The members of Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI) held a Mother’s Day car rally for Safoora Zargar in Surrey on the afternoon of Sunday, May 10.

The student activist who is an expectant mother is being held under draconian laws for opposing the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed by the right wing Hindu nationalist government in India.

Zargar is being falsely accused of inciting violence in Delhi during protests against CAA, which is unfair to Muslim refugees coming to India from neighbouring countries.

The car rally was held outside the Indian passport and visa application center, to maintain physical distancing due to restrictions because of COVID 19. Chanting of slogans and speeches were deliberately avoided. The participants honked while driving past the building. The cars bore signs saying “No CAA”, and asking for the release of Zargar.

There were also signs for more than a dozen labourers who were crushed to death by a freight train in India recently. The poor people who had lost their jobs because of the pandemic were walking back to their native villages when the tragedy happened. They had fallen asleep on the rail track, as they were trying to avoid being harassed by the police that patrol the streets of India, using excessive force to impose curfews.

The May 10 rally coincided with the anniversary of first major uprising against British occupation of India in 1857. The rebellion brought together people of different faith groups against colonialism. Formed in response to growing attacks on minorities in India, IAPI believes that this recognition is important to keep the spirit of secularism alive as the current government is bent upon turning the country into a Hindu theocracy.

The leading car in the fleet carried a flag of the Ghadar Party, a group of Indian revolutionaries who were influenced by the 1857 revolt. The Ghadar Party was established in the US by Indian immigrants in 1913 to liberate India from the British and form an egalitarian republic. Among those who participated were IAPI President Parshotam Dosanjh, prominent Punjabi poet Amrit Diwana, besides, other IAPI members Tejinder Sharma, Harbeer Rathi and Gurpreet Singh.

Zargar joins many other activists incarcerated under inhuman conditions for raising their voices against repression of religious minorities and state violence. Amnesty International had called for urgent action for Zargar on the occasion of Mother’s Day. The Indian government refuses to release her on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, and its supporters have been attacking and demonizing her on social media.


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