Violence and threats increase, India’s Muslims fear worst

Rana Ayoub * – (The Washington Post) 14/05/2022

Translation: Aladdin Abu Zina

How can one speak of the disintegration of the world’s most populous democracy without being stripped of exhausted pessimism? How does one remain objective when it comes to a story that involves your own lived experience, and your oppression and humiliation? How does one write about patriotism when any attempt to highlight unbridled fascism against your own people is seen as an insult to the nation on the world stage?
India – a country of 1.4 billion people regarded by many in various corners of the world as an example of coexistence, pluralism and diversity – has been subjected to the fires of Hindu supremacy. The situation became so precarious that Gregory Stanton, founder and director of Genocide Watch, warned that India could be on the verge of genocide against its Muslim citizens. Stanton predicted the massacre of the Tutsi community in Rwanda before it took place in 1994.
One might want to dismiss Stanton’s statement as an exaggeration or a dark view. But what he says, for those of us who belong to Indian minorities, is a reality we live every day.
In recent weeks, Muslim women have been banned from wearing headscarves at universities in the southern state of Karnataka and harassed by Hindu nationalists in the streets. Muslim villagers are beaten for allegedly smuggling cows sacred to Hindus; As a result, one of the Muslim victims was arrested. A court in Delhi also recently hacked the Delhi police for enabling and supporting a crowd while rioting near a mosque.
But where is the international community’s response? A world that is rapidly expressing its anger at dictatorships and other demagogues is slow to reject India’s decline into the abyss of majority rule.
Last April, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited India and was seen driving a GE bulldozer. bad. B ”- the same kind of machine that was used just days before to demolish the homes of poor Muslims in Delhi.
The same month, in a meeting with India’s Secretary of State on April 11, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken stated that the Biden administration had been monitoring human rights violations in India. A Biden administration official told me that government officials “should keep in mind their strategic interests with India, but they look with great concern at events in India and make sure that these concerns are expressed at every opportunity.”
President Biden will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Japan later this month as part of a “quartet” summit (between the United States, Japan, Australia and India) to strengthen relations between the Indo-Pacific regions. Will Biden talk about the existential threat to Indian Muslims and express his commitment to the promotion of democratic values? Or do not human rights violations justify the world’s attention if the state that commits it is an important strategic ally?
As a journalist who has been documenting hate crimes and persecution of Muslims in India as “the Other” for over a decade, I have found that the past five weeks and during the holy month of Ramadan can be easily distinguished as the most difficult and cruel in the memory. .
We saw men crouching on the mosques waving the Hindu saffron flags; and crowds singing slogans calling for the genocide of Muslims while carrying swords in their hands; A Hindu cleric addresses a crowd and threatens to rape Muslim women. We have seen videos of people, including a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the head of a right-wing TV channel, promising to turn India into a Hindu country.
Right-wing politicians have also placed loudspeakers in temples near mosques to drown out the call to prayer with Hindu prayers. Muslims who once woke up with the call to prayer for dawn prayer now have to deal with the dumb silence while mosques stop broadcasting the call to prayer.
Just this month, a BJP state MP indicated that Muslims should be set on fire, just as Hindus set fire to their sacred Islamic texts. Hindu nationalists gathered to protest outside Delhi’s iconic Qutub Minar and demanded that it be renamed a Hindu god; A petition has also been filed in the Allahabad High Court to open rooms for examination of Hindu idols at the Taj Mahal, the symbol of love built by the Mughals. Are these examples sufficient to awaken the collective conscience of the world?
In all this, where is the Prime Minister and why did he not issue a statement to preserve public harmony? Those who have watched Modi’s political career – especially when he was prime minister of Gujarat in 2002, when more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed, in his detention and in his sights – will tell you that he had a similar silence through the whole spread of hate speech and the crimes that led to One of the worst anti-Muslim massacres in modern history. The United States denied Modi access after the violence; Then the ban was lifted amid his rise to the position of Prime Minister in 2014.
Today, India is witnessing a strange repetition of the events and policies of Gujarat in around 2002. Encouraged by global diplomatic silence, Indian Muslims fear that it will get worse in the days ahead.

* Rana Ayyub is an Indian journalist and opinion writer for The Washington Post. She is the author of the investigative book The Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover-up.
* This article was published under the title: As violence and threats grow, India’s Muslims fear the worst

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