Narendra Modi is an ideal politician who has used the politics of silence to look the other way when violence is perpetrated on hapless people by those who are part and parcel of the political organization or party he represents.

In 2002, he remained silent when hundreds of innocent people were murdered on the streets of Gujarat, where he was the Chief Minister. The victims of this genocide including children and pregnant mothers, were buried in mass graves. Narendra Modi was seen a kilometre away from this burial site but chose not to attend.

In 2016 many Dalit youths were mercilessly flogged and beaten, Modi chose to remain silent. When Muhammed Akhlaq was lynched in 2015, by a vigilante mob, he remained silent. He would choose to keep a safe distance from the anti-social elements from within his right-wing nationalist Hindutva party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He has shown no inclination to reign in any of the right wing terrorist groups who have been supported and funded by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The RSS is the Military wing of the BJP.

The BJP has been repeatedly criticised for its politics of communal polarisation, minority subjugation, mass murders and rapes in the name of religious subjugation and human rights violations by the state. The extreme right justifies these acts by declaring that it was an act of Hindu reprisal, a reaction against an action and Muslims deserving this. While the secular and democratic voices criticise the events, the obsessive and addictive right justify it on the grounds of establishing supremacy of a majority religion over minority.

In August 2016, The New York Times challenged the Indian Prime Minister to break his silence on communal violence. The newspaper referred to his silence on “cow vigilantism” as  “shameful” and urged him to “reset his political compass on a course of economic opportunity, dignity and justice”. In the article, the New York Times, recounted the number of instances of vigilante violence against the minority Muslims and Dalits, supported by elements imbedded in the administration.

Vigilante violence is lawless. Any government supporting it cannot claim to be a government abiding by the rule of law and thus safe and exempt from the international community’s scrutiny in its internal matters. Sadly, the government of Narendra Modi has supported such violence since it came to power in May 2014. Instead of strengthening its security and justice institutions, it has been accused of trying to align law enforcement with vigilantes affiliated with the politics of Religious Nationalism.

Modi’s BJP- led government is obligated to the totalitarian and repressive RSS, the aggressive elements of the Security Forces and the most voracious and gluttonous sections of big business. It has pursued closer ties with imperialism, domination of minorities and coloniality. India has long abandoned its links with the Non-Aligned Movement and has nailed its colours to the United States- Israel-EU Axis of evil.

In 2001, at the Durban Conference against Racism, the Indian Government opposed demands to make Caste – based discrimination an aspect of racial discrimination. It has always asserted that the “Caste-System” was an internal matter. This goes against its own legacy of its fight against Apartheid in South Africa. If the caste system is an internal matter for the Government of India, then the apartheid system should also be an internal matter for the Apartheid-era government of South Africa. The hypocrisy is glaring.

Since the beginning of 2018, over 100 incidents of violence against Christians have been recorded. Since 2014, over 500 such episodes have been documented. Threats of intimidation and restrictions on Christian religious gatherings have also increased. Christian Churches have expressed their concerns at the shift of Indian society from a pluralist secular democracy to a monolithic Hindu state.

The hate spewed by political bureaucrats across the spectrum, including Members of Parliament, and sometimes by State Ministers, forms the backdrop of this violence, as it also smothers voices seeking justice. The political process taking shape today is against every fundamental humane and constitutional principle of Equality and Dignity in a Constitutional Democracy.

Under the BJP, India is slowly but surely losing its moral compass. This was clearly demonstrated in the recent rape and murder of an 8 year old Kashmiri child, in the occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir.  Asifa Bano was abducted and held captive in a Temple, drugged, starved and repeatedly raped for a week and then murdered. One of the accused is a police officer. The officer and his co-accused have been defended by elements from within the BJP. Although Modi promised justice, he skilfully distanced his party from the incident.

Arundhati Roy, India’s world renowned Human Rights activist and author, had this to say about Modi:

I just want to tell you who this man is. He was a member of an organization called the RSS, (the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), which was set up in 1927, inspired by the fascists in Italy, inspired by Mussolini. One of their greatest heroes is Adolf Hitler. They very openly praise Adolf Hitler…..…..”

 

Since his rise to the highest office in India in 2014, religious and cultural prejudice and intolerance stands deeply entrenched in Indian society. Many who voted for Mr. Modi and his blank promises have been disappointed by his catastrophic failure to deliver. Impatience with his deliberate silence around sectarian and sexual violence and hate speech by his party colleagues and ministers have seriously compromised his popularity.

The regular and meticulous demolition of India’s democratic institutions by the Modi regime is hard to ignore and disregard.

Ibrahim Vawda.

Media Review Network

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Ibrahim Vawda

Ex educator and spent the last 14 years in education as headmaster. A proud Muslim and keen internationalist. Passionate about human rights issues. No respect for politicians.