Indian feminists condemn George Floyd’s murder

Statement by a collective said that the incident reminded them of police complicity in brutal attacks on Indian minorities

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All over the world, people are standing in solidarity to protest the police brutality which led to the death of George Floyd. Floyd’s death once again put a spotlight on the systemic racial attacks on the African American minorities, apart from displaying the callous behaviour of people in power.

In support of the agitation, closer to home, Feminists India, an online India-based collective issued a statement of solidarity condemning Floyd’s murder. The statement read, “We, feminists in India, strongly condemn the murder of George Floyd, an African-American, by a white officer of the Minneapolis Police Department, and express our deep solidarity with the people’s resistance against police violence presently raging in the US and many other parts of the world.”

Pointing out to the singling out of minorities even during the Covid-19 crisis in America, their statement read, “Words from George Floyd in his death throes, “I cannot breathe”, speak to each one of us. Recent data has yielded clear evidence that the Black community in the US has borne the brunt of the present COVID 19 crisis, pointing to serious gaps in provisioning, including access to housing and healthcare. They also account for a disproportionately larger percentage of the prison population. These realities underline the systemic racism and structured discrimination along lines of ethnicity within the US and the explosion of public anger now on display in major cities across the country represents a moment of truth for American society.”

Harvard Business Review had reported that the data from New York, Chicago and Louisiana showed that out of a population of 22 percent in New York, African Americans constituted 28 percent of the fatalities from the virus. In Chicago and Louisiana, out of 30 percent and 32 percent of the population, 70 percent had died of the disease. The data pointed out to the prevalent inequities, including flailing financial status, more people working at the frontline, lack of access to healthy food options, underlying health conditions, lack of health insurance and discrimination.

The statement by Feminists India also drew comparisons with the current justice system in India and the heightened instances of police brutality on minorities and other people in recent times. These were especially visible during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests and against students who protests fee hikes in public institutions. They brought attention to the widespread discrimination in India and the constant vilification of minorities, especially against the Muslims, Dalits and the LGBTQIA+ community. 

The statement read, “We in India, who have long been living with a sense of outrage over the violence and discrimination perpetrated by our own police force against minorities and the most marginalized, recognize the importance of this moment. The powerful slogan, ‘Black Lives Matter’ now resonating across the US, reminds us of the targeted violence being perpetrated by the Indian state and police against specific communities, right here, right now. We are anguished that Indian society has often been complicit in such brutality. Along with the Black community in the US, and drawing strength from their struggle, we also shout out loud, ‘Muslim Lives Matter’, ‘Dalit Lives Matter’, ‘Adivasi Lives Matter’, ‘Kashmiri Lives Matter’, ‘Trans Lives Matter’. Along with them, we also cry out, ‘We cannot breathe. Get off our necks!”

The 750 plus individuals and groups issued with the collective demanded, “END POLICE VIOLENCE NOW. END STATE COMPLICITY IN SUCH VIOLENCE NOW! END RACISM NOW! END PATRIARCHAL VIOLENCE NOW!”

NPR reported that Floyd’s death had been ruled to be a homicide and on Wednesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced upgraded charges of second-degree unintentional murder against Derek Chauvin, the police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost 8 minutes, pinning him to the ground as Floyd cried, “I can’t breathe”.


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