Sneha

Sneha is a Connecticut-based organization founded by Dr. Shyamala Raman, a Professor of Economics and International Studies University of St. Joseph, West Hartford, Connecticut. Similar to Manavi, Sneha focuses on domestic violence issues facing South Asian women in the US, particularly in the Connecticut area. Yet, Sneha is a member of the CAG, whose agenda is very different from that promoted by Sneha. Hence, it is also unclear why Sneha chose to lend its support to the coalition. Or, is Sneha’s name being used by one or two of its members to bolster CAG’s credibility?

It is indeed saddening that Sneha supports the CAG and the nexus’ rabid anti-India and anti-Hindu views. Again, as in the case of Manavi, why does Sneha focus only on the “Hindu extremist” violence in India while ignoring even worse situations in other countries in South Asia? While it is important to stand up for violence against women, why is violence against Hindu women in Pakistan and Bangladesh ignored? Do Hindu women not deserve the same treatment as Muslim women in South Asia? Has Sneha raised its voice for the Hindu women who died in the Godhra train inferno?

In 2005, Sneha, Manavi and a few other South Asian women groups endorsed a CAG letter denouncing the Asian American Hotel Owners Association’s decision to invite Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.[1] The letter contained several highly exaggerated and inaccurate claims of violence against Muslim women, such as “….the tearing open of women’s vaginas and wombs, forcing the abortion of fetuses…”[2] Such hyperbole has been proven inaccurate by various testimonials and evidences. For example, on March 18, 2010, The Times of India reported that the story of Kausar Bano, whose womb was allegedly ripped open and the fetus dangled on the tip of a sword by the rioting mob, was proven wrong by the testimony of Dr. JS Kanoria who conducted a post-mortem of Bano’s body on March 2, 2010.[3] Similarly, on April 14, 2009, The Times of India carried an article on how the Supreme Court of India’s Special Investigation Team severely censured activist Teesta Setalvad and other NGOs for exaggerating information on the 2002 Gujarat riots. The SIT, submitting a report before the Supreme Court bench, noted:

Many incidents of killings and violence were cooked up, false charges were levelled against then police chief P C Pandey and false witnesses were tutored to give evidence about imaginary incidents…[4]

Sneha and other organizations like Manavi have either not bothered to look at such information and restate their stances or have decided to ignore an alternative side of the matter before blindly endorsing CAG’s statements. Besides, none of these South Asian women organizations has ever signed similar protests by Bangladeshi or Pakistani Hindu organizations seeking justice for victims of rape and forcible conversions of Hindu women, including girls who are six or seven years old. Hindus and Hindu women, it seems, are dispensable.

 

[1] http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org/press/support/womens.orgs.php. Accessed January 26, 2014

[2] Ibid

[3] “Doc’s testimony nails lie in Naroda Patia fetus story”, March 18, 2010, The Times of India, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-03-18/india/28148300_1_fetus-womb-naroda-patia. Accessed January 26, 2014

[4] Dhananjay Mahapatra, “NGOs, Teesta spiced up Gujarat riot incidents: SIT”, April 14, 2009, The Times of India, articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-04-14/india/28031729_1_riot-cases-r-k-raghavan-riot-victims.  Accessed January 26, 2014