The South Asia Solidarity Initiative (SASI), a far-left group with links to dubious anti-India organisations, has called for people to join them in their bid to disrupt what it called a ‘vile spectacle of fascism’. The announcement came after it was revealed that images of Shri Ram and 3-D images of the model of the Ram Mandir at Janmabhoomi will be displayed at the Times Square on 5th August.
In a statement on Twitter, SASI also said that the VHP is a ‘hate group’ that is one of the ‘many fascist organisational branches’. It was also claimed that the VHP is best known for “instigating mob violence in the name of cow protection, religious conversions, temple renovations and “love jihads”.”
Going a step further from the usual demonisation of Prime Minister Modi, SASI claimed that Narendra Modi has been responsible for “massacres across generations”. “Modi was among the key organizers of the demolition of the mosque in 1992. He would again play a significant role a decade later in Gujarat, where he incited a genocide. Today he is being celebrated by fascists in New York City,” its statement said.
On the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, its role in the Babri Masjid demolition and killings, and its direct link to Modi who himself has orchestrated multiple massacres. The diaspora has always fueled this genocidal regime, but it’s time to turn the tide and say no to hindu nationalism! pic.twitter.com/ljcCmmiCNa— South Asia Solidarity Initiative (@SASIinNYC) July 31, 2020
Needless to say, these are baseless accusations that do not have an iota of truth in them. Narendra Modi does not have any charges against him for the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, and he was not a well known national leader at that time. The key accused in that particular case are other politicians. Furthermore, the Indian Judiciary has absolved Narendra Modi of all accusations levelled against him in connection with the Gujarat Riots of 2002. Thus, quite clearly, that SASI is raising such allegations in the current context throws some light into their political outlook.
As it so happens, their activities demonstrate quite evidently their anti-India slant quite effectively. In a statement on the ‘Kashmir Liberation Movement’, SASI said that “ASI is in complete solidarity with the Kashmiri liberation movement. Kashmir is not an integral part of the state of India, but it is a nation under occupation. Kashmiri voices must always be centered as well as the right for self-determination.” “SASI stands in solidarity with Kashmiris resisting occupation by the Indian state, and we echo calls for azaadi — for liberation,” it added.
In its statement on the Pulwama Terror Attack, SASI said, “Hindu nationalists are using the Pulwama attack to fuel anti-Muslim violence and war-mongering.” It stated further, “Shortly following the Pulwama attack, terrifying violence erupted against Kashmiri Muslims in the Jammu region of Jammu-Kashmir (JK) as well as several states in India. Even though a curfew was imposed on Jammu, Hindutva mobs were allowed to roam freely and attack Muslim colonies, targeting homes and burning vehicles.”
The statement said further, “We fear for and are in solidarity with Indian and Kashmiri Muslims living in the region, facing an accelerated and terrifying political climate. Anyone with a sense of decency and conscience must now be forceful, more than ever before, on the urgency of ending the occupation and withdrawing all army personnel from the occupied territories of Kashmir.” Nowhere in the statement did SASI condemn the terror attack or even call it an act of terrorism even as it spread falsehoods against India.
Furthermore, SASI also works in close collaboration with Stand With Kashmir, a Kashmiri separatist organisation that we have reported on extensively. SWK was active during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act as well and is known to the Pakistani line on Kashmir. It places the entire blame for trouble in the valley on India while maintaining a stoic silence on Pakistan sponsored terrorism and downplaying the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits.
From its name, it is evident that individuals from Bangladesh and Pakistan are associated with SASI as well. They are also quite vocal during the ongoing social upheaval in the United States. In a podcast, SASI collective members Chaya, Nufail, Sheila and Theresa discussed “the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, our experiences with the protests in New York City during a pandemic, thoughts on the numerous solidarity groups in formation and how Hindutva groups have been using #blm to further fascist agendas.”
Individuals with origins in Bangladesh and Pakistan trying to defame India in the West is nothing surprising. Ziad Ahmed, an American Muslim student of Bangladeshi origin, has been working overtime through an organisation he floated along with others, Students Against Hindutva Ideology, to demonise Hindutva and Hindus in the United States. We have reported on that organisation extensively as well.
Thus, the antecedents of SASI is quite evident from its actions thus far. Thus, it is not surprising at all that they are trying to tarnish India’s reputation on an occasion that is auspicious for Hindus worldwide. For an organisation that does not consider Kashmir to be an integral part of India, despite all historical evidence, it is only natural that they are resorting to spreading Hinduphobia on the day of the Bhoomi Pujan event at Ram Janmabhoomi as well.