Fact checking Aotearoa Hindu fascist denials and obfuscations

Last week TVNZ did a piece on the general elections in India :

in which all that Mr Vinod Kumar of the Hindu Council of NZ and Murali Magesan of Hindu Youth said must be challenged.

One of our activists made a slide show looking at how Hindutva flourishes in Aotearoa that we disseminated across our social media platforms including Instagram.

We ask Murali why he even entertains the idea that academics would engage with Hindu fascists when they have not only jailed academics in India but openly threaten and undermine them across the world? Does he not know how Hindu fascists terrorised academics participating in the Dismantling Global Hindutva Conference in 2021? One tactic of Hindu fascists is to bully their opponents into submission. (We recommend reading the experience of Sapna Samant on our blog.) Has he never heard of GN Saibaba, a disabled academic who was recently released from prison where he was held for ten years for alleged links to the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). GN Saibaba was acquitted by the Nagpur bench of the Mumbai High Court? Perhaps he knows the names Shoma Sen, Hany Babu, Anand Teltumbde, all academics who were arrested and held on fake charges with thirteen others in the Bhima Koregaon violence of 2018? Perhaps Murali should do some reading although it might be a bit too much to expect that. After all Bhima Koregaon was where the Dalits defeated the Peshwa's army, the Brahmins, the oppressors, in 1818. So telling a Pakeha journalist with faux innocence that them Hindus invite academics to talk to them, trying to show how he (and Hindu Youth) are inclusive would not even win a Razzie.

Then we have Vinod Kumar who openly acknowledges the presence of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh in Aotearoa New Zealand(HSSNZ). We reiterate here that HSSNZ is the diaspora avatar of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the mothership of Hindutva. HSSNZ has 7 'chapters' across the country indoctrinating young minds with Islamophobia and a warped sense of 'Hindu' history in the name of culture.

But then Mr Kumar has the gall to deny Hindu fascist violence against Muslims and Christians in India.

Professor Mohan Dutta counters the falsehoods against Christians: here  and Muslims: here

If you go the TVNZ Q and A segment at the top of this post you will see many Hindu fascists commenting with 'Hindu pride' blind and oblivious to how Hindu nationalism not only harms all Indians but the world. Hindus themselves, those know the pluralism but also deeply understand the need to dismantle caste and misogyny, are in danger from Hindutva.

Professor Dutta speaks about Hindu pride here

















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Democratic Elections Or Erasing Democracy?

The Indian general elections, to choose 543 members to the lower house (Lok Sabha) of the parliament are set to commence on April 19th 2024 and scheduled in seven phases until 1st June. It is the largest democratic exercise of world, with more than 970 million eligible voters. The 2019 Indian general elections witnessed a voter turnout of 67% from 912 million eligible voters, and a record in women’s participation with 67.18% (298 million). The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi, led coalition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) secured 45 percent of total votes, 353 parliament seats and a second term in government. Narendra Modi’s BJP emerged as the single largest part in parliament with 37.30 percent votes and 303 MPs. Under the neoliberal, ultra nationalist rule of BJP, India has slid backwards in all indices  of democracy-from suppression of freedom and expression to unlawful imprisonment of dissenting activists, students, journalists and politicians.

Fast forward to 2024, the world’s largest democracy is set for another general elections, with Modi and his Hindu nationalist party aiming for an easy win for third term, and a more unified coalition of opposition parties (INDIA Alliance), in their do or die effort to stop BJP returning to power. All opinion polls published by corporate owned media houses of India are predicting BJP, a landslide victory. However, India, with its complex and diverse domestic politics, has a track record of post-election results that often contradict pre-poll surveys.

Everything is not in favor of Modi, and BJP as portrayed by the mainstream media for the following reasons.

  • Anti-incumbency factor towards a government in power for the last ten years, who cannot tackle rising unemployment rates, and post covid cost of living. The BJP have already denied seats for 63 of its current MPs (21% of total MPs), to mitigate the anti-incumbency sentiments. The party have so far only published a list of 265 candidates, and number of current MPs going to lose their seats is likely to go further up.
  • All sectors of society including workers, farmers, women, youth and small t medium businesses have suffered from the pro-corporate policies of this BJP government. The massive farmer protests, youth protests, controversial Agnipath scheme of temporary recruitment to armed forces, and protests by women wrestlers have caused serious damage to BJP’s ambition of a third term in government.
  • The discriminatory citizenship law CAA, and pogrom of Indigenous Christians in the BJP ruled state of Manipur, have wreaked havoc in the consciousness minorities, and pro-democratic secular masses, who are expected to poll in large numbers against BJP.
  • The NDA alliance led by BJP is cracked and weakened with multiple parties leaving the coalition due to the authoritarian approach of BJP leadership.
  • Giving a huge set back to NDA, after the BJP broke the Shiv Sena, the second largest party in the coalition, into two factions in the state of Maharashtra in 2022 to subvert the democratic process and form its own majority state government there, the Uddhav Thakeray faction of the Shiv Sena joined the opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDA Alliance). This faction of the Shiv Sena will put up a tough fight in the state of Maharastra, where NDA won 41 parliament seats in 2019.
  • Other minor parties like Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), All India Dravida Munnetta Kazhagam (AIDMK), have also left the coalition.
  • The most recent Electoral Bond scam have put BJP under pressure, that its main funding sources including controversial mining corporations, and big businesses who were on the radar of various investigation agencies, got clean chit after they donated BJP.

What potentially favours Modi?

  • Domination in owned mainstream media, and social media spaces, helps the party to set nationalistic narratives and shape public opinion.
  • Implementation of communal and divisive policies like CAA, abrogation of Article 370 of Indian constitution that ensured semi-autonomous status for the Muslim majority state of Jammu & Kashmir, and consecration of Ram temple on the site of Babri Masjid mosque demolition, have placed Modi as the undisputed Führer of Hindu nationalists.
  • Another narrative of Modi is that India is set to become a global superpower under the leadership of Modi, also supported by both India and western capitalists whom Modi offers unchecked access of resources of India, by weakening environment and employment laws.
  • Being a favorite of Western neoliberal governments, Modi and BJP gets enormous support from leaders like Anthony Albanese in 2023, praised ‘Modi is the Boss’ in front of a hyper nationalist Indian crowd in Sydney, and Joe Biden who hosted a white house state dinner for Modi.
  • BJP, with its gigantic corporate funding, continues to have unimaginable upper hand in campaign trail by buying out any space available.
  • High octane party machinery, cadre base of BJP, and its parent organization Rastriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS), and foreign funding from Nonresident Indian (NRI) ultranationalists are add on.
  • The machinery is expert at distracting through outrageous statements and constantly bringing up Pakistan as a threat.

However, during the last ten years BJP has successfully dismantled almost every independent democratic institution like universities, the Election Commission, Reserve Bank, Economic Planning Commission, courts of justice, and law enforcement bodies, to suit their totalitarian governance style. Opposition leaders, their public and personal life are constantly under surveillance of government agencies. Two sitting chief ministers were recently arrested while the homes many new candidates of the INDIA Alliance are raided by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the pretext of accepting bribes.

There is unrest in the northern region of Ladakh while China hovers on the border having entered the territory in 2020, bu the Modi government is more interested in usurping land from the indigenous Ladakhis in the name of 'development'.

The unbridled Islamophobia and oppression of other minorities continues.

It’s worth noting that the two members of Election commission of India (which has a total number of 3 members including the Chief Election commission) resigned days before official announcement of general elections.

In 2019 55% of total votes polled against BJP but were scattered among different opposition parties which secured BJP a massive win, in an electoral system of First-Past-Post voting.

The opposition is more united and the INDIA Alliance is a hope.

Now for the people of India to stop Modi winning another term.

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Holi. An introspection.

Holi the festival of colours has come and gone. A festival that has broken the boundaries of religion, that everyone can enjoy.

But also, there are many with memories from India where the 'festivities' were forced on them. Hindus, Muslims, Christians and women.

We have seen many posts on various social media platforms where Muslims and women were surrounded by Hindu goons shouting Har Har Mahadev and Jai Shri Ram while pouring water and spraying colour on people. Is that the spirit of Holi? Does consent not matter? For a nation to be a true leader in every way we should be able to introspect about the meaning of our majority festivals and how they can be inclusive while also giving people a choice.

This is a lovely post from Hindus For Human Rights helping initiate the discussion around Holi.

       Holi - Cultural Dynamics, Social Critiques and Syncretism

Meanwhile here is a Bhil Holi dance. 



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Our Note To PM Chris Luxon

We wrote to PM Chris Luxon about Mr David Seymour and Ms Melissa Lee attending the Ram Mandir event at Eden Park in Tamaki Makaurau Auckland.

Information about and objection to MPs endorsing Ram Mandir

Kia ora Mr Luxon
Attached is a media release from Aotearoa Alliance Of Progressive Indians, Hindus for Human Rights ANZ and The Humanism Project about the Ram Mandir celebrations in India (and Australia+New Zealand).
Please read to understand the background of this event.

We also wish to object to the presence of Mr David Seymour and Carlos Cheung MP from Mt Roskill at the celebrations on 21 January at Eden Park in Tamaki Makaurau Auckland. We also wish to object the endorsement by Ms Melissa Lee via video.
The Ram Mandir, as you will read from the media release, is the culmination of a traumatic event in the history of India and will continue to hurt a vast number of Indians especially Indian Muslims. This temple does not represent Indians.

Congratulating a fascist regime and parroting lines given by its representatives is indeed participating in the terror of Hindutva which is Hindu supremacy. We suggest you inform yourself about it. Perhaps talk to SIS about it.
Mr Seymour chanting Jai Shri Ram is akin to saying Heil Hitler, if you knew how incendiary this chant is in India and for Indians

We understand you wish to visit India and finalise a trade deal. While trade has benefitted humans for millenia, we wish to caution about how your deal might affect the minority communities in India.

We are happy to discuss Hindutva and/or trade with you. After all these issues are not just centred around business and economics but real humans.

Nga mihi nui.

We have not yet received any reply apart from the standard response you get when you write to a member of Parliament or minister.

We know Mr Luxon was at Rātana today but and he might have missed the brouhaha. After all he was facing tough questions about te Tiriti referendum that ACT have proposed.

So we will wait and update if his office does get back to AAPI.

Meanwhile here is some more reading and watching.





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Hindus In New Zealand: The Intersection of Misogyny and Islamophobia in Online Spaces

Post from an AAPI activist.

Triggering content.

I am writing this blog feeling utterly disturbed, disappointed and unsafe in this multicultural country many of us, including myself, call home. A year ago, when I arrived in this small (and seemingly peaceful) country, I never thought that Hindutva (a political ideology that believes in the superiority of Hindus) would be so rampant and ingrained in the Indian diasporic community in New Zealand. As a researcher on Hindutva, it’s my responsibility to share with our community the imminent threats of violence surrounding us. While I have been working on this article and collecting these posts for months, there could not be a better time than now to publish it. Within the context of the ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, the Hindu right is spreading most of the anti-Palestinian disinformation. An example of anti-Palestinian posts in this group is

Even though the post is less violent than many others that we see on the internet these days, the anti-Palestinian sentiment is clear. There are several other similar posts which reflect the support for Israel, that mirror India’s stance on the issue. However, that complex discussion is outside the ambit of this blog. 

In this blog post, I will reveal and discuss the misogynistic and Islamophobic content circulated openly on Facebook groups. This blog will only focus on one such group called Hindus in New Zealand; however, it should be noted that several other and more radical groups exist openly online. The blog post has been written after my 6-month digital ethnography of this Facebook group. 

The first post attacks both Muslims and “liberals” (read: anyone who propagates anti-Islamophobia). The creator makes fun of the “liberal” perspective that locates terrorism within the global context of colonisation and imperialism. This narrative is problematised and homogenised by the creator by painting Muslims as “terrorists” (and at the same time spreading disinformation about the Quran suggesting genocide of infidels). This plays into popular misinformation circulating for decades in Hindutva and Western discourses. The isolated verse is circulated (without context) in right-wing extremist groups that perpetuate Islamophobia (The verse was spoken in the context of a battle between Muslims and Muskriks of Mecca, who broke the peace treaty). 

The next post should be examined within the context of the protests that arose from the shooting of an Algerian-descent teen boy. In June 2023, the 17-year-old was fatally shot by a French police officer. The incident “shook” the nation as the protests turned violent, with cars and buildings being set on fire and thousands of people arrested. The shooting highlighted the police brutality and ill-treatment of Arab and African migrants. The meme translates to, “You shelter me, and I will give you the same what I am giving France.” Using sarcasm and satire, the meme asks countries not to give refuge and shelter to Muslims by portraying Muslims as “terrorists”. The image of the pig is also used derogatively for Muslims (Pork is forbidden in Islam, and the image of the pig is intentionally used to offend Muslims).

The next image contrasts Hindu festivals and Muslim festivals. Firstly, there are questions about the image's veracity and, more importantly, the image stereotypes Muslims as murderous killers while Hindus as peaceful. Even though meat-eating is highly common amongst Hindus (like most other religious communities), the image plays the devil's advocate by isolating Muslims (and one of their festivals associated with meat-eating). Many festivals (including Christmas and Thanksgiving) centre around meat-eating practices, but the image targets Muslims. It also does another job of playing into the “us” vs “them” rhetoric, with the “us” being peaceful/colourful and the “them” being barbaric/dangerous. When circulated within the diaspora, the image paints “Hindus” as model minorities while Muslims as the dangerous “other”. 

The next two posts should be looked at simultaneously within the context of murders of women (between 2019 and 2023) by their romantic partners (who also happen to be Muslim). Here, it should be noted that intimate partner violence is widespread in India (as all over the world), with 40-100% of women murdered by their former/current romantic partners (38% worldwide). The UN Office on Drugs and Crime reports that a woman is murdered by her intimate partner/family every 11 minutes. Without normalising this horrendous violence against women, I draw these statistics to suggest that violence against women is widespread (all over the world), and the narrative drawn by the Hindu right to blame a particular religious community is not only flawed but also highly dangerous. Again, I want to emphasise that the narrative of Muslims as “oppressors, dangerous to women” is not just vested in the Hindu right but also embedded in the White supremacist discourses furthered by the West. The convergence and intersections between the Hindu right have solidified, especially after 9/11.

The first image shows women murdered by their romantic partners (who also happen to be Muslim), reiterating the same narrative of Muslims as “barbarians”. 

The next image depicts a girl saying, “Mera Abdul Alg Hai” (My Abdul (Muslim boyfriend) is different). And then she’s murdered in the very next panel - again reiterating the narrative of “love jihad” (a conspiracy theory according to which Muslim men woo Hindu women to convert them to Islam) and Muslims as “dangerous” or “barbaric”. The circulation of these images not only spreads misinformation about Muslims but also dangerously paints them as violators, murderers and oppressors. At the same time, these posts strip women out of any agency - depicting them as “naive, gullible and stupid,” bringing danger to themselves by being/loving a Muslim man. Instead of acknowledging the structures of violence against women, these posts “blame” women for the violence. This clearly aligns with the broader discourses of shame and safety, where any onus of their safety is vested with women (and the failure to do so is seen as a failure). As such, the posts are deeply misogynist and sexist as well.

Even though I have tens of such images/memes circulating similar anti-Muslim discourses, I cannot show them due to time, space and emotional bandwidth constraints. I, on behalf of AAPI, want to urge what Anjum Rahman, Founder of Inclusive Aotearoa Collective Tāhono and Spokesperson for Islamic Women’s Council, has already been demanding  a country-wide law to monitor hate speech online. Without a law, such harmful images will continue circulating online, feeding into the already existing Islamophobic rhetoric.

AAPI would like to highlight that this Islamophobia is not in a vacuum but has grown in the white supremacist society of Aotearoa that has anti co-governance tours, where MP and leader of New Zealand First Winston Peters indulges in dog whistling to his racist followers and another MP, leader of ACT Party David Seymour stays silent on the murder of Palestinian children as if they do not matter.Or where acting Prime Minister Chris Hipkins thinks a ceasefire in Gaza is not realistic.


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Statement From Sikh Council Of New Zealand Regarding The Murder Of Canadian-Sikh Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Statement from Sikh Council Of New Zealand regarding the murder of Canadian-Sikh Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil.

AAPI stands in solidarity with the Sikh Council and the wider Sikh diaspora affected by this incident. We have always spoken about the presence of Hindu extremist organisations across the world and their interference in the democratic processes of the countries in which they have set up shop. Hindutva methodologies are varied, wide and multi-pronged. They use the concept of multiculturalism and inclusion to promote Hindu supremacy. While concrete evidence about such activities, as required from a Western perspective are not always available, it is simple to join the dots and deduce from the pattern. For that, one must know and understand Hindu fascism.





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Hindutva And White Supremacy. Two Sides Of The Same Coin.

Or partners-in-hate.

In quite a few of our blog posts we have shown direct and indirect slink between white supremacy and Hindutva. We have written many times about how Australia’s resident Hindutva ideologue Sarah L Gates, a white person calling herself a yogini, targets ethnic migrant Indian activists and academics deliberately inciting violence.

We have earlier shown evidence of how Professor Mohan Dutta, researchers at the Centre for Culture-centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), and activists at AAPI, mostly Indians, and a number of us Hindus, have been harassed by far-right Hindutva trolls driven by Gates.  

She was a central player in the Hindutva role in the communal violence in Leicester and regularly appears on far-right Hindutva propaganda platforms in India. The popularity gained by Gates in the far-right hate ecosystem is a direct product of her targeting of Professor Dutta, CARE, and Indian diaspora activists.

Now Gates is indulging in conspiratorial collaborations with far-right white supremacists in Aotearoa New Zealand who have been targeting Professor Dutta.

Pay attention here to the conspiracy theory spun by the far-right The Platform, which, as expected becomes the fodder for far-right white supremacist Twitter handles such as @PCVBJF targeting Professor Dutta. And Australia’s resident Hindutva troll Sarah L Gates shows up like clockwork.


Elsewhere, @PCVBJF is seen promoting far-right hate.



Here’s another far-right account targeting Professor Dutta’s lecture on decolonisation.



Our resident Hindutva self proclaimed yogini pops up again to demonstrate her white supremacist credentials. Her method is to build her influence by pitching herself as an expert on decolonisation and dharma while aligning with far-right hate narratives attacking academics doing the actual work of decolonisation.


The white Hindutva decolonisation perpetuated by hatemongers like Gates is the Brahmanical way. Appropriating academic language to talk about colonisation of India by Islam in pre-British times, selectively extracting from Hinduism and unleashing violence on those Hindus that uphold Hinduism’s core ethos of pluralism and syncretism while upholding and propagating white privilege. Essentially forging together Hindutva and white supremacy into a singularity.

After all Hindutva is based on Nazi ideology and the founders were inspired by Hitler and Mussolini.

In settler colonial contexts such as Aotearoa and Australia then, this intersection must be highlighted as it harms their indigenous people the most.

And Hindutva’s sham of decolonisation must be called out each time we witness it.

This post here talks about white Hindu colonisers and their 'decolonisation projects'. https://www.aotearoaprogressiveindians.org/our_whakapapa_and_resisting_white_colonialist_attacks


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On 22 July 2023 the New Zealand Herald carried an article about Hindu temples across Aotearoa receiving letters that were critical of idol worship and seemed to carry quotes from the Quran. AAPI wrote an open letter to journalist Cherie Howie, New Zealand Herald and other media including Radio New Zealand and their new Indian division critiquing this story and how such ‘receiving anonymous letters but implying it is the Muslim community’ is classic Hindutva methodology. (Letter included further in this post.) 

Gaurav Sharma, senior Indian journalist at RNZ who does digital stories for their new RNZ Asia funded by NZ On Air’s Public Interest Journalism Fund, contacted us to talk to someone about this issue. We directed him to one of our activists. However Gaurav Sharma did not speak with this person. Instead the RNZ website carried a story quoting spokespersons from fascist organisation Hindu Council of New Zealand with the slightly shifting, obfuscating manner that is also classic Hindutva methodology. We wish to point out here that Gaurav Sharma used to edit Indian News, a hard right Hindu platform whose current editor Yugal Parashar openly abuses Indian activists. He called Professor Mohan Dutta a communist rat and despite a complaint to the Press Council had not taken down the article from his website at the time we write this.

But before we question Radio New Zealand on their questionable journalists and complicity in platforming a Hindu fascist organisation we want to break down the stories and show how the kōrero shifts to maintain the façade of decency while also being Islamophobic at the same time. 

Even before that we wish to inform once again about the fascist origins of the Hindu Council Of New Zealand. It is the diaspora avatar of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) that has been deemed a terrorist organisation. We also urge you to look at their exclusive definition of Hindu in the image below. Finally we ask you to read through our blog to understand how this organisation and affiliates function in Aotearoa. 


 As we publish this blog the VHP is busy with genocidal acts against Muslims in the Indian state of Haryana with impunity.


The Herald article.



We draw attention to the words ‘intimidating anonymous’ letters with ‘several passages quoted from the Quran, Islam’s holy book. And that Multicultural New Zealand organised a meeting with Hindu and Muslim community leaders. Also highlighted how the story quotes Pancha Narayanan about both Hindus and Muslims condemning the letters.

AAPI’s response below expresses our concerns about this story. We won't repeat it again separately in the blog.



The Radio New Zealand article.

On 31 July the RNZ website carried a story, without a byline, about the letters to Hindu temples. (The story was later posted on their Facebook page with comments turned off.) This time, representatives of fascist organisation the Hindu Council are quoted in the story. 

  • See how they now say the letter mentions saints and Jesus but yet call it vague. 
  • Then they go on to say the letters could have been written by anyone adding that the Muslim community had reached out.
  • The organisation further says that ‘imported international tensions…can play up’. This alludes to not only Leicester but also India. 
  • The Hindu Council, particularly Selva, who is from Malaysia, has always preached to Indian activists that they should keep their concerns about the failing Indian democracy in India and not speak about it in Aotearoa.
  • Finally, Tandon of the Hindu Council raises the bogie of Hinduphobia by talking about ‘alienation’ of the Hindu community saying they have asked other religious communities to look out for ‘suspicious’ characters. As if a shady person in ‘Islamic clothes’, beard, fez and all is lurking around writing letters to Hindu temples. This harks to Narendra Modi in 2019 when he alluded how Muslims could be identified by their clothes. Tandon is the caricature of a Sanghi WhatsApp Indian uncle with this statement. 

Did you notice the shifting narrative in the two stories? 

  • From ‘intimidating’ to ‘vague’
  • From strongly implying that a Muslim wrote it to ‘anyone’ could have written it. 
  • From seeking a meeting with Muslim leaders to ‘not pointing fingers’ at anyone. YET, saying that the Muslim community had reached out to express their support. 

We reiterate here that the Indian Muslim community has not participated in this process of meeting or expressing support. Unlike the Hindu fascists that went to town about the Lynmall horror, the Indian Muslim community has stayed silent. 


Most disappointing though is how this Radio New Zealand journalist has not attempted to speak to any member of the Indian Muslim community, not questioned the obfuscation from the Hindu Council, nor asked the police how it intends to investigate.

Instead, RNZ platformed a fascist Hindu organisation with terrorist roots. Would Radio New Zealand platform a Christofascist organisation? Would they platform a Chinese communist organisation? Would they have platformed the protestors outside Parliament?

Radio New Zealand has no cultural expertise on India, no pedagogy to lean on, no understanding. And if they are going to seek Gaurav Sharma’s expertise, who as we mentioned earlier, worked for hard right Hindu platform Indian News, then what weight would Radio New Zealand carry as a national broadcaster? 

Now that their independent editorial audit has made 22 recommendations will RNZ investigate their journalist Gaurav Sharma’s connections with hard right Hindu platform Indian News and the Hindu Council that has well documented terrorist roots?

Will RNZ walk the talk or continue to be complicit with Hindutva ultimately losing all credibility and harming the wider Indian community?






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Old Habits Die Hard. America's Love For Authoritarians.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to start his official state visit to the United States on 22 June 2023, where he will be addressing the joint session of Congress and attending a state dinner at White House. Prime Minister Modi says the visit is aimed to “deepen India-US ties in key sectors like trade, commerce, innovation, technology and other such areas”.  However, Reuters last week reported that the US is pushing India to seal a big armed Sea Guardian drone purchase worth $2-3 billion. Earlier this year Air India (previously a public sector company) now owned by Indian Conglomerate Tata Sons, signed an agreement to purchase 200 aircrafts from the US manufacturer Boeing. President Biden described the deal ‘reflects the strength’ of Indo-US economic partnership, and was looking forward to strengthening this relationship even further, as both countries continue to ‘confront shared global challenges’- China?

Is this the shared global challenge that makes Joe Biden and the U.S. receive Narendra Modi despite his abysmal track record of human rights violations and democratic degradation of India or is it because Modi will allow trade deals that benefit American corporations?

Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States comes in the backdrop of turbulent and volatile internal politics of India. The Northeastern state of Manipur which has a government of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is witnessing an ongoing ethnic violence that has already killed more than 100 people predominantly Christians that belong to the Kuki tribe and thousands have been displaced from their homes.

India’s Olympic medal winning female wrestlers are protesting since January demanding a proper investigation into the sexual assault complaints made against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief, senior BJP leader and parliamentarian Brij Bhushan Singh. The actions of Delhi police who tried to intimidate the wrestlers by forced detention and suppress the protest has derived condemnation from wider Indian public and international sports fraternity.

Narendra Modi has kept his usual silence in both the issues, and his government maintained its usual inaction. Narendra Modi and his BJP are expert at using his foreign visits to divert public attention from crucial internal issues whenever the government comes under fire.

On May 13th 2023, Narendra Modi and BJP faced an unprecedented defeat in the Karnataka State elections. Prime minister Modi was leading BJP’s elections campaign in Karnataka and attended 19 rallies and 6 roadshows. However, the people of Karnataka overwhelmingly rejected Narendra Modi, and BJP lost its only stronghold state in South India. The main opposition Indian National Congress bagged a thumbing victory and formed a government in Karnataka. BJP’s defeat in Karnataka sent shock waves across the top leadership of BJP as they fear this is the beginning of the end of Modi’s stardom that alone was supposed to be enough for them to win elections. Ten days after the Karnataka election defeat, Modi flew into Australia even after the QUAD summit was cancelled when Joe Biden pulled out to focus on debit talks. Modi in Australia, without any major official agenda on his list, attended a pre-planned private PR event at Sydney organized by his party men and hundreds of right-wing followers chanting Modi, Modi. Anthony Albanese attended this aggrandizing event as a guest in his own country and was seen saying ‘Modi is the Boss’.

The people of Karnataka who defeated Narendra Modi even after him attending 19 rallies and 6 massive road shows, proved to be a hundred times more democratic and politically conscious than Anthony Albanese who played second fiddle to Modi at this right-wing paid PR event.

Is it surprising then that when the people of India are democratically rejecting Modi, Western neoliberal masters like Albanese and Joe Biden project him as the ‘Boss’ because the last thing these leaders would want is for Narendra Modi to lose the next Indian general elections with a left leaning government in New Delhi that prioritizes the people of India over corporate interests.

After all the Russian crude that India buys has many takers across the democratic ‘anti-war’ Western world, the leaders of which have turned a blind eye to ongoing Chinese incursion on Indian soil.





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The Real Secret To Success With India. Trading With Conscience.

On 21st March 2023, the Newsroom published an article ‘The secret to success with India’ in which national affairs editor Sam Sachdeva interviewed Dr. Ian Hall, deputy director of Australia Griffith Asia Institute and an academic on international relations. The article aimed to educate the public on what ‘they get wrong about India’ or in this case, what ‘they get wrong about Narendra Modi’, the prime minister of India.


We unpack this article here.


First things first, Newsroom’s national affairs editor does not mention the fact the Dr. Ian Hall is an Academic Fellow of the Australia India institute at the University of Melbourne. In March 2022, 13 academic fellows quit the Australia India institute because “…the Indian High Commissioner to Australia has intervened in the institute’s activities and there have been repeated instances where research or views that are unflattering to the image of India had been blanked.” The academics further alleged that “there was a reluctance to publicise commentary on caste and race, and that official events had “carried the flavour of propaganda”.” https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/academics-quit-melbourne-university-institute-over-foreign-interference-and-free-speech-concerns-20220406-p5ab8x.html

It is interesting to note that Dr. Ian Hall himself had signed a letter with fellow academics, raising similar concerns about the intervention of the Indian High Commission in December 2020. The letter signed by Dr. Hall explicitly states that “socio-political developments in India in recent years raise concerns relating to basic liberties, human rights and democratic values.” The letter further states that the “current majoritarian government has used sedition laws to curtail freedom of speech and has incarcerated academics and journalists as well as social workers with little evidence, due process or access to bail.”


We wonder what has changed in the last two years, Narendra Modi or Dr. Ian Hall?

Moving into the article, Dr. Hall is confident that Modi is going to win a third term in power in 2024. It is worth noting here that Prime Minister Modi, or his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)  secured 37.36 percentage of the popular votes polled (total voter turnout 67.40 %) in 2019, and entered into a second term with an NDA coalition of 45% votes. Three major parties who were allies of BJP in 2019 have already left this coalition.

India experts such as Dr. Hall often forget that it's for the people of India to decide whom they should elect to run their government. Pro Indian democracy supporters are optimistic that the people of India will give a befitting reply to Mr. Modi and BJP for their anti-working class, corporate friendly policies and divisive politics that systematically erase the very existence of religious minorities and marginalised people.

Unlike Dr. Hall, the working class and poorer communities across India are clearly able to articulate that Modi’s ultimate goal is to serve his cronies like Adani and Ambani, and establish a monolithic Hindu state of India using this economic power.

Dr. Hall further observes that India stands out on the global stage rather than aligning to one side. To validate this claim, Dr. Hall points to the increase in India's crude oil purchase from Russia in the backdrop of the latter's invasion of Ukraine. The United states is quiet about these disagreements as they believe that over time, the interest of the U.S. and India will converge. (Modi has been invited on a state visit late in June 2023.) Dr. Hall failed to point out that it is the United States of America that is purchasing the refined petroleum products from India that are made from Russian crude oil.


On a side note, Gatik Ship Management, a dark mysterious company registered in Mumbai with an original fleet of two ships in 2021 now owns almost 60 ships that transports Russian crude to various ports.


This fleet’s insurance was declined ship insurance by major companies for flouting rules and is now covered by Indian companies.


Moving to the next part of the article, Dr Hall downplays Hindutva fascism and Narendra Modi’s role in shaping India's trajectory towards an increasingly authoritarian state. Dr Hall further attempts to make a distinction about what he calls hardline narrower Hindutva  ideology, separating this from broader pride in India and  stating that this India pride has some elements of ‘Hindu pride’.

Dr. Hall may not know ‘India pride’ originated as a resistance against the British imperialism and colonisation of the subcontinent so he gets it completely wrong when he says Indian pride has elements of ‘Hindu pride’. If this was the case post-independence and Partition in 1947, a Hindu state would have been formed, similar to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. We Indians who have a long history of fighting the colonisers are aware of the colonising tactic of ‘divide and rule’. So, we set aside all our differences and united under one Tricolour flag to form a secular socialist state of India. In short, the Indian pride has not just the elements of Hindu pride; it has elements of Muslim pride, indigenous pride, Christian pride, and numerous regional and linguistic prides. This secular fabric of India is in danger under the Hindu supremacist rule of BJP.

Dr. Hall says the middle-class Indians have voted Modi as their lives have improved under his rule and ‘if Modi were to be replaced by more hardliner (Indian Hindu) nationalist the coalition of voters would fall apart and BJP would in turn fall out of power’. Now we seriously doubt what Dr. Hall’s  definition of ‘hardliner’ is as Modi  allegedly presided over a pogrom in Gujarat in 2002 that killed hundreds of Muslims. A BBC documentary on which was then not only banned by his government but students who attempted to screen it publicly on varsity campuses were also severely punished.



Perhaps Modi is not hardline enough for Dr. Hall?

Finally, Dr. Hall suggests that New Zealand India bilateral trade talks in effect had frozen because of ‘India's protectionist approach to its agricultural sector’. The reality is the farm sector had completely collapsed under Modi's rule, which favours the further privatisation of the agricultural sector. The farmers of India were seen agitating against the controversial farm laws; the diaspora communities in even Aotearoa and Australia have witnessed the waves of these protests and the hatred directed at them by local Hindutva adherents.

Apart from this, Adivasi (Indigenous) lands are constantly under attack under the watch of the Modi government. The mining rush by big corporates are stealing Indigenous lands and dispossessing Adivasi people out of their sacred spaces and ways of lives. The indigenous activists protesting against this land grab are jailed under draconian sections and Adivasi women are physically and sexually assaulted. It seems like Dr. Hall has had to work overtime to ‘whitewash’ Narendra Modi.


Aotearoa New Zealand and India should have strong bilateral relationships and trade that uphold the needs of the working classes and marginalised of both nations.


A bilateral trade relationship is not just between business elites and corporates. It should be between the people and to achieve this we must speak up against the atrocities committed by a fascist ideology and its Führer.



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