BENGALURU: Human rights advocate and the son of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr has equated Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump. Martin Luther King III, who was speaking at the inauguration of the three-day Dr B R Ambedkar International Conference 2017 in Bengaluru, said “ferocious animosity against minorities” was unleashed in both the countries after their respective elections.
King went on to say that “all those who envisioned a Hindu country were being elected to institutions of democracy in India”. “What goes on in the US goes on in India,” said King, adding that free press was under attack in both countries.
“Regular lynchings have become the new normal. Cow vigilantes lynch Muslims while police stand by,” he added. Attacking the right-wing, he said “reactionary forces which determine socio-economic powers must be resisted”. He recounted the Una cow vigilantism incident, a Mumbai girl’s arrest in 2013 over a Facebook post on the shutdown in the city following Bal Thackeray’s death and other instances to buttress his argument.
In what he termed “a great oversight in American scholarship,” King lamented on the omission of Ambedkar in world history. He said the dalit leader wasn’t as well known outside India as he deserved to be, pointing out how the leader hardly appears in Richard Attenborough’s film ‘Gandhi’. King brought up several similarities between his father, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ambedkar in their work and ideology.
Drawing another parallel, he said, “What slavery and racism is to the American Civil Rights Movement, and now the Black Lives Matter, untouchability and caste are to the Indian freedom movement.”
“If my father was alive today, he would support the dalit demonstrations and labour strikes in India. The caste system was outlawed 58 years ago, and yet, how much has changed?” He termed the conference “a watershed moment” in history.
Gau rakshak trend extremely worrying: Guha
Commenting on the phenomenon of gau rakshaks, writer Ramachandra Guha dismissed them as ‘gau goondas’ and said that Prime Minister Modi has not done enough to control it. Guha was speaking during the relaunch of his book ‘India After Gandhi’. He said though South India has been isolated from it, it might affect lives here too as ‘epidemics (of the nature) spread fast’.