News Analysis |
Prime Minister Modi-led government has accused Indian Muslims of backing Pakistan. This is not the first occasion when the BJP government is being critical of Muslims and questioning their loyalties with India. The government has done so in the past many times. Analysts believe that Modi is pushing India into a religious divide which may cause heavy loss to Indian secularism and unity.
Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar told a press conference to attack former Congress president Rahul Gandhi for giving Pakistan a “handle” to target India at the United Nations over the situation in Kashmir by having made comments critical of the government policy, saying he did so to woo his largely Muslim southern constituency.
“Rahul Gandhi said that things in Jammu and Kashmir were going wrong, there were reports of people dying in J&K. You were wrong, Rahul Gandhi. Things are fine in J&K, there is no violence as you imagined. People haven’t died. Pakistan used his remarks. The Pakistani application to the UN mentions remarks made by Rahul Gandhi. The application states that acts of violence have been acknowledged by mainstream party leaders such as Rahul Gandhi,” Mr. Javadekar said.
While attacking Mr Gandhi, Mr Javadekar also made a communal dig at Indian Muslims, using “Wayanad” — Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala — as a dog whistle, The Wire online news portal said.
In 2002, Modi turned a “blind eye” to the Muslim massacre staged in Gujarat, and his leading rhetoric upon assuming the Prime Ministerial office has also focused on promoting an antagonistic environment of “Hindu majoritarianism”.
It is worth noting that recently, the 2018 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom released by Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, stated that Hindu-groups had used “violence, intimidation, and harassment” against Muslims and low-caste Dalits in 2017 to force a religion-based national identity.
Rights groups have already shown their reservations over the stance of Indian government and its patronage to Hindu extremists who wish to convert Muslims to Hinduism or force them to quit India. Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti who is under arrest, has asked the Indian government on multiple occasions not to violate secular values of the constitution if India desires to remain a stable and harmonized society.
By 1993, amnesty international identified enforced disappearances as a form of “persistently perpetrated forms of human rts violations” in Kashmir along w/ rape, extra judicial killings,torture It drew attention to “many thousands” of political prisoners being held without trial pic.twitter.com/coe4xpBN0e— Detention Solidarity Network (@detsolnet) August 27, 2019
The report is important in sense that a BJP government has assumed office in India once again. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was able to sell out his anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim narratives to proclaim a great victory.
While speaking to East Asia Forum, Robin Bannerman Jeffrey, a Canadian-born expert on modern Indian history and politics, revealed Modi’s strategy of “unsheathing his nationalist sword” given the atmosphere created by the upcoming election and ongoing strife with Pakistan.
Jeffery warns, “the BJP is likely to use these (anti-Muslim) emotions for their election campaign. He went onto highlight that Modi is a “life-long activist” of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is the parent Hindu nationalist organization, accused of stirring anti-Muslim riots and violence for decades. In 2002, Modi turned a “blind eye” to the Muslim massacre staged in Gujarat, and his leading rhetoric upon assuming the Prime Ministerial office has also focused on promoting an antagonistic environment of “Hindu majoritarianism”.
Jeffry cautions that social media tools, particularly WhatsApp, are being used to spread fallacious news and “hateful messages”, which trigger “sporadic attacks on Muslims” after branding them as “cow killers and beef eaters”.
Muslims are under Threat in PM Modi’s India
Since after the electoral win of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, the country has been undergoing a massive socio-political change and moving towards an extremist Hindu state. Media reports suggest that freedom is under threat in India where secular values are being replaced with extremist Hindu ideologies where religious minorities enjoy little space to practice their religious teachings.
Muslims are the most vulnerable target to the extremists in India who offer them two options; become Hindu or leave the country. “First, a campaign was launched to convert religious minorities to Hinduism. The right-wing groups called it ‘home-coming.’ Now, they are demanding bans on certain books and beef-eating. Those who don’t listen to these groups are being targeted every now and then,” Rakesh Batabyal, an associate professor at the Centre for Media Studies in New Delhi, told an international media outlet.
Senior leader of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Muzaffar Hussain, last year expressed his anger and warned Indian leadership of one more partition if atrocities against Muslims are not stopped. “I want to tell Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he should put an end to the killing of Muslims in the name of cow slaughter. This country has once been partitioned into two, and there can be more partitions if killings of Muslims are not stopped immediately,” Mr. Hussain stated.
Markandey Katju, a former Indian Judge, has recently said that Indian democracy is under threat not because of Muslims or Pakistan but solely because of sitting Indian Prime Minister who is turning India from a secular state to an extremist Hindu state.