Indian American Muslim Council Condemns Indian Government’s Smear Campaign, Rebuts False Allegations Of Terror Links
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC (January 28, 2022) – The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), a US-based non-profit advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, condemns the baseless allegations made against it by Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, a minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet.
On January 27, Mr. Naqvi addressed a press conference alleging that IAMC was linked with Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), several organizations “conspiring to disrupt global peace,” and the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), an organization India has proscribed.
Mr. Naqvi said IAMC was “long involved in spreading anti-India propaganda” and “part of a conspiracy that claimed violence had occurred in Tripura;” that IAMC had “a history of spreading communal violence in India;” and that “everyone knows” IAMC was “Pakistan-sponsored.”
IAMC categorically denies all these allegations and challenges Minister Naqvi and Prime Minister Modi’s government to furnish evidence to prove even one of these baseless and fraudulent claims. IAMC does not have ties to Pakistan, ISI or SIMI. IAMC has zero history of spreading communal violence in India.
IAMC is a 20-year-old bonafide nonprofit registered as a 501(c)(3) organization in the United States with a strong history of advocacy with the US Congress and the US Government in partnership with global civil society.
As Indian Americans we believe this is the time for all who care about India and its people, wherever they may live, to stand up and be counted in the struggle to save India’s secular democracy. Many of us were born and raised in India and although we have chosen to make America our home, we have deep cultural, familial and emotional ties to India. These ties to the country of our birth are our primary impetus to speak up in regards to the grave dangers that confront Indian society today.
Perhaps the biggest pain point for the Indian government is that IAMC was among the leading civil rights organizations that successfully advocated in 2005 with the U.S. Government to ban Mr. Modi, who was then Gujarat Chief Minister, from entering the US due to his role in the massacre of over 2,000 Muslims by Hindutva terrorists in Gujarat in 2002.
Unfortunately for Mr. Naqvi, the official records of the Indian government falsify his pathetic and obviously fraudulent claims about IAMC. SIMI has been banned eight times under the Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act since 2001. Each time, the ban was adjudicated upon at a tribunal constituted under a high court judge. Not once in all these years has India’s federal government claimed at the court that IAMC is linked with SIMI.
To IAMC’s knowledge, there is literally not a single governmental or police document anywhere in India claiming IAMC was linked to SIMI.
To IAMC’s knowledge, there is no governmental or police document, or a court ruling, anywhere in India connecting the IAMC to any communal violence, to Pakistan, to the ISI, to any terror group, in or out of India.
In 20 years of its existence as a bonafide nonprofit organization in the US, no American law enforcement agency has ever remotely suggested that IAMC was connected with terrorism, directly or indirectly. No law enforcement agency in the US has ever even investigated IAMC.
It is disingenuous and pitiful that Minister Naqvi referenced Tripura Police’s FIR that names, among others, IAMC in regards to the anti-Muslim violence in Tripura in October. In an indication of what might be the eventual fate of that absurd and malicious FIR, India’s Supreme Court has already provided relief to two Supreme Court lawyers and a journalist who are also named in the same FIR besides IAMC.
When Tripura Police tried to pressure Twitter to provide them details of the user names targeted in that FIR, the Supreme Court again stepped in and ordered an end to that illegal and criminal police act.
Last weekend the Tripura Police filed an affidavit before India’s Supreme Court making fraudulent claims about IAMC on the basis of a website named Disinfolab. We are aware that the Tripura Police is referring to www.thedisinfolab.org, which has emerged in recent months as a fake news factory connected to the Hindutva disinformation universe.
This website provides absolutely no information regarding the name of any registered entity that owns it; no registered address or any office address; no names for directors or editors or any other functionaries; no names of any authors of its reports. It is incredible that Tripura Police are actually offering such shady websites as proof against us in the court.
The real reason why Prime Minister Modi is deeply troubled by the IAMC is that even as his authoritarian rule commits widespread human rights abuses against Indian Muslims, jailing and killing thousands of them, he cannot touch IAMC because we are based in the United States where we take pride in the Rule of Law and protection from abusive State action. Mr. Modi and his extremist cohorts cannot silence IAMC. Their Islamophobia does not inform either the American State or its people.
An overwhelming number of American Senators and Congressmen support our agenda of protecting India’s pluralist Constitution and calling out Mr. Modi’s virulent anti-democratic behavior. American civil society ranging from Black Lives Matter to Amnesty International, from Genocide Watch to Human Rights Watch, are fully committed to supporting us.
IAMC will continue to shine even brighter light on the egregious behavior of Prime Minister Modi’s government, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and their network of terrorists from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal.
We are committed to protecting a Constitutional, Secular, Pluralist, Democratic India as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Azad and B. R. Ambedkar. India belongs to every Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Jain, Buddhist, Dalit and others equally.