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ICC Note:

With India’s national elections in full swing, exit polls indicate that the Hindu nationalist party BJP and their front man Modi are likely to form the center of India’s next national government. Many inside and outside of India have expressed concern over Modi’s human rights record, especially when it comes to religious minorities. A known Hindu nationalist, many fear that the persecuted of religious minorities like Christians will get worse under Modi’s rule. In an open letter, India academics expressed “dread” over the idea of Modi taking power. Please pray for the future of India.

4/23/2014 India (Times of India) – After artists like sculptor Anish Kapoor, film director Deepa Mehta and novelist Salman Rushdie, it is now the turn of some of the best Indian academics teaching in Britain’s top universities like the London School of Economics, Cambridge, Oxford, SOAS and King’s College to issue a letter opposing Narendra Modi as the next Indian Prime Minister.

In an open letter issued on Tuesday, 75-strong intelligentsia led by Prof Chetan Bhatt and Gautam Appa of LSE sharply attacked the BJP leader saying “The idea of Modi in power fills us with dread”.

They warned that a Modi victory would “likely mean greater moral policing, especially of women, increased censorship and vigilantism, and more tensions with India’s neighbours”.

Calling Modi a leader embedded in the Hindu nationalist movement, namely the RSS and other Sangh Parivar groups, with their history of inciting violence against minorities, they highlighted how groups that support Modi stand accused in recent terrorist attacks against civilians.

The letter has been signed by professors of international renown like Dr Leena Kumarappan from London Metropolitan University, Dr Subir Sinha from School of Oriental and African Studies, professor Phiroze Vasunia from University College London, Dr. Bishnupriya Gupta from the University of Warwick, Dr Amit S Rai from Queen Mary, University of London, Dr Hugo Gorringe from the University of Edinburgh, prof Barbara Harriss-White from University of Oxford, Dr Shamira A Meghani from the University of Leeds, prof Amrita Dhillon from King’s College London, Prof Joya Chatterji from Cambridge University and Dr Dibyesh Anand from the University of Westminster.

They said “As the people of India vote to elect their next government, we are deeply concerned at the implications of a Narendra Modi-led BJP government for democracy, pluralism and human rights in India. We recall the extreme violence by the Hindu Right in Gujarat in 2002 which resulted in the deaths of at least 1,000 people, mostly Muslims. This violence occurred under Modi’s rule, and senior government and police officials have provided testimony of his alleged role in encouraging or permitting it to occur”.

They added “Some of his close aides have been convicted for their involvement, and legal proceedings are ongoing in the Gujarat high court which may result in Modi being indicted for his role. He has never apologised for hate speech or contemptuous comments about various groups – including Muslims, Christians, women and Dalits. His closest aide has been censured recently by India’s Election Commission for hate speech used in this election campaign”.

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