AJA also criticized the silence of Indian media on the issue.
The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), a US-based organization that has the membership of major progressive Indian American groups, denounced the attack on Indian Dalit scholar Kancha Ilaiah.
Ilaiah, who is an Indian academician, writer and activist for Dalit rights came under attack when over 200 people mobbed his car in Warangal district of Telangana last week.
The concept of ‘social smuggling’ that was coined by Ilaiah in his book Post-Hindu India had irked Arya Vysya organizations of the two Telugu states that resulted in people attacking Ilaiah. The organization had issued a death threat to Ilaiah.
Violent videos of the protestors are being circulated both online and offline. One video shows a group of men wearing saffron shawls asking two boys to urinate on Kancha’s photo as they shout slogans such as ‘Jai Vysya ki Jai’.
“The attack was an attempt on the life of the outspoken political philosopher who has authored several books including ‘Why I am not a Hindu,’ ‘Buffalo Nationalism Post-Hindu India,’ ‘Untouchable God,’ among many others,” read a press statement from AJA.
The organization has also requested the court to sanction Ilaiah 24-hours police protection. Iaiah is Director, Al-Beruni Centre for Social Excellence and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad.
Ahsan Khan, President of Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an AJA-constituent said, “The police’s bias and refusal to uphold the law in defense of an intellectual bodes ill for the safety and security of common citizens in India and for the future of political dissent.”
“That a sitting member of Parliament called for violence against a renowned scholar is reflective of the extent to which a fascist mindset has taken root amongst sections of the Indian political class,” added Khan.
“An attack against one of the most renowned Dalit scholars, writers and thinkers is outrageous and an affront to freedom of speech. People are not tolerant and open to criticism when information challenges Hindu doctrine,” said Umang Kumar, a member of AJA.
Ilaiah is facing the onslaught after Msco Publishers published a translated version of a chapter titled “Social Smugglers” from his book Post-Hindu India. The translated chapter titled Samajika Smugglerlu: Komatollu was burnt all over Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by alleged Arya Vysya activists asking the state governments to ban the book.
AJA also criticized the silence of Indian media on the issue saying their silence “is telling of an atmosphere where expression of any ideas that go against the Hindutva narrative creates security risks.”