Hindu Americans condemn ‘Hinduphobic’ conference which lists 41 US universities

New Delhi, Sep 1 (IANS) Hindu American Foundation and Ohio State Senator Niraj Antani have condemned the ‘Hinduphobic’ conference, ‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ (DGH) being organised in September allegedly by several American universities.

“I am condemning in the strongest possible terms the @dghconference. I will always stand strong against #Hinduphobia. I want to thank the @HinduAmerican Foundation for leading the charge against this bigotry. @hinduoncampus @hinduampac,” the Republican Senator from Ohio, Niraj Antani said on Twitter.

Suhag Shukla of the Hindu American Foundation said, “Scholars of Genocide engaging in Genocide denial. Wow. Hindus have never committed mass genocide in the name of their religion. Hindus have faced multiple genocides. Yet here we are: Genocide scholars asserting that ‘Hinduphobia’ is a ‘distraction’. This is a new low.

“What goes on in Truschke’s lectures? What comments are made in the Zoom chat? ‘Hindus should be banned from entering the US’. “How can you trust people who worship millions of Gods,” Xenophobia and bigotry against Hindu Americans is actively encouraged. #Hinduphobia, Hindu On Campus,” said in a tweet.

“In the past 50 years, Hindus have faced genocide in Bangladesh & large scale ethno-religious cleansing in Afghanistan, Bhutan, India’s Kashmir & Pakistan. Apparently these Scholars of Genocide & Mass Violence missed these horrific events,” Shukla said.

“Another example of #Hindu Canadians positively engaging with @UofT . And another example of @UofT eliding the fact that DGH organizers are engaging in vociferous #Hinduphobia denialism while perpetrating it. Pro forma confirmations of free speech ring hollow in that context,” Hindu American Foundation said.

“Not good enough @OhioState. You must condemn DGH #Hinduphobia denialism. Thanks for dissociating from the DGH event, but would you be as indifferent if a ‘faculty group’ denied anti-Semitism or Islamophobia? Your faculty are aligning with a group posting this horrific image,” HAF said.

“‘Get well soon’, ‘You may be infected’ This sneering is the public face of professors from elite colleges organising the DGH event. Tell me again that this is an ‘academic’ conference & not a partisan political rally? Do universities ‘sponsor’ this level of academic discourse?,” Shukla said.

“‘Dismantling Global Hindutva’ is not only political & partisan. It veers into promoting Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu hatred in the activists and politicians it platforms, in the resources it promotes & in the reductionist definition of Hinduism it presents,” Shukla said.

The Hindu American Foundation sent follow up letters on Wednesday to the 41 universities initially listed as sponsoring the upcoming Dismantling Global Hindutva conference.

“We would assume that the legal, tax-exempt limitations on political activities extend from the institutional level to the departmental. The central topic of this partisan event remains the same — to oppose and ‘dismantle’ the Bharatiya Janata Party, a democratically elected party in India…’Dismantling Global Hindutva’ is not only political and partisan. It veers into promoting Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu hatred in the activists and politicians it platforms, in the resources it promotes, and in the reductionist definition of Hinduism it presents.”

HAF’s Executive Director, Suhag Shukla and Managing Director, Samir Kalra, shared that the event organisers had, due to public outcry and several direct requests from universities, removed the display of logos and replaced it with a list of virtually the same universities with a disclaimer that it was specific departments and centers which were contributing or sponsoring the event.

The HAF leaders also provided details about the overwhelming response to the Foundation’s five-day online campaign and delivered the final petition letter.

The initial effort to send emails to university presidents delivered slightly more than 9,28,000 emails in the span of 48 hours. The response was so robust, in fact, that HAF was forced to move to collecting signatures for a petition to be delivered to the same group of university administrators. The final petition count: 10,360 signatures.

The petition says, “The DGH organisers trade on the prestige of your institution’s name to host, not an academic conference, but a partisan event related to politics in India. The event platforms activists with extensive histories of amplifying Hinduphobic discourse even while denying the existence of Hinduphobia. Many of these activists equate the whole of Hinduism with caste bigotry and other social ills; deny the subcontinental indigeneity of Hindus and Hinduism; and support or minimise violent extremist and separatist movements and deny the resulting genocides and ethnic cleansings of Hindus.”

The petition requests that universities: 1) ask the event organisers to remove university names and logos from the event website and promotional materials; as well as, 2) ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Hindu students, faculty, and staff on campus who may feel targeted, threatened, or face hostility or harassment as a result of the Dismantling Global Hindutva conference.

“Holding Hindus to double standards, defaming or falsely alleging dual loyalty against Indian and Hindu Americans, or dehumanizing Hindus by portraying them as inherently bigoted or dangerous crosses the fine line between legitimate criticism of policies of the Indian government and anti- Hindu hatred,” HAF said.