This week Tory austerity endangers women’s lives and structural violence in India persists
In the Race Review, we unpack the Marmot Review and talk to university students from Delhi about the targeted violence of minorities in India.
Sana Noor Haq
02 Mar 2020
I hope you’re having a good start to the month. In this week’s edition of Race Review we’re breaking down the raft of religious violence imperilling minorities in India, and discussing how a decade-long reduction in public expenditure has threatened the health of women in England.
REFLECT: The Tories’ underfunding is putting vulnerable women in danger
This week, we saw the latest example of how years of a lack of subsidisation for the NHS has caused serious harm to our public health.
The most recent follow-up of the Marmot Review, carried out by Professor Sir Michael Marmot, proves that prolonged austerity has resulted in increased child poverty, numerous preventable deaths and a huge growth in socioeconomic inequality.
Data collected over the last ten years shows that life expectancy amongst women living in the most deprived communities has decreased since 2011 by 0.3 years. Overall, people in poorer areas of the country spend more of their lives in ill health than those in affluent areas.
The Marmot Review demonstrates just how lethal capitalism can be for people from marginalised communities. Under such a regime, the economic disparity between the rich and the poor will only get bigger – mind the gap.
REPORT: Modi’s government continues to push Hindutva fascist rhetoric
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came into power in May 2014, it used its Hindu nationalist agenda to engineer targeted violence towards minorities across the country; namely Muslim communities.
In August 2019 Modi nullified the constitutional independence of Kashmir. A few months later the Supreme Court ruled that the historically contested holy site in Ayodhya city should be given to the Hindu community – until then both Hindu and Muslim people believed it to be a holy site to their religion.
Subsequently in December, Modi unveiled the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which would give many citizens from neighbouring countries the opportunity to apply for Indian citizenship based on their beliefs alone. However, the bill specified that prospective candidates must be Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, Sikh, Hindu or Christian – Muslim people were excluded.
Since then violence perpetrated by right-wing extremists, principally targeting Muslims, has manifested in the form of rioting, beating and looting.
Sarah is a 23-year-old Indian Muslim student at Jamia Millia Islamia university in Delhi. She was embroiled in the Jamia student protests last December, when police forcibly entered the university, damaging property and injuring students in the process.
“That was the day I realised I didn’t know if I was safe on my campus,” she told gal-dem.
Speaking about the ongoing violence in Delhi, Sarah said, “I feel very helpless because I can’t do anything. I’ll be attacked because of my gender and my identity.”
Shailza, a 28-year-old international student from Delhi, is part of South Asian Students Against Facism UK. On Saturday, the group held a protest in front of India House alongside SOAS India Society and South Asian Solidarity Group to show their opposition to Modi’s “culture of hate”.
“We’re here to tell them what they’re doing is not right – it’s genocide. They’re picking away from the democratic principles of the country,” Shailza told gal-dem.
“The fact that this is being buried in the media is extremely worrying in terms of the kind of impunity the police and all of these right-wing goons are able to enjoy. They’re assured in thinking they can keep doing this without any kind of consequence – that’s the most dangerous part,” she added.
The slaughtering of Muslims across religious lines is symptomatic of the enduring threat that Hindutva fascism poses towards minorities in India. As long as Modi’s party retains its political stronghold, the promise of a secular Indian society will remain an illusion.
• The Tories are one step closer to implementing their inhumane prison policies after the second reading of the Restriction of Early Release Bill was backed by peers in the House of Lords.
• Katherine Johnson, the woman who inspired the film Hidden Figures (2016), passed away last Monday at the age of 101. She cemented her place in history by being part of a team of black women who worked as mathematicians for NASA in the mid-twentieth century.
• A woman in Cardiff, Anne Giwa-Amu, will receive nearly £400,000 from the Department of Work and Pensions after a judge ruled that her coworkers in Caerphilly created a “hostile environment”, subjecting her to racism and ageism.
• Distressing footage has been released via police bodycam footage of six-year-old a black girl being arrested at her school in Orlando. The officer on duty, Dennis Turner, was later terminated from his job after he also arrested another six-year-old boy earlier that day.
• In her recent interview with Rolling Stone, Normani opened up about her reaction to Camila Cabello’s old verified racist Tumblr posts. She said, “It would be dishonest if I said that this particular scenario didn’t hurt me.”
• The racism against South East Asian people in relation to the coronavirus continues. Premier League forward Dele Alli was charged by the FA with misconduct after he posted a video on Snapchat joking about the outbreak and then appearing to mock an Asian man.
• Scotland is due to pass the Period Products Bill, which would make it the first country in the world to provide products including sanitary pads and tampons free of charge to people who menstruate.
• The Commission for Gender Equality in South Africa has found that 48 women were sterilised without consent at state hospitals. One of the women, Bongekile Msibi, only found out that she had no uterus 11 years after the incident.
• A US-based TERF organisation One Million Moms has launched an “action alert” against the kids TV show Clifford the Big Red Dog after it featured a character who has two lesbian mothers. The right-wing group accused American broadcaster PBS of “pushing an agenda”.
• It has been revealed that the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom received over 250 complaints from viewers after Dave and Stormzy’s stellar performances at the Brit awards, claiming they were “racist”.
• Journalist and broadcaster Samira Ahmed reached a settlement with the BBC after she triumphantly won her employment tribunal over equal pay. The settlement figure has not yet been revealed, but the BBC said it will continue working with her.
• The Black News Channel (BNC) has launched in Florida. It is the US’ first national news channel to cater to African-American communities specifically. BNC runs 24/7, and plans to offer programming “created by people of colour for people of colour.”
• A top civil servant resigned on Saturday after accusing Priti Patel of “belittling” staff and constructing a “vicious” campaign against him. Sir Philip Rutman said he plans to sue the government for constructive dismissal.
GOOD NEWS OF THE WEEK
It has been announced that as part of the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World festival, special guests including Afua Hirsch and Lady Phyll will be honouring the life and work of Toni Morrison, 50 years since the publication of The Bluest Eye. After Morrison passed away last year, the celebration will serve as a tribute to one of the most seminal writers to grace our literary world.