Thursday, December 2, 2021

Why Are Muslim Births in Sharp Decline in Indian Occupied Kashmir?

Muslim women's fertility rate in Indian Occupied Kashmir has sharply declined to just 1.4, far below the replacement level of 2.1, according to India's latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5).  Is this the result of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's oppression in Kashmir? Is it because of fewer Muslim young men in the occupied territory? Is it part of the Hindu Nationalist policy to change the demographics of Kashmir? Is it slow genocide

Kashmiris Demanding Azadi From India

Just over a week ago, India’s health ministry revealed that the country’s total fertility rate (TFR)—the average number of children that an Indian woman can expect to give birth to in her lifetime—has fallen below 2.1, which is to say below the “replacement” level at which births equal deaths. Muslim majority territory of Kashmir under Indian military occupation saw the biggest decline to just 1.4, the lowest TFR  reported by NFS-5. Hindu Nationalist politicians, including Prime Minister Modi, have rallied their Hindu voters by claiming that Muslims have too many babies. Legislation aimed at Muslims is being proposed to limit the size of families in the state of Uttar Pradesh led by Hindu priest Yogi Adityanath.  

India's Birth Rate Decline. Source: The Economist

The birth rates in Mr. Modi's BJP party's power base in the Hindi heartland continue to be much higher than those in the southern states. What this means is that the bulk of India's future voters and its workforce will continue to come mainly from the poor, less educated northern states. In 1971, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi froze the allocation of seats among India's states. As a result of this freeze, a member of parliament from Kerala now represents some 1.8 million voters while one from Uttar Pradesh represents nearly 3 million, according to a report in The Economist magazine. When the freeze on redistricting is lifted some time in the next decade, these disparities will mean that the northern states will have far more political power in the Union than they do now. 

The Indian military has kept Occupied Kashmir under extended and inhumane lockdown to prevent protests against New Delhi's reckless decision to scrap Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The lockdown is being enforced by over 700,000 Indian troops deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.  People have been kept imprisoned in their homes for months. They were deprived of Internet, telephone or television for extended periods.  Delhi rules the region under Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the same law that was created and used by the British colonial power to try and crush Gandhi's Quit India movement. Thousands have died and more than 6,221 people received pellet gun injuries in the seven months following the July 2016 killing of Burhan Wani, according to the Jammu and Kashmir government as reported by The New Humanitarian.  Mr. Modi's actions are not only an affront to the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also in clear violation of India's international and bilateral obligations under United Nations charter and the Simla Accord.   It is time for all sane Indians and the rest of the world to wake up to the serious threats posed to peace in South Asia region and the wider world by Mr. Modi's fascist Hindutva project.


Riaz Haq said...

#US Senate Held Hearing To Consider LA Mayor Eric Garcetti's Nomination for #Ambassador to #India. Garcetti highlighted his masters degree in #HumanRights and International Law and said human rights would be a “core piece” of his engagement with India.

“Few nations are more vital to the future of American security and prosperity than India,” Garcetti told the committee during his opening statements.

Garcetti added that he first traveled to India with his parents as a teenager, then again in 1990 as a guest of Ambassador William Clark Jr., whose son was Garcetti’s college roommate. He said the trip inspired him to study Hindi and Urdu in college, as well as Indian and Cultural Religious History.

“Today the fundamental nature of that strategic partnership is firmly ingrained here in Washington and in New Delhi,” the mayor said. “If confirmed, I will endeavor to advance our ambitious bilateral partnership united by a free and open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

“Even with a pandemic, our bilateral trade this year is expected to break a record, and if confirmed, I intend to champion an ambitious economic partnership with India to reduce market barriers, to bolster free trade and to generate good, middle-class American jobs,” Garcetti added.

Highlighting his experience combating climate change in Los Angeles, which includes putting the city on a track to reach 100% renewable energy by 2035, Garcetti said he would work with India on a “similarly bold approach to promoting green energy.”

The White House’s July announcement about the nomination cited Garcetti’s responsibilities overseeing the Western Hemisphere’s busiest container port, the Port of Los Angeles; the largest municipal utility in the country, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; one of the busiest airports, Los Angeles International Airport; and his time as chair of the second-busiest transit agency, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The White House also credited Garcetti with leading the city’s successful bid to host the 2028 Olympics and co-founding Climate Mayors, a coalition of 400 U.S. mayors that adopted the Paris Climate agreement.

Garcetti also served as national co-chair of Biden’s presidential campaign.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, asked Garcetti about accusations of sexual harassment and a culture of silence within his office, which Garcetti claims he has not witnessed. His former adviser, Rick Jacobs, has been accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed by a Los Angeles Police Department officer.

The officer claims Garcetti witnessed the misconduct but turned a blind eye to it. Garcetti has denied the allegation.

Garcetti responded to Shaheen, saying he has a “zero tolerance” policy for sexual harassment.

“I want to say unequivocally that I never witnessed, nor was it brought to my attention, that behavior that has been alleged. And I also want to assure you that if it had been, I would have immediately taken action to stop that,” Garcetti said.

Naomi Seligman, a former director of communications for Garcetti who says she was forcibly kissed by Jacobs and that Garcetti knew about Jacobs’ alleged pattern of harassment, tweeted at Shaheen after the hearing:

“What about the victims and our sworn testimony on the abuse we endured and that (Garcetti) witnessed and enabled? We are greatly disappointed. Human rights matter, here and around the world. #metoo.”

Several senators asked Garcetti how he would work to advance human rights in India, noting a recent citizenship amendment that shortens the citizenship process for non-Muslim people from three neighboring countries. Garcetti highlighted his masters degree in Human Rights and International Law and said human rights would be a “core piece” of his engagement with India.

Riaz Haq said...

As #Hindu Extremists Call for Killing of #Muslims, #India’s Leaders Keep Silent. Hundreds of right-wing Hindu activists and monks swore to turn India, constitutionally a secular republic, into a Hindu nation, even if doing so required dying and killing.

“If 100 of us are ready to kill two million of them, then we will win and make India a Hindu nation,” said Pooja Shakun Pandey, a leader of Hindu Mahasabha, a group that espouses militant Hindu nationalism, referring to the country’s Muslims. “Be ready to kill and go to jail.”

Even by the standards of the rising anti-Muslim fury in India, the three-day conference in the city of Haridwar, 150 miles north of New Delhi, produced the most blatant and alarming call for violence in recent years.

The crowded auditorium, where right-wing Hindu monks called for other Hindus to arm themselves and kill Muslims, included influential religious leaders with close ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing party, and even some members of the party.

Videos of the event have spread widely on social media in India this week. Yet Mr. Modi has maintained a characteristic silence that analysts say can be interpreted by his most extreme supporters as a tacit signal of protection.

The police, who readily jail rights activists and comedians on charges lacking evidence, have been slow to take action. Even opposition political groups have been restrained in their response, an indication of the degree to which right-wing Hindu nationalism has gripped the country since Mr. Modi came to office in 2014.

The inflammatory remarks come as some states governed by Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., are holding elections, including in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, where the conference was held. Mr. Modi was busy campaigning this week in Uttar Pradesh for Yogi Adityanath, his hard-line protégé and the state’s chief minister, who has frequently fanned anti-Muslim hatred.

Multiple episodes of violence against Muslims have been reported during election season, including attacks by mobs trying to close businesses owned by Muslims.

“There are virtually only a handful of political leaders left who even mention the need to preserve India’s secularism,” said Gilles Verniers, a professor of political science at Ashoka University near New Delhi. “The B.J.P. may face increasing political challenges, but it has won its cultural war, with lasting effects on India’s democracy, and on India’s largest minority.”

Right-wing Hindu nationalists have preached violence online for years, but the violence has recently spilled onto the streets. Muslim fruit sellers have been beaten and their earnings snatched away after being accused of luring Hindu women into marriage to convert them. Muslim activists have been threatened with prosecution under an antiterrorism law that has been scrutinized by courts.