Politically brilliant statement from South African activists on solidarity with Indian protesters which includes solidarity with Rohingya, Palestinians, Kashmiris:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Protest to be held outside Indian Consulate in Opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens Monday 23 December, 1 Eton Road, Parktown Johannesburg. The protest will start at 7 am and end at 12 pm with speeches and the handover of a memorandum from 11 am.
A group of South African students, academics, activists and organisations including Protect the Rohingya, the Wits Muslim Students Association, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Wits Palestine Solidarity Committee, Johannesburg Against Injustice, Conscience Collective, the Media Review Network, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and SA Friends of Kashmir are organising a protest outside the Indian Consulate General in Parktown.
The coalition is organising under the banner ‘South Africans against Apartheid India’ and the demonstration is in response to the adoption of the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) by the Indian state.
The CAA is discriminatory because it grants citizenship to immigrants and refugees of the Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Buddhist and Jain faiths, but does not extend this right to Muslims and other religious minorities. Rohingyas from Myanmar, Tamils from Sri Lanka (Muslim or Hindu) and Ahmadiyyas from Pakistan are not afforded this right to citizenship, despite having experienced religious persecution.
The NRC requires every person in India to prove, through historical documentation reflecting ancestral links to India, that they have a right to live in the country. For Muslims and other religious minorities who are considered “illegal immigrants”, this requires historical documents that, by definition, undocumented migrants do not possess. For Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Buddhists and Jains, also previously considered “illegal immigrants”, no such documentation is required to obtain citizenship. Beyond Muslims and other religious minorities, many poor Indians and Dalits do not have this documentation and so millions would be left stateless, stripped of their rights and at risk of being sent to detention camps, as a consequence.
In a letter calling on organisations to join the movement, the South Africans against Apartheid India coalition says that “these measures are a desecration of justice, a mockery of International Human Rights Law and a violation of the Indian constitution and its secular values.”
In response to the passing of these measures, protests have taken place in at least 25 cities and 50 universities. The Indian state has responded with brutality and repression. Protesters, both on and beyond university campuses, have been brutalised, detained and even murdered by the Indian state for their resistance to the CAA and NRC. Moreover, in order to stifle dissent and restrict mobilisation, India’s government has cut internet access in five states.
The coalition hence puts forward a number of demands in their memorandum to be handed over to the Consulate General. The first is the revocation of both the CAA and the NRC. The second is the cessation of police brutality and the immediate release of all detained protestors. The third is the demand for the re-establishment of the internet in those states where it has been cut. The last is a call on the Indian state to respect the Constitution and its secular values.
The coalition draws similarities between what is occurring in India today and South Africa’s history of categorisation and subjugation under the Apartheid regime. It also highlights the role of international support in dismantling the Apartheid regime to motivate a “solidarity that stretches across borders.” It asserts that “we must not stand by in silence while India’s BJP government marginalises millions of people and renders them stateless,” and further declares that it refuses to “co-exist with fascism, in India and wherever it may rear its ugly head.”
Following the protest, the coalition will meet and subsequently release plans for further action.
Raees Noorbhai 0791091430
Faatima Laher 078 993 5725
Shaeera Kalla 0767866929
#AntiCAAMovement and #ApartheidIndia
(via Na’eem Jeenah)