Executive Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), Kenneth Roth, has said that the refusal by leading Western countries to call out human rights abuses by Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has only emboldened him in pushing his anti-Muslim agenda.
Kenneth Roth in an exclusive interview with Newsweek, a widely circulated American magazine, said, “Modi has largely got away with his anti-Muslim agenda and his oppression of protests against it, that is the relative lack of criticism from the West has only emboldened him on this abusive path.”
Besides Muslims in India, Modi had also been undermining human rights in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the magazine noted.
Roth said: “His (Modi’s) withdrawal of Kashmir’s special status and the subsequent crackdown on dissent, shutting down the Internet, all are part of this broader anti-Muslim element of BJP policy, which Modi either participates in actively or simply tolerates, including the so-called cow-vigilantes, who are basically vigilantes who attack Muslims.”
He said in the Indian state of Assam, 1.9 million Muslims were made stateless, as part of Modi’s anti-Muslim agenda. The desire of leading countries in the West to use India as a counterweight to China’s power and influence as well as the unprincipled approach to human rights pursued by US President Donald Trump had only emboldened the Indian prime minister’s decision to undermine the human rights of Muslim citizens, he added.
Kenneth Roth told Newsweek, “The big issue with India is Prime Minister Modi’s systematic discrimination against Muslims and his tolerance of violence against Muslims.”
Modi, who leads the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was banned from both the UK and the US for his role in the 2002 anti-Muslim Gujarat riots, in which more than 1,000 people were killed in communal violence, most of them Muslims. At the time, Modi was the then chief minister of Gujarat.
Since coming to power, the Newsweek noted that Modi had faced growing criticism from opposition parties and human rights organizations over his treatment of minorities, with the UN labeling a citizenship law that Modi’s government passed as fundamentally discriminatory.—KMS