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November 4, 2019

The threat of Modi


November 4, 2019

Indian Prime Minister Narendra during the election campaign in Maharashtra promised to confer the highest Indian honour of ‘Bharat Ratna’ on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the founder of the Hindu Mahasaba, a predecessor of the RSS and BJP.

Savarkar was the man who authored the pamphlet ‘Hindutva’, expounding Hindu supremacism during his incarceration in the cellular jail at the Andaman and Nicobar islands during 1910-1921 which led to the launching of the RSS by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar in 1925.

Savarkar is the same man who was also arrested on accusations of being the mastermind behind the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Sardar Vallabhai Patel in his correspondence with Nehru had mentioned his strong links with Godse and the commission formed to investigate the murder had also alluded to the same connectivity between him and Godse but the court released him for lack of concrete corroborative evidence.

Is it not ironic that Modi in his article published in the New York Times on October 2 on the eve of the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi quoted eminent international personalities like Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandel and Einstein to eulogize his creed of non-violence, maintaining that his message had global significance and stressed that India at the moment needed a leader like him?

In a message directed at the people of India and the world at large, he said: “Let us work shoulder to shoulder to make our world prosperous and free from hate, violence and suffering. That is when we will fulfill Mahatma Gandhi’s dream, summed up in his favorite hymn, ‘Vaishnava Jana To’, which says that a true human is one who feels others pain, removes misery and is never arrogant”.

Praising the non-violent philosophy of Gandhi and at the same time trying to confer the highest honour on the mastermind of his assassination is indeed a crude attempt to have it both ways. The duplicity of Modi stands exposed.

He himself is a life member of that racist entity that is also held responsible for the massacre of Muslims in Gujrat in 2002. During the incident, young girls were sexually assaulted, burned or hacked to death. In 2007, Tehelka magazine released a report titled ‘The Truth: Gujarat 2002’, which implicated the state government in the violence, and claimed that what had been called a spontaneous act of revenge was, in reality, a state-sanctioned pogrom. According to Human Rights Watch, the violence in Gujarat in 2002 was pre-planned and the police and state government participated in its perpetration.

Since Narendra Modi became prime minister of India in 2014, there has been an exponential increase in violence against minority communities – particularly Muslims – due to the communal policies pursued by the BJP government.

Indian atrocities in IOK are state terrorism. According to figures compiled by different human rights organizations, from January 1989 till August 31, 2019, the Indian security forces have killed 95,438 people including 7128 custodial killings, gang-raped 11,140 women and destroyed 109,409 homes. Since Modi became prime minister of India, the killing spree in IOK has assumed new dimensions.

Since the killing of Kashmiri freedom fighter Burhan Wani in 2016, the Kashmiri freedom movement has gained new momentum and the Indian security forces have also raised the level of oppression in the valley. Reportedly, since July 2016, 1031 people have been killed, more than 27000 subjected to torture, 11858 have been arrested, 10298 injured with pallet guns, 3306 homes have been demolished and 933 women have been gang-raped.

Modi government has unilaterally scrapped Article 370 of the Indian constitution and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act bifurcating the state into two Indian union territories has become effective from October 31. The constitution and flag of the state have been done away with. This Indian action constitutes an affront to the world community and the UN as it has effectively nullified UN resolutions on Kashmir. The people of Kashmir have been under total siege for more than eighty days due to curfew and communication blockade, creating a humanitarian crisis.

The abuse of human rights in IOK has been documented by Amnesty International and other human rights entities. Reports compiled by the UNHCR also corroborate the precarious human rights situation in Kashmir. No wonder the UN Human Rights Council expressed grave concern on the state of affairs in IOK and the international media has also been regularly reporting the oppression being perpetrated on the people of the valley.

The hypocrisy of Modi actually stands exposed to the world. A growing number of states have expressed their concerns regarding the humanitarian situation in Kashmir, refusing to accept it as an internal matter of India. The latest snub to India in this regard has come from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who during her visit not only expressed concern on the prevailing scenario in IOK but also remarked that the Kashmir issue could not be left unresolved and that India should hold dialogue with Pakistan on the issue.

The fascist creed being pursued by the BJP regime is a real threat to peace and security in the region. Prime Minister Imran Khan was right on the money to warn the world about the dangers posed to the region by the fascist ideology of the RSS, and to seek the intervention of the UN and the world community to stop India in its tracks before it could trigger a tragedy of cataclysmic proportions with implications beyond the region. It is time for the UN and the world community to go beyond expressing concern on the human rights violations and killing spree in IOK but to take practical measures to remove the root-cause of the permeating situation.

The UN and the world community have an obligation towards the people of Kashmir in regard to facilitating the exercise of the right of self-determination. The action by the Modi government to scrap Article 370 of the Indian constitution and making IOK part of the Indian Union should have received similar response from the UN as it did when it repudiated the Indian attempt in 1957 through the constituent assembly of IOK to declare accession of Kashmir to India.

Through resolutions 91 and 122, the UN clearly reiterated that the question of the accession of Kashmir could not be settled other than through a plebiscite held under the auspices of the UN. But it is regrettable that the UNSC simply restricted itself to discussing the situation in IOK when Pakistan with Chinese support invited its attention to the emerging situation.

The writer is a freelancecontributor.

Email: [email protected]