IAMC calls the defense of secularism in India a struggle to save the soul of the nation 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, August 15, 2015
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has joined millions of people of Indian origin, living in India and across the world, in celebrating  the nation’s 69th Independence Day. IAMC today participated in the India Day celebrations in Michigan, organized by a large group of community organizations to mark the joyous occasion.  The event was attended by over 25,000 people from the Indian American community, with Padma Shri award winner Milkha Singh as the chief guest.

IAMC Booth at India Day Celebrations in Michigan

It is noteworthy that India’s freedom struggle was a truly nationalistic effort, undertaken by people of all faiths, including countless Muslims.  Among the thousands who laid down their lives for India’s freedom were hundreds of Muslim scholars and individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice so we could enjoy the fruits of liberty.
While celebrating India’s freedom from colonial rule, the stark reality is that its continued existence as a pluralist, secular society is threatened by the destructive fervor of a divisive ideology that mirrors fascism in its brutality and jaundiced worldview.  Focusing our attention and resources to meeting this challenge is the need of the hour, for all Indians who care about the nation’s future. It is therefore important to mark Independence Day not only as a celebration of India’s freedom and democracy, but also as a means of overtly expressing solidarity and unity against fascist forces that threaten these ideals.
The long list of gravely disturbing events in the recent past includes physical violence, arson, desecration of churches and attempts to forcibly “reconvert” thousands of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism, all documented in the recent 2015 Annual Reportof the US Commission for International Religious Freedom.
There is a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation of human rights activistsand whistleblowers as well as a crackdown on renowned international organizations such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International and the Ford Foundation when they have taken positions that are critical of the government. These have grave implications for freedom of dissent and the future of civil society institutions in India.
Outrageously misogynistic remarks such as calling rape “sometime right, sometimes wrong,” have come from politicians in positions of power within the ruling party, while inflammatory calls for the disenfranchisement of Muslims and calls for the forced sterilization of Muslims and Christians from prominent individuals within the Hindutva movement have not been censured by the administration.
While the country may have unshackled itself from the yoke of colonial rule in 1947, a genuine and lasting freedom will come when the state truly considers all citizens as equal before the law, and when the government considers safeguarding the constitution as its primary obligation; more important than any ideological loyalties.
“As we celebrate Independence Day, true patriotism requires that we acknowledge the profound challenges in front of us and marshal all resources to address them,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC). “Rapid erosion of religious freedom and civil liberties, at the behest of the government itself, requires the citizenry to step up to the challenge of saving the nation and its institutions from bigotry,” added Mr. Malick.
Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation.   For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com
CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com 

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES: 

India League of America – Michigan: India Day Celebrations

USCIRF Report 2015: Chapter on India

Modi government’s hounding of Teesta Setalvad is a message to all dissidents

U.S. Ambassador Criticizes India’s Crackdown on Charities and Activist Groups

Indian Political Party Advocates the Denial of Voting Rights for Muslims

Hindu Mahasabha leader calls for forcible  sterilization of Christians and Muslims

‘Reconversion’ of Religious Minorities Roils India’s Politics

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CBI raids on Teesta’s home and offices are payback for years of fearless advocacy for victims of Gujarat 2002 pogroms

July 15, 2015

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos,  has condemned the latest episode in the BJP government’s continued vendetta against renowned human rights activist Teesta Setalvad.  The government has unleashed a CBI probe against Ms. Setalvad, her associates as well as the organization she has spearheaded in her struggle for justice for the victims of Gujarat pogroms of 2002. The raids on Ms. Setalvad’s home and offices come in the wake of the Supreme Court approving her anticipatory bail in a different case being pursued against her by the Gujarat government.

The CBI probe was initiated on the orders of the Home Ministry, that is alleging irregularities in some foreign contributions received by Sabrang Communications, headed by Teesta. Raids were carried out despite Ms. Setalvad’s assurances to the CBI that she and her organization would cooperate fully with the investigation. In the case against her filed by the Gujarat government, Ms. Setalvad’s organization Sabrang Trust had provided detailed responses to all the questions raised by the BJP-led government. As in previous attempts at harassing and intimidating Ms. Setalvad, the intent is clearly to browbeat her into submission and hamper the crucial work she and her organization are engaged in, in the cause of justice and accountability.

“The fact that the BJP governments, both at the state and central level have resorted to using the state security apparatus to intimidate a tireless worker for justice represents an affront to the constitutional guarantees of equality before the law for all citizens,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “It is ironical that the BJP had alleged that the CBI was a ‘politcal tool’ in the hands of the ruling party, when the BJP itself was in the opposition,” added Mr. Malick.
In stark contrast to the repressive measures against Ms. Setalvad and other human rights activists and whistleblowers, is the reprieve given to several accused in the Gujarat pogroms of 2002, at the behest of the BJP government. In February this year, 70 accused were acquitted by a local court in north Gujarat, while the Gujarat High Court granted bail to  convicted mass murderer Ms. Maya Kodnani on the pretext that her appeal was pending.  The dismal conviction rate in cases connected to the Gujarat pogroms, shows the government’s complete lack of interest in pursuing those that killed and raped with impunity.

“The government’s gunning for Teesta Setalvad does not diminish the gravity of the crimes committed by the perpetrators of the Gujarat pogroms of 2002, and the culpability of those in the administration that were complicit in the mass violence,” said Mr. Khalid Ansari, Vice President of IAMC. “Despite attempts by these culprits to subvert the justice system, the long arm of the law will surely catch up with them,” added Mr. Ansari.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation.   For more information please visit our website at: http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com 

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:
CBI Raids Activist Teesta Setalvad’s Residence, Office in Mumbai
http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/cbi-raids-activist-teesta-setalvads-residence-office-in-mumbai-781228
Modi government’s hounding of Teesta Setalvad is a message to all dissidents
http://scroll.in/article/740762/modi-governments-hounding-of-teesta-setalvad-is-a-message-to-all-dissidents
“The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future” Martha Nussbaum, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2009)

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Indian Americans urge India, US to heed USCIRF’s recommendations on safeguarding religious freedom in India

May 1, 2015

USCIRF Report for 2015 documents forced conversions of minorities to Hinduism, rising attacks on their places of worship and other restrictions on religious freedom April 30, 2015 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos,  has welcomed the recommendations on India in the report released today by […]

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Fake encounter killings in Telangana are an outrage against the rule of law say Indian Americans

April 10, 2015

Killing of five youth while they were handcuffed on their way to court in a police van warrants a judicial probe April 09, 2015 Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos ethos has called the Telangana police killing of five detainees in a transportation […]

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Shocking reversals in the struggle for justice mark Gujarat pogroms anniversary

March 2, 2015

A season of “clean chits” for the guilty and hounding of activists since the coming to power of Hindu supremacists  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 28, 2015  The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has marked the 13th anniversary of the Gujarat pogroms of […]

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Case against Teesta a case of witch-hunt by Gujarat government say Indian Americans

February 20, 2015

Call for Independent investigation under Supreme Court’s supervision   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 18, 2015 Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has expressed strong support for noted human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and denounced the Gujarat Government for bringing frivolous charges motivated by political […]

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US concern over diminishing religious freedom in India is justified say Indian Americans

February 8, 2015

Attacks on churches, forced conversions to Hinduism and glorification of Gandhi’s assassin are manifestations of a divisive and hateful ideology   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Sunday, Feb 08, 2015   The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has called President Obama’s expressions of concern over […]

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Indian Americans mark Republic Day with pledge to safeguard India’s Constitution

January 27, 2015

Letter draws President Obama’s attention to deteriorating situation with respect to religious freedom situation in India   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, January 26, 2015 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has marked India’s Republic Day with celebrations in four US cities, while pledging to […]

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IAMC Letter to President Obama on India visit

January 24, 2015

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Forced conversions in Agra and call for anti-conversion bill are brazen attacks on India’s Constitution say Indian Americans

December 14, 2014

Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has condemned the forced conversion of Muslims in Agra as well as the government’s suggested “remedy”, of pushing the anti-conversion bill, currently adopted in five states across India, as brazen attacks on […]

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