Protest in Ottawa condemns growing fascism in India, rise of Hindutva groups in Canada

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Ottawa: More than a hundred protesters hailing from various Canadian cities gathered in Ottawa to draw attention to the pressing need for addressing human rights abuses in India and countering the surge of extremist Hindutva ideologies within Canada.

The protestors took to the streets to express their opposition to hatred.

They also condemned the alarming proliferation of Hindutva groups or Hindu supremacist factions within Canada, which they said are propagating hate through educational institutions, online platforms, and community gatherings.

“This rally is more than a demonstration; it’s a resolute stand for the rights and dignity of minority communities both in India and Canada. The threat of Hindutva extremism and erosion of democratic principles demand our attention. Today, we’ve united under shared human rights values and declare that we will not be silent spectators to fascist forces that seek to divide and oppress the most vulnerable,” said Taha Ghayyur, Executive Director of Justice For All Canada, while addressing the protesters.

Chinnaiah Jangam, Associate Professor of History at Carleton University and co-founder of the South Asian Dalit Adivasi Network (SADAN), said “there is growing violence against Muslims and Dalits in India. “Caste supremacy is overtly present in Canadian public life and Dalit and other marginalised communities especially children experience caste-based violence and discrimination in schools and playgrounds. Moreover, Hindu right-wing organisations are posing a serious threat to the multicultural society of Canada,” he said.

Organised by an alliance of twenty diaspora organizations and diverse community partners from across Canada, the march started at the Human Rights Monument. The protestors proceeded to Parliament Hill and then to the Prime Minister’s Office to symbolically deliver a joint letter with over 80 organisational signatories. The letter calls for the Canadian government to take tangible steps to combat hate. The protestors also highlighted how India is borrowing the Israeli playbook in its oppressive treatment of the minorities.

In his remarks at the protest, Bruce Katz, Co-President of Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU), underscored the parallels between the struggles of Kashmiris and Palestinian for their right to self-determination. “The India-Israel alliance is an alliance of institutionalised racism; both states use the alibi of security as justification for their respective illegal occupation. The parallels between the occupation of Kashmir and the occupation of Palestine are glaringly obvious. Both occupations are illegal (not to mention morally reprehensible and politically untenable). PAJU stands in solidarity against Hindutva nationalism and supports Kashmiris’ righ to self-determination. Western countries look on in complicit silence. Canada, shamefully, is one of them,” he said.

Shivangi Misra, international human rights lawyer and organiser in Ottawa, said “India’s public institutions have been systematically eroded to serve the interests of Hindutva ideology and the far-right. There is a severe lack of accountability and access to justice for the ongoing extreme violence against minorities, the state-led destruction of their homes, dilution of workers’ rights, and for silencing human rights defenders with false cases. People in India need urgent international support and solidarity for the atrocities that minorities, especially Muslims, Dalits, Christians, and women, are facing.”

The organisers concluded with a call to solidarity. “We witnessed an extraordinary unity among individuals, organisations, and communities, all of whom recognise the urgency of confronting the challenges posed by the rise of extremist ideologies,” said Titas Banerjee, spokesperson for South Asian Diaspora Action Collective (SADAC). “The demonstration has served as a platform to amplify our voices against hate and discrimination and we call on Canadian civil society to voice their opposition to hate groups in Canada and support democracy, justice, and equality in India and Canada.”

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