A former Indian judge, Mr. Markandey Katju commenting on the religious extremism rightly 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.”
The second victory of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Mr. Narendra Modi showed developing Hindutva/extremist tendency of Hindu nationalism in India. The elections also showed the inherent biases and deep-sentiments against Muslims in the Hindu-majority India, which also defines Indian nationalism, culture and values. Cunningly, Mr. Modi exploited those sentiments as well as incidents like Pulwama attack against Pakistan and anti-Muslim frenzy to win elections.
Mr. Modi has been a staunch supporter of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and his behavior or elections tactics should not surprise anyone. Mr. Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the second supreme RSS leaders, divulged Organization’s mission regarding Hindu-dominated India in 1938 in the following words: “The non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture…..In a word, they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment—not even citizens’ rights.” (“Pakistan and a World in Disorder—A Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century”, p.78)
The blend of developing Hindu fanaticism and the presence of huge minorities in India becomes hazardous considering the way that while Islam shows human equality, Hinduism depends on the division of the general public into social classes. Those conceived in the lower layers of society are sentenced to acknowledge their abuse on account of the individuals in the higher stratas without fight and any chance of improving their part. The untouchables, as the name proposes, are at the least crosspiece of the general public, bound to lead an existence of servile hopelessness and hardship. The adherents of different religions can expect more terrible treatment as clarified by Golwalkar. This is the heading that India is probably going to take soon if the tsunami of Hindu radicalism keeps on clearing over the land.
Senior leader of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Muzaffar Hussain, in this context, 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.”
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), in its latest report, has shown the wear and tear condition of religious freedom in India. “In 2019, religious freedom conditions in India experienced a drastic turn downward, with religious minorities under increasing assault,” according to the report. As per the Commission’s comments, Modi led extremist government, ” allowed violence against minorities and their houses of worship to continue with impunity, and also engaged in and tolerated hate speech and incitement to violence”.
The Vice Chairman of the Religious Freedom Watchdog Nadine Maenza said that the CAA “potentially exposes millions of Muslims to detention, deportation, and statelessness when the government completes its planned nationwide National Register of Citizens.” “We reject the observations on India in the USCIRF annual report. Its biased and tendentious comments against India are not new,” said Anurag Srivastava. “On this occasion, its misrepresentation has reached new levels. We regard it as an organisation of particular concern and will treat it accordingly.”
As far as recommendation by the Commission are concerned, it “targeted sanctions on Indian government agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of religious rights.” Commissioner Tenzin Dorjee said ” India does not belong to the same category as authoritarian regimes like China and North Korea. India is the largest democratic nation in the world, where the CAA has been challenged openly by the opposition Congress Party and law makers, civil society, and various groups.” The Indian American Muslim Council appreciated the report. In an announcement, it stated, “As a part of the Indian diaspora that only wishes well for the country of our birth, we view international criticism of India’s religious freedom record as distressing but painfully necessary, given the escalating level of persecution of minorities.” It further added in the month of March that, “along with its partners, International Christian Concern (ICC) and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), it had written to USCIRF urging it to bring India into its list of the worst offenders of religious freedom violations in the world.”
Given the menace of Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19), Indian leadership has also shown poor leadership and empathy towards minorities. Under the umbrella of tackling COCID-19, Indians have started a blame game, accusing Muslims for the spread of the virus and has created an environment of Islamophobia at home and abroad. That is why, the GCC have also awakened against deep seated hate towards Muslims. This has also provided any opportunity to Pakistan to give a serious blow to Indian interests and influence in GCC. Moreover, the U.S. is also considering blacklisting various Indians because of the findings of the report, therefore; the pomp and show of recent Mr. Trump’s visit as claimed by India has totally failed to bear results of Indian choice. In this context, Pakistan should exploit the loss of confidence suffered by India for better diplomacy in future as the establishment of two-way communication by Pakistan’s concerned authorities with USCIRF has paid dividends and amplified the importance of positive diplomatic engagements.
May 2, 2020