The Executive of CUPE 3903, supports people across India, who have raised their voices against the rising fascism and far-right extremism underpinning the fundamentally discriminatory policies like the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA), and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). These legislative tools are designed to redefine Indian citizenship on the basis of religion and selectively exclude Muslims undermining their rights to equality guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. Moreover, if these laws are allowed to be implemented may potentially create one of the largest crises of statelessness in the world particularly affecting low income, trans, women, internally displaced people among many others. These laws are also blatant violations of India’s commitment to the United Nations International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Under the ruling government’s directives, students, reporters, artists, and the general public have been subjected to severe police brutality and state surveillance. Not to mention that public transit has been halted, gatherings of people have been banned, and banned internet access and phone services across the entire states of Kashmir, Assam, and other major cities. Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah’s declaration in a public forum challenging internationally mandated standards of human rights only part and parcel of the larger structures of unfettered fascism that are clear and present throughout the country. We, as a labour union, severely condemn all such acts of state-sanctioned violence that have been deployed against these protesters.
This movement against the NRC and CAA began as a student-led movement but is now being sustained by Muslim women, Kashmiri and Dalit activists, numerous unionized workers and many others. These protestors are defending their rights to equitable citizenship and social justice. Many of these protesters are also demanding an end to the occupation of Kashmir and the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination. This social movement has also provided the necessary infrastructure for many other previously socially and economically excluded groups to express their political agency, both in India and amongst the South-Asian diaspora in Canada. We, as a labour union representing many people who are affected by these laws, are proud to express our solidarity with such a movement.
We believe that the Indian state is failing to be accountable to its citizens and has exhibited a blatant disregard for fundamental human rights. We draw great strength from protesters who continue to turn up in large numbers, despite the imminent threat of being detained for exercising their right to dissent. The Narendra Modi-led BJP government should know that these protests are signs of the changes about to come and that the world is closely watching these events unfold.
CUPE 3903 Executive Committee