Indian Prime Minister Narendra during the just concluded election campaign in Maharashtra promised to confer the highest Indian honour ‘Bharat Ratna’ on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the founder of Hindu Mahasaba, a predecessor of RSS and BJP. He was the man who authored the pamphlet ‘Hindutva’ expounding Hindu Supremacism during his incarceration in the cellular jail at Andaman and Nicobar islands during 1910 –1921 which led to the launching of RSS by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar in 1925. Savarkar is the same man who was also arrested on the accusations of being a mastermind behind the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Sardar Vallabhai Patel in his correspondence with Nehru had mentioned his strong links with Godse and the Commission formed to investigate the murder had also alluded to the same connectivity between him and Godse but the court released him for lack of concrete corroborative evidence.
Is it not ironical that Modi in his article published in the New York Times on 2nd October on the eve of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary quoted eminent international personalities like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Einstein to eulogize his creed of non-violence maintaining that his message had global significance and stressed that India at the moment needed a leader like him?. In a message directed at the people of India and the world at large he said “Let us work shoulder to shoulder to make our world prosperous and free from hate, violence and suffering. That is when we will fulfill Mahatma Gandhi’s dream, summed up in his favorite hymn, “Vaishnava Jana To,” which says that a true human is one who feels other’s pain, removes misery and is never arrogant” Praising the non-violent philosophy of Gandhi and at the same time trying to confer the highest honour on the mastermind of his assassination is indeed a crude attempt to have it both ways. The duplicity of Modi stands exposed.
He himself is a life member of that racist entity which is also held responsible for massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. During the incident, young girls were sexually assaulted, burned or hacked to death. In 2007, Tehelka magazine released a report titled “The Truth: Gujarat 2002,” which implicated the state government in the violence, and claimed that what had been called a spontaneous act of revenge was, in reality, a state-sanctioned pogrom. According to Human Rights Watch, the violence in Gujarat in 2002 was pre-planned and the police and state government participated in its perpetration. Since Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister of India in 2014 there has been an exponential increase in violence against minority communities, particularly Muslims and Christians due to the communal policies pursued by the BJP government.
Indian atrocities in the IoK also represent a strong repudiation of the Gandian philosophy of non-violence. According to figures compiled by different Human Rights Organizations including Amnesty International, since January 1989 till 31st August 2019, the Indian security forces have killed 95,438 people including 7128 custodial killings, gang-raped 11,140 women and destroyed 109,409 homes. Since Modi becoming Prime Minister of India the killing spree in IoK has assumed new dimensions. Since the killing of a Kashmiri freedom fighter Burhan Wani in 2016 Freedom Movement has gained a new momentum and the Indian security forces have also raised the level of oppression in the valley. Reportedly, since July 2016, 1031 people have been killed, more than 27000 subjected to torture, 11858 have been arrested, 10298 injured with pallet guns, 3306 homes have been demolished and 933 women have been gang-raped.
The story did not end there. Modi government has unilaterally scrapped Articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian Constitution ending special status of IOK. The people of Kashmir are under siege for more than eighty days due to curfew and communication blockade, creating a humanitarian crisis. Yet another ranting example of Modi’s anti-Muslim mind-set is depriving 1.9 million Bengali Muslims in Assam of the Indian citizenship and the envisaged plan to shift them to detention camps. Stripping them of Indian citizenship and the pogrom of Kashmiris are the outcome of the implementation of the fascist and supremacist ideology of ‘Hindutva’. The abuse of human rights in IoK has been documented by the Amnesty International and other human rights entities on the global level. Reports compiled by UNHCR also corroborate the precarious human rights situation in Kashmir. No wonder the Human Rights Council expressed grave concern on the state of affairs in IOK and the international media has also been regularly reporting the oppression being perpetrated on the people of the valley.
India under Modi represents a negation of the Ghandian philosophy. How could an admirer of Gandhi be so callous and a dehumanized individual? I am sure the soul of Gandhi must be writhing in pain to see his preaching being torn to shreds. The hypocrisy of Modi actually stands exposed to the world. The fascist creed being pursued by BJP regime is a real threat to peace and security of the region. Prime Minister Imran was right on the money to warn the world about the dangers posed to peace and security of the region by the fascist ideology of RSS and seeking intervention of the UN and the world community to stop India in its tracks before it could trigger a tragedy of cataclysmic proportions with implications beyond the region. It is time for the UN and the world community to take notice of the hypocritical stance of the Indian government and use its influence on India to end the sufferings of the people of IoK and move towards a solution of the Kashmir dispute.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.