Friday, 2 December, 2022
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US is India’s enemy when it calls out treatment of minorities, friend when Trump hugs Modi

Recently, USCIRF slammed India for violence by non-state actors committed against religious minorities, designating it as a  'Country of Particular Concern'.

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India doesn’t care what the US Commission on International Religious Freedom says about how we treat our minorities. But don’t just blame Narendra Modi or the BJP for it. India has never cared much about this report in the past either.

Of late, Western institutions, scholars and media have criticised India over Article 370 dilution and clampdown in Kashmir, and over NRC and CAA. But India hasn’t been deterred. Instead, it has fed into the political narrative of ‘the West is biased against India’ and the ‘West is colluding with Indian liberals and anti-nationals’.

As long as Western leaders like Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron continued heaping praise on Modi and hugging him, it didn’t quite matter that the institutions in those countries thought otherwise.


Also read: CAA, NRC could render huge numbers of Indian Muslims stateless, says Ashutosh Varshney


Calling India out

Recently, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) slammed India in its report over the treatment of Muslims and other minorities, designating it as a  “Country of Particular Concern” for “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations.” “We are seeing impunity for violence by non-state actors committed against religious minorities (in India),” USCIRF chair Tony Perkins said.

The USCIRF put India on the list of 15 nations, which includes Pakistan, China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia among others, for the first time since 2004. But New Delhi has rejected the report, calling it “biased”, “tendentious” and “misrepresentation at new levels”.

New Delhi had similarly rejected the USCIRF report in 2015 highlighting the forcible “reconversion” of Christian minorities by Hindu groups, saying “the report appears to be based on limited understanding of India, its Constitution and its society”. “We take no cognisance of the report,” then-foreign ministry spokesperson had said. Over the years, the Indian government, including under the Congress party, has dismissed the USCIRF’s report. The Manmohan Singh government in 2009 had termed the US panel’s move to place India under the ‘watch list’ as “regrettable”.

But this international criticism has its roots in the 2002 Gujarat riots and in the accusations against Modi for his “reluctance” in taking action against the perpetrators, since the USCIRF had first listed India among the ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ in 2004. The group had also criticised India’s treatment of Christian missionaries, and included the 1999 murder of Graham Staines and his two children by Hindu extremists in Orissa (now Odisha).

The 2020 report highlights the fall in India’s religious tolerance after the BJP returned to power in May 2019, calls out Home Minister Amit Shah’s reference to Muslim migrants as ‘termites’, Yogi Adityanath’s comment that the anti-CAA-NRC protesters in Shaheen Bagh must be fed bullets and not biryani, and the failure of the Delhi Police to protect Muslim citizens when their neighbourhoods were set ablaze in February 2020. The USCIRF accused the BJP of having “allowed violence against minorities and their houses of worship” and engaging in hate speeches that incite violence.


Also read: ‘US commission has no locus standi’ — India says criticism of citizenship bill unwarranted


The invincible BJP 

Western media and human rights bodies have been calling India out over harassment of religious minorities. A New York Times editorial titled ‘Mr Modi’s Perilous Embrace of Hindu Extremists’ hit out at Modi, under whose watch the Godhra killings took place, for appeasing his Hindutva base and demonising Muslims. The TIME magazine in 2019 called Modi “India’s Divider in Chief”. In response, the BJP attacked the Indian author of the article over his Pakistani roots.

In December 2019, the US Congress introduced a resolution urging India to remove the restriction on Kashmir after Article 370 was diluted. The Seattle City Council also passed a resolution against India’s stringent anti-Muslim law, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), calling them a tool to isolate Indian Muslims. The US lawmakers also expressed concern during the Northeast Delhi riots, saying that the “deadly surge of religious intolerance in India is horrifying.” Moreover, human rights monitoring group Amnesty International has been constantly trying to communicate with India over its lack of religious freedom and rampant Islamophobia.

However, nothing really has changed as far as the fate of Indian Muslims is concerned, from Babri Masjid demolition to Gujarat riots to cow vigilantism that has resulted in lynching of many Muslims. In fact, with the BJP ruling at the Centre and in several states, the party has become invincible in the past few years, with its elected leaders asking people not to buy groceries from Muslims, a junior finance minister inciting slogans that call for shooting dead of protesters branded as “traitors”, and another minister calling for a check on protesting Muslims who otherwise will “rape and kill”. The idea of transforming India into a Hindu rashtra is happening and no matter what international bodies say, Modi’s Hindutva brigade doesn’t seem like it would stop.


Also read: Citizenship bill a dangerous turn: US panel for religious freedoms targets Amit Shah, govt


Vicious circle of Islamophobia 

India’s Hindu majority, the ‘silent’ Indians, and the ruling BJP love it when Donald Trump comes to India, hugs Modi, or organises ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event to welcome the Indian PM in the US. But they will not flinch an eye on the atrocities committed against Muslims even after repeated attempts of international organisations to convey that stigmatisation of Indian Muslims must stop. This clearly shows that the West matters to Modi and to the majority of Indians only when it is about business and strategic ties to remain in the US’ power circle.

Modi’s silence and the venom unleashed by his party’s IT cell go hand in hand. The IT cell disseminates misinformation, triggers non-stop hate with propaganda content such as “Muslim matlab atankwadi’, ‘Mulla jihadi’ etc..

In fact, what seems to matter more is if Muslim nations in the Middle East criticise India.

After the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Kuwaiti government and UAE royal Princess Hend Al Qassimi rang alarm bells on India’s Islamophobia, foreign minister S. Jaishankar made a few phone calls to make sure this doesn’t affect diplomatic ties. The BJP leadership made some effort to reach out — like Modi asking Muslims to pray more during Ramzan to fight Covid-19 — because it knows that the Arab world is now watching.

But Indian Muslims know that this is done solely to maintain India’s relations with the Gulf nations and will not change the Hindutva agenda of the ruling BJP. Hashtags full of hate, fake videos with captions demonising Muslims will continue to flood people’s phones and the government will do nothing to penalise its ‘non-state actors’ for engaging in violence against Muslims.

Views are personal.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. In The neighbour countries Hindus are treated far batter than india, where a hindus have levels and cannot go to a mandir of heigher zaat paat. In other countries they are treated equally. Your knowledge is only up to paid marketing of your Gov and it’s RSS a terrorist organization of india. It is just a start soon india will be alone and will admire the construction of toilets in UNGA.

    The HUGs? The most embarrassing moment it was for whole india

    Always Remember: When a dog is not given a bone then it barks and this what Trump did.

  2. The treatment of Muslims in India is leagues better than their treatment in the West or the treatment of minorities (Hindus) in other neighbouring states

    We won’t at all listen to US’s bs. Btw, US has never been and can never be anyone’s friends. The West and we just have a common enemy, China.

  3. Only Muslims can write such and article.What about Taliban killing Sikhs in Gurudwara in Afghanistan, where were you then?Non-Muslims in Islamic countries are treated like 3rd class people.If the Muslims in India do not like how they are treated, then they should out.

  4. @Bismee Taskin
    Poorly researched, sourced and written piece.
    The USCIRF is a paper tiger organization -set up to appease the Evangelicals in the US.
    It is a ‘make work’ project of the US Government to provide sinecure roles to the chamchas of the ruling party.
    You are twisted into knots over their crocodile tears? For Indian Muslims?
    They care two hoots about Muslims – Indian or otherwise. Palestinian Muslims have been subjected to State violence for 70 years – not a whimper from USCIRF – turning a blind eye towards Israel – a client state of the US. And you think they will come to the aid of India’s Muslims?
    I can see where you look to them as an ally……. one appeasement group to another.Misery loves company.
    It is funny you quote Tony Perkins a known Islamophobe.
    See below a few glimpses of his track record- even a quick web search gives the following “gems’.

    Perkins has also made statements critical of Islam. In September 2010, Perkins claimed that “the ultimate evil has been committed” when Muslims interpret the Quran in its literal context,[44] that Islam “tears at the fabric of democracy,”[45][46] and that World history classes dishonestly portray Islam in a positive light by providing an “airbrushed” portrait of the religion itself.[47]
    In 2015, Perkins affirmed the debate over Obama’s birth certificate as “legitimate”, remarking that it “makes sense” to conclude that Obama was a Muslim.[48]3

  5. Once again Hindu India is being called out by the civilized world for its horrible Hindu bigotry. And yes, it is Hindu bigotry. I’ve been to India on numerous occasions and can tell you that pious Muslims get along well with Sikhs, Leftists, Christians, secular society. The problem is that the majority of Hindus have gone into fanatical hatred and irrationality where Muslims spread coronavirus, are blamed for India’s poverty (despite Hindus never having a successful productive economy even now!), lynched for killing Indian gods by eating hamburgers, denied medical treatment, thrown off trains for no reason than religion and even being denied citizenship.
    Hindus are also the only reason Indians have a bad name abroad by badmouthing Islam, Muslims, the Prophet (PBUH) and through bad hygiene in Muslim places that pay and treat them so well in Gulf.
    It is time the world turn on Hindu India and inform them that saffron terrorism and hatred will not be tolerated. The Economist, NYT, Wash Post, Guardian, BBC have mentioned it. So have Arab Muslim governments with threats of Hindu expulsion. Now that even the UN and US are condemning Hindu bad behaviour, they must change or continue to be isolated! India is not hardworking and advanced China, it is poor and needs lots of investment and help. It must change.

    • Lol, nice joke.

      So called “secular society” in the West can very well confirm the fact that Muslims can’t integrate into secular society and by far Hindus are among the most well-integrated groups in Western society.

      Particularly, Muslims of the Indian subcontinent (especially, Pakistan, from where you originate) are amongst the most radicalized people in the world. So much so, that even Arab Wahabi monarchies have thrown out (repatriated) a lot of them several times.

    • @GSRuddin:
      Defend Muslims all you want- still will not be able to erase historical facts credited to them:
      1. Conversions forced by violence
      2. Fanatical Hatred of everyone outside their religion
      3. Destroying other religions’ places of worship
      4. Loot and plunder and rape to build wealth
      I have worked with people from all continents and faiths in several countries.
      Muslim colleagues are uncouth and treat women in the workplace very poorly.
      Some European Muslims from France/Germany are professionals- all others, act like Cave Men.

    • “pious Muslims get along well with Sikhs, Leftists, Christians, secular society.” LOL.

      YES WE HAVE SEEN HOW PIOUS ISIS MUSLIMS GET ALONG WELL WITH YAZDIS.

  6. @Bismee Taskin
    This is poorly researched and written article – quoting a well known American Evangelical Islamophobe to oppose perceived “Islamophobia “ in India?
    The USCIRF is a paper tiger organization -set up to appease the Evangelicals in the US.
    It is a ‘make work’ project of the US Government to provide sinecure roles to the chamchas of the ruling party.
    You are twisted into knots over their crocodile tears for Indian Muslims?
    They care two hoots about Muslims – Indian or otherwise. Palestinian Muslims have been subjected to State violence for 70 years – not a whimper from USCIRF – turning a blind eye towards Israel – a client state of the US. And you think they will come to the aid of India’s Muslims?
    I can see where you look to them as an ally……. one appeasement group to another.Misery loves company.
    It is funny you quote Tony Perkins a known Islamophobe.
    See below a few glimpses of his track record- even a cursory web search gives the following “gems’.

    Perkins has also made statements critical of Islam. In September 2010, Perkins claimed that “the ultimate evil has been committed” when Muslims interpret the Quran in its literal context,[44] that Islam “tears at the fabric of democracy,”[45][46] and that World history classes dishonestly portray Islam in a positive light by providing an “airbrushed” portrait of the religion itself.[47]
    In 2015, Perkins affirmed the debate over Obama’s birth certificate as “legitimate”, remarking that it “makes sense” to conclude that Obama was a Muslim.[48]3

  7. Author is doing great disservice as a journalist when she says minorities are being persecuted in India.

    Ask a Jain, Parsi, Sikh or a Jew they will unequivocally say the opposite.

    By the way 20 crore population is not minority by any standard or definition.

    • Why ignore the 200 million Muslims who say 1 billion Hindus are persecuting them? Why not listen to Sikhs, Christians, Liberals and others who agree that India is intolerant to Muslims also?

      • If Christians were really saying that, then BJP and/or its allied parties won’t be ruling all the Christian majority states of India.

        Stop listening to bs news. It is a very well known fact that ISPR of Pakistan is among the most prominent of special interest organisations influencing information worldwide.

        When you people start believing your own lie, life must be difficult.

  8. The USCIRF has absolutely no locus standi to issue such reports on India and to “place” India in any group of “particular concern”.
    Its quite well known and widely accepted that the USCIRF is basically a group of woke liberals. Needless to say they are in cahoots with the Indian liberal/secular brigade and would do anything to help them out.

  9. World’s Brave RSS Sena (Gunda Force)
    At present majority of Muslim are poor, illiterate involved in bad habits, away from Islamic teachings means half dead,Beaten & Mob-
    Linchhed through Brave RSS/BJP Gundas garlanded by BJP MPs, MLAs.( RSS Majoriterians scared of half Dead Minorities)

  10. Bhimru states will ensure BJP rule for the next One hundred years at least. There is nothing to worry. Let the liberal west continue its criticism of Modi and co. Who cares. In a brilliant discovery BJP has got the electoral math right. So my dear country men focus on educating your children with hard skills if they don’t make the grade to professional colleges. By a strange coincidence Bulk of the top administrative positions are manned by Bhimaru states candidates.
    So it is all in the family.

  11. To be perfectly honest, it is neither friend nor enemy. The world’s sole superpower, pursuing its national interest diligently. Under President Trump, the view is less enlightened, more here and now transactional. MEA has seen enough of the world to appreciate that personal relationships count for little.

  12. Very sad nd disgusting simultaneously that the entire world is not able to do anything about minorities in India r being crushed systematically.

  13. This is all the more reason, Indian Muslims should embrace secularism, join Indian liberals in fighting religious fanaticism, reject hardliners, listen to thinkers like Javed Akhtar. For India Sufi Islam is more suited than Tablighi / wahabi Islam. Even religion needs to change for good with times. Owaisee is very intelligent leader but his aggressive pro-Islamic politics is harming Muslims. If Shivsena can change under Uddhav, Owaisee too can reform his party. Indian Muslims have a choice.

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