The Aam Aadmi Party’s links with questionable activists in India make sense if one studies its ‘Made in UK’ agenda, which explains the seemingly disparate causes it espouses, and its visceral hatred towards the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate. Informed sources say that the AAP core leaders are only foot soldiers whose task is to undermine Narendra Modi in concert with London buddies like Amrit Wilson and left-wing activists. The rabidly anti-Hindu Aavaz group is part of this spectrum.
To those outside the charmed circle, Amrit Wilson is a journalist, feminist, and spokesperson of the South Asia Solidarity Group (SASG), in which capacity she helped organise a demonstration outside the Brent Civic Centre in Wembley, London, to protest against Labour MP Barry Gardiner’s invitation to the Gujarat Chief Minister to come and address a meeting in the House of Commons on “The Future of Modern India” (September 9, 2013). Note that the Gujarat riots figure among the AAP’s major concerns.
The SASG also helped organise a protest in front of the Indian High Commission in London against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant; some British MPs wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against it in 2012. Their protest was against Russian collaboration, not N-energy. Senior AAP leaders met the church-backed anti-Kudankulam leader SP Udayakumar at the height of his movement; he has since joined the party.
Afzal Guru also roused passions abroad. Writing to the death row inmate in May 2007, Amrit Wilson said she had joined a dharna in his support in Delhi and had organised a meeting of Champa, an NGO set up in the memory of her parents, where Nandita Haksar explained his case. Wilson wrote, “I wanted to do whatever I could to support you”. On her return to London, SASG organised a protest in front of the Indian High Commission on Republic Day 2008 and got three British MPs and several representatives of Indian and Pakistani organisations to sign a letter urging the Indian President to grant him mercy. Wilson organised many events, including the Save Afzal Guru Campaign in the UK with several individuals and groups; they wrote to all Members of the European Parliament.
In a joint letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, these activists blamed Indian security forces for alleged violence against the stone-pelters in Kashmir and demanded repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Prashant Bhushan’s supposedly unilateral call for amnesty for Afzal Guru, removal of AFSPA and referendum in Jammu & Kashmir coincide with Louis Mountbatten’s unfinished agenda which has continued under the guise of the Owen and Dixon Commissions, Musharraf formula, PUGWASH, and numerous Track-II initiatives.
AAP has not fared well on women’s issues, possibly because it was forced to defend the then Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti’s indecorous conduct with African women, which led former diplomat and founder-member Madhu Bhaduri to quit in disgust. But gender violence is a ruse for interference in the internal affairs of non-Western countries, so the party will likely pick it up at an opportune moment. It is pertinent that on March 3, 2014, the SASG and LSE Gender Institute organised a seminar at the London School of Economics on ‘Hindu fascism’, where Narendra Modi was indicted “for orchestrating gender violence” and demands raised to bring him to justice.
Nishrin Jafri Hussain, daughter of former Congress MP, late Ehsan Jafri, claimed that many women raped in the 2002 riots did not file reports due to shame and trauma. She alleged that when the Gulbarg housing society was attacked, her father called the central government for help, in vain, and when he phoned Narendra Modi, the latter replied ‘You are on your own Jafri, save yourself’. It may be pointed out that in no proceeding before Indian courts or the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team has it been reported that Ehsan Jafri called anyone in the Vajpayee Government the day he was killed, or that Narendra Modi personally refused to help him. However, the SASG-LSEGI declared that the international campaign to bring Modi to justice would continue – a warning that he can be captured in a Western country and dragged to The Hague like Slobodan Milosevic.
Minority rights (read appeasement) are a famed colonial legacy. Arvind Kejriwal’s mentor Aruna Roy, a member of Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council, was among those who petitioned the President for mercy for Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving commando of the terror attack on Mumbai in November 2008.
The AAP’s prestige survived association with the above persons and causes, but allotment of the Hisar Lok Sabha seat to Yudhvir Khayalia, the IAS officer who succeeded Ashok Khemka and cleared all controversial land deals of Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, provoked a virtual revolt. Khayalia resigned as Commissioner Hisar Division on February 9 and joined the party.
Eyebrows have been raised over the entry of suspected Maoist Soni Sori and Odisha Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda into the AAP. Panda is implicated in the abduction of two Italian tourists (later released) and carries an award of Rs 5 lakh on his head. In 2011, he quit the CPI (Maoist) and formed the Odisha Maobadi Party. AAP leader Gopal Rai, ex-member of Sonia Gandhi’s NAC, began his political career as president of the All India Students Association, a wing of the pro-Maoist CPI-ML. Magsaysay Award winner Medha Patkar (Mumbai North East, AAP) and Sandeep Pandey were thrown out of Dantewada town, Chhattisgarh, in January 2010, by tribals angry with their pro-Naxal activism. Prashant Bhushan was a Maoist mediator some years ago.
Concerns over the foreign links of AAP leaders (including as the original Lokpal movement) were voiced as recently as March 4 by National Council member Ashwini Upadhyay. In an email to the Prime Minister, Home Minister and both Leaders of Opposition, he warned that the CIA, ISI, Ford Foundation, Aavaz and other foreign agencies are funding Indian NGOs and individuals, many of whom are pro-separatist, pro-Maoist, pro-terrorist. He alleged that these agencies are also recruiting people on lines of caste and creed to weaken the social unity and integrity of the nation. Many of these persons are now contesting Parliamentary and Assembly elections as part of a foreign conspiracy; similar methods had caused the collapse of the USSR. Upadhyay said the conspiracy could be unmasked by examining the list of persons and organisations funded directly and indirectly by these agencies in the past ten years. This is sound advice.
The Pioneer, 11 March 2014 [Title: Anti-Modi campaign has Made-in-UK tag]