Friday July 01, 2022

‘Violence against minorities in India now a global concern’

By Our Correspondent
May 29, 2022

Addressing a one-day seminar on the status of minorities in India organised by the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs on Saturday, former senator Javed Jabbar said that there is an unclear majority in the current democratic system of India as the Muslims make 14 per cent of India but they have not been given representation in Lok Sabha.

Jabbar, who is also the co-founder chairman of the Social Policy and Development Centre, said Muslims, Jains, Christians and Buddhists are living under constant pressure, they are considered second citizens who are deprived of basic rights, and they have no fair representation in the electoral system of India, which is considered the world’s biggest democracy.

He said that for hundreds of years even there was no clear concept of being “Hindu”. But different sections of the society were defined through the cast system. Different communities would worship multiple gods with their own beliefs. Defining the Hindutva, he said, it is based on the principle of fascism which is more dangerous than the ideologies of Hitler and Mussolini.

India was the only country in the south that expanded its territory by merging around 500 royal states forcibly. Also, India has adopted policies of intervention in other South Asian countries. The reason might be big states also feel insecure more than small states.

He concluded that once we were a minority; therefore, we should also respect our minorities if they are Hindus, Christians, Ahmedis or others.

On the occasion, Prof Dr Mohammad Waseem of the Lahore University of Management Sciences said that the Modi regime can be defined as new Sultanism. He has set up an authoritarian government with his personal presence in all elements of governance without true political power. His presence even dominates the social life of the citizens.

Not only this, he said, but he has clearly divided the Indians into first and second citizens. Minorities especially the second and the third largest groups of Muslim and Christian have been alienated. This, he has done through the so-called legislation and with the help of Hindu extremist groups.

He said that Muslims would vote for Congress, but unfortunately, the party could not manage to even get its member elected as opposition leader in the parliament. This is why Muslims have no voice. Only four per cent voted for the BJP, but those Muslims only wanted to secure a space and peace in the localities where they live.

Public violence against minorities symbolised sovereignty. The Muslims are the most persecuted community in India and in some areas they have been deprived of livelihood, residence, and other basic rights. They are not allowed to freely worship. Muslims are facing constant surveillance and moral policing in Modi’s India. Ironically, Muslims have been associated with extremism and Jihad.

He said that Hindutva is ethnic and religious fascism that is basically oppressing the minorities, their rights, and even their presence in India.

The seminar that was moderated by PIIA chairperson Masuma Hasan said that the session was inspired by the universal concerns over the persecution of minorities in India. The vulnerable groups in India are now struggling to secure the rights to livelihood, religious freedom, employment and citizenship. Hindu extremists want minorities to worship the way they themselves do.

She said Muslims are subjected to state violence and mob attacks. Minorities face public violence and humiliation while he India state has taken no steps to make the extremists accountable. She urged that it is the responsibility of governments to protect the rights of minorities.