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‘Fascist alliance’ attempting to curb religious freedom: Activists protest Namaste Trump event

The "fascist alliance" between "forces attempting to erode democracy and curb freedom of speech and religion" is dangerous not only for India but the planet as an entire , a gaggle of over 160 academicians, activists and students from Gujarat said in an letter against the "Namaste Trump" event.

US President Donald Trump will arrive in Ahmedabad on February 24 and can participate along side Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an occasion , christened 'Namaste Trump, within the newly-constructed Motera stadium in Ahmedabad.

"With a spectacular rise in global fascism today, this alignment between the most important democracy within the world and therefore the most powerful one is dangerous not just for India, except for the planet as an entire . We cannot in good conscience support this alliance between forces that are trying to erode democracy and curb freedom of speech and religion," the 168 signatories said within the letter.

"We cannot stand by as families are bereft of their homes so as to form room for those that wish to get rid of citizens from their countries. We unequivocally condemn this fascist alliance, and urge the Indian State to prioritise the requirements of its citizens over the greed of the worldwide elite," the signatories said.

They include activist and danseuse Mallika Sarabhai and academicians from institutes like Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad and CEPT University.

They claimed India and USA had seen an increase of "authoritarian politics" in recent years, with Modi and Trump at the helm.

The letter claimed Trump was "unreservedly racist, Islamophobic, xenophobic, and anti-poor," while Modi had enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act that bars "Muslims from neighbouring Muslim-majority countries from receiving expedited citizenship offered to other minority groups".

It said the Modi government was ready to enact the National Register of Citizens, "which European Union members have warned could precipitate the most important statelessness crisis within the world".

"In the past year alone, an unprecedented 69,550 migrant children were separated from their families and held in government custody. The list of detained migrants included 52 Indian nationals, one among whom died in US custody in May of last year…." the letter alleged.

While Trump enacted a ban against refugees and migrants from several Muslim-majority countries, India has enacted the CAA, they said within the letter.

In the context of "crores" being spent on the 'Namaste Trump' event, the letter claimed the "privileging of foreign capital over local needs is unfortunately familiar".

It also spoke a few wall being built to stay a slum hidden during the US president and PM Modi's roadshow, and eviction notices being given to 45 families, within the process displacing a community that has resided in Motera for the past 20 years.

They said large infrastructure projects just like the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project et al. under the "Vibrant Gujarat" initiative to draw in foreign investments had resulted in mass eviction and displacement of poor people.

This "development" had left many of us behind, the letter said, and alleged that Gujarat has witnessed wide-scale violence against its minorities, increasing ghettoisation and therefore the systematic erosion of democratic values.

The signatories claimed the Gujarat government had instructed police to deny permissions for protest 15 days before Trump's visit, a move that infringes on fundamental rights enshrined within the Constitution.

While the 'Howdy Modi' event within the US allowed thousands of protesters, the Indian state chooses to preempt any expression of dissent before 'Namaste Trump', it claimed.

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