Statement against India’s growing religious intolerance

Statement with respect to the Delhi riots and violence against peaceful protestors

The Australian Jewish Democratic Society is shocked by  the orchestrated communal riots in Delhi in the last week of February 2020, that has left more than forty people dead. We extend our solidarity and condolences to the families of those killed and affected.

Even as the national capital continues to count the dead, fresh reports of further lynching are surfacing, indicating the general atmosphere of hate and terror that has now entered daily lives. 

This violence is the result of incitement by members of the ruling party against peaceful protestors opposing India’s new citizenship law, which then escalated into targeted attacks on Muslim homes and businesses.

The Citizenship Amendment Act has been described by the UN Human Rights Commissioner as “fundamentally discriminatory”. The excessive use of force against peaceful protests is a violation of the democratic freedom of speech

This violence cannot be seen as separate from previous repressions and violence that violate the democratic and secular nature of the Indian Constitution as well as threaten to systematically marginalise India’s largest minority, its Muslim community.

We ask the Australian Government to not ignore India’s growing religious intolerance as ‘an internal matter’ and condemn this wilful violence orchestrated under the watch of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As a key trading partner that values India’s democracy, we urge the Australian government to ask India to respect the right of its citizens to peacefully protest as set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

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