NEW DELHI: The horrific Kathua and Unnao rapes have cast a shadow over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s UK visit, with the media having run headlines and editorials on the rapes by the ‘Hindu nationalists’ and the South Asia Solidarity Group and CasteWatch UK preparing to protest on 10 Downing Street on April 10.

PM Modi will be holding a bilateral summit with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the time.

Ahead of the visit Indian students studying at Oxford University have written an open letter to the PM expressing “great distress and horror” over the incidents, and the government’s prolonged silence on the rapes of the minor girls. The students community, noting that the PM moves immediately for justice, and prove that the government of India stands for the dignity and well being of the citizens. “ When you say that justice will be delivered will it extend to creating that environment where our women and children can exist freely?” the students asked.

The letter has been sent from NISAU an organisation of ‘National Indian Students and Alumni Union (UK) pointing out that they had been eagerly awaiting his visit. But now that it hopes by the time the Prime Minister arrives in UK, that is today, he would have taken adequate measures to assure the country and the world that ‘enough is enough.’ However, after the initial one remark there has been silence from PM Modi and the government on the two rapes that have astounded and shocked not just India, but clearly the world.

Meanwhile the South Asia Solidarity Group is busy preparing to greet the PM with black flags and protests. A spokesperson of the group in London said that despite earlier protests the situation has worsened in India. And “the last two and a half years since then have seen him (PM) presiding over an epidemic of mob lynching of Muslims, Christians and Dalits, assassinations of dissidents, undermining of basic democratic rights and the frightening consolidation of fascism at every level.”

“In recent shocking violence in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and other states against Dalits who were protesting the dilution of legislation supposed to protect them from atrocities, 9 people were killed, thousands arrested and the targeted violence against Dalit activists is continuing. For example, BSP worker Gopi Pariya whose name was on a list circulated on social media was brutally murdered in UP on April 5th..We must remember, however, that people across India are continuing to courageously resist these attacks and stand up to fascism. Dalits are fighting back under very harsh conditions- and we in the UK are organising these protests to support them and to give Modi the message loud and clear that he is not welcome,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for CasteWatchUK commented: "On the one hand Modi talks about bringing people together and of Bharat ki baat sab ke saath, but on the other hand his cohorts RSS storm troopers continue to brazenly defy the law unleashing violence on Dalits and religious minorities. Hindu Nationalism must be curtailed to avert India sliding towards wholesale dictatorship threatening democratic fabric, rule of law and the unity of India."

The recent Kathua and Unnao rapes were highlighted in the press release. It states, "Modi’s ruling BJP has actively mobilised to defend powerful rape-accused men and undermine the rule of law. In Kathua in Jammu, 8-year old Asifa was horrifically gang-raped and murdered by a group of powerful men including a police officer and a temple official, in order to terrorise the nomadic Bakkarwal community she belonged to. This was followed by protests in defence of the accused by a pro-Modi Hindu right wing outfit the Hindu Ekta Manch. At least two BJP ministers took part in these protests. In Unnao in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, a sixteen year old girl was raped by a BJP MLA Kuldip Singh Sengar – when the family protested her father was brutally assaulted by Sengar’s supporters, arrested on a false case and died in police custody. Narendra Modi has remained silent as his party leaders rape and take to the streets to defend rapists."

Significantly the protests being organised by SASG and CasteWatchUK that have both taken a tough stand against the Indian government, the PM and the RSS have also linked this to New Delhi’s close relationship currently with US President Donal Trump and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu.