Damage to Indian democracy is irreversible: Arundhati Roy

She says the inflammatory remarks of the BJP spokesperson against Holy Prophet Muhammad were not an isolated incident in India but a “culmination of the BJP's engineering hatred of a common enemy."

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Best-selling Indian author Arundhati Roy in her email interview with CNN said that the recent Islamophobic remarks of the BJP spokespersons have caused irreversible damage to the democracy in India.

She says the inflammatory remarks of the BJP spokesperson against Holy Prophet Muhammad were not an isolated incident in India but a “culmination of the BJP’s engineering hatred of a common enemy.” Roy raised alarm when she said, “India’s tragedy is not that it’s the worst place in the world — it’s that we are on our way there. We’re burning down our house. India is an experiment that is failing dangerously,” in her interview.

The author mentioned how many of her friends, Indian poets, writers, professors, lawyers, human rights activists, and journalists are in prison who spoke for the minorities, Dalits, and forest-dwellers facing displacement and state terror under the dreaded law called the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

“Among them are people I consider to be India’s most important minds. It makes one wonder what living as a free person in the time of fascism means. What does it mean to be a bestselling author when the world is breaking?” writes Roy.

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She draws similarities between Indian politics and US Capitol riots. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is triggering a discussion about who has the real power in India.

Talking about RSS she said that it is more than just a political party now. “It has its own vast militia, its own schools, labor unions, and women’s organizations. It’s not a political party, it’s something of a shape-shifter, a master of double-speak, its sources of funding are amorphous and leave no legal trail, it works through an array of affiliates, but it’s a nation within a nation.”

The RSS believes that India should be declared a Hindu nation, just as Pakistan, Iran, and several countries in the Persian Gulf are Islamic nations, just as Israel is legally the “nation-state of the Jewish people.”

When asked if India is truly the world’s largest democracy, she said a country cannot be a democracy by depriving its minorities of basic rights. “You cannot be a democracy when 200 million people who constitute a religious minority are expected to live without rights. When you can lynch them, kill them, incarcerate them, economically and socially boycott them, bulldoze their homes with complete immunity and threaten to strip them of citizenship. When the murderers and lynchers can aspire to move swiftly up the political ladder.”

She called the provocative statements of the BJP spokesperson part of the constituency-building exercise. “We regularly see provocative demonstrations by thousands of sword-wielding Hindu men marching through areas in which Muslims live. The deeply disrespectful comments about Prophet Mohammed made by a BJP spokeswoman on national TV this May were a part of this constituency-building exercise. As was the unconscionable bulldozing by municipal authorities of the homes of Muslims who dared to come out in protest,” said Roy.

Describing constituency-building exercise she said, merely isolating Muslims is not enough. To remain in power, BJP has to “create an artificial majority out of a very diverse Hindu community that consists of thousands of castes and ethnicities. The cement for that is engineering hatred of a common enemy.”