence that took place on February 23-28, The Week reported. Images were shared on social media from protests in Geneva, Munich, Hamburg, The Hague, London, Helsinki and Dublin was ell as in New York. In London, protests were held in front of India House. The Press Trust of India reported Sunday that a large group of students, human-rights activists and diaspora-group representatives gathered outside the Indian High Commission in London on Saturday for an "emergency protest" against the CAA and the associated violence in Delhi. India Society at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), South Asian Students Against Fascism and South Asia Solidarity Group were among the groups behind the protest.

The London protest was called alongside similar demonstrations in around 17 cities across Europe, including Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Geneva, with the central message of: "We stand in solidarity with the victims of communal violence in Delhi." Earlier, the Shaheen Bagh official Twitter handle shared a graphic showing scheduled protests in Berlin, Hamburg, Paris, Brussels, Helsinki, Stockholm, Dublin, Koln, Frankfurt, Krakow, Surrey, Geneva, London, Tampere, Hague and Munich. Social-media posts also showed protests taking place in Paris. Many social-media handles quoted Aamir Aziz poem 'Sab Yaad Rakha Jayega', which had earlier been referenced by Pink Floyd's Roger Waters at a London event, in particular the line, "You write 'injustice' on the earth; we will write revolution in the sky."

With many of these countries within the European Union, a draft resolution pending in the European Union parliament is expected to be voted upon by the end of March after it was postponed to the next session of the European parliament beginning March 2.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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