The anti-India protests targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the United Kingdom last week, which was organised by an outfit called the South Asia Solidarity Group, has been at the forefront of carrying out anti-Modi campaigns, both online and on the streets of London, as was evident from the vans that were seen there, displaying placards against the Indian PM. It was one of the founder members of this group, Amrit Wilson, who wrote the article “India is a Republic of Fear” in the British newspaper Guardian ahead of the Indian PM’s visit to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The website of the group (http://www.southasiasolidarity.org), which is filled with vitriol against PM Modi is under the watch of Indian intelligence agencies for the group’s alleged links with Maoists and LTTE sympathisers. The protest organised by this group also saw the participation of Pakistani national Abdul Rasheed Turabi, who is the leader of the radical Jamaat-e-Islami and is known for his anti-India outreach efforts across the globe. It also saw the presence of Lord Nazir Ahmed, a member of the House of Lords, who regularly speaks in favour of separatist movements against India. An Indian flag too was torn at the protest site in Parliament Square on Wednesday. The protest was also attended by pro-Khalistani elements who are suspected to be involved in the tearing of the Tricolour.
According to the website of the UK newspaper Guardian, “Amrit Wilson is a writer and activist on issues of race and gender in Britain and South Asian politics. She is a founder member of South Asia Solidarity Group and the Freedom Without Fear Platform, and board member of Imkaan, a Black, South Asian and minority ethnic women’s organisation dedicated to combating violence against women in Britain. She was a founder member of Awaz and an active member of OWAAD.”
An investigation into the website’s registration revealed that it is being managed and run by a Jaffna born Sri Lankan national, Shaseevan Ganeshananthan, who works for a telecom company as a software professional in Bristol. As per the information available, the registrant address for the website is also Bristol.
The Sunday Guardian contacted Shaseevan Ganeshananthan on the email that was given while registering the website, and asked him the following questions.
- Are you in any way related to South Asia Solidarity Group?
- If yes, then what were the reasons behind staging the protest?
- Are you related with any other organisation or body?
In his reply, Shaseevan said, “South Asia Solidarity Group (is) hosting their website on my server. I forwarded your mail to them. Hope they will contact you.” There was no response from South Asia Solidarity Group till the time the story went to press. However, the website was hosted on www.fastdomain.com, which is a popular hosting company from where individuals and organisations can buy and register their sites. And it is clear from the details of the southasiasolidarity.org website that it is registered in the name of Shaseevan.
Shasseevan has also worked as the director of “Ezhuna Media”, which described itself as an independent media organisation whose endeavours were to record and express various voices of Sri Lanka’s Tamil speaking communities to build their intellectual capacity. The said organisation, which was registered in UK, was dissolved in December 2015.
He is also the director of the Sri Lanka based Noolaham Foundation, which is into digital archiving and undertaking the work of documenting, digitally preserving and providing free and open access to knowledge bases and cultural heritage of Sri Lankan Tamil speaking community.