India at WEF2023: UP CM Yogi Adityanath Feared Arrest, Canceled Davos Visit

Yogi Adityanath, the radical Hindu Chief Minister of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, canceled his plans to lead a delegation to the 2023 World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland. The cancellation came after a criminal complaint was filed against the Hindu Nationalist leader who is widely seen as Prime Minister Modi's successor. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L), UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath (R)

Adityanath was planning to lead a delegation to the World Economic Forum-2023 meeting at Davos, Switzerland, according to reports in the Indian news media. The state government put up a pavilion to showcase Uttar Pradesh as “the best investment destination”.

The complaint was filed under the principle of “universal jurisdiction” by law firm Guernica 37. It alleges that Adityanath ( real name Ajay Singh Bisht) “ordered the false imprisonment, torture and murder of civilians between December 2019 and 2020” and that “these acts may amount to crimes against humanity.”   

Guernica 37 (G37) describes itself as a "Specialist Group of International Criminal and Human Rights Lawyers with a Socially Committed and Multi-Disciplinary Outlook".  It claimed that the chief minister does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, and hopes the filing will have a cooling effect on WEF attendance in the future by any political or business figures alleged to have committed criminal acts.

Top Radical Hindu Leaders: Modi (Left), Yogi (Middle) and Shah (Right)

Prior to being elected Prime Minister of India, Modi was barred from visiting the United States and the United Kingdom for his role in the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in 2002. Speaking about the US decision to grant immunity to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said that it was “not the first time” that the US government has designated immunity to foreign leaders and listed four cases. “Some examples: President Aristide in Haiti in 1993; President Mugabe in Zimbabwe in 2001; Prime Minister Modi in India in 2014; and President Kabila in the DRC in 2018. This is a consistent practice that we have afforded to heads of state, heads of government, and foreign ministers,” he said. 

Like his leader Modi, Yogi is a highly divisive Indian Hindu politician. His incendiary anti-Muslim rhetoric and bulldozing of Muslim homes have won him popular Hindu support in India. He is also very popular among the Hindu Indian diaspora.  

"We are all with you Modiji and Yogiji", shouted an Indian American man who tweeted a video clip of a a 2022 car rally in Silicon Valley, California. Rally participants can be seen carrying pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Some also carried BJP's lotus flags. Hindu Americans enjoy the freedom to practice their faith and culture in the United States while at the same time they support Hindutva fascist rule in their country of origin. 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on January 29, 2023 at 11:25am

#India's Gen Z grapples with #Modi's dark past in new #BBC #modiDocumentary. For Indians dismayed by what they see as rising authoritarianism under Modi and his #Hindu nationalist #BJP watching the documentary has become a symbol of protest. #Islamophobia

SRINAGAR, India — When the lights were suddenly cut off, the crowd of young people switched on the flashlights on their smartphones. They turned them toward the seat of a motorbike, where student activist Aishe Ghosh stood in defiance.

“They will shut one screen, we will open hundreds,” she shouted.

The students had gathered at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, the Indian capital, for an outdoor screening of a new BBC documentary that is critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his role in the deadly 2002 riots in Gujarat when he was the western state’s chief minister.

After the power outage — Ghosh blames the university administration, which hasn’t commented on it publicly — students streamed the film on their phones and laptops instead, either through VPNs or by sharing proxy links to archived footage via encrypted apps.

Authorities in India, the world’s largest democracy, have gone to extraordinary lengths to stop people inside the country from seeing the film since the first part aired in Britain last week, invoking emergency powers to order the removal of any clips or links that are posted on social media platforms including YouTube and Twitter. For Indians dismayed by what they see as rising authoritarianism under Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, watching the documentary has become a symbol of protest.

Many of India’s young people have no memory of the riots, in which more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed. Modi denies being complicit in the attacks, and India’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling last year that he should be cleared of all charges.

Over half of India’s 1.4 billion people are under the age of 30, and they are shaping up to be a pivotal political force in the 2024 general election and beyond, Ghosh told NBC News.

“It is very important for the BJP to control these minds,” she said.

Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, called the BBC film, “India: The Modi Question,” a “propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative” and said it reflected a “colonial mind-set.”

In a statement, the British broadcaster said that the film had been “rigorously researched” and that the Indian government had declined to comment on the allegations.

The first part of the documentary is about Modi’s political career before he became prime minister. Gujarat was convulsed by riots in early 2002 when Hindu mobs, blaming Muslims for the deaths of 59 Hindu pilgrims in a train fire, retaliated against Muslim communities.

According to the film, British officials said the violence bore “the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing” and that Modi, as chief minister, was “directly responsible” for letting it happen.

Harsh Mander, who quit his job as a civil servant to become a rights activist after the riots in Gujarat, said they “showed us a very different India than what we had promised ourselves at independence” in 1947.

“Today’s generation needs to see what happened in 2002 and make an informed choice,” he added. “Is this the India you want?”

For years, Modi was barred from traveling to the United States over his role in the riots, being invited back only after he became prime minister in 2014. The second half of the BBC documentary, which aired in Britain this week, focuses on his leadership since then.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 29, 2023 at 11:26am

#India's Gen Z grapples with #Modi's dark past in new #BBC #modiDocumentary. For Indians dismayed by what they see as rising authoritarianism under Modi and his #Hindu nationalist #BJP watching the documentary has become a symbol of protest. #Islamophobia

Critics say Modi has promoted discrimination against India’s Muslim minority and quashed dissent, especially since his re-election in 2019. Some journalists have been stopped from traveling overseas, and government demands for the removal of content on Twitter have soared. Last year, India fell to 150th out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Wednesday that the U.S. supported press freedom and other rights that strengthen democracies.

“This is a point we make in our relationships around the world,” he said at a regular briefing. “It’s certainly a point we’ve made in India as well.”

Opposition lawmakers in India have also pushed back, sharing links to the documentary that have since stopped working.

“Sorry, Haven’t been elected to represent world’s largest democracy to accept censorship,” Mahua Moitra, a member of Parliament from the center-left All India Trinamool Congress, said on Twitter. “Here’s the link. Watch it while you can.”

But Kanchan Gupta, a senior adviser to India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, called the film “anti-India garbage” and said YouTube and Twitter had complied with government orders to block it from being shared.

Both platforms have struggled with free speech issues in India. Twitter sued the Indian government last year over sweeping regulatory changes that give officials greater power to demand the removal of online content they deem threatening to the state, the same changes now being used to censor the BBC documentary. The future of the lawsuit is uncertain under the company’s new owner, Elon Musk.

“First I’ve heard,” Musk, who calls himself a free speech absolutist, said on Twitter this week when asked about the BBC film’s censorship in India. “It is not possible for me to fix every aspect of Twitter worldwide overnight, while still running Tesla and SpaceX, among other things.”

Kunal Majumder, the Indian representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said officials had weaponized an emergency provision of the laws, which are known as the Information Technology Rules, against legitimate journalism.

“The government has reacted to the documentary calling it propaganda and [part of a] colonial mind-set,” he said. “How does that qualify as an emergency?”

‘We created a plan’
Nivedya P.T., a student in New Delhi, was 2 years old at the time of the riots in Gujarat. She and others defied warnings from her university, Jamia Millia Islamia, not to screen the BBC film because “it is very important for us to know about our history,” she said.

“You cannot just block a documentary arbitrarily saying it is propaganda. That’s not right,” Nivedya said. “We have freedom of expression in this country, and we can watch any documentary and movie we want. So we created a plan.”

The screening was set for Wednesday night. That morning, Nivedya said, university staff chased her around campus and confiscated her phone. In the afternoon, she and three other students were taken away by police.

Students staged a protest near campus that night demanding Nivedya’s release, clashing with police officers equipped with tear gas and riot gear. Five students from the protest were detained as well, she said.

The campus remained closed the next day, students told NBC News, and police have maintained a strong presence in the area.

Nivedya’s detention came on the eve of Republic Day, a national holiday marking the anniversary of India officially adopting its Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression.

“We are being deprived of our fundamental rights,” Nivedya lamented after she was released. “I’m not sure how democratic India is anymore.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 31, 2023 at 5:33pm

#India: #Hindutva Soundtrack of #hate. Hateful anti-#Muslim singers' songs/music streamed on #socialmedia platforms and played all across India with impunity, while the state does nothing to stop. #popMusic #HindutvaPop #Modi #Islamophobia #violence

Sandeep Acharya is a popular musician. Millions of users stream his songs online, and thousands of fans attend his concerts. He belongs to India's Hindutva music scene — an Islamophobic scene that has been on the rise in India. Hindutva pop is often played when Hindu groups rally in India. Some songs have even sparked violence and riots.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 1, 2023 at 5:02pm

#Hindu mobs, enraged by conversions, attack #Christians in #India. "Christians are in the minority, and they get beat up, and the #Hindutva fundamentalists have state support". #Modi #BJP #Islamophobia #Hate

NARAYANPUR, India — Over two decades of practicing and proselytizing Christianity, Badinath Salam had been kicked out of his home several times and often harassed. But in December, he recalled, the vitriol turned virulent.

Leaders in his Indigenous Indian village beat drums to summon all 100 households to a clearing, he said. There, gathered villagers pummeled their Christian neighbors, who made up one-fifth of their village, and left Salam hospitalized for three days.

When the drumbeats began again a week later, on Jan. 9, Salam ran for his life. In this part of central India, he wasn’t the only Christian forced to flee.

Since December, Hindu vigilantes in Chhattisgarh state in eastern India, enraged by the spread of Christianity and rallied by local political leaders, have assaulted and displaced hundreds of Christian converts in dozens of villages and left a trail of damaged churches, according to interviews with local Christians and activists and as seen during a recent trip to the area.

That visit to the remote region — a day’s drive from the nearest airport — revealed the extent of the chaos and its uneasy aftermath. In villages, bruised and beaten Christian converts picked through the rubble of churches destroyed by mobs wielding sledgehammers. In dusty townships, Hindu nationalist leaders led impassioned rallies promising more action against Christian conversions. In an empty government gym of the dusty township of Narayanpur, evicted families including Salam’s sought refuge, sleeping on mats next to a few sacks of spare clothes and grain.

The violence played out in one of the most culturally unique parts of India, a stretch of forested hills where missionaries from different religions and even Maoist guerrillas have long vied for the hearts and souls of Indigenous tribes. But the episode also illustrated a broader truth about India today: that antipathy toward the Abrahamic religions of Islam and Christianity — often portrayed as alien religions brought to India by its historical invaders — can be wielded as an effective mobilizing force for political ends.

Across India, reports of violence against Muslims often increase in the run-up to elections, a phenomenon that some political scientists have attributed to attempts by Hindu parties to energize their base. In the region of southern Chhattisgarh known as Bastar, the boogeyman has been the Christian.

The violence that roiled Bastar began in December and eventually affected about 100 villages, local activists said.

On Jan. 2, members of a local Hindu group known as the Janjati Suraksha Manch stormed a Catholic church in Narayanpur town, where they destroyed statues and threw rocks through stained-glass windows. On Jan. 12, more than 200 men in Chimmdi village climbed onto the roof of the small church built by Jai Singh Potai and tore it down. Around the corner, they smashed another church and wrote on a blackboard: “If you don’t leave Christianity then the same will happen again.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 3, 2023 at 10:59am

Swiss Lawyers' Group Files Criminal Complaint Against UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Over Murder And Torture Killing Of Muslims In India


The group, in its press release, cited the “principle of universal jurisdiction” in Article 264 of the Swiss Criminal Code.

The group has singled out Adityanath and his administration’s treatment of protesters, noting that the suppression of protests could amount to crimes against humanity.

Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath is reported to have ordered the false imprisonment, torture and murder of civilians between December 2019 and January 2020 in the state of Uttar Pradesh to suppress protests against the adoption of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India. As set out in the criminal report, these acts may amount to crimes against humanity as they are alleged to have been committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilians, mostly the Muslim population in the country.

The group notes that it has “sufficient basis to believe that senior members of the UP State Government, including Chief Minister Adityanath, are responsible for ordering the UP police under their command” and singles out Adityanath’s speeches.

“The Chief Minister’s role in the escalation of police violence is particularly apparent in a speech given on 19 December 2019 calling on the police to take “revenge” against protesters. Despite being an Indian State official, the Chief Minister does not enjoy diplomatic immunity for these crimes.”

The lawyers also note that following the adoption of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December 2019, “which embodies a wider pattern of discrimination against Muslims in India,” many members of the Muslim community across the country took to the streets to peacefully protest the law. However, it says, UP Police violently cracked down on protesters.

“In the course of this crackdown which lasted six months, the UP police reportedly killed 22 protesters, at least 117 were tortured and 307 were arbitrarily detained,” it said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 17, 2023 at 5:23pm

#India is continuing on its path to majoritarian #chauvinism. Narendra #Modi will do everything to ensure a third term in office. #Hindutva #Fascism #Islamophobia #BJP

Varanasi, INDIA - MARCH 04: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets crowds of supporters during a roadshow in support of state elections on March 04, 2022 in Varanasi, India. India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, is holding state elections in seven phases, as the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Modi looks to defend its majority in its "cow belt" heartlands. The election is expected to be a barometer for the national political mood amid deepening sectarian divisions

Narendra modi had a better 2022 than most world leaders. India’s prime minister was projected to end the year as leader of the world’s fastest-growing major economy, with growth close to 7%, in spite of multiple global crises.

Russia’s war in Ukraine plunged Europe into an energy crisis and strained relations among Western allies. In India, by contrast, it facilitated the purchase of cheap Russian oil and lifted Mr Modi’s international standing. As Western countries jostled to gain India’s support, the prime minister succeeded in styling himself as an ostensibly neutral advocate of resolving the conflict peacefully, managing to scold Vladimir Putin while simultaneously resisting Western entreaties to join the anti-Russia coalition for good.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 23, 2023 at 5:46pm

#BBC says it won't be deterred by #Indian gov't's censorship of #ModiDocumentary and tax raids on its offices. In an email to staff in India, BBC DG Tim Davie applauded reporters' courage in the face of attacks. #Hindutva #Fascism #freespeech #democracy

The BBC says it will not be “put off” from reporting in India after the government prevented a documentary critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from airing in the country and raided the broadcaster’s offices.

Indian tax authorities spent three days searching BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai last week. The raids came nearly a month after the Indian government used emergency powers to ban the two-part documentary “India: The Modi Question.”

In an email to staff in India, BBC director general Tim Davie applauded their courage in the face of what press groups and India’s main opposition Congress party have condemned as an attack on press freedom

“Nothing is more important than our ability to report without fear or favour,” Davie wrote in the email, a copy of which was shared with CNN.

“Our duty to our audiences around the world is to pursue the facts through independent and impartial journalism, and to produce and distribute the very best creative content. We won’t be put off from that task”

Davie added that the BBC “does not have an agenda.”

Indian authorities have accused the BBC of tax evasion. India’s Income Tax Department said it had found “several discrepancies and inconsistencies” in the records of “a prominent international media company.” The BBC said last week that it would “respond appropriately to any direct formal communication received from the Income Tax Department.”

Davie said in his email that the BBC continued to cooperate fully with the Indian tax authorities.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said that the searches had “all the hallmarks of a reprisal,” coming as they did weeks after the Indian government prevented the Modi documentary from airing and blocked clips of it circulating on social media.

The documentary, which broadcast in the United Kingdom in January, criticized the role played by Modi as chief minister of the western state of Gujarat when riots broke out between the state’s majority Hindus and minority Muslims in 2002.

Modi was accused of not doing enough to stop the violence, which killed more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims. Modi has denied wrongdoing, and a special investigation team appointed by India’s Supreme Court in 2012 found no evidence to suggest he was to blame.

The prime minister has been accused of silencing his critics in recent months and on Thursday, a senior member of India’s Congress party was arrested for allegedly insulting Modi.

— Swati Gupta and Manveena Suri in New Delhi, Olesya Dmitracova and Martin Goillandeau in London, and Alex Stambaugh in Hong Kong contributed reporting.

Comment by Akhtar Hussain on March 29, 2023 at 10:24am

Dear Riaz Sb.

Thank you for highlighting these important developments.  I always feel that, we as Pakistanis must support our Muslim brothers in India. The reason being that they do not enjoy the same rights as we do in Pakistan as Muslims. 

Having said that, I find that Europeans have always preferred Indian non-Muslims as skilled workers in their countries.  Europeans have considered Muslims a nuisance due to their lack of respect for the freedoms in Europe.  In 2023 things are changing, Italy has decided to accept workers from Pakistan.  My only advice for Pakistanis is to be good citizens and respect the laws of the countries they live and work in.  Always stay in control of the situation and respect the European women.

The other issue I would like to highlight is that Muslims and Pakistanis are making a difference in UK as they have secured prominent positions as political leaders. Pakistani youth needs to learn from these leaders.  They studied and worked hard but, stuck to their religion as their identity.

Pakistan is in dire need of a sustained PR campaign and projecting a well defined and sustainable soft power. Tourism, Music, Food, Hospitality, Recreation, Music, Dramas, Technology and Sports and leading as a civilized, progressive Muslim nation are key. 

Pakistan really needs to put together a football team. We need to break away from sports that are only played by the former British colonies.  Football is the ticket for Pakistan.  I understand there are great footballers in Lyari.

I am sad to hear that there is another school shooting in US. This time the victims were really young.  I have a serious question, the shooter is a terrorist but is not named as a terrorist, why?

If it were a Muslim shooter he would be labelled a terrorist?  Why the double standard?

Thank you.


Comment by Riaz Haq on April 17, 2023 at 9:09pm

This will blow your mind away! If life gives you a chance to become Yogi, be Swami Harshanand and not Adityanath. See the clarity in Swami’s thoughts and his love for inclusive India. We spoke to him at the peak of movement at Singhu border. This is a tribute to him now that Farm Laws have been repealed.

Swami Harshanand: "Modi is a hard core criminal. He should not be PM of India. He should be in jail. It's NAG company (Narendra Amit Gautam) ruling India. He did his MA before his BA. He's a madari (street entertainer). We don't know anyone who went to school or college with him"

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 12, 2023 at 6:46pm

Prashant Bhushan
"Indian govt told Twitter to black out farmers protests&tweets by journalists critical of the govt. Threatened to shut Twitter down in India&raid the homes of Twitter employees, which they did. And India is supposed to be a democratic country!": Jack Dorsey, former CEO of Twitter


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