The South Asian Feminist Caucus of the National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) in the USA has come out against the rising intolerance and attacks on minorities and lower castes in India.
More than 200 members of this powerful organisation of college and university faculty members across the USA of South Asian origin have jointly expressed outrage and crtiticised the BJP-led Narendra Modi government in a letter of "diasporic solidarity with those who are under attack in India".
The letter, released by Dr. Shoba Sharad Rajgopal, Outreach Coordinator of the SA Feminist Caucus, NWSA and Associate Professor at Westfield State University, Massachusetts, said: "It is time for us to hold our government accountable as a democracy. We take this moment to add our voice as an academic community to stand in solidarity with the protesters."
It also stated that this extensive community of academics, scholars, writers, filmmakers, artists, dancers and musicians of South Asian origin are "deeply outraged by the scenario in our homeland" where "over the last few months, several renowned scientists, writers, film makers, artists and even heads of major corporations like Infosys and retired members of the armed forces have expressed their dissent and returned their national awards, in a symbolic act of resistance and protest against the rising tide of intolerance in India."
The letter also documents the pattern of increasing violence and tensions, from the assaults on dating couples in Mangalore to the murder of noted rationalists in Maharashtra and Karnataka, and the lynching of a Muslim by a militant mob in Dadri on rumors that he had eaten beef."
The forum has also pointed out that it is aware of the increasing attacks on and undermining of the democratic nature and intellectual autonomy of institutions like the Film and TV Institute (FTII) in Pune, National Book Trust, and Nalanda University - institutions where BJP party functionaries are taking over.
The letter slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP for not denouncing "any of these extremist attacks on freedom of speech, but instead the government has responded to the rising tide of protest with claims that "rabid Anti-BJP elements" are behind the protests, thus demonizing all those who have condemned the anti-democratic actions of the extremist elements."