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November 19, 2019

State of hate


November 19, 2019

Not only had a day passed since the Modi government in India targeted Amnesty International, that a retired Maj-Gen of the Indian army spewed the most hateful venom against Kashmiri women one could think of. Taking part in a live TV programme, the retired Indian major-general called for the rape of Kashmiri women as a punishment for the expulsion of Kashmiri pundits from Indian Occupied Kashmir in 1990. Justifying his demand, he explained that ‘an eye for an eye’ is the best policy for retaliation in response to the freedom struggle of the Kashmiris. The video clip is available on social media, showing him refusing to listen to any sensible arguments and shouting at the top of his voice to – horrifyingly – demand 'rape for rape’. Thankfully, te moderator of the programme and some other panelists strongly reacted to his filthy diatribe against Kashmiris.

Earlier, the Modi government had targeted Amnesty International (AI) – a well-respected international rights group – by raiding its offices in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) in Karnataka, and in New Delhi. The Indian government officials have accused Amnesty of illicit foreign funding from the United Kingdom, which violates local law. This is clearly a pressure tactic that many governments use to stop rights groups from highlighting grave human rights violations. Since the Indian government has continued its ruthless oppression in the Kashmir valley, it doesn’t want any international media coverage of the atrocities committed there. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is being used against Amnesty International after the home affairs ministry lodged formal complaints to the CBI against the rights group. Amnesty International has been pretty vocal in voicing concerns about human rights violations, and it speaks out both at national and international fora.

Such intolerant attitude of the Indian government has played an encouraging role for army officials such as the one mentioned above to cross all boundaries of indecency and make demands that according to all ethical, legal, and moral standards will be found condemnable and despicable. The two events – the hateful outburst and the targeting of Amnesty – are clearly interconnected. If the government and state institutions themselves become intolerant and use their officials to raid and ravage, the same officials even after retirement carry that infection with them. In any other country, that retired army officer would be taken to task by higher authorities so that an example is set to prevent such filthy language in future. Ideally, the Indian government should also immediately stop its aggression against Amnesty International, otherwise it would further damage its international reputation which is already tarnished by its atrocities. Going by recent precedent, though, it is quite unlikely either of these will happen.

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