On September 27, 2013, the Council for a Parliament of World Religions (CPWR) withdrew its participation from an event organized by Hindus in Chicago to commemorate Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary. This decision was heavily influenced by an incarnation of this nexus, called the Coalition Against Genocide (henceforth “CAG”). Congratulating CPWR on its decision, Raja Harish Swamy, a spokesperson for the CAG, declared:

CAG is a broad alliance of over 40 organizations, representing a diverse cross-section of the religious and political spectrum of the Indian diaspora, including several Hindu organizations. CAG spokespersons speak on behalf of the entire coalition, and not in their individual capacity or on behalf of a subset of constituent organizations. Any attempt to couch the controversy as a Hindu-Muslim issue is a serious mistake.[1]

This report is an investigative analysis of the CAG. It analyzes each of the constituent members of the coalition as well as their religious, political and ideological leanings.

The report challenges the three claims of CAG mentioned above –

A) That, it is a “broad alliance of over 40 organizations”;
B) It contains “a diverse cross-section of the Indian diaspora”; and
C) It includes “several Hindu organizations”. In the analysis that follows, some important themes come to surface.

Firstly, the political and ideological links of these organizations, groups and individuals are brought forward. For example, the workings of radical Indian leftists in the US are highlighted in the analysis of the various members of the CAG. Under the guise of progressive and secular work, these organizations, groups and individuals are nothing more than the ambassadors of radical left-wing groups and political parties in India. While the Western leftists are mostly at odds with Christian evangelicals, the Indian leftists actually support and work with them to paint India as an oppressor of minorities, especially Christians, Muslims and Dalits. To achieve this goal, they exaggerate facts, provide highly out-of-context testimonials and go on “fact-finding” missions to corroborate data for their theses. Similarly, the Indian Left is generally sympathetic towards Islam and Muslims while not having any such sympathetic attitude towards Hinduism and Hindus. The Indian Left defends Islam and Muslims as “the Global South.”[2] Protests (including burning of Bibles, American flags, effigies of US Presidents, etc.) against defamation of Prophet Muhammad and the Quran are deemed as acts out of “…a general sense of dispossession and subordination.”[3]  However, when Hindus protest distorting portrayals of their religion, their deities and their saints and ask for fairness, the Indian Left is quick to deride such efforts as “Yankee Hindutva”, “Hindu fascism” or “Brahminical Revisionism”. The Indian Left supports demonization of Hindus and Hinduism while vehemently opposing any form of demonization of Islam and Muslims.

The report provides details on how the nexus works with groups and political parties whose members have been prosecuted for criminal activities or whose members have had a history of violent behaviors and terrorist tendencies.

Secondly, the ideological leanings of the Islamic advocacy groups and Christian evangelical members also surface. The Islamic advocacy groups view the Taliban as a “disadvantaged group” that tried to improve Afghanistan and bring order to a country ravaged by the imperialist Western regimes. They view India as a perpetual oppressor of the Muslim minority and the Gujarat riots as a pre-planned genocide meticulously orchestrated by “Hindu extremist” forces in India.

Christian evangelicals, on the other hand, are driven by their “divine duty” to “save the heathen souls of idol worshipers”. The Indian Christian constituents act as agents and ambassadors of powerful international evangelical organizations to freely convert Hindus under the cloak of “religious freedom” and “Dalit rights”. They lobby the United States government to intervene in India’s internal matters by manufacturing atrocity literature showing alleged widespread persecution of Christians while suppressing facts about aggressive proselytization. Their testimonials in front of US lawmakers produce an image of India and Hindus as violent suppressors of religious freedom and promoters of apartheid. Exploiting the faultlines of Indian society, these organizations and individuals operate in India and abroad to drive a wedge between Hindus to expand their market share of “harvestable souls”. They promote outdated racial theories and false myths of martyrdom to craft a long history of Christianity and its persecution in India.

Thirdly, the nexus contains several disenfranchised separatist organizations and individuals who advocate balkanization of India in order to secure their religious and social identities. For example, the Sikh separatists are driven by their quest for a separate country that ensures the religious rights of their community and acts as a “buffer” between India and Pakistan to reduce tensions in South Asia. However, the demand is only aimed at the secession of the Indian State of Punjab while ignoring the status of the State of Punjab in Pakistan. Religious persecution of Sikhs in Pakistan is also seldom highlighted. Exaggerated numbers and facts about alleged persecutions of Sikhs are circulated in order to lobby international governments to pressure India.  Interestingly, while the Congress Party of India played a heavy role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, these separatists align themselves with CAG members who are also part of the Indian National Overseas Congress.

The Tamil separatists, on the other hand, use outdated colonial theories regarding the Aryans and the Dravidians to make a case for a separate homeland for the Tamil people. They consider Hinduism and Buddhism as foreign “Aryan” religions that colonized the original inhabitants of India and Sri Lanka. Hence, the only solution to restore the glory of the Tamil people is a separate homeland. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are considered heroes who fought and died for this “noble” cause. The separatists therefore advocate political pressure on India and Sri Lanka to recognize the demand for a separate Tamil country. The Tamil separatist movement aligns itself closely with Communist parties and Christian evangelicals in southern India to highlight alleged “Aryan Hindu” savagery against the “Dravidian Tamil” people.

The report also discusses various strategies deployed by this nexus to advance its cause:

A) Creating and supporting paper-based organizations and groups in order to increase its constituency;
B) holding conferences, seminars, movie screenings, etc. to highlight  alleged atrocities against Christians, Muslims and Dalits;
C) Lodging protests, petitions, etc. against the Indian government or against various Hindu organizations, accusing them of “fascism”, “extremism”, “human rights abuse”, etc.;
D) Supporting appointments of individuals who demonize India and Hinduism, in key posts in the academia, politics and the media ;
E) Creating highly prejudiced works and out-of-context reports about Hindu organizations, Hinduism and India and distributing them to the media, in political circles and to the general public.

Together, this nexus has attacked several Indian and Hindu organizations and have attempted to eradicate their existence by false propaganda. For example, in 2002, FOIL and its affiliates attacked the India Development and Relief Fund, accusing it of “funding hatred in India”. In 2007 and in 2008, FOIL and its affiliates went on the rampage to destroy the US-based youth organization, Hindu Students Council, accusing it of “fascism” and “right-wing extremism”. The attack on the HSC was particularly dangerous since this nexus labored to confuse young Hindus and persuade them to disown the HSC by its half-truths and out-of-context statements.

While the CAG remains the focal point of the report, it is important to note that CAG is a small part of this formidable nexus of Hinduphobic forces working in unison to demonize India and its majority population – the Hindus (including the Hindu diaspora).

[1] See CAG’s Press release titled “CAG welcomes CPWR’s reaffirmation of its dissociation with ‘World Without Borders’ event”, September 27, 2013, http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org/press/cag.pr.27sep2013.php.  Accessed January 30, 2014

[2] Vijay Prashad, “Fear and hatred”, October 06-19, 2012, Frontline Volume 29, Issue 20, https://web.archive.org/web/20121025051955/http://www.frontline.in/fl2920/stories/20121019292001000.htm.  See Vijay Prashad’s defense of the Muslim uproar against Salman Rushdie’s novel Satanic Verses, the cartoons about Prophet Muhammad, and the movie Innocence of Muslims. Prashad claims: “That violence has to be seen in the context of a general sense of dispossession and subordination in the global South. This is not a natural situation, with the mob gratuitously destroying and killing…”  Accessed February 15, 2014

[3] Prashad, Ibid