WASHINGTON — The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), a broad coalition of Indian American organizations across the United States, has called out an Indian diplomat’s statement that India must follow the “Israel model” in Kashmir as a brazen affirmation of RSS’s fascist agenda having taken over official government policy in India. The AJA comprises of Hindu, Muslim, Dalit, Sikh and Christian groups, among others.
A video uploaded by filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri on Facebook shows the Indian Consul General in New York, Mr. Sandeep Chakravorty, addressing a private gathering with remarks that can only be classified as deeply bigoted, inflammatory and dangerous.
“To suggest Israel’s illegal occupation and annexation of Palestinian territories which the world community, including India, has opposed for decades, as a model for Kashmir exposes the Islamophobia inherent in the RSS’s Hindutva fascist ideology,” Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) President Ahsan Khan said.
The video shows Chakravorty continuing his rant with remarks such as “Kashmiri culture is Indian culture is Hindu culture,” perpetuating Hindutva propaganda of projecting India as belonging exclusively to Hindus, to the detriment of other religious communities who are equally Indian. Chakravorty bemoaned what he perceives as an insufficiently aggressive stance by Hindus, saying “we have never used our strength as [the] majority community” and “now that we are using it, people are having problems.” For an Indian diplomat to goad the majority community in this manner is reflective of the harm the RSS and its affiliates have caused to India’s secular polity.
Chakravorty also rejected international criticism of the situation in Kashmir following the revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that had given a special status to Jammu and Kashmir. “They don’t like that we are asserting ourselves,” he added. On Kashmir, he further said he believed “in my lifetime we will have our land back”.
“That such a suggestion has been blithely made by India’s second-highest diplomat in the US, the Consul General, only reinforces genocidal goals of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government against Kashmiri Muslims,” said Theresa Mathews of South Asia Solidarity Initiative (SASI).
Mr. Modi’s right wing administration has a vile agenda to subjugate Dalits and India’s religious minorities in fulfillment of the long-held vision of Hindu supremacists to convert Indian into a Hindu nation. “The consul general’s casual remarks represent a chilling endorsement of state sanctioned violence and impunity that has been unfolding for decades in Palestine and that we now see in Kashmir by the BJP led government in India,” noted Preeti Gamzeh, from AJA. “Settler colonialism is what is happening in the name of development,” said Gamzeh.
Karthikeyan Shanmugam, Ambedkar King Study Circle bemoaned the consul general’s remarks as “unfortunate and dangerous.” “A responsible diplomat should not act as a part of the propaganda machinery of a ruling party. Such talk may create a permanent rift among diaspora Indians on caste and religious lines. Moreover, such remarks reinforce the notion that India is spiraling away from its ideals as a secular and pluralist nation,” said Mr. Shanmugam. “Comparing Israel with Kashmir is an attempt to reduce the Muslims of Kashmir as mere medieval subjects without political rights,” added Mr. Shanmugam.
The Alliance for Justice and Accountability has pledged to work with people of all faiths to defend India from the onslaught of hate and divisiveness.