A Hopeless Democracy?
By Adeel Mukhtar Mirza
Adeel Mukhtar Mirza works at Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) and can be reached at email@example.com.
The savagery against Muslims in Delhi by outfitted Hindu extremists during President Donald Trump’s visit to India is a curse of pseudo Indian democracy. As Trump plunked down to feast with India’s executive, Narendra Modi, Hindus were beating and shooting Muslims, and Muslims were retaliating, attempting to safeguard their homes from plunderers and pyromaniacs. 40 Muslims were executed-including an 85-year-elderly woman-and 200 individuals, generally Muslims, were harmed (figures kept on changing). The Delhi police, who report to Home Minister Amit Shah, either sat around or accompanied the hordes. The savagery reverberated that of 2002, when Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat and did nothing to stem butchery that executed around 1,000 individuals, most of them Muslims. It likewise brought back recollections of the retribution killings of 3,000 Sikhs in Delhi after the death of Ms Indira Gandhi by two of her Sikh protectors in 1984. In every one of these cases, Hindus were permitted to go out of control, unchecked by police. This is the meaning of a massacre.
In excess of a reverberation of the past, the ongoing viciousness in Delhi is an exercise focused on Indian residents who, since December, have set out to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 and National Population Register (NPR). Moreover, in last August, Modi’s legislature renounced the exceptional status of the province of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) that permitted the state to make its own laws. J&K was put under a lockdown that was just mostly lifted five months after the fact to permit access to a cautiously curated set of locales handpicked by the administration. Additionally, in August last year, the decision of a National Citizens Registry (NRC) in the northeastern territory of Assam, approximately 2 million individuals, generally Muslims, being deprived of Indian citizenship. The new law opens the entryway to legitimate victimization of Muslims.
Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) constituted Fact Finding Committee on 09 Mar 2020, to prepare comprehensive report on North-East Delhi Riots. The report was published on 27 Jun 2020. The report detailed on causes of violence, perpetrators, role of police and administration, victims data records, victims’ compensation and rehabilitation and recommendation.
The fact-finding Committee reported that the Delhi violence was evidently planned and directed to explicitly teach a lesson to Muslims, in wake of their opposition to CAA-NRC. There are hundreds of stories proving the political and administrated backed mob exclusively targeting Muslim community. In Puliya Nala near Johripur; mobster goons chanted ‘Mullas take Azadi… we are giving you Azadi’ and targeted specific streets with Muslims residents. Many Muslims residents managed to escape the targeted areas at night via connected roof tops. The police came after hours and did not stop the attackers; seeing these goons started massive loot and arson the area. In G Block (Phase III), first 5-7 Muslim owned shops were target, looted and burnt. In nearby places, the shops owned by non-Muslims but rented by Muslims were looted but not burned so as not to damage the property. The police did not turn up to the numerous calls for help and so far, the victims have received no compensation. According to a victim, the police in uniform while shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’, attacked Masjib Furqania in Brijpuri. They brutally injured Mufti Tahir and torched the Mosque with chemical spray; burning all books including Holy Quran. More than 22 Muslim places including Mosques, Dargahs, Madrasas and Qabristan were attacked during targeted violence.
They also targeted Muslim women with verbal abuse, sexual harassment, physical abuse and rape. The Muslim women were traumatized and kept themselves in houses and did not venture out even for necessities. Women and children took refuge wherever they could find and watched helplessly as they properties were looted and burnt. The Muslim women in Chand Bagh explicitly described being attacked by Delhi police. In one harrowing account, the police dragged a 12-13 years old girl and a woman tried to help but she was hit on head by a stone. Later the police pulled down their pants pointed their genitals towards the women, while stating that they were giving them ‘freedom’. In Shiv Vihar, a girl was dishonored and later murdered. Men at different sites of violence tore several women cloths apart. Perpetrators particularly attacked Muslim women with Hijab or Niqab; specifically, being attacking them for their Muslim Identity. The mob also target Muslim women with acid. A woman narrated acid attack on herself, her daughter and brother in law; who are admitted in hospital.
Up to the completion of the report, the Fact-Finding Committee did not receive any response from Delhi Police. Delhi police has not registered FIRs / complaints of Muslim victims, instead accused and charged Muslims, which is reflective of the systematic injustice and inherent political and religious bias against Muslims. The Delhi police taking clear side in the violence by delaying action, inaction amid the chaos, openly supporting perpetrators and by practically taking part in violence and abuse. The Muslims in the area are traumatized have lost livelihood, houses, property and are trying to survive. Most have fled the areas to find safer places.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi remained unblemished during his first term in office notwithstanding unfavorable signs despite what might be expected, remembering lynching of Muslims by encouraged Hindus. Modi’s picture as a down to earth, business-situated leader, who has shunned Hindu fanaticism currently lies shredded. The destitution rate in India is increasing once more. Numerous Hindu youth have been radicalized. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-a paramilitary association partnered with the BJP that is expressly displayed on the Nazis, and of which Modi has been a part since the age of 8—has instilled and prepared thousands. Everything necessary in Modi’s India to marshal a horde, as Kapil Mishra showed in Delhi, is a word. And everything necessary to transform the horde’s frenzy into a slaughter against a strict minority is the complicity of police. However, across India, fearless residents keep on consuming open spaces in tranquil dissent. They realize that all they have left to spare their majority rule republic is each other. They realize that, quickly, the horde can seek them as well.
The Muslims are treated as separate and distinct community rather than citizens of the country, which also led to minorities protests against discrimination of CAA. The office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a statement on 26 Jun 2020 defending the anti-CAA protestors and condemning their arrest by Indian government. Except for certain exceptions, overall Indian media failed to deliver truth to the public and upheld government’ point of view during and after the carnage. The report is a slap to Indian fraudulent democracy and shed light on increased violence and persecution of minorities especially Muslims. The most important recommendation of the Committee is more in-depth probe by sitting or retired judge of High Court. There is little hope, as Indian legal system is a projection of denied justice.