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Monday February 06, 2023

Crimes against humanity

February 27, 2022

Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned scholar, author and activist, in a video message to a webinar organised by a Washington-based advocacy organisation named the Indian American Muslim Council observed “The pathology of Islamophobia is growing throughout the West but it is taking its most lethal form in India.” He added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing Hindu nationalist regime has sharply escalated the crimes in Occupied Kashmir. “The crimes in Kashmir have a long history and the state is now a brutally occupied territory and its military control by Indian forces in some ways is similar to occupied Palestine,” he said.

There could not have been a more realistic portrayal of the anti-Muslim policies being pursued by India and the reign of persecution let loose on the people of Kashmir. The Modi-led BJP regime is implementing the ‘Hindutva’ ideology of the RSS, which calls for the exclusion of minority communities, asserting that India is only for Hindus.

French political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot who is specialising in South Asian affairs, particularly India and Pakistan, points out that the ideology of the RSS and other Hindu nationalist movements such as the Arya Samaj and the Hindu Mahasabha, thought of Muslims, Christians and the British as ‘foreign bodies’ implanted in the Hindu nation, who were able to exploit the disunity and absence of valour among Hindus in order to subdue them.

However, a majority of scholars believe that the RSS was actually formed to fight Indian Muslims. That assertion has proven right by the actions of the Modi government. The implementation of the National Register of Citizenship in Assam which rendered 1.9 Muslims stateless and the promulgation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) speak volumes about hatred against Muslims.

The international media hurled scathing criticism at the Modi government for promulgating the Citizenship Amendment Act. Even the UN rights Chief Michelle Bachelet moved the Indian SC over the CAA and informed the Indian government that it would be a third party in a petition brought by a former civil servant. This development came in the wake of communal riots in Delhi in which more than 50 Muslims were killed. The condemnation of this mayhem was not restricted to the international community, but even within India, there was a great resentment over the path being pursued by the BJP regime. Former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh said that India “has slid from being a liberal democracy to a majoritarian state. Lives of nearly 50 Indians were lost ‘for no reason’.

“Communal tensions were stoked by unruly sections of our society, including the political class. Institutions of law and order have abandoned their dharma to protect citizens. Institutions of justice and the fourth pillar of democracy, the media, have also failed. The fire of social tensions that is spreading across the country can threaten to char the soul of the nation.”

The recurrent incidents of attacks on Muslims by BJP zealots and the recent situation in Indian state of Karnataka where Muslim girls are being harassed for wearing the hijab are the irrefutable evidence of the dangerous path that the Indian regime has chosen for itself.

Before coming to power, the BJP in its election manifesto had pledged to repeal Articles 370 and 35 A of the Indian constitution. On August 5, Modi finally managed to end the special status of Kashmir. In his address to the nation on Indian Independence Day, he boasted that he had done something within seventy days, which could not be done in 70 years and that he had fulfilled Vallabhbhai Patel’s dream of United India.

It is pertinent to point out that some conscientious voices within India and those who could perceive the dangers inherent in this reckless move condemned the scrapping of Article 370 of the Indian constitution. The Congress strongly opposed the bill when it was presented in the Lok Sabha. One of its senior leader P Chidambaram, while speaking in the Rjaya Sabha, rightly remarked “Momentarily you may think you have scored a victory ... drum beats, that you will hear on the streets, certainly will encourage you to believe that you have corrected a so-called injustice but history will prove you wrong ... and future generations will realise what a grave mistake this House is making today. This will be a catastrophic blunder. It is a sad day. This will be the black day.” He appealed to the Modi government not to ‘dismember the state’ terming it a cardinal blunder.

The unilateral end of the special status of Occupied Kashmir, its bifurcation into two territories and their inclusion in the Indian Union, and the complete lockdown in the state and the continuation of a killing spree by the Indian security forces, are testimonies of the nefarious designs of the Modi government.

With a view to change the demographic features of the state, the Indian government has also promulgated a domicile law which allows Indian citizens to become permanent residents of the state, also making them eligible for buying property and seeking jobs there. These actions are a brazen violation of the UN resolutions, international law, UN Conventions on Human Rights and fourth Geneva Convention.

The most worrying factor for the countries of the region, particularly Pakistan is that the hate philosophy being pursued by the Modi government also has serious implications for peace and security in the region. The Modi government right since its inception has adopted an aggressive posture towards Pakistan as demonstrated on February 26, 2019.

The world community particularly the UN as a peace-making body needs to take immediate notice of what India is doing to the Muslim minority and what it has done in Kashmir in blatant defiance of the UN resolution, before the situation gets out of hand. The US and its allies must also remove blinkers from their eyes. The failure of the UN and the powers which can help in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute could lead to catastrophic consequences.

The writer is a freelance contributor. He can be reached at: ashpak10@gmail.com

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