Dismantling Global Hindutva: Participants receive death threats from Hindu right-wing groups

“Far-right fringe groups have mobilised to attack the speakers at the conference”, the organisers said, forcing scholars to withdraw from the conference for fear of being arrested/harmed in India

Conference Poster
Conference Poster

NH Web Desk

An international conference on the growing Hindu nationalism called, Dismantling Global Hindutva, is being targeted by right-wing groups, reported The Guardian.

The conference, being called anti-Hindu by some, is sponsored by over 53 top US universities. However, “far-right fringe groups have mobilised to attack the speakers at the conference”, the organisers said, forcing scholars to withdraw from the conference for fear of being arrested/banned/harmed in India. The organisers even released a statement that said “immense pressure has been placed upon universities by fringe groups to back out of the conference” and warned of the “sinister implications” of this “massive disinformation campaign”.

The Guardian reported that pictures of the children of a speaker, Meena Kandasamy, were posted online that were captioned with casteist slurs and statements like “ur son will face a painful death”. A few other participants filed police complaints after receiving death threats. Right-wing groups also sent over one million emails to officials at universities sponsoring the conference. The server at New Jersey’s Drew University crashed after they received over 30,000 emails in a matter of a few minutes.

“We are deeply concerned that all of these lies, taken together, will be used to incarcerate those who speak at the conference, or worse, inflict bodily harm, up to murder, upon those associated with the conference,” said the conference’s organisers.

Rohit Chopra, one of the organisers, said that the organisers and speakers “received threats of sexual violence and violence against their families”. They’ve also been called anti-Hindu, Hinduphobic and anti-India. He added that the backlash has just proved why it is important to hold this conference.

An email received by the organisers read that the sender would kill the speakers and “become Osama bin Laden”.

Ben Baer, the director of the South Asian Studies programme at Princeton University, said that the attack had been orchestrated by extremist groups and was an organised attack.

Right-wing TV news channels in India have also alleged that the conference is funded by the CIA, foreign governments, etc. and that it is “designed to support the Taliban.”

A few groups campaigning against the conference have allegedly been linked to murders of intellectuals and journalists, like Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, USA and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.

These extremist groups have even targeted Audrey Truschke, a professor at Rutgers University, for her work on Mughal history. She received a threatening voicemail and contacted the police. “Because of what’s happening in India, the Hindu right and Hindu supremacists in the United States feel particularly emboldened, and the virulence their attacks on scholars is accelerating significantly,” said Truschke.

The conference, which begins today, aims to discuss Hindutva and how PM Modi has pushed a Hindu nationalist agenda that has resulted in discrimination and attacks on Muslim minorities.

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