A Walk for Pluralist India against growing attacks on religious minorities under Modi government was held here on Sunday evening.

Organized by the Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI), the walk started from the Simon Fraser University Harbour Center and went up to the Komagata Maru Memorial. The participants stopped by at the Indian consulate for sloganeering and dropped some flyers at its doorstep. They chanted slogans against Hindutuva terrorism and saffronisation.

Later, the march culminated at the Komagata Maru ,memorial where speakers unanimously expressed their concern over attempts to transform India into Hindu theocracy. They also condemned the Khalsa Diwan Society the oldest Sikh body that helped the Komagata Maru passengers and fought against racism and stood for a secular and egalitarian India after the British left for denying an opportunity to visiting Indian journalist Rana Ayyub to address the congregation.

More than 300 South Asian passengers aboard Komagata Maru ship were denied entry into Canada under the discriminatory immigration laws in 1914. The passengers who belonged to different faith groups came to Canada as potential immigrants from India that was under British occupation. Some of them later joined a radical freedom movement that was aimed at establishing a secular and egalitarian republic.

Khalsa Diwan Society had recently denied an opportunity to Ayyub to speak to the congregation citing her “controversial background.” Ayyub has authored a book based on her investigation of complicity of the government in anti Muslim violence in Gujarat when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of the state. Modi was hosted by the Khalsa Diwan Society in 2015 when he came here as the Prime Minister of India.

The speakers made a connection between the history of Komagata Maru and growing racism and bigotry both in North America and India.

Among those who participated were Radical Desi Director Gurpreet Singh, South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy leader Chinmoy Banerjee, Sikh Nation activist Sunil Kumar, Muslim activist Imtiaz Popat, Naujawan Bharat Sabha leader , Kulwinder Singh and Sikh activist Kesar Singh Kooner.

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  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    This is a timely and crucial walk for expressing solidarity with the people. With the tendency of rightist fascism and racism growing round the world, such type of protest rallies add to the strength of pluralist and secular forces in India and also in the world

  2. Farooque Chowdhury says:

    Nice aspiration! Opposing marginalization while standing on a marginalized premise!

    To Bhagat Sing, there’s no identity of his comrades and friends like “activist from this sect” and “activist from that sect”. To Bhagat, all were sisters and brothers in a land loved by all.

    The same was with Netajee. To him Abid, Shahnawaz, Sing, Nambar, Bose, Laxmi had no sect-based identity other than Kadam kadam baarhaae jaa. In the INA, Abid and Shahnawaz were not from a marginalized sect; they were proud patriots, the patriots having the same love for and the same rights on the land. And, all the people irrespective of caste and creed, I repeat people, not the propertied classes, stood for the INA warriors during their trial, the entire sub-continent exploded. Among the protesting people defending the INA heroes, the working people were the overwhelming majority. It was the propertied classes wearing different sectarian grabs but having the same class interest that were spreading the venom of sectarianism among the people.

    One part of capital in colonized India, at least in its utterances and programs, stood above sects. It paid at least lip service against sectarianism while another part spread venom of sectarianism.

    C R Das, prior to Netajee, stood above sects, and he tried for having unity within his politics and class-philosophy.

    The Canada-walk participants and leaders know these facts.

    The stand of the world proletariat is also known to the Canada-walk participants and leaders.

    After so many years, in this Canada-walk, I find activists based on sects while they walk for secular society, while they stand for the marginalized, while they stand agaainst marginalization. What shall happen, if a majority denies the minority? What shall happen if sectarian politics of dominating capital is successful in mobilizing the majority — the working people? It’s possible under certain circumstance. In Germany, Hitler, the Nazi-the murderer-the butcher-the thug-the fraud-the supremacist-the preacher of hatred ideology, was able to mobilize the majority of the working people for a certain time. And, doesn’t sect based stand confirm marginalized’s marginal position and prefer to secure the marginal position? The Canada-walk knows these facts. Yet, it ignores the facts. And, it’s standing on the position while a group of supremacists are taking the pose of “anti”-imperialist but not renouncing their supremacist ideology and politics. A strange stance!