Dalit and women’s rights groups from among the Indian diaspora have planned protests during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Britain.
While Modi plans to meet his British counterpart Theresa May in London on Wednesday before heading to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the protesters plan to converge outside at 10 Downing Street. The two sets of groups, joined by students’ groups, state that the protests will be against the recent attacks on the rights of Dalits, women and minorities in India.
“The protests represent the anger of a lot of Indians living in Britain who are unhappy about the way Narendra Modi has turned Indian into a ‘republic of fear’, with these horrific incidents of rapes, mob-lynching of Muslims, and attacks on Dalits. We would be particularly focusing on the role of the BJP and right-wing organisations in the rapes in Kathua and Unnao, where there is an attempt to shield the perpetrators in the name of the nation,” said Kalpana Wilson from the South Asia Solidarity Group, who teaches at the Birbeck, University of London.
The Dalit groups, including Ambedkarite and Ravidassia organisations, state that they will voice their opposition to the recent changes of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. SP Muman, from Caste Watch UK, said the Supreme Court judgment, coming in the wake of recent escalation in atrocities against Dalits in India, has stripped them of the last shield of protection available to them. “The current court order is already in force and only an Act of Parliament can ensure that the legislation is not diluted. The only way to catch the attention of the Indian PM is thousands of us taking to the streets of London,” said Muman.