Echoes of Rwanda Genocide Ring Loudly in India
Under Modi, Hindutva politics, founded on hatred and open societal separation along religious lines, continue to stir anti-minority emotions from the grassroots to the top.
For the past few years, experts have accused the Indian government of driving its Muslim minority to the verge of genocide. Most recently, the country awoke to the news that a Hindu tailor had been brutally murdered by two Muslim men who posted a video of the attack online, claiming it was in retaliation for the victim sharing derogatory remarks by a former government spokesperson against Prophet Muhammad.
Years of racist propaganda have been directed at the Muslim minority population, notably tropes depicting them as anti-national alien invaders. The echoes of Rwanda may still be heard in India today. There are now serious fears that India would follow in the footsteps of Rwanda in the early 1990s when a single act - the downing of a plane carrying the Hutu President - triggered a genocide against ethnic Tutsis.
Significantly, the murder of a Hindu tailor might be that turning point. If genocide occurs in India, as many respectable analysts have predicted, it will be precipitated by events exploited and weaponized by wicked Indian political entrepreneurs. This provides a fig leaf for an even harder assault on the religious minority and the most heinous human rights violations against Muslims, which come under the guise of national security.
For the last eight years, the Modi regime has portrayed Muslims as anti-national foreign invaders who belong to Pakistan. This cliché aided Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election in 2014 and subsequent consolidation of power five years later. The Modi administration plans to utilize the Udaipur event to further establish Muslims as the referent object in its security rhetoric.
Notably, the country has seen a tremendous surge in hate speech since 2014, with Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accountable for more than 80% of it. This hatred is perpetuated and propagated by India's massive right-wing media ecosystem, which has recently become indistinguishable from mainstream journalism.
Moreover, they swore to exterminate Muslims if necessary to fulfill their aim of transforming India into a Hindu-only nation. The dog whistle of Islamophobia in India, which also claims to be the world's largest democracy, has become a loud and obvious demand for genocide against the country's largest religious minority - more than 200 million Muslims.
Furthermore, between 1999 and 2004, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled India, and the first steps toward establishing a Hindu nation were taken. Some claim that the hatred has been simmering since 1992, when a horde of Hindu militants and revivalists damaged a 16th-century Mughal-era mosque, revealing India's increasing political and religious fault lines. As a result, recent demands for organized genocide against Indian Muslims are neither new nor surprising. Genocide, like all historical processes, is a gradual process.
Generations of ideologues lay their foundations brick by brick until the separation between 'us versus them' reaches a fever pitch. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening in India. As a result, according to analysts, religious minorities in India, notably Muslims, risk the wrath of extreme organizations that have persisted as the silent majority for decades.
There has been a simmering hatred that appears tangible and frightening in the shape of cries for the destruction of Muslims. Under Modi, Hindutva politics, founded on hatred and open societal separation along religious lines, continue to stir anti-minority emotions from the grassroots to the top.
Most importantly, there is a well-planned infrastructure of dog whistles, false news, social media disinformation, half-truths, and lies that constantly denigrate Muslims and sow social division and hatred. The list of anti-Muslim incidents is lengthy, and most of it goes unnoticed in India. For example, a group of Muslim girls was ordered to sit outside the classroom earlier this year because they wore the hijab or headscarf.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which monitors the challenges to religious freedom, believes that, in recent years, the BJP-led government has challenged the constitution's secular ideals by enacting laws and policies at the national and state levels that promote Hindu nationalism, posing serious threats to freedom of religion or belief and related rights.
Despite India's constitutional provisions for religious freedom, the USCIRF reports that around one-third of the country's 28 states ban or prohibit religious conversion to protect the majority religion from potential threats from religious minorities.
According to Noam Chomsky, the epidemic of Islamophobia is spreading throughout the West. It manifests itself in its most destructive form in India, where the Modi regime is deliberately demolishing Indian secular democracy and transforming the nation into a Hindu-ethnocracy in which over 250 million (Indian) Muslims are becoming a persecuted minority.
Dr. Gregory Stanton, the founder of Genocide Watch, who predicted a genocide in Rwanda years before it occurred in 1994, has warned of an imminent genocide against Muslims in India, equating the country's position under the Narendra Modi regime to events in Myanmar and Rwanda. All religious minorities in India have been targeted with impunity by Hindutva organizations under the BJP Modi government's radical ideology.
Many Muslim countries and the international community have kept a conspicuous silence on this matter since India is a significant market for them, and they cannot afford to jeopardize their relations with the existing administration by speaking out. The global community's combined inaction is simply appalling, as the world prioritizes power over concern for human (especially Muslim) lives. Despite the challenges, the United Nations and the international community must hold the Indian government responsible.