Islamophobia: Can Modi's India Afford to Alienate the Entire Arab Muslim Middle East?

Last week, two official spokespersons of India's ruling BJP party insulted Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on an Indian television channel known for promoting Islamophobia. Mohammad Zubair, an Indian Muslim journalist, tweeted a video clip of the TimesNow primetime show featuring BJP's official spokeswoman Nupur Sharma attacking the Prophet (SAW) revered by more than a billion Muslims around the world. As the video clip went viral, a long a growing list of Muslim countries has officially protested to the Indian government. The UAE, Oman, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iraq, the Maldives, Jordan, Libya, Bahrain and Pakistan have now joined Kuwait, Iran and Qatar, calling Indian ambassadors to register their protest, and Saudi Arabia has issued a strongly worded statement. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its condemnation and denunciation of the statements made by the spokeswoman of the BJP,"  the Saudi statement said.

India's Ties to the GCC Nations. Source: Advaid


The BJP's entire domestic politics is built on the hatred of Islam and Muslims. At the same time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi who many hold primarily responsible for promoting Islamophobia in India, wants to have strong economic ties with the Arab Muslim Gulf states. This latest crisis has exposed the built-in contradictions in the BJP's domestic and international agenda.  Indian analyst Aakar Patel calls the ruling BJP party "a party of bigots". Here is his analysis of the situation:
"The (Modi) government has not bulldozed properties of Muslims for resisting rioting; it has conducted civic acts related to unauthorized construction. India is not targeting its Muslims through CAA-NRC pincer; it is only showing solidarity with non-Muslims from neighboring nations. Allowing mobs to prevent congregational prayers in designated spaces is really to ensure traffic flows smoothly. There can not be many who are innocent of what is going on. Certainly, there are none among the votaries of Hindutva. The problem is having democratized violence against Muslims across the country, and having been electorally rewarded for this, Modi must consider what it means for India. He has been given a taste of that this week, and as the sequence of events shows, he has not found it appealing. Trouble on this front will return unless Hindutva retreats and returns India to its normative secular state its Constitution prescribes. This is not going to happen under Modi, of course. The next best thing is to backpedal Hindutva a bit and calibrate Hindutva to a level where it pleases its constituency but doesn't offend the world. This will not be easy as we are about to find out". 
It is important to note that nearly 9 million Indians work in the Arab Gulf nations, 60% India's crude oil comes from the Middle East and the UAE is India'a third largest trading partner. Half of all remittances to India ( nearly $40 billion) come from just 5 Gulf nations of the GCC. 
The Hindu Nationalists led by Prime Minister Modi are particularly hostile toward Muslims but also other Abrahamic faiths and the West. American journalist Walter Russell Mead described it in a recent Wall Street Journal Op Ed as follows: "Many BJP supporters want the Indian government to defend India’s Hindu civilization and culture from Islam, Christianity and Western secular liberalism. This form of Hindu nationalism leads to controversial policy initiatives". The fact that the United Arab Emirates has joined to protest is particularly significant. The Arab Muslim UAE, a grouping of  seven Arab Muslim kingdoms, has now become the number one destination for education and employment of people from Hindu India, according to the government data from the two countries. 

India is now ruled by the right-wing Hindu BJP party headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose entire politics is based on extreme hatred of Islam and Muslims. In 2020, Emirati Princess Sheikha Hend bint Faisal al-Qasimi strongly criticized Islamophobia in India. She also expressed solidarity and sympathies with Indian Muslims and Kashmiris.

Indians Students Abroad. Source: Economic Times

Over 1.2 million Indian students are now studying overseas, twice more than a decade ago. The UAE has 219,000 Indian students, Canada 215,720, the US 211,930, Australia 92,383, Saudi Arabia 80,800, Britain 55,465, and Oman 43,600, according to the data from India's Ministry of External Affairs

UAE Expat Population. Source: Global Media Insight

In addition to students, there are millions of foreigners working in the UAE. Currently, the Indian population in UAE is the highest with 2.75 million, followed by Pakistanis with 1.27 million. The UAE has around 0.75 million Bangladeshi nationals, 0.56 million Filipinos, and 0.48 million Iranians. There are also people from Egypt (0.42 million), Nepal (0.32 million), Sri Lanka ( 0.32 million), China (0.21 million) and the rest of the world (1.79million).

Last year, India received $43 billion in remittances from the UAE. Total worker remittances to India reached $87 billion last fiscal year, making it the world's largest recipient of these remittances. 
The United States was the second largest destination for Indian students. China maintained its top position among the leading places of origin for international students, with 35% of all international students in the 2020-21 school year hailing from the country, according to the data released by the United States government.  The second most common place of origin was India (18%), followed by South Korea (4%) and Canada (3%). Some of these countries also experienced the largest year-over-year declines in the number of students who enrolled at US institutions. The largest such percentage decreases occurred in South Korea (-21%), China (-15%) and India (-13%).

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Comment by Riaz Haq on June 7, 2022 at 12:22pm

Spoof video shows Qatar Airways CEO offer plane to man who called for 'bycott' of airline
"Vashudev habibi, we are willing to give you one whole plane to make your TikTok videos, or maybe we can give you two litres of petrol free so you take this call for boycott back otherwise how will we survive?" CEO of Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker says in the spoof video.

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/trends/current-affairs-trends/spo...

After Qatar expressed strong objection to controversial remarks made against Prophet Muhammad by BJP members, "bycottQatarAirways" began to trend on Twitter on Tuesday.

The trend also brought to the front a spoof video posted by Twitter user Ahad (@AhadunAhad11111) in which the CEO of Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker appears to appeal to one of the Twitter users to take back his call to "bycott" the airline.

"I cancelled all my meetings and flew straight to Qatar because Vashudev is our biggest shareholder. And he decided to boycott our lines from his headquarters which is the terrace of his house," Al Baker appears to say in an interview with Al Jazeera. "He was having a powercut at that time in his neighbourhood and he made that devastating video."

The Qatar Airways CEO further goes on to reiterate, "Vashudev is our biggest shareholder with a total investment of Rs 624.5. We don't know how to operate anymore. I have grounded all the flights. Our flights are not operating anymore. We are requesting Vashudev to take this call for boycott back."

The video also did not hold back from pointing out the spelling mistake in the trending hashtag.


https://twitter.com/AhadunAhad11111/status/1534081319470256128?s=20...

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 7, 2022 at 4:46pm

Handle the India-U.S. Relationship With Care
The world’s largest democracy often sees things very differently than America.

By Walter Russell Mead

https://www.wsj.com/articles/india-handle-with-care-modi-china-russ...


Superficially, the U.S.-India relationship looks like a success. With both countries focused on China, business ties steadily deepening, and U.S.-Pakistan relations in a deep freeze, many of the old obstacles to the relationship have disappeared.

But an intense week of meetings in Bangalore and Delhi with politicians, think tankers, religious leaders and journalists made clear that while Americans and Indians share strategic and economic interests, and we both value democracy, we remain divided by important differences in values and perceptions. Unless managed carefully, these differences could derail U.S.-India cooperation at a critical time.

Americans and Indians often see the same problem in very different ways. India, for example, does not see Russia’s attack on Ukraine as a threat to world order. While Americans have been disturbed by India’s continued willingness to buy oil from Russia, Indians resent the West’s attempt to rally global support for what many here see as a largely Western problem in Ukraine. Pointing out that Europeans scarcely noticed China’s attacks on Indian frontier posts in 2020, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told a conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, last week that “Europe has to grow out of the mindset that Europe’s problems are the world’s problems.”

More generally, Indians bristle when they sense Americans and Europeans getting together to write global rules. The more that American Wilsonians talk about a values-based international order, the more that Indians worry about Western arrogance. Many Indians want a strong Russia and, within limits, a strong China precisely to help guard against the kind of world order President Biden and many of his advisers want to build.

This is more than the postcolonial suspicion of Western intentions that India has long shared with many other non-Western countries. The Hindu nationalist movement that has replaced the long-ruling Congress Party with a new political system built around the Bharatiya Janata Party and its charismatic leader, Narendra Modi, has brought a new dynamism to Indian foreign policy. This new nationalist India wants to increase and develop Indian power, not submerge Indian sovereignty in Western-designed international institutions.

The domestic agenda of the Hindu nationalist movement can also cause problems for the U.S.-India relationship. For Hindu nationalists, the rule of the Muslim Mughal emperors, some of whom destroyed ancient Hindu temples and built mosques on their ruins, was as much a disaster as British colonialism for Indian civilization. It is not enough to send the British packing; the liberation of India means placing Hindu civilization back at the center of Indian cultural and political life. Many BJP supporters want the Indian government to defend India’s Hindu civilization and culture from Islam, Christianity and Western secular liberalism.

This form of Hindu nationalism leads to controversial policy initiatives. Tough restrictions on the ability of foreign organizations to fund civil-society groups in India threaten to disrupt the activities of American charities ranging from the Ford Foundation to the Catholic Church. Anti-conversion laws put obstacles in the path of both Christian and Muslim missionary efforts, and Hindu women wishing to marry out of the faith sometimes face severe social and governmental pressures. Communal violence, a problem in India since the days of the British raj, has risen in recent years. Indian Muslims often express fears for their personal security.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 7, 2022 at 7:11pm

Should #US lower its expectations of #India? Instead of investing in #humancapital, #nuclear & #renewable energy, or #healthcare, #Modi’s gov't focus is on “correcting” history textbooks, attacking #Muslims, extoll #Hindu "virtues"! #Hindutva #Islamophobia https://thehill.com/opinion/international/3513889-should-the-us-tem...


By HUSAIN HAQQANI AND APARNA PANDE, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS

India is reprising its Cold War-era strategy of walking the tightrope between Russia and the United States. During the virtual summit between President Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April, as well as the in-person Quad leaders’ summit in Tokyo in May, Biden requested India’s support on Ukraine. India has refused to stop purchasing oil from Russia, even if it has cancelled some Russian arms contracts.

India’s neutrality over Ukraine has dampened the enthusiasm even of those Americans who have projected India as the key American partner in its competition with China. Indians argue that they are only acting in their national interest and that even though their long-term interests remains tied to the U.S., they cannot forego the short-term advantage of neutrality towards Russia.

Instead of voicing frustration with India over its continued friendship with Russia, U.S. policymakers and commentators would do better to revise their expectations of India. The rhetoric about India being as important in U.S. plans for Asia as Great Britain was for standing up to the Soviet Union in Europe after World War II ignores India’s changing view of itself and the world.

Under Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, India is in the process of redefining its nationalism, away from the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. India’s rising Hindu nationalism (which has overtaken the secular nationalism of India’s early years) is centered on reviving India’s ancient Hindu glory. Ancient India was notoriously insular and not particularly interested in partnering with distant peoples.

While Modi’s India still wants to be recognized globally with respect, it hopes to earn that respect through celebration of an International Yoga Day, not through confrontation with China or Russia. That fundamentally different view of what is entailed in India becoming a global great power makes partnership with the West in accordance with Western expectations unlikely.

India’s economy is not growing at a rate that would position it to be China’s competitor. The expansion of India’s middle class has slowed down. Americans hoping to tap India as the next market of more than 1 billion consumers will have to wait to see that dream become a reality, both on account of its slower economic growth and its over-regulation.

Disappointment will be even greater for those expecting India to field its large military forces against China. Declining investment in military capabilities have made India’s military rather inefficient and inadequately modern. India might be able to face off against Pakistan, but it is still far from being in China’s league.

Around 60 percent of India’s military equipment is of Russian origin, and while India plans to purchase more equipment, it is keen on boosting indigenous capability and having a diverse basket of suppliers. That runs contrary to American expectations of being India’s supplier of choice.

Meanwhile, the U.S. expectation of an influx of orders for American-made nuclear reactors from India, which formed an important basis for the 2008 civil-nuclear deal, remains unfulfilled.

India wants to trade and acquire technology with the U.S. on its terms, which it believes are mutually beneficial. But is not about to become the western partner that successive U.S. administrations and many scholars have imagined.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 7, 2022 at 7:12pm

Should #US lower its expectations of #India? Instead of investing in #humancapital, #nuclear & #renewable energy, or #healthcare, #Modi’s gov't focus is on “correcting” history textbooks, attacking #Muslims, extoll #Hindu "virtues"! #Hindutva #Islamophobia https://thehill.com/opinion/international/3513889-should-the-us-tem...


By HUSAIN HAQQANI AND APARNA PANDE, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS


Instead of investing in human capital, nuclear and renewable energy, or health care, the focus of Modi’s government has been on “correcting” history textbooks to change the portrayal of India’s Muslim and Western-colonial rulers while extolling the virtues of the ancient Hindu era.

Hyper-nationalism has also led to a new wave of protectionism and regulation, which impedes economic expansion. India has also lost the glow of being a success story for democracy and individual political rights. In 2021 and 2022 Freedom House downgraded India to “partly free,” citing attacks on religious minorities, suppression of media and weakening of institutions.

Comments by American officials about India’s direction inevitably attract charges from Indians of unwarranted interference in India’s internal affairs. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently released the State Department’s 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom and spoke about “rising attacks on people and places of worship” in India. He was widely criticized in the Indian mainstream and social media.

Blinken also described India as “the world’s largest democracy, and home to a great diversity of faiths,” reminding everyone that the image of India as a pluralist and open society might be its great strength in external relations. That image, and the hope that India would be a global great power once it realizes its full economic and military potential, have suffered because of the ideological obsessions of India’s current leaders.

But what is unpopular in the U.S. is popular in India. Modi and his party have been repeatedly rewarded at the ballot box for talking about their civilization’s glorious past. As India postpones building a modern future or chooses to do it at its own pace and on its own terms, western cheerleaders for India’s rise may have no choice but to modify their expectation that India will help fight alongside the world’s democracies against totalitarian China or Russia.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 7, 2022 at 8:40pm

In response to arguments like lowering expectations of India (above), pro-India think tankers want the US to have a policy of what they call "strategic altruism"!

https://www.riazhaq.com/2019/09/ashley-tellis-wants-trump-to-contin...

In a piece titled "The India Dividend: New Delhi Remains Washington’s Best Hope in Asia" published in Foreign Affairs journal, authors Robert Blackwill and Ashley Tellis argue that the Trump Administration should continue the US policy of "strategic altruism" with India that began with US-India nuclear agreement. They want President Trump to ignore the fact that the US companies and economy have only marginally benefited from this policy. They see India as a "superpower in waiting" and urge Washington to focus on the goal of having India as an ally to check China's rise. They see Chinese support for India's archrival Pakistan and China’s growing weight in South Asia and beyond as a threat to India.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 8, 2022 at 7:00pm

India-Gulf row: Why Modi is in a double bind
CJ Werleman
8 June 2022 10:52 UTC | Last update: 15 hours 36 secs ago
After anti-Islam comments by senior officials, the Indian president must placate Middle Eastern leaders while quietly continuing to support his party’s vilification of Muslims

https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/india-gulf-islam-row-modi-dou...


For those familiar with Indian politics, the past week has been profoundly revelatory, marking the first time India’s ruling party has been caught embarrassed by its systematic mistreatment of its Muslim minority since riding into office on the back of a muscular Hindu nationalist agenda in 2014.

At the centre of Modi’s international diplomatic discomfort are moves by Gulf states to denounce and condemn his party for insulting the Prophet. In addition, Indian envoys in Qatar, Kuwait and Iran were summoned for a private scolding, while supermarkets in several Gulf states removed Indian products from their shelves. Social media hashtags calling for an economic boycott against India trended on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

To all this, Indian journalist Rana Ayyub commented: “Iran, Saudi Arabia and Qatar speaking in one voice. When was the last time the world witnessed this? Modi hai to mumkin hai [translated: Modi made this possible].”

The Indian government has responded by suspending the officials who made the derogatory remarks - and for the first time in the country’s 75-year history, it issued a statement to a foreign country (or in this case, a group of Muslim-majority countries under the umbrella of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation).

“India was taken aback by the response,” Kabir Taneja, a fellow with the Observer Research Foundation think tank, told CNN. “Communal issues are not new in India and in previous cases, we have not had such a response [from Arab states].”

Turning a blind eye
But it’s hardly surprising the Modi government has been caught off-guard here, given that Arab states have willingly turned a blind eye to any number of India’s persecutory actions against Muslims, including an amnesty law offering citizenship rights only to non-Muslim migrants; bans on students wearing the hijab; discriminatory laws premised on anti-Muslim conspiracies; support for economic boycotts against Muslim-owned businesses; and revocation of Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status.

Arab Gulf governments have also remained tight-lipped as members of Modi’s party have other-ised Muslims as “termites,” “pests” and “terrorists”, while Hindu nationalist groups allied with the BJP have urged their supporters to commit a Muslim genocide - a plea now heard on a near-daily basis. They have also said nothing as Muslims have been lynched, and their homes, businesses and mosques vandalised, by radicalised mobs in broad daylight, and often in the presence of police.

Nevertheless, these governments and Islamic leaders in the Middle East now have Modi’s undivided attention, particularly those calling for “all Muslims to rise as one nation” against India - a plea made by Oman’s chief religious figure, Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmad bin Hamad Al-Khalili, who also announced a boycott of Indian products.

While the Modi government was able to strike an indignant tone against the United States, accusing it of indulging in “votebank politics” after the Biden administration accused New Delhi of mistreating its religious minorities earlier this month, it knows it must be far more conciliatory towards Arab Gulf countries, given that around two-thirds of India’s crude oil imports flow from the Middle East.


But the spigot is not the only potential pinch point. A bigger issue is the millions of Indian expatriates who live and work across the Gulf states, putting at risk the tens of billions of dollars India receives in remittances from its citizens in these countries.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 8, 2022 at 7:01pm

India-Gulf row: Why Modi is in a double bind
CJ Werleman


https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/india-gulf-islam-row-modi-dou...

Massive political crisis
If Arab Gulf countries were even to threaten the deportation of Indian migrants, or a halt on visas for Indian workers, it would create a massive political crisis for the Modi government - at a time when it can least afford it, given the Indian economy has struggled to grow and a fuel price shock is hitting millions.

According to one Indian observer, India’s trade relationship with Gulf countries bears two-fold significance: oil dependency and a potentially large export market for India. India's bilateral trade with all six GCC group countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, has increased significantly in 2021-22 with Indian exports to the GCC increasing by over 58 percent reaching $44bn.


Ultimately, this leaves Modi trapped in a double bind. On the one hand, he knows he must walk back his party’s hostility towards Muslims to appease India’s Arab Gulf partners. On the other, he’s acutely aware that the BJP’s efforts to scapegoat and vilify Muslims have helped him and his party to evade responsibility for an economy reeling from Covid and inflation.

“To keep winning elections, it needs to keep polarising Hindu voters against Muslims, and spinning ever more outrageous campaigns to demonise Muslims,” said Debasish Roy Chowdhury, coauthor of To Kill A Democracy: India’s Passage to Despotism.

This is why Modi will walk this tightrope by speaking out of both sides of his mouth, telling Middle Eastern leaders what they want to hear, while quietly offering his full support to those within his party who insult the Prophet Muhammad and abuse Muslims.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 8, 2022 at 8:12pm

Seema Chishti
@seemay
“Bigotry is not easy to calibrate, as the PM is learning this week. Many interesting things emerge from the manner in which the BJP attempted to handle the fiasco created by its spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal”
@Aakar__Patel
in
@TheIndiaCable
today.

https://twitter.com/seemay/status/1534542973450346496?s=20&t=5G...


----------------


See new Tweets
Conversation
Aakar Patel
@Aakar__Patel
bjp is a party of bigots. indeed the bjp is bigotry. it operates under a nehruvian carapace abroad. the secular aspirations of the indian state before modi give him the cover on days like today

https://twitter.com/Aakar__Patel/status/1533475176414752769?s=20&am...

-------------

Aakar Patel:


"The government has not bulldozed properties of Muslims for resisting rioting; it has conducted civic acts related to unauthorized construction. India is not targeting its Muslims through CAA-NRC pincer; it is only showing solidarity with non-Muslims from neighboring nations. Allowing mobs to prevent congregational prayers in designated spaces is really to ensure traffic flows smoothly.

"There can not be many who are innocent of what is going on. Certainly, there are none among the votaries of Hindutva. The problem is having democratized violence against Muslims across the country, and having been electorally rewarded for this, Modi must consider what it means for India. He has been given a taste of that this week, and as the sequence of events shows, he has not found it appealing. Trouble on this front will return unless Hindutva retreats and returns India to its normative secular state its Constitution prescribes. This is not going to happen under Modi, of course. The next best thing is to backpedal Hindutva a bit and calibrate Hindutva to a level where it pleases its constituency but doesn't offend the world. This will not be easy as we are about to find out.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 9, 2022 at 8:12am

USCIRF (United States Commission on International Religious Freedom)
@USCIRF
#Indian officials and non-state actors have used social media platforms to intimidate and spread hatred and disinformation against religious minority communities, contributing to numerous violent attacks. Read more in the I2022 Annual Report India Chapter.

https://twitter.com/USCIRF/status/1534645800726319112?s=20&t=NL...

--------
India
USCIRF–RECOMMENDED FOR COUNTRIES OF PARTICULAR CONCERN (CPC)

In 2021, religious freedom conditions in India significantly worsened. During the year, the Indian government escalated its
promotion and enforcement of policies—including those promoting a Hindu-nationalist agenda—that negatively affect Muslims,
Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, and other religious minorities. The government continued to systemize its ideological vision of a Hindu
state at both the national and state levels through the use of both
existing and new laws and structural changes hostile to the country’s religious minorities.


https://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/2022-04/2022%20India.pdf

Attacks on Religious Communities
In 2021, numerous attacks were made on religious minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians, and their neighborhoods, businesses,
homes, and houses of worship. Many of these incidents were violent,
unprovoked, and/or encouraged or incited by government officials.
Both officials and nonstate actors have used social media platforms
and other forms of communication to intimidate and spread hatred
and disinformation against religious minority communities. The quick
spread of misinformation online has contributed to violent attacks. In
October, mobs attacked mosques and torched properties of Muslim
residents in Tripura, which borders Bangladesh. USCIRF received
documented reports of at least 50 incidents between June and
October 2021 targeting the Christian community in the state of Uttar
Pradesh alone.
Violent attacks have been perpetrated across the country
under the guise of protecting cows in line with India’s constitution
and laws in 20 states (and growing) criminalizing cow slaughter in
various forms. Vigilante mobs, often organized over social media,
have attacked religious minorities—including Muslims, Christians,
and Dalits—under suspicion of eating beef, slaughtering cows, or
transporting cattle for slaughter. Most such violent incidents are
reported in states where cattle slaughter is banned. For example,
in June 2021, three Muslim men were lynched on suspicion of cow
smuggling in Tripura, and a vigilante mob beat two men they accused
of smuggling cattle, resulting in one’s death and hospitalization of
the other in Madhya Pradesh.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 9, 2022 at 8:16am

Employees of Google during an internal monthly meeting on Thursday, 2 June, questioned executives why the anti-bias talk by Thenmozhi Soundararajan was cancelled.

https://www.thequint.com/news/world/google-employees-question-cancel-talk-dalit-activist-thenmozhi-soundararajan-caste-social-media

The company’s top diversity officer responded that it was cancelled because it “was actually pulling employees apart,” reported Insider, based on an audio recording of the meeting that was leaked.

This news comes just days after Tanuja Gupta, a senior manager at Google, resigned from the company on 1 June, to express solidarity with a Dalit rights activist who was not allowed to give a presentation on caste.

In April, Thenmozhi Soundararajan, the founder of Equality Labs, a Dalit civil rights organisation, was scheduled to give a lecture to employees of Google News during Dalit History Month. However, it was called off after several Google employees called Soundararajan "Hindu-phobic" and "anti-Hindu" in emails to company heads.

During the all-member meeting on Thursday, the question of whether Google wanted to alter more diversity initiatives to “not cause others discomfort,” in light of the anti-bias event’s cancelation was raised. Employees had reportedly asked how they can discuss discrimination at Google considering the retaliation Gupta faced.

"Retaliation is a normalised Google practice to handle internal criticism, and women take the hit," Gupta had written in her resignation email.

Google’s chief diversity officer, Melonie Parker, responded that the company was “deeply opposed” to caste discrimination, and that “it has no place here or anywhere,” Insider reported.

“And in fact, a large group of employees felt that they were being vilified. And this resulted in a lot of internal concern, heated threads, as well as escalations," he said.

Meanwhile, Alphabet Workers Union (AWU), also informally referred to as the Google Union, has expressed solidarity with Soundararajan and Gupta.


They demanded that Soundararajan's talk must be reinstated at Google News and the company should have a continued commitment to bring in Dalit and caste-oppressed speakers to address caste discrimination. Google must immediately add caste to all of its HR policies in all locations, the tweet read.

Sundar Pichai, Google's chief operating officer (CEO), said that the company should take into account “all types of issues people face, and we should strive to make a difference in all of the areas, including caste discrimination” as part of its DEI work, quoted Insider.

However, Soundararajan who had appealed to Pichai to allow her to give her presentation, has still not received a response.

"He is Indian and he is Brahmin and he grew up in Tamil Nadu. There is no way you grow up in Tamil Nadu and not know about caste because of how caste politics shaped the conversation," said Soundararajan, who is also a Dalit, reported The Washington Post.

“Even a consultant like myself is facing casteist smears in the company you lead. Imagine what a caste-oppressed worker at Google would face if they dared to come forward,” her statement read.

Several prominent personalities and people took to social media to slam the "blatant casteism" at the workspace.


Some Netizens Claim She Has 'Hatred for Everything Hindu'
Meanwhile, several other netizens have hailed the decision stating that she was "anti-Brahmin" and was "bent on creating caste diversion."


HinduPACT, a Hindu Policy Research and Advocacy Collective USA, accused Soundararajan of peddling "a vicious and well-resourced influence operation."

"What drives their campaign is a shared hatred for everything HINDU and a well curated agenda to defame and de-platform any representation of the Indian American diaspora or Hindu Americans in the future of America. Sinister and Goebelessian," the tweet read.

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