Modi’s Delhi: A Slaughterhouse for Muslims
Emad Ahmad, a graduate student in gender studies in Delhi’s popular Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), two weeks ago spoke to media warning the world to take notice of the situation in Delhi. Ahmad has been involved in nationwide protests against Narendra Modi’s new anti-muslim citizenship law since December when it was enacted after passing through the legislature. The ruling nationalist BJP party has since used authoritarian measures to quell the unrest. These tactics include suspension of mobile networks and internet, large scale Muslim detentions, and absolute ban on rallies. Ahmad said Delhi police are also using video footage from various cameras to identify and threaten people not to protest against nationalist Hindu policies of Modi. According to Ahmad police have warned students multiple times saying “you are under the camera; soon you’ll be behind bars.” When even the institution of police – considered to be fundamental for law enforcement – starts acting like goons, the situation cannot be expected to get better.
That is exactly what happened this week during the visit of President Trump. On one corner of the city, Trump and Modi were hugging and celebrating their new so-called strategic partnership, while on the other corner the Muslim dominated parts of the city were burning. The Hindu extremists had had enough of the peaceful Muslim protests against the citizenship law and decided to take the law on their own hands. At the time of this writing, 34 people have died and hundreds have been injured. Dozens of mosques and properties belonging to Muslims have been completely torched to the ground. In footage available on popular video hosting sites, goons are seen barging in Muslim houses and forcing them to chant Hindu slogans.
The majority of the victims in riots are Muslims. Muslims are an impoverished minority group that accounts for 13 percent of Delhi’s population. Ever since winning the second term in office last year, Modi has tried to create the polarising environment through his Hindutva appeasing anti-muslim nationalist policies. During the campaign, Modi promised Hindu’s new national counting system which if combined with the new citizenship law can be used to strip millions of Muslims from their rights and citizenship. Inciting fiery speeches from Modi’s party members have also added fuel to the fire. During local elections in Delhi in February Modi’s BJP members used slogans like “shoot the traitors”, alluding to Muslim protestors demonstrating against the citizenship law.
Although India has seen communal violence in the past as well; the Gujrat massacre in 2002 during Modi’s time as chief minister; Sikh slaughter after the assassination of Indra Gandhi, are well-recorded instances. But this time it seems the violence was intentional and planned by the ruling party.
On the arrival of President Trump to India a local BJP leader, Kapil Mishra announced that if Muslims did not end their protest before Mr. Trump left India, his supporters would use force to end the protests. Soon after this announcement, Hindu mobs started attacking Muslims by burning properties and mosques. During the protests, according to many eyewitnesses, police have either remained a silent observer or facilitated the Hindu mobs in their attacks. Most of the causalities were caused by gunfire during the attacks.
The Indian state should try to control this violence forthwith. Strict steps need to be taken to protect Indian minorities from religiously motivated bloodthirsty goons and to make sure this deadly violence does not spread to other parts of the country. The global community also needs to raise its voice against Modi’s complicit and violence encouraging behaviour. The BJP government has now kept Muslims in Kashmir under jail-like conditions for nearly half a year. The global leaders should consider the moral obligation to be more important than economic interests and speak up against anti-Muslim Indian policies,
So far, Pakistan has been the most vocal supporter of Indian Muslims along with Turkey and Malaysia. Pakistan under prime minister Imran Khan is not only raising its voice against religious discrimination in India, but it is also taking practical steps in its own country to promote intra-religious harmony. In recent years, several closed minority worship places have been renovated and reopened. Last year PM Imran opened a corridor for Indian Sikhs to visit their holy site in Kartarpur. This corridor has been termed as a corridor of peace. Perhaps, Indian state could learn from the experience and remarkably social transformation of its neighbouring Pakistan. From seeing daily terrorist attacks to being declared the top-rated place to visit by several top magazines has truly demonstrated that if a state decides to take on a menace it can achieve the most remarkable things within a short period.
This week Reuters released an image of a Muslim man bloodied and bowed, holding his head in his hands trying to shield it from dozens of Hindu mob men around him beating him with sticks. He looks desperate and hopeless with no police in sight. This image perfectly describes the fate of Indian minorities under Modi led BJP government where minorities are living under incessant fear knowing that state will do nothing to help ease that fear because they are well aware that it’s the state in the first place that is creating this fear.
About the Author: Miss. Sidra Insar is a graduate from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad and is currently working as an educationist in the Government of Pakistan. Her area of interest is Political Dynamics of States and International Relations.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Reader’s Review.