The members of Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI) unanimously condemned the action of an Indian diplomat at Malyalee Samajam event in Delta on Saturday, September 8.
The IAPI team had gone to the event to show their solidarity with the people of Kerala, where massive floods have left close to 500 people dead. IAPI had raised $1,375 to help the flood victims, and the money was given to the organizers of the annual event, where people donated money to help people of Kerala recover from the devastation.
IAPI believes that the Indian government led by the right-wing Hindu nationalist BJP meted out step-motherly treatment to Kerala, as the state is being ruled by a coalition of left parties. Unfortunately, the IAPI spokesperson was stopped from bringing up the issue at the behest of the Indian diplomat present on the occasion. He not only interrupted the speech of the IAPI spokesperson, but also threatened to leave if he was allowed to speak. Under pressure from the diplomat, the organizers did not let him finish his speech, as a result of which the IAPI members walked out in protest.
At a meeting held on September 16, IAPI passed a resolution condemning the action of the Indian diplomat. The members agreed that it was highly undemocratic on part of the Indian official, who should have let the group’s spokesperson complete after which he could have given his version. The incident reflects very badly on India, which claims to be the world’s largest democracy. The action of the diplomat also amounts to foreign interference that needs to be looked into by the Canadian government. The IAPI also condemned the silence of Canadian politicians and media over the incident.
Among other resolutions passed at the meeting, the IAPI condemned the BJP spokesman for describing a Muslim Marxist leader of India, Mohammed Salim, as Pakistani during a TV debate. The members observed that this shows the sectarian mindset of the BJP, which is prejudiced against Muslims and is in the habit of portraying Muslims as “outsiders” and “anti-nationals”. They also expressed solidarity with the Indian actor Girish Karnard who faces criminal charges for simply holding a sign that read “Me Too Urban Naxal” to protest against the state repression on political dissidents in India.
The IAPI also welcomed the victory of left and secular forces in the recently held student elections in various universities of India, as well as the Supreme Court verdict decriminalizing homosexuality, and the release of Dalit activist Chandershekhar Azad from jail.
The IAPI also demanded the implementation of the recommendations of Justice Ranjit Singh Commission, which indicted the Punjab police and the previous Akali-BJP government of the state in the killings of two Sikh activists who were peacefully protesting against the sacrilege of their holy scriptures.
The IAPI resolved to stand in solidarity with foreign students who continue to face racism and exploitation in Canada, and asked the Canadian authorities to intervene to stop the abuse.