PM Modi’s visit to Britain: Dalit, women’s groups plan protests

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Dalit and women’s rights groups have planned protests during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK to voice their grievances against the atrocities committed against minorities in India.

Modi plans to meet British prime minister Theresa May in London on Wednesday before heading to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and protesters have planned to converge at 10 Downing Street to protest against the recent attacks on the rights of Dalits, women and minorities in India.

“The protests represent the anger of a lot of Indians living in Britain who are unhappy about the way Narendra Modi has turned Indian into a ‘republic of fear’, with these horrific incidents of rapes, mob-lynching of Muslims, and attacks on Dalits. We would be particularly focusing on the role of the BJP and right-wing organisations in the rapes in Kathua and Unnao, where there is an attempt to shield the perpetrators in the name of the nation,” Kalpana Wilson from the South Asia Solidarity Group, who teaches at the Birbeck, University of London, was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

The Dalit groups will voice their opposition to the recent changes implemented in the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The Act has stripped them of the last shield of protection available to SC/ST, SP Muman from Caste Watch UK told the publication.

“The current court order is already in force and only an Act of Parliament can ensure that the legislation is not diluted. The only way to catch the attention of the Indian PM is thousands of us taking to the streets of London,” said Muman.

Dalit groups including Ambedkarite and Ravidassia organisations will take part in the protests.

In other news, Indian students studying at Oxford University have written an open letter to the prime minister expressing “great distress and horror” over the recent increase in rapes in India. “When you say that justice will be delivered will it extend to creating that environment where our women and children can exist freely?” the students asked.