Malik M Ashraf
THE BJP government headed by Narendra Modi, ever since its inception has been pursuing discriminatory policies against Indian Muslims and other minorities, inspired by the RSS ideology of Hindutva, a form of extremist Hindu nationalism which explodes the myth of the much touted Indian secularism. Hindutva means India for Hindus to the exclusion of all other communities and religions. That philosophy adequately explains the occurrence of incidents of violence against Muslims and Christians under the Modi government.
In fact even during the previous BJP government anti-Muslim and anti-minorities policies were either pursued at the official level or the extremist elements were encouraged to pursue the BJP agenda based on RSS ideology. Who can forget the demolition of Babri mosque by a Hindu mob led by ALK Advani in 1992 and consequent riots in which 1000 thousand people mostly Muslims were killed and incidents like: Samjhota express; Gujrat carnage and massacre of Muslims in 2002 in the backdrop of burning of Hindu pilgrims travelling from Avodha to Gujrat. An Indian government inquiry in 2005 revealed that the fire was an accident and the Muslims had nothing to do with it.
The recurring episodes of Christian bashing and violence against communities other than Hindus have assumed alarming proportions under Modi. Muslims are particularly being targeted. The BJP government has used anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim sentiments as a tool to gain vote bank in the election campaign. Banning cow slaughter in various states like Maharashtra and Haryana and killing of a fifty year old man Muhammad Akhlaq in Utter Pardesh by Hindu mob on suspicion of storing and consuming beef, are the consequences of the communal politics of the Modi government. Threats to Pakistani artists in India by Shiv Sena, attack on Sudhendra Kulkarni who heads the Observer Research Foundation, assault on an Independent Muslim lawmaker from Kashmir by Hindu extremists in Mumbai are also irrefutable testimonies of communal politics pursued by BJP. These are dangerous premonitions for the things to come.
Notwithstanding the fact that the communal politics and the philosophy of Hindutva have been rejected by a vibrant majority of Indians, the Modi government continues to pursue the RSS philosophy faithfully. BJP defeat in Delhi and Bihar reveal political implications of the communal politics. The fact that 50 intellectuals and writers returned literary awards in protest against rising culture of intolerance and assault on free speech, also speaks volumes about the resentment that Modi government is confronted within India for its discriminatory and oppressive policies.
A deliberate attempt is being made by the BJP government to change demographic features of Kashmir by pursuing a policy of settlement of Hindus in the valley besides a move to repeal article 370 of the Indian constitution that gives special status to Kashmir. In defiance of the UN resolutions and the commitments given by the Indian government regarding holding a plebiscite in Kashmir, ruthless reign of terror has been let loose to suppress the freedom movement of the Kashmiris. Since the current uprising against Indian occupation in the backdrop of extra-judicial killing of Burhan Wani, more than 100 Kashmiris have been killed and thousands have been either maimed or injured by the pellet guns. The Indian government in a bid to stoke the uprising in Kashmir into acts of terrorism to hood wink world community, seems to have carried out a false flag episode of Uri attack.
By remaining oblivious to the unfurling situation in Kashmir and its fall out, the UN and the international community is in fact encouraging the Modi government to continue suppressing the freedom movement of the people of Kashmir and persist with its unmitigated hostility towards Pakistan. The solution lies in settling the disputes between the two countries, including Kashmir in line with the UN resolutions. The bilateral mechanism evolved through Simla Agreement has failed to make any headway and the situation warrants the intervention of the UN and the powers that be to play their role in de-escalating the tension between the two countries as well as the final solution of the Kashmir dispute.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.