Aotearoa Alliance of Progressive Indians (AAPI)

AAPI was created in January 2020 during the peak of anti-CAA protest in India. AAPI identifies itself as “a collective of community members, activists, artists, performers, academics, physicians, and professionals from across Aotearoa New Zealand committed to a vision of India based on progressive values.” Main members of AAPI are Dr. Sapna Samant, Oscar Romero, Balamohan Shingade. Prof. Mohan J Dutta works closely with Samant and AAPI. Another person who works closely with AAPI and Dutta identifies herself as Azad Richa and is a campaign manager for New Zealand’s Greens Party. Dr. Samant also owns a media company called Holycow Media and has often been referred by NZ media as ‘minority media owner‘.

Dr. Sapna Samant

AAPI represents itself as a ‘Hindu group’ even when some of their members have shown utter contempt for Hindus and Hinduism. For example, when NZ elected Indian-origin Member of Parliament Gaurav Sharma took oath in Sanskrit, Samant wrote to him on FB that he was upholding “Hindu upper caste privilege……domain of brahmins” and that Sanskrit has discriminatory connotations attached to it. She calls practising peaceful Hindus ‘Hindu extremists, Hindu fundamentalists’.

AAPI organised anti-CAA, anti-NRC protests in Auckland, New Zealand on the fake news that CAA will take away citizenship from 200 million Indian Muslims. They get support from Australia’s The Humanism Project, US based Hindus for Human Rights, and media push from portals like NRI Affairs.

During the uproar on Prof Dutta’s Hinduphobic white paper for Massey University, NZ media took bytes from AAPI as representative of Hindus and Indians. AAPI wrote a letter to New Zealand Human Rights Commission in response to Hindu groups who approached NZ HR commission asking Massey University to apologise for maligning Hindus. In the letter AAPI says “We are Hindus New Zealanders and member of Aotearoa Alliance of Progressive Indians”. This is false since AAPI has members who are not Hindus. Further, the letter states ultra radical leftist take “Hindutva is not Hinduism” and that Hindu Council NZ doesn’t represent all Hindus. The letter also mentions that Prof. Dutta is a Hindu which again misleads NZ HR commission as Prof. Dutta is a self-certified communist. Read Dutta’s profile here.

AAPI in their first ever blog wrote a statement of solidarity with Professor Dutta. The blog states:

Hindutva is an extremist, exclusionary, nationalistic political ideology that endorses a monotheistic, puritanical, upper caste Brahmanical hegemonical world view that was created in 1923 and is not to be mistaken or confused with the ancient, pantheist conglomeration that is Hinduism......Hindutva conflates its chauvinistic ideology with Hinduism and any criticism of Hindutva is deliberately projected as ‘Hinduphobia’ or being anti-Hindu.

STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY WITH PROFESSOR DUTTA, September 7 2021, AAPI

They went on a rant accusing Sarah L Gates, a white Hindu Australian of being the ‘main instigator’ of the attack on Dutta. They write of Sarah Gates “They also do not hesitate to use the whiteness of Westerners to perpetuate this myth of ‘Hinduphobia’ as in the case of hate directed towards Professor Dutta where a white Australian woman Sarah L Gates has been the main instigator of this attack. She discovered the white paper exposing the Hindutva roots of the Chinmaya Mission and its links with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) that was deemed a terrorist organisation by TRAC, the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium.” It is to be noted TRAC is neither an established terror tracking group nor are they a credible source. It is a terror database run by Becham Publications LLC whose owner Walton Becham is the advisor and one Veryan Khan is its President and CEO. Alex Schmidt has reviewed TRAC website and has raised some red flags. He says TRAC have plagiarised some of their content, it’s not scholarly enough and that they have a quality control problem. Their disclaimer says “……cannot and does not warrant the accuracy of the entries in its database”. Clearly, either AAPI isn’t aware of TRAC’s poor track record or their intention is to mislead people on VHP. VHP has not been banned by any government or by the United Nations. VHP was mentioned by CIA previously but have withdrawn it subsequently.

In another blog by their member Oscar Romero AAPI called Hindu Youth Council’s criticism of Prof. Dutta as “whataboutery claiming the ownership of wider Hindu community and seeking to camouflage the existence of cultural Hindutva across the globe and particularly in Aotearoa New Zealand.” The blog further states “The only false equivalence at play is in the press release of Hindu youth council, a nugatory exercise to equate Hindutva and Hindu Nationalism with Hinduism and Hindus. Projecting this lie allows Hindu Youth then to play victim, throw in the label Hinduphobia, and then demand apology.”

In another blog of AAPI, more of than attack on Sarah Gates, use Maori’s against Hindus. Accusing Sarah Gates of bullying for merely asking Prof. Dutta to provide evidence for this Hinduphobic claims, AAPI targeted her calling her an Australian white women of privilege, bully, creator of disinformation and labelled her a security threat. While not condemning Bangladesh violence against Hindus during Durga Pooja 2021, AAPI was more worried of “Islamophobia” because of how events went down in Bangladesh rather than safety of Hindus. AAPI says in the blog “Recent Islamophobic tweets about the terrible attack on the Durga Pooja celebrations in Bangladesh also deny the complex history of the subcontinent, the Partition of India, Bangladesh’s own struggle to separate from Pakistan, the common Bengali culture so seeped into the daily lives of those who live there and in the diaspora.” While they attacked Sarah Gates for being a white Hindu, they are perfectly fine with white non-Hindus like Audrey Truschke who have severe white saviours complex and define Hinduism and Hindutva for Hindus.

Flow Chart of anti-India groups linking American, Australian, New Zealand with IAMC and Pakistan’s ISI

In October 2021 when we published the above flowchart showing the hierarchy and links between American, Australian and New Zealand anti-groups, AAPI called our effort “a hilarious, wild goose chase” but didn’t negate the fact that they are a part of the Red-Green nexus. They say,

The flowchart then goes into the favourite targets of Hindutva, Muslims. It ropes in International Council of Indian Muslims (ICIM) and Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC). The preposterous claims made by the diagram then connects Hindus for Human Rights through IAMC to the favourite bogeyman of the fascists, Pakistan ISI.

FINDING OURSELVES AS TARGETS OF A HINDUTVA DISINFORMATION PLOT., 7th October 2021, AAPI

It’s well known IAMC (Indian American Muslim Council) is a front of Jamat-i-Islami and that IAMC has connections and links with Pakistan’s ISI operatives in the US. They further write “The disinformation campaign is ominous in its mirroring of strategies of seeding disinformation planted by the digital ecosystem and pro-fascist media in India to silence, intimidate and incarcerate dissenters.” AAPI classify their anti-Hindu, anti-India work under the garb of ‘dissent’. They describe us as “SHHAN is an Islamophobic anti-Christian Hindutva organisation with an online presence. It projects its objective as tracking individuals and organisations that it labels as advocate hatred toward Hindus.” While we have always maintained we are pro-Hindu, we are not averse to Islam and Christianity as long as they do not seek or impose their superiority over Sanatana Dharma.

On the same lines as Prof. Dutta who equates Hindutva with white supremacy, AAPI too equates Hindutva with White supremacy. Not only where they a supporter of Dismantling Global Hindutva conference, AAPI aslo promoted and shared Audrey Truschke’s “Hindutva Harassment Field Manual” by South Asia Scholars Activist Collective. The manual explicitly states that “Hinduphobia rests on the false notion that Hindus have faced systematic oppression throughout history……Hinduphobia relies on the flawed analogies with anti-Semitism and Islamophobia….Anti-Hindu bias, on the other hand, cannot be easily linked to casualties on such horrific scales.” In short, AAPI accept that there is no Hinduphobia and that Hindus have not faced horrific, historic genocides that the hands of Islamic invaders or Christian crusaders.

Screenshot from SASAC website

We had published an entire thread on our twitter handle on SASAC, and their members. Some of the information in our tweet has now been removed from SASAC website after backlash from Hindus.

AAPI is summit partner for an anti-India, anti-Hindu three day summit “India on the Brink:Preventing Genocide” scheduled to be held on 26th-28th February 2022.

Below are some of AAPI’s social media posts.