No one should should be detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and of association.
Father Stan Swamy
(died 5 July 2021 in custody)
We are a group of individuals from different walks of lives. We are disturbed and anguished by the deteriorating democratic situation, violation of human rights and ostracization of various minority communities in India since 2014 when the BJP-RSS led government came to power. The polarizing and repressive acts of the BJP-RSS nexus which continue unabated have affected some of us personally. We all share deep concern and solidarity for fellow citizens of India who have been affected by this rampant and in many cases state sanctioned hate mongering. We are bound by our shared commitment to the values of social justice and human rights. And we think it’s time to defend it.
We want to build a strong solidarity network for India in Germany and offer a strong counternarrative to the RSS-BJP’s fascist narrative of hate. While the German government has not really responded to the situation in India, the only way to make the German, and other EU governments, responsive is to generate public opinion in Europe.
A relentless hate campaign, including mob lynching, discriminatory and repressive laws, fake news and propaganda have pushed many minority communities to the margins of society and effectively turned them into second class citizens. The people who have stood for protecting the rights of the oppressed people have been special targets of persecution by the Modi regime. These human rights defenders and critics of the government’s policies have been repressed, harassed and intimidated in various ways with many of them being thrown into prison on fabricated cases and branded as “anti-nationals”. For this purpose, the Indian government has used especially enacted repressive laws, such as UAPA, and investigative agencies with arbitrary powers, such as the NIA. The number of people imprisoned under such laws is in the thousands.
The governments of the western countries continue to appease the Modi government because of their geopolitical and economic interests while remaining silent over these horrendous human rights violations. Germany, as one of the most influential members of the EU, is no exception.
Unfortunately, the situation in India is largely absent from the public and media discourse in Europe. With the civil society largely silenced in India, the version that mostly comes out is from government spokespersons or BJP social media supporters.
We call upon individuals and organizations who are concerned about the destruction of democracy in India, to come together in a systematic and sustained campaign to raise awareness within German society regarding the situation of political prisoners in India such as the BK-16, and to put pressure on the German government to take a stand for their freedom and the protection of democratic rights in India.