South Asia Solidarity Initiative (SASI) is a radical communist backed, self-proclaimed human rights organisation. Its co-founders are Prachi Patankar and Balamurali Natrajan both of whom are members of FOIL (Forum of Inquilabi Leftists). FOIL is an extremist organisation that has links with Islamic extremists like Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR (Council on American- Islamic Relations), IAMC (Indian American Muslim Council) and ICNA (Islamic Council of North America). Members of FOIL have links with convicted Ghulam Nabi Fai who was convicted by FBI for charges of being an agent of the Pakistan’s ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) and served two years in prison. SASI routinely teams up with Equality Labs and dodgy organisation called Stand with Kashmir. SASI is funded by SINGH (Secular India’s National Growth and Harmony) Foundation. It is the fund raising arm of FOIL.
According to their Meduim.com page, SASI is “A NYC-based organizing group in solidarity with progressive social movements and self-determination in South Asia”. SASI supports and encourages Kashmir separatism and strongly believes in Defund Police. According to their website, “We believe that whatever the race or ethnicity of an individual cop, the police as a whole are a white supremacist organization and fundamentally about controlling and harming Black and brown bodies.” SASI is not only anti-Hindu, anti-India they are also anti-US. They concern themselves only with Islamophobia, on their website they write “We believe that religious intolerance is a toxic, systematized framework that occurs in all faith traditions and has caused mass violence globally. We also believe that Islamophobia is particularly reinforced and weaponized through the language of “war of terror” and deployed across South Asia.” In their call to uproot religious intolerance, SASI has only attacked Hinduism while the other two major religions which has a history of slavery, oppression, colonialism, barbarism, and forcible conversions has never been attacked. As per their website “We believe that climate change is intertwined with capitalism, caste, war, militarism and occupation – all of which contribute to polluting our environment, deepening inequities and harming all of us.”
SASI refrain from calling themselves Indians or Hindus and often address themselves as “South Asians” including on their website. According to the blog by Prachi Patankar, Ghosts of Yogas Past and Present, yoga is Islamophobic and Hinduism is a constructed religion in the 18th and 19th centuries during British-era and that Brahmins and upper caste Hindus, often by violent means, have appropriated the diverse sects, practices, beliefs and rituals that existed for centuries.
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While SASI has raised it’s voice for Pashtuns, Baloch and Sindhis in Pakistan, SASI has never raised the issue Hindus and Sikh girls in Pakistan who are routinely abducted, raped and forcibly converted to their abductors and rapists or the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus in 1990’s at the hands of Pakistan-sponsored terrorists. They are also anti-Brahmins and often use Brahminism to attack Hinduism while giving wrong interpretations of Hindu scriptures or resort to complete and total misinterpretation of Hindu scriptures.
California Textbook controversy
SASI along with FOIL, CAG (Coalition Against Genocide), CSFH (Campaign to Stop Funding Hate), DFN (Dignity Freedom Network), and FOSA (Friends of South Asia) launched an attack on Hinduism and supported the skewed portrayal of Hinduism and India in school textbooks in the state of California. Prachi Patankar along with other FOIL members ran a propaganda and fake news campaign against the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi after 2002 Godhra riots, lobbying and appealing to deny him a US visa. Even though PM Modi was found not guilty by the Supreme Court of India, the left-sponsored anti-Muslim conspiracy theories by SASI and similar anti-Hindu organisations still accuse PMModi of anti-Muslims ‘pogrom’ while giving clean-chit to Pakistan sponsored terrorism in India and globally. In 2018 SASI co-sponsored Equality Labs’ ‘Caste in the United States’ – a report produced with least facts and most anti-Hindu propaganda. A.Kumar has called out Equality Labs hatred for Hindus and biasedness of the Caste report here.
Ram Mandir digital ad display in Times Square
On August 4th 2020, a day before the historic ground-breaking ceremony of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, SASI along with US Islamist organisations were successful in coercing, and bullying one of three Times Square digital ad companies from not displaying Prabhu Shri Ram’s digital advertisement on Times Square billboards. In their press statement they have lauded this victory to a coalition of US Islamist organisations including ImanNet, Justice for All, Coalition of Americans for Pluralism in India (CAPI) and others. SASI in their press release calls the display as “Islamophobic and ultra-nationalist fascism openly on display.” They go on to say “The mob was fuelled by a fanaticism based on the unsupported belief that a Hindu temple lay underneath the Babri Masjid.” SASI’ member Nangeli Amma says “While framing this as a harmless religious celebration to an unwitting American audience, they are actually promoting a violent and bigoted act of ethnic cleansing and mass murder. People in this city need to understand that they’re being manipulated into supporting genocide.”
SASI believes “Kashmir is not an integral part of India”. In their statement issued on August 2019, days after Indian government abolished Articles 370, SASI stood in “solidarity with the people of Kashmir” and calling Kashmir “nation under occupation”. They are also against removal of Article 35A as it “would allow Indian citizens to purchase land and property in Kashmir, irrevocably altering its demographics and diluting the Kashmiri population. This is an explicitly Hindu-nationalist continuation of the settler colonialist mentality of the Indian state….” They end the statement with “SASI stands in solidarity with Kashmiris resisting occupation by the Indian state, and we echo calls for azaadi — for liberation.”
SASI blames India and Hindus for terror attack on Indian armed forces in Pulwama that killed 40 soldiers. Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility of the the attack. Jaish was declared as a terrorist organisation by United States Treasury Department. In their statement dated 17th February 2019, SASI went to lie about Hindus attacking Muslims in Kashmir and rest of India.They said “Shortly following the Pulwama attack, terrifying violence erupted against Kashmiri Muslims in the Jammu region of Jammu-Kashmir (JK) as well as several states in India. Even though a curfew was imposed on Jammu, Hindutva mobs were allowed to roam freely and attack Muslim colonies, targeting homes and burning vehicles. The violence is ongoing and its full extent is still unclear.” Further more, SASI blames India and Hindus for Pulwama attack “But this did not come from nowhere, and much of the news coverage has been devoid of historical context. Efforts to understand the current crisis cannot ignore the structure of the military occupation, including the denial of Kashmiri sovereignty and self-determination, the routine experience of facing paramilitary forces and the consequent growing record of human rights abuses, tortures, detainments and collective punishments against Kashmiris by the Indian military.” In the whole statement, no terror group or Pakistan has been mentioned despite Jaish-e-Mohammed taking responsibility for the attack.
2008 Mumbai blasts
In a piece titled Let Us Not Forget – ‘After Mumbai, Which Way Forward? A Public Dialogue’ originally published in Kafila , SASI while expressing solidarity with the victims, says “The two countries emerged together in an instance of troubled freedom; their futures are just as entangled as their present and their pasts. So let us make sure that Mumbai is not used as a pretext to escalate tensions between the two countries;….” SASI in the entire piece does not blame Pakistan sponsored Laskar-r-Taiba or Pakistani Ajmal Kasab or Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi but instead paints Pakistan as a victim of terrorism along side India. SASI then goes on to say “Let us not forget pogroms against Muslims in Gujarat took place only six years ago. Today, Indian Muslims are compelled to condemn events in Mumbai in the loudest voice lest they be deemed its perpetrators. And they have done so in no uncertain terms. But why must they be asked to continually demonstrate that they too belong to the nation?” In the statement, SASI equates India’s Bajrang Dal with Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-taiba, “Let us boldly call for the rights and pain of victims of all violence to be acknowledged and addressed be it state violence or that perpetrated by groups like Bajrang Dal, Lakshar-e-Taiba or their ilk.”
Fallout with Sadhana
SASI had a fallout with Sadhana and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR). SASI accused them to be soft on Hindutva and giving platform to Indians who chanted ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ (Hail mother India). In a statement on 8th January 2020, SASI said:
SASI also accused Sadhana of ” — decentering Muslim, Dalitbahujan and Adivasi voices in favor of a sanitized and inaccurate understanding of Hindutva that privileges Brahminism.” While attacking Sadhana SASI goes on to peddle lies about Hindu scriptures without any evidence to back up their argument and make anti-Brahmin statements without including thousand years of social and political effects of Islamic and Christian British influences on Indian society.
The statement ends with a sentence “It is worth remembering that two regions under Indian control — Assam and Kashmir — have been declared to be on high alert for genocide by international human rights groups.” SASI includes Assam as a region under Indian control. This is the same viewpoint Delhi riots accused Sharjeel Imam had and also made to the students of AMU on cutting the chicken-neck (Siliguri Corridor) that will alienate North-East from rest of India.
Below are some of SASI’s social media posts.