India is a dangerous country for minorities to live

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Muhammad Hanif

UNDER the rule of Modi led BJP, guided by the RSS agenda of Hindutva, India has become a dangerous place for minorities to live, even for lower caste Hindus.

The BJP advocated Hindutva (“Hindu-ness”), is an ideology that seeks to define Indian culture in terms of Hindu values, and it has been highly critical of the secular policies and practices of the Indian National Congress (Congress Party).

According to the Guardian, dated 20 February 2020, the group, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad (ABVP), is the youth wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Founded 94 years ago by men who were fascinated with Mussolini’s fascists, the RSS is the holding company of Hindu supremacism: of Hindutva, as it’s called. Given its role and its size, it is difficult to find an equivalent for the RSS anywhere in the world.

In India the RSS has become the architect of a Hindu nation-state. It has at least four million volunteers, who swear oath of allegiance and take part in quasi-military drills.

The word often used to describe the RSS is “paramilitary”. In its near-century of existence, it has been accused of plotting assassinations, stoking riots against minorities and acts of terrorism, (Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead in 1948 by an RSS man).

The RSS doesn’t, by itself, engage in electoral politics. But among its affiliated groups is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In 1992, the demolition of the Babri Mosque by the Hindu activists was sponsored by the RSS and supported by the BJP.

Since BJP came into power in India in 2014, has the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, been remaking India into an authoritarian, Hindu Nationalist State.

In 2002, it was Modi who had allowed mobs of Hindu fanatics to murder hundreds of Muslims in riots during his chief ministership of Gujarat. Modi’s Hindutva loving policies have proved highly dangerous to the existence of the religious minorities in India and also for the lower caste Hindus.

Following anti-minority events, widely covered by the western media, are a reflection of Modi government’s cruel policies against the minorities which amount to minorities’ genocide.

As per the New Yorker dated 5 March 2019, in the past seven years, according to Factchecker in, an organization that tracks hate crimes, there have been a hundred and sixty-eight attacks by Hindu extremists, in the name of protecting cows, against Muslims and other religious minorities.

The attacks left forty-six people dead. Under Modi, incidents of communal violence rose twenty-eight per cent between 2014 and 2017.

The BJP-controlled national government has passed several laws in recent years that have made life more difficult for religious minorities.

In several states, local governments have also passed “anti-conversion” laws that make it illegal to forcibly convert people to a new religion.

The ostensible purpose of the measures is to shield Hindus from aggressive Christian proselytizing, or to protect them from Islam.

Bajrang Dal, an affiliate of the RSS, which became active after Modi became the Prime Minister, also cited the statutes as a justification for attacks against Muslims and Christians.

In 2016, in Uttar Pradesh, the Bajrang Dal falsely accused a pastor of forcibly converting Hindus to Christianity, shaved his head, and paraded him through town on a donkey.

In 2018, Hindu nationalist groups called for a ban on public prayer by Muslims in parks in Gurgaon, which led to vicious mob attacks in the name of enforcement.

In July 2018, there were thirteen fatal cow-related lynching. There is a culture of impunity of Hindus in India in case of lynching of Muslims.

Also RSS led Ghari Wapsi Programme of threatening the minorities, the Muslims and Christians, who have left the Hindu religion centuries ago, to reconvert to the Hindu religion, if they wanted to stay as the Indian citizen in India is another threat to the minorities in India.

Modi government’s state terrorism on the Indian Muslims is also evident its 5 August 2019 actions of dividing Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, arresting Kashmiri leaders, imposition of internet and telephone lockdown, curfew and genocide of the Muslims in the State and killing of Muslims in New Delhi in December 2019 to end the anti-CAA protests and the Modi Government and the police looking the other way are also examples of Indian brutalities on the Muslim minority.

According to the Guardian, in its 72 years as a free country, India has never faced a more serious crisis.

Already its institutions, its courts, much of its media, its investigative agencies, its Election Commission have been pressured to fall in line with Modi’s policies.

The annual report, 2020 of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has been released in which, for the first time, India has been declared a dangerous country for minorities while several positive developments have been acknowledged in the case of Pakistan.

The report implicates India as being a dangerous country for minorities. India is included in the Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list.

The report also strongly criticizes the controversial Indian Citizenship Bill, the Indian Supreme Court’s decision regarding Babri Mosque and the revocation of the special status of Occupied Jammu & Kashmir.

Despite above mentioned facts, in view of the US and major western countries’ strategic and commercial interests linked with India, they are silent regarding BJP supported RSS motivated Hindu Zealots’ serious violations of minorities rights and their killings on various flimsy grounds.

In this context, it would greatly help save the minorities in India if the US and western countries caution the BJP government to protect the minorities rights rather than looking the other way.

—The writer, a retired Col, is an ex-research fellow of IPRI and senior research fellow of SVI, Islamabad.