Being a minority in India!

Reema Shaukat

India calls itself a true symbol of secularism but nowhere in the world one can see how this secularism is grassed other than India. Theoretically, Indian Constitution protects the rights of minorities, but Hindu majority led by BJP has shown complete disrespect to it and commit brutalities against Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Dalits with liberty. According to report released by Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission immoderations against religious minorities in India is a continuous marvel by using violence and disavowal of constitutional rights as the main tricks by Hindu extremists. Report shows India as an intolerant and unbearable country for religious minorities. No wonder animosity against Muslims is not new in India. They have never accepted Muslims as a separate sole power and the notable Muslim community in India has remained a prime target of Hindu antagonism.
According to a report produced by a committee led by former chief justice of India Rajender Sachar, now Muslims are more worse in India than the Dalits. Some 52 of Muslim men are unemployed compared with 47 of Dalit men. Almost half of Muslims over the age of 46 cannot read or write. While making up nearly 14 of the total population of the country, Muslims account for 40 of India’s prison population. They hold only 4.9 of government jobs and only 3.2 of the jobs in the country’s security agencies.
Sikh community is another target of extremism in India and particularly they are on hit list as Sikh ideology condemns the caste system and worshipping idols which is fundamental in Hinduism. Sikhism was downgraded to status of sub sect of Hinduism and Sikhs are since then demoralised and subjugated by Hindus. Despite decades of continuous complaints and protests, Sikhs are still labelled Hindus in the Indian constitution and to further demoralise them, Sikhs in the Indian state are forced to get married under the Hindu marriage act. In 1984 their holiest shrine “Golden Temple” was attacked by Indian Army through infamous “operation Blue Star” in which anti Sikh riots took place and thousands of Sikhs were massacred.
Christians too, are another suffering community in India. In 2000, an Australian Christian missionary Graham Staines was burnt alive along with his two young sons by Hindu fundamentalists. In 2008 Hindu extremists released a sway of terror on the minority Christian population in Orissa. They entered several churches during Sunday services, attacked the Christian worshipers and burnt down countless churches in which hundreds of Christians were killed. According to Human Rights Watch, about 170 million Dalits which are considered untouchables according to the Hindu caste systemare destined to a lifetime abuse and degradation in India just because of their cast classification. They are deprived of basic rights in education, religion, health and particularly women rights. Numerous cases of minorities are either unregistered or if they are registered they are not heard timely or remain pending. Rather many await for their destiny by so called jurisdiction system in India.In many of the cases culprits have been acquitted. This shows that not only police is following lines of extremism but judiciary also which is least concerned and pushed towards to solve reported matters of communal violence.
It is interesting that with all such happenings in India, Modi was given a warm welcome in recent visit to USA despite the fact that his visa to US was cancelled after Gujrat massacre. A claimer of human rights watchdog globally and raising voices against violence such response from US raises doubts about what it questions to barbaric attitude of ISIS and points towards teachings of Islam. Have they ever thought that the guest they are welcoming again in their country is one of the world’s most extremist activist who is openly involved in ethnic cleansing and genocide in his country? And those who are repulsive of teachings of IS, are clearly giving a face saving space to Modi by just an eye wash.
It seems that Modi which was once given a status of persona non grata in USA is becoming popular through tactics of soft diplomacy and international hypocrisy. This two-facedness is definitely concern for those who are directly affected by Modi’s policies. Hindu fundamentalism is increasingly broadening its influence everywhere and has already established a firm base of radicalism in educational sector, bureaucracy and media. The hate campaign unchecked by the extremist forces is keeping the minority anxious in defending their basic human rights and cultural identity. Moulana Abul Kalam Azad who was against partition of Indiahad once said, “I firmly hold that communal frenzy will disappear when India assumes the responsibility of her own destiny.” Today in so-called secular India, Moulana Azad’s optimismwas not only denied but Hindu fanaticism is continuously gaining impetus and power.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think tank based in Islamabad.

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