As India celebrates its 75th Independence Day on Sunday, diaspora group South Asia Solidarity launched a protest against the Bharatiya Janata Party government on the Westminster bridge in London and sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resignation.

Giant banners saying “Resign Modi” were placed on the bridge. The group said they also held a candle light vigil outside the Indian High Commission to commemorate “all those killed under the Modi regime”.

“As India’s 75th Independence Day dawns, the country’s secular Constitution lies in tatters,” Mukti Shah, one of the organisers from South Asia Solidarity said in a statement. “Thousands of political prisoners languish in Covid-infected prisons and hundreds of thousands of people are grieving the loss of their loved ones as a result of the callous negligence and mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis.”

In the statement, the diaspora group listed out ten reasons for demanding Modi’s resignation.

The statement pointed out that “calls for genocide of Muslims” were being made openly in the national capital. The group was referring to the incident in Jantar Mantar in Delhi on August 8 when a group of people shouted inflammatory slogans calling for violence against Muslims. The event was organised by former Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay.

“Mob lynching, pogroms and police attacks on Muslim neighborhoods are now common occurrences,” the statement said.

The statement also spoke about sexual violence against Dalit women. It mentioned the Hathras case, in which a 19-year-old Dalit woman had died on September 14 after four upper-caste men raped her. The statement also took note of an incident when a nine-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped, murdered and forcibly cremated in Delhi’s cantonment area on August 1.

“The prime minister has remained silent in the face of such unspeakable violence and Brahmanical misogyny,” South Asia Solidarity said.

The group criticised the three new agriculture laws, saying it will “push India’s already impoverished farmers into destitution and landlessness”.

They also took exception to incarceration of social activists and students under stringent laws like the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. “Elderly and vulnerable academics and lawyers, students and young activists, including thousands of Adivasi youth, are locked up in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions in the middle of a pandemic,” the group added.

The statement also noted that 84-year-old tribal rights activist Stan Swamy died in custody. He was was denied bail repeatedly, despite suffering from Parkinson’s disease and later Covid-19. The Jesuit priest was detained under the anti-terrorism law in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence case without any reliable evidence.

“We, a group of diaspora members and friends standing in solidarity with the people of India, are demanding the resignation of Narendra Modi, the chief architect of this violence, injustice, and criminal negligence,” South Asia Solidarity said.