Rajat Sharma

Why Modi said ‘Urban Naxals’ are anti-development

AKBWhile addressing a conference of state environment ministers in Ekta Nagar, Gujarat, on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out how ‘Urban Naxals’ had tried to stall development in India.

Modi told the ministers, “The place where you are sitting in Ekta Nagar is an eye-opener example of how ‘urban naxals’ who were against development, had stalled the Sardar Sarovar Dam project. You will be surprised to know that the foundation stone of the big dam that you are seeing in Ekta Nagar, was laid soon after independence.”

Modi said, “Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel played a major role. Pandit Nehru laid the foundation stone, but all ‘urban naxals’ along with their foreign supporters opposed it. The project was described as anti-environment, they ran a campaign and continuously stopped its work. The work that began during Nehru’s time was completed when I took over as chief minister. Imagine the amount of nation’s money that was wasted.”

The PM said, “Today, this Ekta Nagar has become a sort of pilgrimage place for environment lovers. They (urban naxals) spun a web of lies, they are not silent even today, and are playing games. They are not even to accept that their lies have been nailed and they are now getting political support from some people.”

He said, “There are several global institutions, some foundations that create a storm by taking up these issues as fads, and our urban naxals use them as props to dance in glee, thus bringing projects to a standstill. Without compromising on issues relating to environment, we can take a balanced approach, we can expose the conspiracies of such people. Even the World Bank and big judiciary gets impressed with their campaigns and work on such projects stop. I think, we should move forward by taking a holistic approach on such issues.”

Modi is right when he says that some people, by launching agitations stall work on major projects by going to courts while raising environmental issues or issues relating to rights of local inhabitants. The resultant delay leads to rise in cost of projects, and in some cases, these projects became unviable. Nobody likes to question these activists.

Modi changed this tradition, first in Gujarat, and then, at the Centre. He should courage in dealing with ‘urban Naxals’ and completed the projects. Urban Naxals are still active and they have not lost hope. They are still fighting against Narendra Modi, not only inside India, but abroad too.

On Thursday evening, outside the Indian High Commission in London, members of ‘South Asia Solidarity Group’, which claims to be an ‘anti-imperialist, anti-racist organization of South Asian diaspora’, staged protest shouting anti-India, anti-Modi and anti-RSS slogans. The handful of protesters were alleging that pro-RSS outfits had carried out violence in Smethwick and Leicester early this week, but the facts and visuals give a completely different picture. Jihadi Muslims wearing masks attacked Hindu temples and shops, and Hindu residents staged protests in retaliation. Suddenly, Modi-haters added the Prime Minister’s name with these violent incidents, and anti-India propaganda was initiated across UK through social media, using the old, time-tested ‘global tool kits’. The visuals of SASG protesters holding anti-India, anti-Modi and anti-RSS placards in London need no explanation. This is the same ‘tool kit’ that was used against India during the farmers’ agitation in Delhi. These India-haters had used tweets from some global influencers like singer Rihanna to show that their agitation had worldwide support. The aim was to target Modi and paint RSS as a fascist organization. The same ‘tool kit’ was activated during Hindu-Muslim tension in Britain, and the same slogans that we used to hear in the JNU campus from the ‘tukde tukde’ gang are now being heard in London. The question is: from whome are these protesters in Britain seeking ‘azadi’ (freedom) from? These are the faces of ‘Urban Naxals’ who are also active on a global level. The protest was ostensibly for “peace and unity” among South Asian communities (read Hindus and Muslims), but the soundbites from protesters were self-explanatory. One protester said, “We have gathered here to convey a message to Modi to stop dividing our community. He should stop sending fascist people to spread violence in this country, because we know from where this hate is being spread.”

The South Asia Solidarity Group carries out anti-BJP, anti-RSS protests across Britain. The issues may vary. Sometimes it is over ‘atrocities against Kashmiris’, or ‘repression of Muslims in India’, or ‘Gujarat riots’ or ‘repression of Indian farmers’. The official website of SASG is full of such topics. Whether it is the Bhima-Koregaon violence, or Shaheen Bagh protests, or riots in Delhi and Kanpur, on every such issue, this group stages protest against Modi government outside the Indian High Commission in London. I would like to mention excerpt from a speech by Kalpana Wilson of South Asia Solidarity Group, in which she said in July this year: “Even the British government is part of whatever is happening in India today. British government is also responsible for the genocide of Muslims in India, because people who had forecasted Rwanda genocide had forecasted the same in India by saying that Muslims will have to face the same in India. How can we forget that the Modi government is sending JCB bulldozers to raze homes of Muslims, whether it is in Delhi or UP? As we have seen recently, they razed the house of a brave activist Fatima in Allahabad a few days ago.”

Anti-Modi protests are nothing new. Such campaigns have been going on since the Gujarat riots of 2002, when Modi was Chief Minister. Modi never bothered about such protests. After he became Prime Minister, several forces in India and abroad joined this Hate Modi campaign. The number of Modi haters has been surpassed several times by huge numbers of Modi supporters spread across India and abroad. The Indian diaspora, after realizing that India’s stature on the global level has risen after Modi became PM, is now his biggest support base in countries spread across the world.

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