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Deepika Singh Rajawat’s participation in #HandsAgainstRacism boosts the campaign started by Spice Radio Featured

 

Burnaby-based Spice Radio’s campaign against racism got a major boost from the visit by a human rights lawyer from India.  

Deepika Singh Rajawat, who fought for justice to the family of an eight-year-old victim of rape and murder, received massive support from elected officials, activists, media and ordinary people within the Indian Diaspora in Canada during her week-long tour.

She had stepped forward at personal risk to defend the family of Asifa Bano, a Muslim nomad girl who was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and killed by Hindu fundamentalists in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in January 2018.

Those involved in the conspiracy wanted to terrorize and humiliate Muslims in the area by using rape as a weapon.  

Rajawat faced threats and intimidation in the deeply polarized society of India, where the accused continue to enjoy the patronage of the ruling right-wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party, under which attacks on religious minorities have grown.

She was at Spice Radio on Tuesday, May 21, where she left her coloured hand-print on a white sheet with a message against bigotry. 

“Colours bring happiness. Let’s be together to bring colours,”, she wrote. Below her signatures, she also wrote, “Secular India”.

The campaign was started by Spice Radio CEO Shushma Datt in 2015 on the birth anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. 

The annual campaign coincides with Holi – a Hindu festival of colours and is aimed to encourage people to come and dip their hands in colour and leave their hand-prints on a white sheet.

Datt, who is also a strong advocate for women empowerment, had supported Rajawat’s struggle for justice and went on social media to condemn the rape and murder of Bano and challenge Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his silence.

Datt also interviewed Rajawat on the occasion. 

Notably, both Rajawat and Datt are devout Hindus, and yet they came out in support of the campaign for justice to a Muslim child.  

During her visit, Rajawat was given certificates of appreciation by three elected officials – Randeep Singh Sarai, Ravi Kahlon and Rachna Singh - on separate occasions for standing up for human rights and social justice. Sarai is a Member of Parliament from Surrey Centre, while Kahlon is a Parliamentary Secretary of Sports and Multiculturalism and MLA from North Delta. 

Singh is an MLA from Surrey Green-Timbers. She had earlier introduced Rajawat to the BC Legislature, and had also raised the issue of Bano in the assembly last year.

Rajawat’s video of participating in #HandsAgainstRacism continues to trend on Twitter.

 

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