Be­ing a mi­nor­ity in India!

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Email: Reema Shaukat

INDIA calls it­self a true sym­bol of sec­u­lar­ism but nowhere in the world one can see how this sec­u­lar­ism is grassed other than India. The­o­ret­i­cally, In­dian Con­sti­tu­tion pro­tects the rights of mi­nori­ties, but Hindu ma­jor­ity led by BJP has shown com­plete dis­re­spect to it and com­mit bru­tal­i­ties against Mus­lims, Sikhs, Chris­tians and Dal­its with lib­erty. Ac­cord­ing to re­port re­leased by Tom Lan­tos Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion im­mod­er­a­tions against re­li­gious mi­nori­ties in India is a con­tin­u­ous mar­vel by us­ing vi­o­lence and dis­avowal of con­sti­tu­tional rights as the main tricks by Hindu ex­trem­ists. Re­port shows India as an in­tol­er­ant and un­bear­able coun­try for re­li­gious mi­nori­ties. No won­der an­i­mos­ity against Mus­lims is not new in India. They have never ac­cepted Mus­lims as a sep­a­rate sole power and the no­table Mus­lim com­mu­nity in India has re­mained a prime tar­get of Hindu an­tag­o­nism.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port pro­duced by a com­mit­tee led by for­mer chief jus­tice of India Ra­jen­der Sachar, now Mus­lims are more worse in India than the Dal­its. Some 52 of Mus­lim men are un­em­ployed com­pared with 47 of Dalit men. Al­most half of Mus­lims over the age of 46 can­not read or write. While mak­ing up nearly 14 of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion of the coun­try, Mus­lims ac­count for 40 of India’s pri­son pop­u­la­tion. They hold only 4.9 of gov­ern­ment jobs and only 3.2 of the jobs in the coun­try’s se­cu­rity agen­cies.

Sikh com­mu­nity is another tar­get of ex­trem­ism in India and par­tic­u­larly they are on hit list as Sikh ide­ol­ogy con­demns the caste sys­tem and wor­ship­ping idols which is fun­da­men­tal in Hin­duism. Sikhism was down­graded to sta­tus of sub sect of Hin­duism and Sikhs are since then de­mor­alised and sub­ju­gated by Hin­dus. De­spite decades of con­tin­u­ous com­plaints and protests, Sikhs are still la­belled Hin­dus in the In­dian con­sti­tu­tion and to fur­ther de­mor­alise them, Sikhs in the In­dian state are forced to get mar­ried un­der the Hindu marriage act. In 1984 their holi­est shrine “Golden Tem­ple” was at­tacked by In­dian Army through in­fa­mous “op­er­a­tion Blue Star” in which anti Sikh ri­ots took place and thou­sands of Sikhs were mas­sa­cred.

Chris­tians too, are another suf­fer­ing com­mu­nity in India. In 2000, an Aus­tralian Chris­tian mis­sion­ary Gra­ham Staines was burnt alive along with his two young sons by Hindu fun­da­men­tal­ists. In 2008 Hindu ex­trem­ists re­leased a sway of terror on the mi­nor­ity Chris­tian pop­u­la­tion in Orissa. They en­tered sev­eral churches dur­ing Sun­day ser­vices, at­tacked the Chris­tian wor­shipers and burnt down count­less churches in which hun­dreds of Chris­tians were killed. Ac­cord­ing to Hu­man Rights Watch, about 170 mil­lion Dal­its which are con­sid­ered un­touch­ables ac­cord­ing to the Hindu caste sys­temare des­tined to a life­time abuse and degra­da­tion in India just be­cause of their cast clas­si­fi­ca­tion. They are de­prived of ba­sic rights in ed­u­ca­tion, re­li­gion, health and par­tic­u­larly women rights. Nu­mer­ous cases of mi­nori­ties are ei­ther un­reg­is­tered or if they are reg­is­tered they are not heard timely or re­main pend­ing. Rather many await for their destiny by so called ju­ris­dic­tion sys­tem in India.In many of the cases cul­prits have been ac­quit­ted. This shows that not only po­lice is fol­low­ing lines of ex­trem­ism but ju­di­ciary also which is least con­cerned and pushed to­wards to solve re­ported mat­ters of com­mu­nal vi­o­lence.

It is in­ter­est­ing that with all such hap­pen­ings in India, Modi was given a warm wel­come in re­cent visit to USA de­spite the fact that his visa to US was can­celled af­ter Gu­jrat mas­sacre. A claimer of hu­man rights watch­dog glob­ally and rais­ing voices against vi­o­lence such re­sponse from US raises doubts about what it ques­tions to bar­baric attitude of ISIS and points to­wards teach­ings of Is­lam. Have they ever thought that the guest they are wel­com­ing again in their coun­try is one of the world’s most ex­trem­ist ac­tivist who is openly in­volved in ethnic cleans­ing and geno­cide in his coun­try? And those who are re­pul­sive of teach­ings of IS, are clearly giv­ing a face sav­ing space to Modi by just an eye wash.

It seems that Modi which was once given a sta­tus of per­sona non grata in USA is be­com­ing pop­u­lar through tac­tics of soft diplo­macy and in­ter­na­tional hypocrisy. This two faced ness is def­i­nitely con­cern for those who are di­rectly af­fected by Modi’s poli­cies. Hindu fun­da­men­tal­ism is in­creas­ingly broad­en­ing its in­flu­ence ev­ery­where and has al­ready es­tab­lished a firm base of rad­i­cal­ism in ed­u­ca­tional sec­tor, bu­reau­cracy and me­dia. The hate cam­paign unchecked by the ex­trem­ist forces is keep­ing the mi­nor­ity anx­ious in de­fend­ing their ba­sic hu­man rights and cul­tural iden­tity. Moulana Abul Kalam Azad who was against par­ti­tion of India had once said, “I firmly hold that com­mu­nal frenzy will dis­ap­pear when India as­sumes the re­spon­si­bil­ity of her own destiny.” To­day in so-called sec­u­lar India, Moulana Azad’s op­ti­mism was not only de­nied but Hindu fa­nati­cism is con­tin­u­ously gain­ing im­pe­tus and power. — The writer works for Pak­istan In­sti­tute for Con­flict and Se­cu­rity Stud­ies, a think tank based in Islamabad.

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