There is a great community concern over the invitation of Indian politician Tejasvi Surya to participate in an Australia India Youth Dialogue conferences scheduled for Melbourne and Sydney from Monday 30 May to Saturday 4 June 2022.  

Tejasvi Surya is an Indian politician of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and a member of Hindu right wing organisation, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

He is a Member of Parliament representing the Bangalore South constituency. He is also the current president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of BJP.

Tejavi Surya has expressed clearly incendiary anti-Muslim views and has stirred hatred and violent sentiments against Indian Muslim minority.

A group of concerned academics, global activists from the Indian Diaspora and members of various civil society groups belonging to the Australian Alliance Against Hate (AAAH), have raised serious concerns about the invitation forwarded to BJP leader Tejasvi Surya from the Australia India Youth Dialogue (AIYD).

The Humanism Project THP, NRI Affairs, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, AFIC, Islamic Council of Victoria, ICV, Australian National Imams Council, ANIC, more that 20 Muslim Student Associations at various Australian Universities together with  and many other organisations in Australia have issued statements on the issue and sent letters to the sponsors and the relevant authorities to protest at the the invitation of this person to Australia.

“As evident in his profile on the AIYD Website, Mr Surya identifies himself as an RSS Swayamsevak,” the letter points out. “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is a militant Hindu organisation that borrows from the tactics of European fascism to transform’different people’ into ‘enemies’. Groups that have experienced RSS-related discrimination and violence for decades include Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Adivasis (Indigenous), and Dalits (historically positioned at the bottom of the hierarchical caste system),” the letter stated.

The letter was sent in the hope of providing a clear overview of the politician’s incendiary remarks and activities in the hope that the government would reconsider his visa status and that sponsors would reconsider whether they want to put their names behind such an event.

Some of the sponsors have withdrawn their sponsorship for the event while one sponsor denied that they sponsored the event and were at a loss as to how their name was included.

Initially several universities and corporations did pull out their logos from the website of the Australia India Youth Dialogue event after a number of groups and activists protested against inviting a BJP MP known for his amplified nationalism on social media.

The Australia India Youth Dialogue (AIYD) is a young leaders’ dialogue between Australia and India.

It is held in India and Australia on alternate years; the AIYD claims to host 15 of the “best and brightest young minds from each country at an annual conference”.

According to their website, AIYD “enables a rich exchange of ideas between emerging leaders to think creatively about how the Australia-India relationship may be strengthened through their own work and efforts”.