The policies and strategies employed by the Indian government and the ruling BJP in the recent past to suppress minorities, especially the Muslim community, have a remarkable similarity to what Israel has been doing with the Palestinians. It seems Delhi is following in the footsteps of Tel Aviv, or perhaps the powers behind Israel have begun patronizing India.
India’s tactics to overpower and make Muslims a minority in the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir are the same that Israel has been using to dislodge Palestinian people from their ancestral lands.
The latest of these in India is the recent policy of demolishing the houses of Muslims protesting the blasphemous remarks of ruling party leaders against the Prophet of Islam (pbuh). Among the dozens of such Muslim houses razed in Delhi was that of Aafreen Fatima, a student leader at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, known for opposing the new anti-Muslim citizenship law and addressing various sit-ins.
Israel has been demolishing the houses of Arab residents for decades, driving them out to occupy their lands for building Jewish settlements. The village of Al-Araqib in Occupied Palestine, which saw 203 demolitions, is an example. From the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, Israel has been evicting original inhabitants via countless such demolitions to change the area's demography.
Hindu extremists have shown a welcome response to the Indian state's demolition policy of Muslims' homes. Hindutva activists have begun considering the bulldozer an important weapon against religious minorities to realize the dream of making India a Hindutva-inspired Hindu rashtra. Per a headline, a young Hindu groom, Ankush Jaiswal, chose to ride a bulldozer to his bride’s place on his wedding day. Looks like India's Hindu youth now want to learn how to operate bulldozers to participate in future demolition campaigns. This amateur move of a bridegroom can go beyond mere antics and lead to serious tragedy for the minorities in India in the future.
The latest US report sheds light on India’s oppressive treatment of its minorities. But completely ignoring the report, Delhi is planning to convene the G-20 annual summit 2023 in the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir in violation of international laws which bar hosting any world meeting in a territory declared disputed by the United Nations. If it went ahead, such a move would be tantamount to a blatant violation of international laws by India and making a mockery of the UN.
Since Modi came to power, he and his Hindu extremist cohorts have been trying to change the country’s identity, in utter disregard of world opinion, and by influencing the Western countries using every political tactic. By holding the G-20 meeting in Kashmir, Modi now wants to rope in the West in his sinister plans of annexing Occupied Kashmir for good. This way, he hopes, the world's conscience should be forced to ignore India’s worst record of human rights violations and acknowledge Kashmir as part of India and ratify Modi government’s move to end the special status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir by amending Article 370 of the Indian constitution on August 5, 2019.
Interestingly, all of Modi’s attempts have failed so far to get Occupied Kashmir’s new status acknowledged by the world community, the Kashmiri people, and even by those political parties and leaders in Kashmir who have always been considered pro-India. The families of former pro-India chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have also vehemently rejected the constitutional amendments to annex Kashmir, even after they were imprisoned. To prevent a severe backlash from the Kashmiris, Modi clamped harsh and repressive security crackdown, relentless curfew for nearly two years, the worst communication lockdown in world history cutting all phone, internet, social media, and postage links and blacked-out media. Scores of people were killed, wounded, and disappeared for protesting the move.
India completely ignored the condemnations by the world community, human rights organizations, media, and even the UN General Assembly. Interestingly, Delhi has always got away with its crimes against minorities, especially against Muslims, courtesy the leniency displayed by international bodies and human rights groups.
Delhi considers the (previous) Trump administration’s shifting of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem in 2018, in defiance of international norms, laws and UN resolutions, as a boon for carrying out its own plan to capture Kashmir. Modi plans to use it as a bargaining chip to push the US look away from his government’s violations of international laws and human rights in lieu of supporting Washington policies elsewhere.
Modi's plans to seize Kashmir by copying Israel’s tactic of pulling world powers’ nod through diplomatic channels could be upset by other key global players – other than the US – especially the European Union, which show a firm commitment to human rights. The EU rejected the relocation of the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem, as did the rest of the world except for less than half a dozen countries prompted by coercion and greed.
Norway, an EU ally, just a few days ago refused to accept Israel's name on products from the Occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, in line with a ruling by the European Union Court of Justice. Israel displayed visible unease over Norway's decision to reject the Israeli stance on the issue. The G-20 also includes major world players like China and Russia, and three Muslim countries – Indonesia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – besides the Western countries.
Pakistan has also frustrated Indian efforts by complying with all the FATF conditions needed to get off the grey list and raised its world acceptance. Islamabad is hopeful of mobilizing the conscience of the enlightened world to refuse to back the illegal, cruel, and repressive actions of the Modi government against Kashmiris.
Though India possesses a global importance of being a big market, no world power can ignore the geopolitical importance of Pakistan and afford to disregard all the violations of human rights, international law, and the ground realities of the region to help India copy Israel in its attempts to seize Kashmir.
For India, holding the G-20 meeting in Occupied Kashmir will be a hard nut to crack. Doing it by hook or by crook will have the risk of facing the repercussions of becoming a US policeman in the region.
The countries supporting Indian oppressive designs will face the risk of being held responsible for assisting Delhi in its Hindutva ideology and all the violence and bloodletting that has and will entail. Such an eventuality will also doom the Indian dream of a big world market.
The writer is an editor at Dubai-based Pan Arab News Channel AlArabiya. He tweets @mansoorjafarEditor
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