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Advani faces angry protests in London
By MG correspondent, London
|London 22 August: Hindus, Christians and Muslims from India demonstrated for the second day in front of the Indian High Commission in London against Gujarat genocide. Holding placards against BJP, Gujarat Chief Minister Nardndra Modi, and Deputy Prime Minister Mr Advani, they shouted slogans "Advani Shame Shame, Genocide is your name", "Death to Modi" "Advani is a blood sucker", "India is a fascist state, stop the killings now".
The protest was jointly organised by the Council of Indian Muslims, -UK (CIM, Awaz, a human rights group, consisting of people mostly from India and South Asia Watch).
So loud were the slogans that yesterday when Advani was making a speech after unveiling the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the audience could hardly hear him. After the ceremony as he was being escorted out to his car, he was shouted at "Murderer Murderer, Shame on you shame on you".
Today being a working day and most of the people attending their work, there were not a large number of demonstrators but they were as determined as yesterday. At about 4.45 pm as Advani's car arrived in front of India House, the protesters reached quite close to him and shouted "Murderer, Murderer". One of the protesters also gave him a Nazi salute. Demonstrators waited outside until Advani finished his press conference and continued shouting slogans during this time. After the press conference, amidst screams of slogans, Advani quickly tooks his seat in the car with his head down and was quickly driven away.
At the press conference Advani was asked about Gujarat tragedy. It is "indefensible" he said.
On the second day of Advani's visit, who arrived in London on the 20th , the Indian High Commissioner Mr Ronan Sen hosted a reception to honour the Deputy Prime Minister which was unanimously boycotted by Muslim organisations.
In his letter to the High Commissioner CIM's Chairman said, "…in view of the inflexible stance of the Deputy Prime Minister in protecting and supporting the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr Modi whose credentials are now nationally and internationally known as the main stoker of anti-Muslim fever in the province and because of which thousands of Muslims have been massacred, their women dishonoured and their properties destroyed, the Executive Committee of the Council of Indian Muslims (UK) does not feel comfortable to attend this event and therefore wishes to offer your Excellency our apology in this regard."
"Excellency" reads the letter "when our emotional scars caused by the Gujarat scenario are still very sore and the trauma of our memories of this torture not mitigated in any way, how can we be expected to share the niceties of a get-together with the person who has let us down in protecting our rights."
Initially we were of the view that we should stay away from the reception but should see him to express our feelings. But when our brothers in India advised us that Advani is not the person who could be talked to, we respected their decision.
Among other dignitaries who had been invited to see Mr Advani included Lord Adam Patel, who is also the patron of the CIM. He too refused to meet Advani.
Two representatives of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, which is not an exclusively Indian organisation, did however, meet Advani. They said Advani listened to them and asked them to send him a memorandum.