Protesters at Chicago’s World Hindu Congress Held Briefly

Chicago 10 Sep 2018

Three persons, including two protesters, were arrested in Chicago, United States, after violence broke out at the venue of the World Hindu Congress (WHC) on the night of Friday, 7 September.

Six demonstrators, including five women, reportedly held banners, chanting “STOP HINDU FASCISM” during the evening plenary session, following which, the gathering at the conference turned violent.

Two of the women protesters were arrested on Friday evening and local police charged them with disorderly conduct and trespassing. They were released later in the night.

The event organisers alleged that the protesters sneaked into the venue through a “fake identity card”. The issue has been reported to the police and is being investigated.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and its joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosbale and six other top Hindu religious leaders were participating in a panel discussion on collective efforts for Hindu resurgence when the protesters seated at two different places in the hall suddenly stood on their chairs and started raising slogans such as “Stop Hindu Fascism” and “RSS turn around, we do not want you in town.”

Taken by surprise, some of the attendees at the conference raised counter slogans, prevented them from raising the banner that they had brought in, and in less than a minute were taken out of the plenary hall. The hotel security and local police immediately took control of the situation.

statement released by the Chicago South Asians For Justice, the organisation behind the protest, alleges that the protesters were “choked, kicked and spat on.”

Following the incident, the security in and around the hotel has been beefed up. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu also addressed the WHC on Sunday.

“About six of us were at the WHC today. We were there to protest the conference, the organiser, the speakers, and the attendees and their support for the current and historic violence that’s been propagated by the RSS and other similar organisations,” one of the woman protesters told PTI after being released.

“We sat through most of the plenary this evening. There were about six speakers. Two of us were on one side of the room and the rest sat on the other side of the room. We stood up with a banner. We chanted ‘RSS turnaround, we do not want you in town’,” she said and alleged that they were immediately swarmed and other conference attendees started screaming at them.

“He did that in front of the police,” she said.

“We mounted our disruption towards the end of the evening plenary session,” the second woman protester said, alleging that some of the attendees in the room snatched the banner from them.

Earlier in the day, Avaaz Foundation took out a full-page advertisement in The Chicago Tribune against the WHC. The advertisement cost them around $26,000. The foundation on Friday also hired a mobile advertisement van which moved in the vicinity of the hotel.( The Quint )