Vastavam web: Hundreds of noisy protesters greeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he arrived in London on Wednesday, demonstrating over a rising tide of sexual violence at home, including two particularly brutal rapes.Holding placards reading “Modi go home” and “we stand against Modi’s agenda of hate and greed,” they gathered outside Downing Street and parliament as Modi arrived for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May.
Sexual violence against women is a highly charged political issue in India, where protests regularly erupt about entrenched violence against women and the failure to protect them.“The Indian government are doing nothing, and you feel sorry for the families because of the total injustice of it all,” said Navindra Singh, an Indian-born lawyer who lives in Britain.
Protests have erupted across India after the latest rape cases were reported. Police officers and a politician are under investigation in two of the unrelated cases.In a crime that shocked India, an eight-year-old Muslim girl in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir was kidnapped, drugged and held for several days while she was raped repeatedly and then murdered.
Modi’s comments on Wednesday followed remarks last week, which came after a week of silence on the issue and promised justice regardless of whoever the guilty were.Nearly 40 percent of India’s rape victims are children, and the 40,000 reported rapes in 2016 marked a 60 percent increase over the level in 2012. But women’s rights groups say the figures are still gross underestimates.
In London, a spokeswoman for a group of UK-based Indian students and alumni – who did not want her name to be used – said the group had come under fire after it sent a letter to Modi last week demanding action over the rape cases. The letter was signed by Indian and Asian student groups from more than 20 British universities.Modi, a Hindu nationalist, is a divisive figure in India and his second trip to Britain as prime minister represents a remarkable turnaround for a man who was once banned from the UK over his alleged role, as chief minister of Gujarat, in riots that killed about 1,000 people in 2002.