Khaled Barakat, Palestinian leftist writer and coordinator of the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat, expressed his solidarity with the people of India confronting the unjust, exclusionary Citizenship Amendment Bill.
Through decades of struggle and solidarity, the people of India and the people of Palestine have long been allies in fighting colonialism and struggling for a more just, democratic international order. More recently, Indian trade unions, student organizations and other mass movements representing millions of people have joined the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, Barakat noted. Right-wing, reactionary forces are threatening not only religious and national minorities in India but even the basis of the country’s independence constitution, which recognizes full equality under the law and secular citizenship. Under the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill, people facing religious persecution in neighboring South Asian countries may obtain Indian nationality.
However, Muslims are specifically excluded, despite the fact that Muslims and groups of Muslims, such as Shia in Pakistan, are frequently subjected to religious discrimination, abuse and threats to life and liberty in neighboring countries. This bill comes hand in hand with an attempt to force all people in India to re-present documents to prove their right to citizenship, even if they have lived in the country since birth – threatening Indian Muslims with denationalization.
“This is an attempt by the far right in India to target Indian Muslims and to replace a progressive, anti-colonial conception of Indian identity with a narrow one based on Hindu supremacy and exclusion. Of course, it will have the heaviest impact on the popular classes and oppressed communities. It is no surprise that these efforts come alongside an ever-strengthening relationship between the Indian government of Narendra Modi and the settler-colonial Zionist project in Palestine. It is part and parcel of the global fascist alliance that threatens people’s rights and popular movements around the world. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the revolutionary Palestinian left have always stood side by side with struggles for justice in India, including the struggles of exploited workers and the movements of marginalized and oppressed communities. Today, we again stand with all of those who continue to fight for justice in India. Every victory for your struggle is also a victory for Palestine.
The India-Israel relationship is praised as a ‘strategic asset’ by Israeli officials, and India has become the world’s largest customer of Israeli weapons tested on Palestinian people and Palestinian land. In response to the proposed bill, thousands have taken to the streets to fight injustice and discrimination. University students protesting the citizenship bill have come under brutal police attack. Hundreds of students were severely injured, while authorities blocked internet access and imposed blanket curfews on Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University, among others. We stand with the students and the people throughout India who are marching together for a just, democratic future. The solidarity between the people of India and the people of Palestine is the true face of our relationship, not the Modi government’s alliance with the Zionist project of the Israeli state.”