Would a mainstream political party actually endorse a racist agenda nowadays? When it comes to the politics of India, and the Tories, it seems the answer to that one is yes. Several Tory candidates in tomorrow’s General Election have backed a racist stance, and in return, a body which is supposed to be a charity has endorsed them, thus inadvertently bringing attention the whole distasteful business.
This is what my good friend Sunny Hundal had to say earlier this week: “The British Hindu charity National Council of Hindu Temples (NCHT) is being questioned by the Charity Commission, AGAIN, over its stance in this election … The NCHT posted a clearly biased letter praising Theresa May and criticising Jeremy Corbyn, while urging Hindus to vote”.
There was more: “The letter (sent by email and posted to their website) is in direct contravention to rules that say charities should NOT take sides with political parties nor campaign for one … Yesterday I submitted a complaint to the Charity Commission”. And the NCHT hinted at their underlying motive here: “Jeremy Corbyn who snubbed PM Modiji's Parliamentary address and whose grandees are determined to foist Caste labels upon British Hindus”. Caste labels? Here is where it gets interesting.
Operation Dharmic Vote has told “Say No to Caste Law … Why this should concern you”, and continued “For the GE17 election, the Dharmic community needs to vote in large numbers and strategically. Political Party alliances and affiliations need to be set aside. Labour, LibDems, Greens and all the nationalist parties have supported caste legislation bar the odd MP in these parties. As you will see ALL the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates who have signed up are Conservative”. Signed up to what, precisely?
Ah well. The Wembley Matters blog has the answer: “A consultation is currently going on regarding caste discrimination in Britain and possible inclusion in the Equalities Act. Operation Dharmic Vote is operating behind the scenes to back candidates who are opposed to anti-caste discrimination legislation”. And the candidates concerned?
“Locally Conservative candidates Rahoul Bhansali (Brent Central), Ameet Jogia (Brent North) Bob Blackman (Harrow East), Hannah David (Harrow West), Matthew Offord (Hendon) and Mike Freer (Finchley and Golders Green) have backed Operation Dharmic Vote's campaign to withhold legislative protection for the UK's 250,000 Dalits (untouchables)”. Thus Indian politics becomes part of tomorrow’s General Election.
One resident explained “Caste discrimination is endemic within parts of the Hindu and Sikh communities in the UK - there have been instances of doctors refusing to give medical treatment to Dalits and others where Dalit couples have been refused venues for weddings. It is a discrimination which remains largely hidden to wider society”.
And the Tories have now latched on to that discrimination as a way of scoring some votes from the Hindu and Sikh communities. That is how cynical and sly The Nasty Party has become - using racism to get themselves elected.