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#StopFundingHate

Press Release

Hate speech presents a major challenge to ethical and neutral journalism. In India we have seen a rise in majoritarian hate and decline of ethical journalism specially in TV channels. Certain media outlets have become purveyors of hate speech, cheerleaders of hate, xenophobic religious extremism. Hate speech on these channels tend to use the disguise of freedom of expression to wage a psychological war against Indian public. By that regularly using pejorative, discriminatory language and attacking an identifiable group — a race, religious community, or sexual minority, for example — certain media channels in India have prompted harm to Indian minorities, especially Muslim minorities.

This year itself we have seen how members of Tabligi Jamat were made a scapegoat, and a whole religion-based community was vilified and dehumanized by the Indian media. We have also noticed how witch-hunting of women and media trials by news-channel have made a mockery of the justice system. It is a sad state of affair when despite Indian Judiciaries reprimand to certain media channels over criminalizing and dehumanizing people and communities, none of the channels have issued a public apology or visibly corrected its course of action.

In light of the growing insensitivity of certain TV channels and their influence on our society at large, we believe Indian media is causing deep social divisions and hurting the unity and integrity of the nation. We strongly believe that hate should never be made profitable and we urge advertisers to take conscious steps in demonetising hateful media making it less and less profitable with each progressive step.

Over the past months we have worked closely with Stop Funding Hate and several others to defund hate on social and traditional media. We will be applying the campaign model of SFH and Sleeping giants in India. Through our campaigns we are urging Indian and non-Indian advertisers to #stopfundinghate and adopt a conscious pathway to advertisement. Let us stand for ethical journalism, conscious advertisement, and a hate free society!

For media queries on campaign, Conscious Advertisement Network, or to know our opinion, write to us at info@thelondonstory.org 

#StopFundingHate                                                #StopSeedingGenocide

Anti-CAA Campaign

Press Release

On 11.12.2020, members of Indian diaspora across the world will participate in a twitter campaign to mark the one year anniversary of the discriminatory and contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The Indian Diaspora, sensitive of its own standing as a minority community and deeply aware of the cross-religious and cross-cultural ties we share with each other, stands against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019. The diaspora reaffirms its faith in a plural society and marvels in the diversity of India. The diaspora also rejects the inconsistent narrative of touting CAA as a refugee policy by the state actors and asserts that a refugee policy has to be inclusive, diverse and grounded on the principles of equality, well-being and dignity for all human beings irrespective of their religion, caste, nationality, race or gender.

The Indian diaspora abroad continues to reject the Citizenship Amendment Act in as divisive, unconstitutional and devoid of the democratic, republic and secular values of India. The diaspora strongly rejects the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party and its Hindutva ideology and considers CAA a deconstruction of Indian citizenship and dis-service to the India as a respected member of the global community.

The diaspora expresses great regret that neither the current ruling party nor the institutions of India have made any substantial commitments over the last whole year to repeal the act or clarify its mandate. The act continues to create social divisions on religious lines, not just in India but also amongst diasporic communities abroad.

The diaspora believes that the world should stand against such social divisions on religion, nationality, race and caste, and work towards the goal of inclusion, acceptance, peace and human dignity as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The Indian diaspora abroad also strongly believes that human life and human dignity should be preserved at all cost and that nations hold a ‘responsibility to protect’ victims of Genocide. We extend our solidarity to brothers and sisters from Myanmar, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan who have covered difficult journeys escaping political persecution or social and economic depravity and have made India their home. To them we say you are welcome to be a part of our culture, our nation, and our collective humanity! We stand with you as migrants, as minorities and as Human beings.

We reject the classification of Citizenship, refuge and belonging. India and Indian values represent us all, and we are proud of the ‘unity in diversity’ that India beholds.

Organizations and collectives supporting:

  1. Foundation The London Story
  2. India Solidarity Germany
  3. Voices against Fascism in India
  4. CAVACH
  5. Indian Alliance Paris
  6. Canadians against Oppression and Persecution (CAOP)
  7. Crescent Hub
  8. The Humanism Project
  9. Indian Resistance Network, Norway
  10. Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC)
  11. The Liberal Indians – France
  12. Indian Solidarity Finland
  13. Hindus for Human rights (HfHR)
  14. Reclaiming India
  15. International Network of Democratic Indians Abroad (INDIA)
  16. Progressive India Collective
  17. Boston Coalition

Press Release

Foundation TLS strongly believe that progressive spaces need progressive voices. Giving platform to people who are known to create social and political polarisation is against the spirit of inclusivity, diversity and democratic representation. A political leaders public Mysognistic views and bigotry should not have a platform or made fashionable or acceptable. As a society we need the liberty to say that Hate speech is not acceptable.

In the spirit of inclusiveness and respect for diversity, we invite the Indian Consulate in Hamburg to be mindful of the sentiments of minorities and women before inviting Mr. Tejasvi Surya to a progressive event.

We join progressive diasporic organization and collectives to support thier statement. Read the full statement here:

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=nyxunP7dQEWVuZqHak1C6t_My-KlgC5Omd8agVLsYElUMFdDN1BVMUFPVDZEWVpDQTREMkNEU1A3Wi4u

India: Amnesty International Forced to Halt Work

Government Increasingly Targeting Rights Groups

30.09.20

Today, Foundation the London Story joined fourteen other human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch in condemning the Indian government’s actions against Amnesty India and pledged to continue support for local human rights defenders and organizations against the recent crackdown.

Amnesty International India announced that it is halting its work in the country after the Indian government froze its bank accounts in an act of reprisal for the organization’s human rights work. Fifteen international human rights organizations condemned the Indian government’s actions against Amnesty India and pledged to continue support for local human rights defenders and organizations against the recent crackdown.

The Indian government’s actions against Amnesty India are part of increasingly repressive tactics to shut down critical voices and groups working to promote, protect, and uphold fundamental rights, said the Association for Progressive Communications, Global Indian Progressive Alliance, International Commission of Jurists, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Front Line Defenders, FORUM-ASIA, Foundation the London Story, Hindus for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, International Service for Human Rights, Minority Rights Group, Odhikar, South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government has accused Amnesty India of violating laws on foreign funding, a charge the group says is politically motivated and constitutes evidence “that the overbroad legal framework is maliciously activated when human rights defenders and groups challenge the government’s grave inactions and excesses.”

The BJP government has increasingly cracked down on civil society, harassing and bringing politically motivated cases against human rights defenders, academics, student activists, journalists, and others critical of the government under sedition, terrorism, and other repressive laws.

These actions increasingly mimic that of authoritarian regimes, which do not tolerate any criticism and shamelessly target those who dare to speak out. With growing criticism of the government’s discriminatory policies and attacks on the rule of law, the authorities seem more interested in shooting the messenger than addressing the grievances. Women’s rights activists and indigenous and minority human rights defenders have been especially vulnerable. The recent action against Amnesty India highlights the stepped-up pressure and violence felt by local defenders on the ground, regardless of their profile.

The authorities have repeatedly used foreign funding regulations under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), a law broadly condemned for violating international human rights law and standards, to target outspoken groups. United Nations experts on human rights defenders, on freedom of expression, and on freedom of association have urged the government to repeal the law, saying it is “being used more and more to silence organisations involved in advocating civil, political, economic, social, environmental or cultural priorities, which may differ from those backed by the Government.”

Yet, the Indian parliament amended the FCRA this month, adding further onerous governmental oversight, additional regulations and certification processes, and operational requirements that would adversely affect civil society groups and effectively restrict access to foreign funding for small nongovernmental organizations.

A robust, independent, and vocal civil society is indispensable in any democracy to ensure a check on government and to hold it accountable, pushing it to do better. Instead of treating human rights groups as its enemies, the government should work with them to protect the rights of all people and ensure accountability at all levels of government.

Joint Statement condemning FIR 59/2020

Download statement here

We as members of the Indian diaspora worldwide are writing to bring to your attention a series of arrests made by the Delhi Police in the past few months. The arrests, politically motivated as they are, have come in the name of investigating communal riots in North-East district of Delhi which took place between February 23-29, 2020 and left 53 people dead and more than 500 injured. Delhi police has registered 751 FIRs (First Information Reports) and 200 chargesheets, however, the investigations have progressed in a biased and politically motivated manner. The investigations have led to the arrest of ordinary citizens, students, lawyers, journalists, film makers, rights activists, trade unionists, political leaders of opposition parties, and others who were critical of the Citizenship Amendment Act brought in by the Indian government in December 2019. While, the police have the power and mandate to investigate the riots, however the political bias in the spate of the arrests and the interrogations of rights activists raise questions on the professional conduct of the state police. When coupled with the blatant defense of ruling party politicians and workers who made provocative speeches and played a key role in the riot, the police investigations appear as an outright sham.
The recent interrogations of the film maker Rahul Roy and Saba Dewan, who played an important role in providing relief and timely medical treatment during the riots; Prof Apoorvanand, a writer and peace activist; student leader Umar Khalid who was finally arrested, raise doubts about the motives behind the investigation.
These interrogations and arrests are carried out by the Delhi Police in an attempt to weave a conspiracy theory that will implicate several civil society organisations, NGOs, trade unions, writers, and journalists. Such intimidation tactics are used to target and silence dissenting voices. Delhi Police has interrogated several people, some of whom were not even in town or never present at the site of the communal violence and used this as an opportunity to seize their computers, phones and other data and build a conspiracy theory. Till date they have not produced any conclusive evidence of the complicity of the above said persons and have arrested some of them in fabricated FIRs, some having identical confessions. Media scrutiny has found out that many confessions are verbatim copies of each other. This clearly shows that these FIRs and arrests are nothing but an attempt to eliminate political dissenters and to instill fear in the minds of the general public. What is more alarming is that police is using the draconian anti terror law- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)- where process itself is the punishment and bail is not
the rule but an exception.

An FIR (FIR 59/2020), has been the basis of several of these politically motivated interrogations, harassment, and witch hunt. The arrests comprise of the forced confessions, hearsay accusations, police versions and in some cases even the statements which the accused persons have refused to sign. These base-
less arrests flout the due process of law. Concurrently, no action has been taken against BJP leader Kapil Mishra and Minister of State, Government of India, Anurag Thakur , who made hate speeches, incited the crowd and provoked them to indulge in acts of violence. They have till date not been questioned and no complaint has been registered against them. Infact, government and Delhi Police have defended them
when a Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Delhi High Court demanding registration of FIR against them for their alleged role in the riots.
Delhi Minority Commission and Amnesty International https://amnesty.org.in/publications/6-months-since-delhi-riots-delhi-police-continue-to-enjoy-impunity-despite-evidence-of-human-rights-violations/have both documented the role of these two politicians and also the role of several police officials in the riots. However, till date not only has Delhi police shielded the BJP politicians but have also protected its own officers and refused to suspend them or undertake internal investigation. In lieu of such biases the arrests carried out by the Delhi Police is nothing but a mockery of the due process of law and the Constitution.
It is also striking to note that the supplementary chargesheet filed in connection with FIR 59/2020 is not in the least bit related to it. FIR 59/2020 had been registered in connection with a death. However, the supplementary chargesheet has completely sidelined the main issue and focuses entirely on the ‘conspiracy’ initiated by innocent political dissenters. The FIR does not identify a shooter but merely names three women. All of these documents and arrests are based on fabricated confessions and lack of evidence. This lack of evidence has even been accepted by the Delhi High Court in Ms. Devangana Kalita’s bail application hearing who has been in jail since May this year. Thus the FIR 59/2020, impinges upon the right to dissent and the democratic right of the Citizens to protest.
Arresting intellectuals and students merely for exercising their right to peaceful protest is blatantly against the values of Indian Constitution. The government, over the past 6 years has successfully created a narrative of ‘nationalism’ and ‘anti-nationalism’ to further its own political agenda. Any and every type of dissent is being suppressed, and academics and students who are fighting to uphold Constitutional values and legal order are being wrongfully arrested.

The government is using the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to suppress dissent and to strategically arrest innocent persons after falsely accusing them under the draconian law of UAPA. Due to the pandemic, the common public is scared and are most concerned about their health. It is in this context that we are reaching out to the lawmakers and international institutions to take cognizance of the situation in India, and lend your strong and visible support towards upholding the constitutional values of freedom, democracy and respect for human rights and rule of law.