AJA’s press release against World Hindu Congress

Published on 04 September, 2018
AJA’s press release against World Hindu Congress

Top Indian Ministers Skip World Hindu Congress Amid Calls for Boycott by Indian Diaspora Organizations 

Alliance for Justice and Accountability welcomes the withdrawal of BJP ministers, as Indian Americans unite to mount pressure through the #StopHinduFascism Campaign 

Chicago, IL - September 4, 

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella organization of progressive groups across the United States that is spearheading the call for a boycott of the World Hindu Congress (WHC) has welcomed the withdrawal of top Indian ministers of the BJP from the event. The WHC has been organized by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, the American branch of India-based Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), as well as other Hindu American groups such as the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), that are tied to Hindu ethnonationalist organizations in India.

 While the official explanation given is that the ministers were needed for a "National Executive" meeting of the party, it is clear the (Bharatiya Janata Party) BJP was aware of the WHC's dates well before their party meeting was planned. The BJP is the ruling party in India, and although it openly espouses the same Hindutva ideology as the radical organizations represented at the WHC, it is keen on downplaying this existential link at international fora. 

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability views the WHC not as a faith gathering, but rather as a failed attempt to mainstream Hindu Fascist politics onto the global stage. It is therefore urging Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthy (D-IL), as well as corporate sponsors like Fedex and Walmart to withdraw their association with this event forthwith. AJA is calling on members of the Indian American community to actively make calls, telephonic and through twitter and social media, to FedEx and Walmart and express their dismay at these corporate giants lending their names to a fascist front responsible for egregious violation of human rights and religious freedom in India. 

AJA believes every individual or corporation that cares about human life and the rule of law, should publicly dissociate themselves from this event, for the following reasons: 

The World Hindu Congress is organized by the same forces that have incited and condoned the brutal suppression of human rights and religious freedom in India. Its organizers have existential links to VHP and the extended family of Hindu nationalist organizations from the "Sangh Parivar." The latter are in the forefront of the persecution of Dalits, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other religious minorities in India. They use fronts like "holy cow protection campaigns" (self-fashioned vigilante lynch parties, anti- "love jihad" (standing against interfaith marriages with Muslims), to justify participation in brutal lynchings of minorities and obstruct people's right to religious conversions. A recent CIA report has even classified the VHP as a "militant religious outfit. 

Speakers at the gathering include violent figures like Mohan Rao Bhagwat, the head of the Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh  (RSS), a paramilitary organization and the fountainhead of the virulent Hindutva ideology. The RSS has been banned by the Indian government numerous times for its activities. Its founding principles draw from Nazism and Fascism and its current leadership maintains ties with the American and European alt-right movements. In the same vein, many of the other speakers are famous for their extremist views and activities. 

The World Hindu Congress will be a platform for Hindu fascist hatemongers such as Rajiv Malhotra who has made an industry of attacking Indian religious and cultural minorities. He has even accused the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a well-respected body monitoring religious freedom around the world, of "creating atrocity literature for the US" and allowing "Abrahamic religions to sit in judgement on the rest of the world." 

Even the current government of India, itself run by a party that espouses Hindu nationalism, is keen to distance itself internationally from the radicals within the Hindutva supremacist movement, albeit being hand in glove with them locally. 

"We launched the #StopHinduFascism campaign because this is a very intense time for India's religious and cultural minorities," said Nesamani Raj, a constituent member of the AJA coalition. "Hindu fascist organizations are not only in control of the central government but they are also using violence against Dalits, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists in order to distract from their wholesale giveaway of the country to corporate interests," added Ms. Raj. 

AJA urges all speakers who do not believe in Hindu Fascism to not only pull out of the event, but to also condemn the gathering. Legislators Raja Krishnmoorthy, Tulsi GabbardAsh Kalra, and Jay Chaudhuri had aligned themselves with the event. Due to pressure from their constituents, Tulsi Gabbard, Ash Kalra and Jay Chaudhuri have decided to drop their participation. However, none have made public statements about the reasons or called out the event or its organizers for their promotion of religious bigotry and fascist violence. Apart from politicians, AJA is urging representatives from Fedex and Walmart who are scheduled to speak at this event, to withdraw their participation immediately. 

"Whether its lawmakers or corporations, attending this event is profiteering at the expense of every Muslim, Dalit, Sikh, and Christian that has faced loss of their loved ones through religious violence, lynchings and severe discrimination at the hand of Hindu Fascists," said Ashwin Khobragade, another constituent member of the AJA. "Any participation in this event shows the disregard these lawmakers and corporations have for their larger constituencies. Americans of all faiths are appalled that American brands and officials would attach themselves to such an intolerant event. They must be held accountable. People of Conscience demand it! " added Mr. Khobragade. 

With the World Hindu Congress only a week a way AJA is committed to continuing the #StopHinduFascism campaign to hold accountable all who participate in mainstreaming Hindu Fascism in India as well as internationally. 


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