Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Islamophobia: Can Modi's India Afford to Alienate the Entire Arab Muslim Middle East?

Last week, two official spokespersons of India's ruling BJP party insulted Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on an Indian television channel known for promoting Islamophobia. Mohammad Zubair, an Indian Muslim journalist, tweeted a video clip of the TimesNow primetime show featuring BJP's official spokeswoman Nupur Sharma attacking the Prophet (SAW) revered by more than a billion Muslims around the world. As the video clip went viral, a long a growing list of Muslim countries has officially protested to the Indian government. The UAE, Oman, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iraq, the Maldives, Jordan, Libya, Bahrain and Pakistan have now joined Kuwait, Iran and Qatar, calling Indian ambassadors to register their protest, and Saudi Arabia has issued a strongly worded statement. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its condemnation and denunciation of the statements made by the spokeswoman of the BJP,"  the Saudi statement said.

India's Ties to the GCC Nations. Source: Advaid

The BJP's entire domestic politics is built on the hatred of Islam and Muslims. At the same time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi who many hold primarily responsible for promoting Islamophobia in India, wants to have strong economic ties with the Arab Muslim Gulf states. This latest crisis has exposed the built-in contradictions in the BJP's domestic and international agenda.  Indian analyst Aakar Patel calls the ruling BJP party "a party of bigots". Here is his analysis of the situation:

"The (Modi) government has not bulldozed properties of Muslims for resisting rioting; it has conducted civic acts related to unauthorized construction. India is not targeting its Muslims through CAA-NRC pincer; it is only showing solidarity with non-Muslims from neighboring nations. Allowing mobs to prevent congregational prayers in designated spaces is really to ensure traffic flows smoothly. There can not be many who are innocent of what is going on. Certainly, there are none among the votaries of Hindutva. The problem is having democratized violence against Muslims across the country, and having been electorally rewarded for this, Modi must consider what it means for India. He has been given a taste of that this week, and as the sequence of events shows, he has not found it appealing. Trouble on this front will return unless Hindutva retreats and returns India to its normative secular state its Constitution prescribes. This is not going to happen under Modi, of course. The next best thing is to backpedal Hindutva a bit and calibrate Hindutva to a level where it pleases its constituency but doesn't offend the world. This will not be easy as we are about to find out". 

It is important to note that nearly 9 million Indians work in the Arab Gulf nations, 60% India's crude oil comes from the Middle East and the UAE is India'a third largest trading partner. Half of all remittances to India ( nearly $40 billion) come from just 5 Gulf nations of the GCC. 

The Hindu Nationalists led by Prime Minister Modi are particularly hostile toward Muslims but also other Abrahamic faiths and the West. American journalist Walter Russell Mead described it in a recent Wall Street Journal Op Ed as follows: "Many BJP supporters want the Indian government to defend India’s Hindu civilization and culture from Islam, Christianity and Western secular liberalism. This form of Hindu nationalism leads to controversial policy initiatives". The fact that the United Arab Emirates has joined to protest is particularly significant. The Arab Muslim UAE, a grouping of  seven Arab Muslim kingdoms, has now become the number one destination for education and employment of people from Hindu India, according to the government data from the two countries. 

India is now ruled by the right-wing Hindu BJP party headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose entire politics is based on extreme hatred of Islam and Muslims. In 2020, Emirati Princess Sheikha Hend bint Faisal al-Qasimi strongly criticized Islamophobia in India. She also expressed solidarity and sympathies with Indian Muslims and Kashmiris.

Indians Students Abroad. Source: Economic Times

Over 1.2 million Indian students are now studying overseas, twice more than a decade ago. The UAE has 219,000 Indian students, Canada 215,720, the US 211,930, Australia 92,383, Saudi Arabia 80,800, Britain 55,465, and Oman 43,600, according to the data from India's Ministry of External Affairs

UAE Expat Population. Source: Global Media Insight

In addition to students, there are millions of foreigners working in the UAE. Currently, the Indian population in UAE is the highest with 2.75 million, followed by Pakistanis with 1.27 million. The UAE has around 0.75 million Bangladeshi nationals, 0.56 million Filipinos, and 0.48 million Iranians. There are also people from Egypt (0.42 million), Nepal (0.32 million), Sri Lanka ( 0.32 million), China (0.21 million) and the rest of the world (1.79million).

Last year, India received $43 billion in remittances from the UAE. Total worker remittances to India reached $87 billion last fiscal year, making it the world's largest recipient of these remittances. 

The United States was the second largest destination for Indian students. China maintained its top position among the leading places of origin for international students, with 35% of all international students in the 2020-21 school year hailing from the country, according to the data released by the United States government.  The second most common place of origin was India (18%), followed by South Korea (4%) and Canada (3%). Some of these countries also experienced the largest year-over-year declines in the number of students who enrolled at US institutions. The largest such percentage decreases occurred in South Korea (-21%), China (-15%) and India (-13%).

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Riaz Haq said...

Spoof video shows Qatar Airways CEO offer plane to man who called for 'bycott' of airline
"Vashudev habibi, we are willing to give you one whole plane to make your TikTok videos, or maybe we can give you two litres of petrol free so you take this call for boycott back otherwise how will we survive?" CEO of Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker says in the spoof video.


After Qatar expressed strong objection to controversial remarks made against Prophet Muhammad by BJP members, "bycottQatarAirways" began to trend on Twitter on Tuesday.

The trend also brought to the front a spoof video posted by Twitter user Ahad (@AhadunAhad11111) in which the CEO of Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker appears to appeal to one of the Twitter users to take back his call to "bycott" the airline.

"I cancelled all my meetings and flew straight to Qatar because Vashudev is our biggest shareholder. And he decided to boycott our lines from his headquarters which is the terrace of his house," Al Baker appears to say in an interview with Al Jazeera. "He was having a powercut at that time in his neighbourhood and he made that devastating video."

The Qatar Airways CEO further goes on to reiterate, "Vashudev is our biggest shareholder with a total investment of Rs 624.5. We don't know how to operate anymore. I have grounded all the flights. Our flights are not operating anymore. We are requesting Vashudev to take this call for boycott back."

The video also did not hold back from pointing out the spelling mistake in the trending hashtag.


Rumi said...

India is a hyperpower. Indians don't need little GCC countries, GCC countries need them.

-Sri Ram and his monkeys...

Riaz Haq said...

Rumi: "India is a hyperpower. Indians don't need little GCC countries, GCC countries need them"

Hindutva Hindu Supremacists led by Modi are particularly hostile toward Muslims. But they also hate other Abrahamic faiths and the West almost as much. BJP base attacks Christians, Christianity, Western civilization, US and Europe.

Zen, Germany said...


Hindu diaspora and globalizing, emerging Hindu middle class of early 2000s benefitted enormously from anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia post 9/11. There are very rare and isolated neutral elites, but by and large Hindus saw an enormous opportunity,

But it is largely the incompetence of Muslim world which let this happen. Muslims were disunited, less tech savvy and those who could afford internet and computer were busy pursuing their carnal pleasures. The "Cyber Hindu" on the contrary was highly organized, well funded, and tech savvy.

There are some other factors which helped Hindus for sure - even if internet penetration is higher in many Muslim countries than in India, users are not English speakers. An Indonesian or Egyptian are not reading or writing comments in The Economist. Anonymity and free nature of comment sections of western media gave Cyber Hindus a great opportunity.

Another factor is that Arab countries are a huge disaster when it comes to leadership. They have neither any interest, nor skills to defend Muslims against organized Islamophobia from Hindu groups and evangelical Christian fanatics.

Now is the trend reversing? I think so. One reason is the increasing internet usage in developing Muslim world. They are English speaking and are ready and skilled to engage in a sophisticated hashtag war with Caber Hindu band.

In any case, as usual, your numbers are a waste. Here quantitative analysis is useless. It means nothing because Arabs will put their commercial interests above everything else. In this case, only because Qatar and Iran (who don't share same warmth as UAE with India) took a strong stand, others were more or less forced to come up with face saving condemnation.

Riaz Haq said...

Should #US lower its expectations of #India? Instead of investing in #humancapital, #nuclear & #renewable energy, or #healthcare, #Modi’s gov't focus is on “correcting” history textbooks, attacking #Muslims, extoll #Hindu "virtues"! #Hindutva #Islamophobia https://thehill.com/opinion/international/3513889-should-the-us-temper-its-expectations-of-india/


India is reprising its Cold War-era strategy of walking the tightrope between Russia and the United States. During the virtual summit between President Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April, as well as the in-person Quad leaders’ summit in Tokyo in May, Biden requested India’s support on Ukraine. India has refused to stop purchasing oil from Russia, even if it has cancelled some Russian arms contracts.

India’s neutrality over Ukraine has dampened the enthusiasm even of those Americans who have projected India as the key American partner in its competition with China. Indians argue that they are only acting in their national interest and that even though their long-term interests remains tied to the U.S., they cannot forego the short-term advantage of neutrality towards Russia.

Instead of voicing frustration with India over its continued friendship with Russia, U.S. policymakers and commentators would do better to revise their expectations of India. The rhetoric about India being as important in U.S. plans for Asia as Great Britain was for standing up to the Soviet Union in Europe after World War II ignores India’s changing view of itself and the world.

Under Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, India is in the process of redefining its nationalism, away from the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. India’s rising Hindu nationalism (which has overtaken the secular nationalism of India’s early years) is centered on reviving India’s ancient Hindu glory. Ancient India was notoriously insular and not particularly interested in partnering with distant peoples.

While Modi’s India still wants to be recognized globally with respect, it hopes to earn that respect through celebration of an International Yoga Day, not through confrontation with China or Russia. That fundamentally different view of what is entailed in India becoming a global great power makes partnership with the West in accordance with Western expectations unlikely.

India’s economy is not growing at a rate that would position it to be China’s competitor. The expansion of India’s middle class has slowed down. Americans hoping to tap India as the next market of more than 1 billion consumers will have to wait to see that dream become a reality, both on account of its slower economic growth and its over-regulation.

Disappointment will be even greater for those expecting India to field its large military forces against China. Declining investment in military capabilities have made India’s military rather inefficient and inadequately modern. India might be able to face off against Pakistan, but it is still far from being in China’s league.

Around 60 percent of India’s military equipment is of Russian origin, and while India plans to purchase more equipment, it is keen on boosting indigenous capability and having a diverse basket of suppliers. That runs contrary to American expectations of being India’s supplier of choice.

Meanwhile, the U.S. expectation of an influx of orders for American-made nuclear reactors from India, which formed an important basis for the 2008 civil-nuclear deal, remains unfulfilled.

India wants to trade and acquire technology with the U.S. on its terms, which it believes are mutually beneficial. But is not about to become the western partner that successive U.S. administrations and many scholars have imagined.

Riaz Haq said...

India-Gulf row: Why Modi is in a double bind
CJ Werleman
8 June 2022 10:52 UTC | Last update: 15 hours 36 secs ago
After anti-Islam comments by senior officials, the Indian president must placate Middle Eastern leaders while quietly continuing to support his party’s vilification of Muslims


For those familiar with Indian politics, the past week has been profoundly revelatory, marking the first time India’s ruling party has been caught embarrassed by its systematic mistreatment of its Muslim minority since riding into office on the back of a muscular Hindu nationalist agenda in 2014.

At the centre of Modi’s international diplomatic discomfort are moves by Gulf states to denounce and condemn his party for insulting the Prophet. In addition, Indian envoys in Qatar, Kuwait and Iran were summoned for a private scolding, while supermarkets in several Gulf states removed Indian products from their shelves. Social media hashtags calling for an economic boycott against India trended on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

To all this, Indian journalist Rana Ayyub commented: “Iran, Saudi Arabia and Qatar speaking in one voice. When was the last time the world witnessed this? Modi hai to mumkin hai [translated: Modi made this possible].”

The Indian government has responded by suspending the officials who made the derogatory remarks - and for the first time in the country’s 75-year history, it issued a statement to a foreign country (or in this case, a group of Muslim-majority countries under the umbrella of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation).

“India was taken aback by the response,” Kabir Taneja, a fellow with the Observer Research Foundation think tank, told CNN. “Communal issues are not new in India and in previous cases, we have not had such a response [from Arab states].”

Turning a blind eye
But it’s hardly surprising the Modi government has been caught off-guard here, given that Arab states have willingly turned a blind eye to any number of India’s persecutory actions against Muslims, including an amnesty law offering citizenship rights only to non-Muslim migrants; bans on students wearing the hijab; discriminatory laws premised on anti-Muslim conspiracies; support for economic boycotts against Muslim-owned businesses; and revocation of Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status.

Arab Gulf governments have also remained tight-lipped as members of Modi’s party have other-ised Muslims as “termites,” “pests” and “terrorists”, while Hindu nationalist groups allied with the BJP have urged their supporters to commit a Muslim genocide - a plea now heard on a near-daily basis. They have also said nothing as Muslims have been lynched, and their homes, businesses and mosques vandalised, by radicalised mobs in broad daylight, and often in the presence of police.

Nevertheless, these governments and Islamic leaders in the Middle East now have Modi’s undivided attention, particularly those calling for “all Muslims to rise as one nation” against India - a plea made by Oman’s chief religious figure, Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmad bin Hamad Al-Khalili, who also announced a boycott of Indian products.

While the Modi government was able to strike an indignant tone against the United States, accusing it of indulging in “votebank politics” after the Biden administration accused New Delhi of mistreating its religious minorities earlier this month, it knows it must be far more conciliatory towards Arab Gulf countries, given that around two-thirds of India’s crude oil imports flow from the Middle East.

But the spigot is not the only potential pinch point. A bigger issue is the millions of Indian expatriates who live and work across the Gulf states, putting at risk the tens of billions of dollars India receives in remittances from its citizens in these countries.

Riaz Haq said...

USCIRF (United States Commission on International Religious Freedom)
#Indian officials and non-state actors have used social media platforms to intimidate and spread hatred and disinformation against religious minority communities, contributing to numerous violent attacks. Read more in the I2022 Annual Report India Chapter.



In 2021, religious freedom conditions in India significantly worsened. During the year, the Indian government escalated its
promotion and enforcement of policies—including those promoting a Hindu-nationalist agenda—that negatively affect Muslims,
Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, and other religious minorities. The government continued to systemize its ideological vision of a Hindu
state at both the national and state levels through the use of both
existing and new laws and structural changes hostile to the country’s religious minorities.


Attacks on Religious Communities
In 2021, numerous attacks were made on religious minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians, and their neighborhoods, businesses,
homes, and houses of worship. Many of these incidents were violent,
unprovoked, and/or encouraged or incited by government officials.
Both officials and nonstate actors have used social media platforms
and other forms of communication to intimidate and spread hatred
and disinformation against religious minority communities. The quick
spread of misinformation online has contributed to violent attacks. In
October, mobs attacked mosques and torched properties of Muslim
residents in Tripura, which borders Bangladesh. USCIRF received
documented reports of at least 50 incidents between June and
October 2021 targeting the Christian community in the state of Uttar
Pradesh alone.
Violent attacks have been perpetrated across the country
under the guise of protecting cows in line with India’s constitution
and laws in 20 states (and growing) criminalizing cow slaughter in
various forms. Vigilante mobs, often organized over social media,
have attacked religious minorities—including Muslims, Christians,
and Dalits—under suspicion of eating beef, slaughtering cows, or
transporting cattle for slaughter. Most such violent incidents are
reported in states where cattle slaughter is banned. For example,
in June 2021, three Muslim men were lynched on suspicion of cow
smuggling in Tripura, and a vigilante mob beat two men they accused
of smuggling cattle, resulting in one’s death and hospitalization of
the other in Madhya Pradesh.

Riaz Haq said...

Employees of Google during an internal monthly meeting on Thursday, 2 June, questioned executives why the anti-bias talk by Thenmozhi Soundararajan was cancelled.


The company’s top diversity officer responded that it was cancelled because it “was actually pulling employees apart,” reported Insider, based on an audio recording of the meeting that was leaked.

This news comes just days after Tanuja Gupta, a senior manager at Google, resigned from the company on 1 June, to express solidarity with a Dalit rights activist who was not allowed to give a presentation on caste.

In April, Thenmozhi Soundararajan, the founder of Equality Labs, a Dalit civil rights organisation, was scheduled to give a lecture to employees of Google News during Dalit History Month. However, it was called off after several Google employees called Soundararajan "Hindu-phobic" and "anti-Hindu" in emails to company heads.

During the all-member meeting on Thursday, the question of whether Google wanted to alter more diversity initiatives to “not cause others discomfort,” in light of the anti-bias event’s cancelation was raised. Employees had reportedly asked how they can discuss discrimination at Google considering the retaliation Gupta faced.

"Retaliation is a normalised Google practice to handle internal criticism, and women take the hit," Gupta had written in her resignation email.

Google’s chief diversity officer, Melonie Parker, responded that the company was “deeply opposed” to caste discrimination, and that “it has no place here or anywhere,” Insider reported.

“And in fact, a large group of employees felt that they were being vilified. And this resulted in a lot of internal concern, heated threads, as well as escalations," he said.

Meanwhile, Alphabet Workers Union (AWU), also informally referred to as the Google Union, has expressed solidarity with Soundararajan and Gupta.

They demanded that Soundararajan's talk must be reinstated at Google News and the company should have a continued commitment to bring in Dalit and caste-oppressed speakers to address caste discrimination. Google must immediately add caste to all of its HR policies in all locations, the tweet read.

Sundar Pichai, Google's chief operating officer (CEO), said that the company should take into account “all types of issues people face, and we should strive to make a difference in all of the areas, including caste discrimination” as part of its DEI work, quoted Insider.

However, Soundararajan who had appealed to Pichai to allow her to give her presentation, has still not received a response.

"He is Indian and he is Brahmin and he grew up in Tamil Nadu. There is no way you grow up in Tamil Nadu and not know about caste because of how caste politics shaped the conversation," said Soundararajan, who is also a Dalit, reported The Washington Post.

“Even a consultant like myself is facing casteist smears in the company you lead. Imagine what a caste-oppressed worker at Google would face if they dared to come forward,” her statement read.

Several prominent personalities and people took to social media to slam the "blatant casteism" at the workspace.

Some Netizens Claim She Has 'Hatred for Everything Hindu'
Meanwhile, several other netizens have hailed the decision stating that she was "anti-Brahmin" and was "bent on creating caste diversion."

HinduPACT, a Hindu Policy Research and Advocacy Collective USA, accused Soundararajan of peddling "a vicious and well-resourced influence operation."

"What drives their campaign is a shared hatred for everything HINDU and a well curated agenda to defame and de-platform any representation of the Indian American diaspora or Hindu Americans in the future of America. Sinister and Goebelessian," the tweet read.

Ahmed said...


Unfortunately it is this attitude and arrogance of you Indians which is taking you down the drain . GCC countries need skilled, talented and educated people from every part of the world , it is not Indians who are needed in Middle Eastern countries . Their are many Pakistanis , Philipinose and Sri Lankans who are working in GCC countries .

samir sardana said...

Chaiwala is punting on the following

Qatar will still supply LNG - as it is US/Israel ally
Oman will still pursue the gas pipeline to India - as it is US/Israel ally,and it has a minority sect of Islam, and faces a threat from "Radical Islam".This nation and others have senior Indian military staff as security advisors and so naval exercises with India
Saudi will supply oil - as it is US ally

Chaiwala and Indians believe that the GCC runs on Indians !

They ACTUALLY believe it




samir sardana said...

Some think Arabs will stop oil and gas sales to India

That will never happen ! dindooohindoo

When temples for Monkeys and rats are made in a Islamic nation - this is what happens

Chaiwala,by placing the temple model in Dubai, and laying the foundation system,of temples in GCC,is MOCKING INDIAN MUSLIMS,DISPLAYING THE IMPOTENCE OF ARABS,and THROWING A GAUNTLET,TO THE ISLAMIC ORTHODOXY - AND PLEASING HIS MASTERS IN TEL AVIV !

The HADEETHS of the Prophet, Prophecised the EOD and the SIGNS OF THE SAME - and Muslims SUPPORTING, JOINING AND BECOMING IDOLATORS - which is the end of the Loop,which started with Abraham and Ishmael,destroying idols and making the kabba !

"The Hour shall not be established until tribes of my Ummah unite with the idolaters, and until they worship idols." (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2219)

حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ، حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادُ بْنُ زَيْدٍ، عَنْ أَيُّوبَ، عَنْ أَبِي قِلاَبَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي أَسْمَاءَ الرَّحَبِيِّ، عَنْ ثَوْبَانَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى تَلْحَقَ قَبَائِلُ مِنْ أُمَّتِي بِالْمُشْرِكِينَ وَحَتَّى يَعْبُدُوا الأَوْثَانَ وَإِنَّهُ سَيَكُونُ فِي أُمَّتِي ثَلاَثُونَ كَذَّابُونَ كُلُّهُمْ يَزْعُمُ أَنَّهُ نَبِيٌّ وَأَنَا خَاتَمُ النَّبِيِّينَ لاَ نَبِيَّ بَعْدِي ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ ‏.‏

"What I fear most for my nation is misguiding leaders. Some tribes among my nation will worship idols and some tribes among my nation will join the idolaters." (Sunan Ibn Majah 3952)


Indian Muslims are doomed !

The Chronology of Disaster

Babri Masjid destroyed
All Babri accused acquitted
Rama Tample allowed to be built based on national and public sentiment
Before that,the countless Bhagalpur riots,in the Veerbahadur Singh era
Banning Madrasas
Banning Hijab
Banning Azaan
Cow Lynchings
Love Jehad
Muslims praying or pretending to pray to Rama and Ganapati
Taj Mahal....................

And then comes the statements on the Prophet







Ahmed said...

Samir Sardana

Indian Muslims are loyal and patriotic to their country , they were born and raised their . It is not possible for them to betray the constitution of India .

Ahmed said...

Dear Sardana

I think this is your opinion that GCC countries might not stop supplying oil to India even after this issue and maybe you are right but at least these Arab countries are trying to boycott the Indian products that are sold in the markets of Arab countries .

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir and other members of this blog

America needs India against China and learned people know about this ,since the start of the CPEC project in Pakistan , the influence of China is growing in this region of South Asia which poses a threat to America . So American authorities need India to counter this growing influence of China in this region but American authorities must realise that with this type of government which is heading India right now , is it possible for India to pose any kind of threat to China ?

Riaz Haq said...

After Outrage in the Islamic World, the Modi Government Could Be at Point of No Return
The BJP is not likely to learn from this and temper its majoritarianism though it may rework its agenda.

by KC Singh, Ex Indian Ambassador to UAE


Firstly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been cynically stirring the anti-Muslim cauldron since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election in 2019 and getting away with it internationally. Grumbling was limited to the Western world, consisting mostly of pro forma criticism in annual reports or from individual party members i.e. from the liberal wing of the US Democrats.

Secondly, the government assumed that the Islamic world was distracted by their many mutual differences to confront a big nation. Their silence on the repression of Ugyhurs in China showed that economic interests trumped religious affinity. Prime Minister Modi had also managed to woo the de facto rulers of Saudi Arabia, which normally gave lead to the Islamic world’s angst, and the diplomatically assertive United Arab Emirates (UAE). These two had also been traditionally close to Pakistan. In fact, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had in recent years been less than zealous in its anti-India assertions on Kashmir or the treatment of Muslims in India.

Smugness prevailed in the BJP and the government, but the recent remarks of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, on the need for moderation in interfaith relations also indicated concern within the Sangh. Some recognition was dawning that post-Gyanvapi mosque controversy, the red-lines for their followers needed re-drawing.

But all this while, the BJP spokespersons in television studios nightly kept up their Muslim-baiting to polarise voters before the vital upcoming state elections, especially in the prime minister’s own state, Gujarat. Most television channels, chasing higher viewership ratings and the government’s goodwill, devised guest panels and issues for maximum confrontation and verbal duels.

For years, this writer had warned that domestic and foreign policies could not be relegated to separate silos. But four years of former US president Donald Trump, who jettisoned climate change and liberal democracy as issues traditionally relevant to US diplomacy, encouraged the Indian government to believe that diplomacy was unaffected by BJP’s Hindutva project. The pace was accelerated after the 2019 re-election of Narendra Modi to move India from constitutionalism and liberal democracy, as envisioned by India’s founding fathers, to majoritarianism and a reconstructive Hindu Rashtra.

The calculus rested on Modi having successfully divided the bigger Islamic nations and engaged the West, especially the US under Trump, who abandoned the defence of liberalism and democracy. However, Joe Biden’s victory, after Modi’s unwise, subtle endorsement of Trump, raised concerns that the state of domestic play in India may invite US attention. Jaishankar’s unwise snubbing of Pramila Jayapal, an Indian-origin Democrat member of the US Congress during the Trump presidency, was also a cause for concern. But China, climate change and now Ukraine have made the US harbour doubts about the Modi government’s commitment to liberal democracy.


Will the BJP learn from this and tamp down its majoritarian Hindu Rashtra agenda? Probably not, though they would reassess their tactics to devise approaches that distinguish between targeting Indian Muslims and demonising Islam per se and especially the Prophet and his family. The damage to Indian reputation in the Islamic world is containable though not reversible, unless PM Modi decides to emulate Vajpayee, and explores a middle path between Hindutva and classical Hinduism, as honed by philosophers and saints over many millennia. The Modi government could be at a turning point or a point of no return. India holds its breath as the world watches.


For Mr Ahmed

No GCC state is asking for stopping oil sale

No GCC state is asking for Indian Goods boycott

It is private mall owners,and Non-Indian consumers who are asking for goods boycott - which is all a drama.The Malls in GCC,have long term contracts and THERE IS NO ALT SUPPLIER






For Mr Ahmed

Is the Constitution the Oral law revealed to Adam or Moses ?


If an "Indian" Muslim Pandoo (Cop) is being pelted by stones in Kashmir and be receives an order on wireless to SHOOT TO KILL or SHOOT TO MAIM or FIRE RUBBER BULLETS

What should the Indian Muslim do ?


Y ?


Y ?











Riaz Haq said...

#Hindu #Nationalism Threatens #India’s Rise as a Nation. It’s not smart #geopolitics to have officers of the leading party ridiculing the religion of the country’s key #trading and #strategic partners. #Hindutva #Modi #BJP #Islamophobia #ProphetMuhammad https://www.wsj.com/articles/hindu-nationalism-threatens-india-nation-muhammad-muslim-gulf-states-sharma-jindal-11654810622?mod=opinion_featst_pos2

Could India’s fraught domestic politics hinder the country’s transformation into a leading global power? The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s increasingly shrill brand of Hindu nationalism has inflamed religious animosity within the country. It’s now complicating relationships outside Indian borders as well.

The problem’s latest incarnation: disparaging comments BJP officeholders recently made about the prophet Muhammad. These remarks have angered Muslim-majority countries in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere with which India seeks closer diplomatic relations.

The controversy began in a television debate late last month, when Nupur Sharma, a BJP spokeswoman, castigated the prophet Muhammad for marrying his wife Ayesha when she was still a child. On Twitter, another BJP official, Naveen Kumar Jindal, then suggested that the marriage made Muhammad guilty of rape. The comments quickly brought protesting Indian Muslims to the streets. In the northern city of Kanpur, Hindus and Muslims hurled stones and crude bombs at each other after Muslims attempted to shutter a market in protest. The police have detained more than 50 people.

The issue took on an international dimension. On Sunday the governments of Qatar, Kuwait and Iran summoned the Indian ambassadors for an explanation. The hashtags #BoycottIndiaProducts and #StopInsulting_ProphetMuhammad started trending on Twitter in Gulf countries. Supermarkets in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia began to remove Indian products from their shelves. The grand mufti of Oman declared that “the insolent and obscene rudeness” of the BJP officials amounted to “a war against every Muslim in the east and west of the Earth.”

The BJP has suspended Ms. Sharma from the party and expelled Mr. Jindal, but this hasn’t quelled the Muslim world’s anger toward India. At least 15 Muslim-majority nations have condemned the BJP leaders’ remarks. Ms. Sharma has apologized. She and Mr. Jindal have both been booked under the Indian Penal Code for their remarks and could face prison time.

As India’s ruling party faces criticism abroad, it’s been lambasted by supporters at home for cutting Ms. Sharma and Mr. Jindal loose. Critics point out that Ms. Sharma’s taunts about the prophet’s marriage to Ayesha were factual, backed by authoritative Islamic scripture. Moreover, such countries as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are in no position to lecture India on respecting all faiths. And their outrage has been joined by violent Islamists. In a statement, al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent warned of suicide bombings against “those who dare to dishonour our Prophet.” Caving in amid death threats allows Islamists to set the boundaries for speech in India.

But none of that makes BJP representatives publicly ridiculing Islam an intelligent geopolitical strategy.

For starters, Ms. Sharma and Mr. Jindal are hardly champions of Enlightenment values. BJP state governments routinely arrest people for insulting Hindu sentiments, and many party supporters cheer these arrests. Last week, while releasing a report on international religious freedom, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called out India for “rising attacks on people and places of worship.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Hindu #Nationalism Threatens #India’s Rise as a Nation. It’s not smart #geopolitics to have officers of the leading party ridiculing the religion of the country’s key #trading and #strategic partners. #Hindutva #Modi #BJP #Islamophobia #ProphetMuhammad https://www.wsj.com/articles/hindu-nationalism-threatens-india-nation-muhammad-muslim-gulf-states-sharma-jindal-11654810622?mod=opinion_featst_pos2

For starters, Ms. Sharma and Mr. Jindal are hardly champions of Enlightenment values. BJP state governments routinely arrest people for insulting Hindu sentiments, and many party supporters cheer these arrests. Last week, while releasing a report on international religious freedom, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called out India for “rising attacks on people and places of worship.”

But even if the BJP were a good steward of free speech—rather than selectively intolerant—India would still face the stark reality that it can’t afford to antagonize the Muslim world. For starters, about two-thirds of Indian citizens abroad—8.9 million of 13.6 million people—live in the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain. According to the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, in recent years GCC countries have accounted for more than half of India’s roughly $87 billion in remittances.

The Gulf is also among India’s largest trading partners. Last year, two-way trade with the six GCC countries was $87.4 billion, which is more than India’s bilateral trade with the European Union or Southeast Asian countries. The Middle East supplies more than half of India’s oil and gas imports.

New Delhi also has close strategic relationships with some of these countries. As India has grown closer to the U.S. in recent years, it has also stepped up cooperation with such American allies as Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. The Saudi government has extradited terrorism suspects to India. In 2019 the U.A.E. bestowed its highest civilian award on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Four years ago, Oman, with which India has close strategic ties dating back to British rule, granted the Indian navy access to one of its ports. This gives India a foothold in a region where China has made inroads with its Belt and Road Initiative.

All this means that even if it were not hypocritical for BJP supporters to lambast penalizing Ms. Sharma and Mr. Jindal, it would be foolish for ruling party officials to insult revered Islamic religious figures. Hard-line Hindu nationalists may hate the idea of India’s kowtowing to Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but Mr. Modi knows better than to pick a fight that he can’t win.

Riaz Haq said...

Spotlight on Two Nuclear Powers: India and Pakistan
Factors increasing both countries’ confrontational risks include the war in Ukraine, rivalries with China and Russia, climate change and pandemics


India and Pakistan never-ending disputes, plus China and Russia in the mix
India and Pakistan have been at odds since independence in 1947 from Great Britain and have fought four wars over the Kashmir region.

With regard to nuclear policy, India initially declared a No First Use policy, vowing to never use nuclear weapons first in a conflict. However, in 2019 India signaled it was reconsidering this policy.

Unlike India, Pakistan has never declared a No First Use policy and has proceeded to emphasize smaller battlefield or “tactical” nuclear weapons as a counter to India’s larger and superior conventional forces.

Even a small nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan could kill 20 million people in a week.

If a nuclear winter is triggered, nearly 2 billion people in the developing world would be at risk of death by starvation.

India and Pakistan are at odds on many fronts but certainly exacerbated by religious differences, in each case supported by large political majorities, and ultra-national sub-groups, which morph into exclusionary national identity.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been actively persuading India’s 80% Hindu population that they are under threat—and will only prosper if they support the ideology of Hindutva or Hindu nationalism.

Recent public comments on air by a high-level BJP official disparaging the Prophet Muhammad have exploded across the Moslem world. Despite efforts to distance itself, the actions taken may not be enough to quell what is a diplomatic crisis for India’s relations with countries in the Middle East and elsewhere.

For its external big power support, recently India has moved its alliances more to the United States, and away from Russia, its past primary military hardware supplier.

Pakistan, on the other hand, is officially the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the second-largest primarily Sunni Muslim population in the world. A new Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif was elected in April 2022 and in his first address said, “he will expedite the multibillion-dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and rebuild broken ties with partners and allies.”

Pakistan’s ties to China go back to the time China chose sides in the 2019 India-Pakistan dispute when India revoked Kashmir’s autonomy in August 2019 and sought to incorporate parts of “Xinjiang and Tibet into its Ladakh union territory,” which China considered violating its own dominion of Tibet.

Mass disenfranchisement of Kashmiri Muslims, deteriorating security, economic backsliding, and a contentious political agenda are causing ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan, building on historical friction in the region.

On its parallel track, Pakistan strengthened its relations with Russia, which has continued despite international condemnation of its invasion of Ukraine. An alliance with Russia had been agreed to by former governments, and now goes forward with the Pakistan Stream Gas Project, also known as the North-South gas pipeline, a multi-billion effort to be built with Russian financing and in collaboration with their companies.

In short, territorial, and ethnic tensions remain high, the two countries have chosen different global “sugar daddies,” with both having significant nuclear arsenals.

Not a promising picture for peace.

Two other factors adding to nuclear risks: climate change and pandemics
India and Pakistan are located in a part of the world that is particularly exposed to the threats of climate change and given huge populations and poor health systems are vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases.

Riaz Haq said...

Spotlight on Two Nuclear Powers: India and Pakistan
Factors increasing both countries’ confrontational risks include the war in Ukraine, rivalries with China and Russia, climate change and pandemics


Two other factors adding to nuclear risks: climate change and pandemics
India and Pakistan are located in a part of the world that is particularly exposed to the threats of climate change and given huge populations and poor health systems are vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases.

Here is what you can expect in terms of impacts on both countries.

South Asia Feels the Heat: On most climate maps, this is the hottest region on the planet. Scorching temperatures were already reached in March 2022 at degrees not usually happening until June.

This current heat wave in India and Pakistan is not a lone event; on the contrary, with the acceleration of global warming, it is estimated to be 30 times more likely than compared to preindustrial times. And it has led to a deep reduction in agricultural output, as wheat crops withered, and mango crops were lost, exacerbating food insecurity, and threatening Indians and Pakistanis with limited income.

Those at or near the poverty levels have limited alternatives to cooling themselves, with millions of villages without any access to basic electricity, and for those living in urban slums, many are too poor to afford it even if it were available.

Roop Singh, a climate risk adviser with the International Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Center, makes the point that with more middle-income households having air conditioning, this means widespread power outages in part because the need for more cooling strains the electrical grids, and in part because of a coal shortage in India. “This is particularly impactful for people who might have access to a fan or to a cooler but might not be able to run it because they can’t afford a generator,” she said.

Medical and climate scientists have determined there is a “hard limit” when human tolerance is breached, the ‘wet-bulb’ temperature beyond which the human body is no longer viable. The wet-bulb temperature reflects not only heat but also how much water (humidity) is in the air.

“If the wet-bulb temperature reading is higher than our body temperature, that means that we cannot cool ourselves to a temperature tolerable for humans by evaporating sweat and that basically means you can’t survive,” said Tapio Schneider, a California Institute of Technology climate scientist and professor.

A recent Science Advances study found that some places have already experienced conditions too hot and humid for human survival, including Pakistan where there has been a wet-bulb temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit. “That kind of temperature would make it impossible to sweat enough to avoid overheating, organ failure and eventual death.”

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, should global emissions continue as they are, places in India and Pakistan will approach these limits in this century.

Even before reaching “hard limits” at “adaptation levels”, the impact of unbelievably high heat levels is increasingly threatening living conditions throughout South Asia.

Recalling the lessons in Gunnar Myrdal’s historical work “Asian Drama”, when large numbers of people and communities are incapable of dealing with daily life and it becomes intolerable and without hope, the inevitable consequence is that social peace disintegrates.

Riaz Haq said...

Spotlight on Two Nuclear Powers: India and Pakistan
Factors increasing both countries’ confrontational risks include the war in Ukraine, rivalries with China and Russia, climate change and pandemics


Recalling the lessons in Gunnar Myrdal’s historical work “Asian Drama”, when large numbers of people and communities are incapable of dealing with daily life and it becomes intolerable and without hope, the inevitable consequence is that social peace disintegrates.

This translates into civil disorder and widespread popular anger directed at their leaders. And often when leaders are not able or unwilling to provide meaningful assistance, they evoke external threats (real or imagined) and blame outsiders as a way to both distract and unite their subjects.

When disastrous living conditions occur in both urban and rural areas, political leaders in weak governments look to external escapism politics, a scenario with a high realism index in today’s South-Asian sub-continent. And with an obvious fallout on Pakistan’s and India’s nuclear policies.

The COVID Factor: The current pandemic has affected virtually every aspect of human activity, including international efforts in nuclear arms control and disarmament, and the work of the 1968 Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Non-Proliferation Treaty, NPT).

In South Asia, there was no official ongoing India–Pakistan, China–India, or China–Pakistan nuclear dialogue prior to Covid. The pandemic effectively stopped all in-person, non-official contacts which might have led to such engagement.

The pandemic and its accompanying worldwide panic shed light on why it is a mistake for governments to expend huge sums on building nuclear arsenals and war-fighting capabilities at the expense of basic economic and social needs.

The prospect of new variants of Covid-19, such as Omicron, and/or another potential readily transmissible virus underscores the fact that these can be very costly and destabilizing events, epidemics, and pandemics that undermine stability and even nations’ survival.

Covid infections in India– at least during the first two years– went massively unreported both in terms of morbidity and mortality. In Pakistan, both numbers were and have been considerably lower than its neighbor, but massive underreporting is likely there as well.

According to recent data, these figures in both countries have declined. As of April 2022 reported cases in Pakistan were down while in India, by the end of May 2022, an average of 2,574 cases per day were reported, with deaths having decreased by 11 percent.

The reported drop in COVID-19 infection rates at present has meant less attention in the public space in both countries—at least for the moment.

Again, there is no assurance that new variants and a wave of infections will not happen, which could cumulatively add to inter-country political tensions, especially if there are accusations that new infections came from across the border.

It all adds up to a worrying picture
Overwhelming heat currently affecting South Asia means that tens of millions are living with very harmful dehydration, exhaustion, food insecurity, and the possibility of added infectious disease from the ongoing Covid pandemic.

Such conditions potentially pose a level of political unrest which very well may influence the political class of these two nuclear countries.

With fanatic groups on both sides of their borders looking for ways to undermine stability, it will not take much for either India or Pakistan leaders to feel pressed to react, then counter-react, each step bringing them to the brink of choosing nuclear.

Let us hope such a tipping point is never reached, that both cooler weather and heads prevail.

samir sardana said...

Muslims miss the Big Picture of Blasphemy in Islam

The Net and You Tube is littered with devastatingly blasphemous content on Islam and Jesus and other religions

No one blasphemes Moses or Maimonedes or Judaisam

Y ?

As all the content targets only the Non-Jewish faiths

Y ?

Coz it is all operated by the Israelis and Western INT,like a hive attracting and targetting bees,and then navigating and directing hate,all over the world - with devastating efficiency.

The blasphemy of the Prophet (PNUH) is not to target the Prophet.The Bible and Talmud is replete with tales of the peccadillos of Solomon and David.Solomon had several wives at the same time and also those wives were pagan and he also made pagan temples (as per he Old Testament)

THE REAL TARGET of the Blasphemy is Aisha

People say Y ?

The target is the Hadeeths.Aisha is the narrator of 2210 hadeeths ! By Targetting her,the Israelis target the Hadeeths,and then the Hadeeths where Aisha is 1 of the isnād.That takes out more than half of the authentic hadeeths

The Hadeeths make the Quran a living document for sentients and the need for Islamic theology to keep evolving

Once that is done,it is easy for Israel to target the Quran - as it is the Oral law as revealed to Adam and Moses,which was AGAIN REVEALED to the Prophet,as the said law was distorted in the Talmud and Torah

So,it is easy for the Israelis to contend that

Quran is refined repetition of the Oral law
That Oral law was revealed DIRECTLY TO MOSES,w/o an intermediary (unlike the Prophet)
That the Oral law was 1st revealed to the Jews and ONLY FOR THE JEWS, and so they are the chosen ones

There is "NO HADEETH" in Judaism and Christianity ! In 1 way,the Hadeeths PROVE THE HISTORICAL EXISTENCE of the Prophet,and his companions - which does NOT EXIST for Jesus and Moses or EVEN SOLOMON AND DAVID (there are only tales and fables)


Riaz Haq said...

#China taking hardline along border with #India: #US Defence Secretary.“I am especially thinking of India, the world’s largest democracy. We believe that its growing #military capability and technological prowess can be a stabilizing force in the region.” https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/china-hardening-its-position-along-boundary-with-india-us-defence-secretary-403106#.YqVP-lc_urI.twitter

New Delhi, June 11

US Secretary of Defence Lloyd J Austin on Saturday said, “Beijing continues to harden its position along the border that it shares with India.”

Austin was speaking on Day two of the three-day Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fanghe is scheduled to speak tomorrow at the same dialogue.

This is the second such observation about the LAC by a senior US official within this week. Earlier on June 8, US Army’s Pacific Commanding General Charles A Flynn, on a visit to India, said infrastructure being created by China near its border with India in Ladakh was “alarming”, calling the Chinese activity in that region as “eye-opening”.

Today in Singapore, Austin speaking on expanding territorial claims of China, said, “It’s important as the PRC (Peoples Republic of China) adopts a more coercive and aggressive approach to its territorial claims.”

In the East China Sea, the China’s expanding fishing fleet is sparking tension with its neighbours. In the South China Sea, the PRC is using outposts on manmade islands bristling with advanced weaponry to advance its illegal maritime claims, Austin said, adding, “We’re seeing PRC vessels plunder the region’s provisions, operating illegally within the territorial waters of other Indo-Pacific countries.”

Riaz Haq said...

Is #India Really a #Democracy? #Modi's #Hindutva has left millions of #Indian citizens fearing what may happen to them as they see what is being done to their kind. #Muslims are being targeted. #Islamophobia_in_india #Fascism #HindutvaTerror #demolitions https://thewire.in/rights/nayantara-sahgal-india-democracy-rights-freedom

Songs have a way of staying in the mind. Songs stay ready to be remembered, and never more powerfully than when their words bring to mind the times we are living in. One such song is Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’:

‘How many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry;
how many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died;
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, the answer is blowin’ in the wind. . .’

Why do these words remind me of India today? Is it because I am standing on the same soil, but around me is an unfamiliar country? I keep hearing that India is a democracy but in a democracy, it is criminals who are in jail – not citizens who have committed no crime but to disagree with the ruling power. In what number these have been incarcerated we don’t know. So can we call India a democracy?

The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind.

Recently I heard that the government wants a strong opposition. But when members of the opposition such as the Elgar Parishad prisoners, to name one case, are in jail for criticising some official measure or not falling in line with the ruling ideology, is this the way that a democracy treats dissent?

In all the decades since independence in 1947, there have been robust fights between opposition and government over every conceivable issue, inside and outside parliament. No one was sent to jail for loud and clear denouncements of some government action or government policy. India’s vigorously functioning democracy was admired the world over as an example to other Asian countries. Why is this example not being followed in present-day India itself?

We need to face the terrible truth that though prisoners in a democratic country have rights, these have not been observed here under governments past and present. It is a matter of shame that prisoners in Indian jails are routinely tortured to extract confessions, and selected political prisoners have been singled out for vicious treatment including denial of bail even when bail was desperately needed for medical or family reasons. Some have died of their treatment in jail. One well-known victim was the Catholic priest Father Stan Swamy who was eventually released only to die on his release. How many unknown political prisoners may have suffered a like fate we do not know. Does this sound as if the government wants a strong opposition?

The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind.

Riaz Haq said...

WaPo Editorial: The #US must oppose #India’s rising #Islamophobia. #HateCrimes against Indian #Muslims and other religious minorities number in the hundreds each year, as local and state #BJP officials engage in #hatespeech themselves. #Hindutva #Modi https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/06/14/us-must-oppose-indias-rising-islamophobia/?tid=ss_tw

India’s relations with majority-Muslim countries have been strained this month after two officials in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made demeaning comments about the prophet Muhammad. Stores in countries such as Kuwait pulled Indian products off their shelves, and protesters continue to call for boycotts of Indian-made goods; more than a dozen governments in majority-Muslim countries and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation condemned the comments. Good. Religious intolerance under Mr. Modi has gone unchallenged long enough.

The backlash produced some modest results. In response, the BJP suspended spokeswoman Nupur Sharma and expelled spokesman Naveen Jindal. The ruling party also issued a statement June 5 denouncing the “insult of any religious personalities of any religion,” stating that the BJP opposes “any ideology which insults or demeans any sect or religion,” as the party “respects all religions.”

This is not how Mr. Modi or the BJP has governed. India, founded as a secular nation despite its 79 percent Hindu majority and 15 percent Muslim minority, has slid toward Hindu nationalism under BJP rule. Bulldozers have razed houses in majority-Muslim neighborhoods under dubious pretenses, with local officials even boasting of the demolitions. The BJP-run state government of Karnataka banned hijabs in schools, a motion the state court upheld in March. Hate crimes against Indian Muslims and other religious minorities number in the hundreds each year, as local and state BJP officials engage in hate speech themselves. Amid all this, Mr. Modi and the national BJP have been quiet — until now.

Given this history, it seems unlikely the BJP’s nice-sounding statements reflect a sudden concern for religious tolerance. Indeed, two people were killed and dozens more injured as police charged a crowd of protesters last Friday.

That India’s ruling party did anything to condemn religious intolerance probably reflects concern about alienating Middle Eastern states, on which India depends heavily for natural gas, economic cooperation, infrastructure projects, counterterrorism and intelligence. Millions of Indians work and live in the Persian Gulf region, sending home remittances. Mr. Modi wants to make India a leader on the global stage; the recent backlash shows that he and his party might respond when other countries object to rife anti-Muslim sentiment in India, tolerated or encouraged by his party.

The United States should increase the pressure. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in April that the Biden administration is monitoring human rights abuses in India; this month, he named India as a country with deteriorating religious freedoms. But the White House has been silent as this most recent controversy has unfolded. India could be a pluralistic democracy or a country defined by a dark, intolerant nationalism. The United States should work actively in favor of the former.

Riaz Haq said...

As Prophet, BJP & ‘Fringe’ Battle Rages in India, Diaspora in US Grows Divided
It’s obvious that the BJP’s domestic agenda is impacting India’s foreign policy goals and outreach.


BJP's Free Agents of Chaos and Violence
Governing India requires an exquisite balancing act at the best of times, and these are the toughest of times where support from, solidarity and “sambandh” (relationship) with international partners are of paramount importance. Editorial writers have suggested that cold calculations, if not good sense, should force the BJP to rethink.

It seems some amount of rethinking is afoot, or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief, Mohan Bhagwat, wouldn’t have advised caution. He recently told supporters that there was no need “to look for a Shivling in every mosque” and create a new dispute every day.

But more such messaging by Modi and other top leaders is needed to prevent further embarrassment. To put the genie back into the bottle will be tough if not impossible, but what about some discipline?
Creating an impenetrable aura around Modi may have worked initially to inspire awe among the untrained and unrestrained supporters. But over time, they have become free agents of chaos and violence. They cross red lines with aplomb without a care in the world, leaving a mess for overworked diplomats to clean up.

Modi and his top advisors may want to conduct a series of “chai pe charcha” with grassroots supporters and second- and third-tier leadership to rein in the ugliness. The current state of affairs is unsustainable. The IT cell has surely monitored and sent the “feedback” on social media in favour of Sharma and Jindal.

Far From 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas'
Western governments understand to some extent that Hinduism is resurgent in India as they watch their own societies struggle with White supremacy, racism and police brutality. They can’t preach beyond a point, except to read out the press release on tolerance. But we should note that a significant percentage of voters in western societies want their governments to treat minorities fairly and humanely.

In India, the dominant narrative seems to be to crush critics, marginalise minorities and use the bulldozer. This is not the “Vishwa Guru” (world leader) template that India can sell to others. Right now, the government is fighting to save the jobs of nearly 9 million Indian citizens working in Gulf countries. They are critical to the Indian economy – they send a hefty $35 billion in remittances. Around 40 million family members back home depend on those workers.

Here’s the thing. The BJP could have actually done “sabka saath, sabka vikas” and included India’s 200 million Muslims in the project of a resurgent India. More than 90% would have joined hands to rebuild, reconstruct and reimagine India. Inclusion doesn’t mean “appeasement,” it means cohesion and strength.
But if the starting point is abuse, insult and violence, it’s natural for Muslims to go into their religious cocoon. After eight years of badgering and demonisation, the Islamist elements are strengthened, Friday prayers have become more politics than worship, and Muslim women are more prone to the Saudi hijab than the good old dupatta.

Can Modi Clear the Toxicity?
The less said about TV anchors who excel in multiplying hate, the better. The liberal media – self-conscious and self-righteous as many of its members have become – would also do well to introspect and figure out new ways to engage and convince rather than preach to the converted with a daily dossier on government failures.

India’s international partners want the country to get its act together and move forward instead of being mired in a million mutinies. If Modi won’t use the bully pulpit and his mandate to clear the national windscreen of toxicity, India could recede into the rear view mirror for others.

Riaz Haq said...

India is miles away but its tyranny is shaking, shaping American politics
American supporters of the BJP and its affiliated ultra right-wing, paramilitary organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh manage to steamroll anyone who calls out India’s abysmal treatment of Muslims, oppressed castes and other minorities.
By Rummana Hussain Jun 18, 2022, 2:00am PDT


Last weekend, a Muslim activist in India was arrested and had his house bulldozed by authorities who suspected him of orchestrating demonstrations that turned violent in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Javed Muhammad, whose daughter Afreen Fatima is also an organizer, wasn’t the only one whose family’s property was destroyed. At least two others protesting Islamophobic remarks made by members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party had their homes razed.

“Bulldozer justice” has recently become commonplace against Muslim activists and business owners in India.

Meanwhile, American supporters of the BJP and its affiliated ultra right-wing, paramilitary organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh verbally steamroll and harass, like a swarm of agitated bees, anyone in the United States who dares to call out India’s abysmal treatment of its religious minorities, oppressed castes and other marginalized groups.

Then they retract their stingers in the presence of politicians and community leaders and lure them into a honey trap, convincing them that any criticism of India is offensive and divisive.

This is exactly how many City Council members were persuaded last year into shooting down a non-binding, bare-bones resolution that simply said discrimination in India is wrong. Chicago leaders shouldn’t weigh in on international matters, some argued. But less than a year later, a resolution supporting the “independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” was passed by the City Council without controversy.

Many South Asians of all faiths, horrified by the bloodshed and bigotry overseas, believe a similar playbook has been pulled out with the recent statements issued in defense of U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., who has upset many of his former supporters for cozying up to Modi and other BJP/RSS leaders.

“The days ... of making threats against non-white people, especially because of the color of their skin, their religious affiliation, or their country of origin must remain behind us,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson tweeted after writer and activist Pieter Friedrich stood outside the congressman’s Schaumburg office on May 21 and said, “Nazis out, Raja must go” and a desi slogan that offended Krishnamoorthi.

Friedrich has been a thorn in Krishnamoorthi’s side since he moved to the western suburbs from California last month to shine a light on the influence of right-wing India in local politics. Friedrich’s style is brash, and his Nazi references can hurt the cause of Muslim rights.

Riaz Haq said...

India is miles away but its tyranny is shaking, shaping American politics
American supporters of the BJP and its affiliated ultra right-wing, paramilitary organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh manage to steamroll anyone who calls out India’s abysmal treatment of Muslims, oppressed castes and other minorities.
By Rummana Hussain Jun 18, 2022, 2:00am PDT


The issue, though, isn’t about him. It’s about the persecution in India that has been swept under the rug by many American leaders because of the handiwork of their BJP/RSS-supporting donors.

Jackson said he took issue with language Friedrich used.

Curiously, Jackson’s four-part tweet echoed the talking points of Indian Americans who fought against the City Council resolution and failed to mention Friedrich has been speaking out against oppression in India.

Krishnamoorthi accused Friedrich of making death threats for chanting “Krishnamoorthi murdabad.”

Murdabad literally translates to “death to” in Hindi and Urdu.

However, when used in political discourse in India and Pakistan, murdabad means “down with,” according to Tyler Williams, an associate professor of South Asian languages and civilizations at the University of Chicago. “It is absolutely not a death threat,” Williams said.

Friedrich maintains he only referenced Hitler’s party because the most influential RSS leader was inspired by Nazi Germany.

Friedrich went on to say the homophobic and anti-abortion remarks Equality Illinois and Secretary of State Jesse White denounced him for in their support of Krishnamoorthi were made when he was a Christian fundamentalist as a teenager. “I own them and bear responsibility but I repudiate these views now,” said Friedrich, 36.

Krishnamoorthi, meanwhile, told me he is “very concerned” about the rhetoric being used against Muslims and other minorities by the BJP/RSS and that he condemns any violence carried out by them.

The congressman did rush out to O’Hare Airport in 2017 to join protesters and immigration lawyers when Donald Trump issued the “Muslim ban.” He also put out statements condemning the derogatory comments made about Prophet Muhammad by leading BJP members and the call for a genocide of Muslims at a conference in India earlier this year. Much appreciated.

But it is hard to ignore Krishnamoorthi’s reported attendance at several events organized by Hindu nationalists, including a 94th birthday commemoration of the RSS, a group Williams described as the Indian equivalent of the Proud Boys.

You can’t stand against someone when you are standing with them.

Krishnamoorthi is on the right side on domestic matters — Black Lives Matter, the environment, etc. — but when it comes to India, he’s “cheerleading for the Modi government” said Nikhil Mandalaparthy, the advocacy director of Hindus for Human Rights.

Krishnamoorthi said he is willing to meet with those worried about the tyrannical hold that has taken over India and conceded, “I need to do more in continuing to speak out.”

We’ll be waiting.

Riaz Haq said...

Pieter Friedrich
Just so we’re clear, #BJP views the new #AgnipathScheme of creating #Agniveers as it’s path to generating India’s Brownshirt movement.


Riaz Haq said...

Sushant Singh

The motivations for bringing in the short-term contractual recruitment of (Indian) soldiers are financial but its consequences will be borne by the military and the society. Agnipath scheme belies any understanding of soldiering as a profession of honour. My piece in today's


Agnipath scheme for recruitment of short-term contracted soldiers was announced. The driving factor for this U turn — from ‘One Rank One Pension’ to ‘No Rank No Pension’ might be economic.

GS-II: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Dimensions of the Article
Financial motivations
Damaging consequences
Political, and social implications
Way Forward
Financial motivations
The OROP demand became tricky to fulfil but it was officially instituted in November 2015 for more than 25 lakh defence pensioners.
It came with an immediate annual financial implication of ₹7,123.38 crore and the actual arrears from July 1, 2014 to December 31, 2015 were ₹10,392.35 crore.
The financial burden increased cumulatively over time and has substantially increased the budgetary expenditure on defence pensions.
In the current financial year, ₹1,19,696 crore has been budgeted for pensions, along with another ₹1,63,453 crore for salaries —that is 54% of the allocation for the Defence Ministry.
It has been argued that the savings in the pensions bill — which will show up on the books only after a couple of decades — would be directed towards the modernisation of defence forces.
The armed forces do not have that kind of time available to them to postpone their already long-delayed modernization.
The Indian Air Force is already down to 30 squadrons of fighter jets against the 42 squadrons it needs, and the Indian Navy is at 130 ships when its vision was to be a 200 ship navy; the Indian Army is already short of 1,00,000 soldiers.
The announcement of the Agniveer scheme is an implicit acknowledgement that the Indian the economy is incapable of supporting the armed forces that India needs.
It faces an active military threat from two adversaries, China and Pakistan, and the internal security challenges in Kashmir and the northeastern States.
Hence we must not resort to shrinking the military and rather must expand the economy to support the military and its needs.
Damaging consequences
The policy has neither been theoretically drafted nor applied as a pilot project which brings uncertainty in its consequences post-implementation.
Delayed consequences might be seen at operational levels of the Military especially the Navy and the Air Force which requires specialization in various areas.
The training infrastructure, administrative working, etc. might be insufficient currently to the handle retention, release and recruitment of huge number of young soldiers.
In the Agnipath pral, the class-based recruitment has been replaced with an all-India all-class recruitment. The reasons for this will strike at the core of the organizational management, leadership structures and operating philosophy of the Indian Army.
Replacing the social identity of the soldiers with a purely professional identity would bring its own challenges in a tradition-bound army.
There will be major problems in training, integrating and deploying soldiers with different levels of experience and motivations.
The criterion of identifying the 25% short-term contracted soldiers to be retained could result in unhealthy competition.

Riaz Haq said...

The motivations for bringing in the short-term contractual recruitment of (Indian) soldiers are financial but its consequences will be borne by the military and the society. Agnipath scheme belies any understanding of soldiering as a profession of honour. My piece in today's


Agnipath scheme for recruitment of short-term contracted soldiers was announced. The driving factor for this U turn — from ‘One Rank One Pension’ to ‘No Rank No Pension’ might be economic.

The criterion of identifying the 25% short-term contracted soldiers to be retained could result in unhealthy competition.
An organisation that depends on trust, camaraderie and esprit de corps could end up grappling with rivalries and jealousies amongst winners and losers, especially in their final year of the contract.
just like the OROP issue, this could become a politically attractive demand for longer tenures and pensions to be picked up by the Opposition parties. Over time, this will lead to the salary and pension budget creeping back up again.
Political, and social implications
The Agnipath scheme also does away with the idea of a State-wise quota for recruitment into the Army, based on the Recruitable Male Population of that State which was implemented from 1966. This prevented an imbalanced army, which was dominated by any one State, linguistic community or ethnicity.
Academic research shows that the high level of ethnic imbalance has been associated with severe problems of democracy and an increased likelihood of civil war.
Coupled with this is the lack of hope in India’s economy, where over 45 crore Indians have stopped looking for jobs, there are
high levels of unemployment and underemployment.
It is to this mix that these few thousand young men who have been trained in inflicting organized violence will be thrown up every year.
From erstwhile Yugoslavia to Rwanda — and closer home, during Partition — there are numerous examples of demobilised soldiers leading to increased violence against minorities.
Way Forward
In India, the Indian Army has so far provided salary, uniform and prestige, an inheritance of the British who took care of the living conditions, facilities for the soldiers’ families, and postretirement benefits and rewards, such as grants of land. A short-term contractual soldier, without earning pension, will be seen as doing jobs after his military service that are not seen to be commensurate in status and prestige with the profession of honour. It will reduce the motivation of those joining on short-term contracts while diminishing the “honour” of a profession which places extraordinary demands on young men. The Government’s yearning for financial savings runs the risk of reducing the honour of a profession, the stability of a society and the safety of a country.

Source – The Hindu

Riaz Haq said...

Arundhati Roy: "The damage to Indian #democracy is not reversible...#India's tragedy is not that it's the worst place in the world -- it's that we are on our way there. We're burning down our house". #Modi #Hindutva #Islamophobia #BJP #hindutvaterrorists https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/22/opinions/bjp-hindu-muslim-democracy-modi-arundhati-roy/index.html

When two spokespeople from India's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made derogatory comments about the Prophet Mohammed last month, it prompted an international firestorm.

The incident led to protests among India's Muslim minority in several states. Some Muslim-majority nations summoned their India ambassadors. India's foreign ministry said the comments did not reflect the views of the government, and the officials involved -- one of whom later withdrew her remarks -- faced disciplinary action.
But for India's 200 million Muslims, these comments were not an isolated incident.
Rather, they were the culmination of the BJP's "engineering hatred of a common enemy," says bestselling Indian author Arundhati Roy.

"India's tragedy is not that it's the worst place in the world -- it's that we are on our way there. We're burning down our house. India is an experiment that is failing dangerously," she told CNN.
"Many, many of my beloved friends -- poets, writers, professors, lawyers, human rights activists and journalists -- are in prison, most of them charged under a dreaded law called the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, all of them for speaking up for minorities, Dalits and forest-dwellers facing displacement and state terror.

"Among them are people I consider to be India's most important minds. It makes one wonder what living as a free person in the time of fascism means. What does it mean to be a bestselling author when the world is breaking?" writes Roy.
In this email interview with CNN Opinion, Roy says Indian politics has something in common with the US Capitol riots, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is stoking hatred, and talks about who the real power in India lies with.
CNN: What does this incident involving BJP officials' comments about the Prophet Mohammed reveal about Indian politics today?
Roy: It reveals how successfully the clear and present existential threat posed by Hindu nationalism in India has been masked by the face it presents to the outside world. You know the people in strange clothes, the man in furs and antlers who stormed the US Capitol? We're being ruled by their equivalent here. The difference is that they are not a collection of random lunatics. They are members of the most powerful organization in India -- the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), whose founding ideologues openly admired Hitler and likened the Muslims of India to the Jews of Germany. RSS is the real power in India.
CNN: What is the connection between the BJP and RSS?
Roy: The ruling party, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), considered to be one of the richest political parties in the world, is only the front office of the RSS. Founded in 1925, the RSS, traditionally controlled by a handful of Brahmins, now has millions of members including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been a member since his teenage years, and most of his cabinet ministers.
It has its own vast militia, its own schools, labor unions and women's organizations. It's not a political party, it's something of a shape-shifter, a master of double-speak, its sources of funding are amorphous and leave no legal trail, it works through an array of affiliates, but it's a nation within a nation.
The RSS believes that India should be declared a Hindu nation, just as Pakistan, Iran and several countries in the Persian Gulf are Islamic nations, just as Israel is legally the "nation-state of the Jewish people."

Riaz Haq said...

‘#Hindutva pop’: The singers producing anti-#Muslim music in #India. “India is for #Hindus, Muslims go to Pakistan.” These lyrics are typical of a growing pop music movement in India: far-right anti-Muslim songs. #Islamophobia_in_india https://aje.io/4dzwak via @AJEnglish

Riaz Haq said...

#US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar introduces House resolution over #India’s human rights record:“Grave concern about the worsening treatment of religious minorities in India”. it calls on @ABlinken to designate India as a “country of particular concern” #Modi https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/us-ilhan-omar-introduces-house-resolution-over-india-s-human-rights-record-101655969877657.html?utm_source=twittertktm

Expressing “grave concern about the worsening treatment of religious minorities in India”, the resolution calls on the Secretary of State to designate India as a “country of particular concern”, a recommendation also made by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The introduction of the resolution does not mean it will be taken up for active consideration, or passed.

Omar, a Somali-American who has in the past taken a critical position against India, visited Pakistan, including Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, in April 2022.

In response, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said, “We have noted that US Representative Ilhan Omar has visited a part of the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir that is currently illegally occupied by Pakistan. If such a politician wishes to practice her narrow-minded politics at home, that may be her business. But violating our territorial integrity and sovereignty in its pursuit makes it ours. This visit is condemnable.”

There are three co-sponsors of the resolution. Among them is Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American Congresswoman from Michigan who, along with Omar, is part of a grouping popularly called ‘the Squad’, a Left-wing cohort within the Democratic Party. Both are the first two Muslim women to be elected to the House.

Another co-sponsor is Jim McGovern, a Congressman from Massachusetts, member of the Democratic progressive caucus in the House, and also the co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan caucus of the House.

The third co-sponsor is Juan Vargas, a Congressman from California who, after college, joined the Jesuits working in El Salvador, served in the California State Senate, and got elected to the House in 2012.

Riaz Haq said...

The World Bank recently cut its FY23 real GDP growth forecast for India to 7.5 per cent from 8 per cent, which is slightly more bullish than the Reserve Bank of India’s forecast of 7.2 per cent. S&P and the IMF have also recently cut their FY23 forecast for India.


Amid these signs of slowing growth, further shocks could be in store. The finance ministry has warned of a twin deficit problem, with higher commodity prices and rising subsidy burden leading to an increase in both the fiscal and current account deficits.

According to the ministry’s latest Monthly Economic Review, an increase in the fiscal deficit might cause the current account deficit to widen and weaken the value of the rupee. This could further aggravate external imbalances, creating the risk, which is admittedly low, at this time, of a cycle of wider deficits and a weaker currency.
But, at the same time, the report also said that even as the world was looking at a distinct possibility of widespread stagflation, India was at low risk due to its stabilisation policies.
Meanwhile, Indian financial markets have witnessed hefty foreign investment outflows the past eight months. A weak GDP growth outlook has exacerbated the situation. However, a paper co-authored by Reserve Bank of India’s deputy governor Michael Debabrata Patra says that there is only a five per cent chance of portfolio outflows of up to 3.2 percent of GDP in a year in response to a Covid-type contraction in growth.
In a black swan event comprising a combination of shocks, there is a 5 percent chance of outflows under portfolio investments of 7.7 per cent of GDP and short-term trade credit retrenchment of 3.9 percent of GDP.
Create the graphic of a torn scrap of paper with the following text in it: “A black swan event could be characterised by a combination of all adverse shocks experienced in Indian history coming together, leading to a perfect storm.”

The warning about a twin deficit begs the question -- Will the government have to prioritise macroeconomic stability over near-term growth going ahead?

Riaz Haq said...

Bulldozer Justice in India: Anti-Muslim Hate Demolished My Home | Time


By Afreen Fatima from India

ver wondered what is it like to be a Muslim in the undeclared Hindu state that is India? To be constantly humiliated, demeaned, and brutalized? To have your soul destroyed by the state? And sometimes, your home, too?

In late May, a national spokeswoman of Modi’s ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad on live TV. Muslims in India, and far beyond, were outraged. Shortly afterward, on June 10, Muslims in some parts of India held protests after Friday prayers. One such protest was held in my city, Prayagraj (erstwhile Allahabad), snowballing into violence. A swift police crackdown followed, leading to arbitrary arrests and detentions of Muslims across the city.

My family found itself at the receiving end of brutal state power with the arbitrary and illegal detention of my father, a community leader and rights activist. Police picked up my mother and sister from our home in the middle of the night without an arrest warrant and made them sit at a police station for more than 35 hours, in violation of all rules of detention.

The city authorities and police then forced the family out of the house—by threatening my mother and sister with torture and formal charges if we didn’t—and slapped a backdated notice on our gate on the night of June 11, claiming the building was an illegal construction and would be demolished the next day. The house was suddenly labelled “illegal” even after we have always paid all relevant taxes and have all our property documents in order. The trigger for this government action was ostensibly a complaint by three “respected people” of the neighborhood, who, incidentally, none of the neighbors can identify.From our faith and history to our eating habits and clothes, the Hindu supremacists ruling India today have spared nothing in their campaign against our community. During the eight years of Narendra Modi’s government, they have taken a sledgehammer to our country’s secular foundations by routinely finding ever newer ways of targeting us. Last month they brought a bulldozer to my home.

Our home thus became part of the now-familiar pattern of what has come to be known as “bulldozer justice” in India. This is how it works: the government links Muslims to grievous “crimes” such as participating in protests, then blames them for violence, and destroy their homes. Earlier this year, during a Hindu festival, sword-wielding Hindu militants marched into Muslim neighborhoods in many cities, sometimes belting out obscenities over loudspeakers in front of mosques during the Ramadan, before launching targeted attacks on Muslim homes and businesses. Then too, police blamed Muslims for the unrest, arrested hundreds of innocent Muslims, including minors, and razed their houses with bulldozers. There’s, of course, no legal provision for such demolition of private property, even if individuals are indeed found to have been involved in violent acts. But it doesn’t matter; the whole idea is to demonstrate that Muslims have no legal protection in a Hindu state. We are not equal citizens.

Riaz Haq said...

Bulldozer Justice in India: Anti-Muslim Hate Demolished My Home | Time


My father has been in jail—and on TV—ever since our own home was demolished. Our faces plastered on prime-time debates, anchors have been spinning stories about our life and activism, peddling conspiracy theories, calling us “anti-nationals” and “jihadis”. I have been receiving death and rape threats. Now that everybody knows what I look like, I’m afraid of stepping out in public. I live like a prisoner.

There’s no arrest warrant against me; there’s no need for those things anymore. Most of my fellow Muslim student activists who are in jail were arrested without any due procedure or paperwork. Sometimes when they go missing, their parents don’t even know whether they have been arrested or kidnapped by Hindu extremists—the line between the two is blurring quickly, anyway. I have imprisoned myself because as a young Muslim woman in India—where ultra-right Hindus auction us online—I have to ensure my own and my family’s safety, online and offline, mental and physical. This is what freedom for me looks like in the “world’s largest democracy”. And, I am forced to live like this for no apparent reason other than being a Muslim. Worse, an outspoken Muslim.

India’s descent into lawlessness
How did India get here? How did I? How did my family find itself in the vortex of India’s rapid descent into this lawless pit of majoritarianism?

I had a fairly middle-class upbringing. My father, my Abbu, was a businessman and an activist. Despite their limited budget, Abbu and Ammi, my mother, sent me and my four siblings to the best school in the city and raised us as fiercely independent, god-fearing, socially responsible and civic-minded citizens. They shouldn’t have. Those are not the qualities Hindu supremacists appreciate in a people who they believe are not worthy of the equal citizenship guaranteed by our inclusive constitution. We are not meant to assert our religious identity. We are called “radical”, or “jihadi”, if we do. We are not meant to be seen or heard, because for them, our very existence is a crime.

In 2017, when I was studying at the Aligarh Muslim University, Ajay Singh Bisht became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, the northern Indian state I belong to. It is India’s biggest and the most politically important state, with a population of nearly 245 million—more than Brazil’s—with Muslims accounting for a fifth of it. A monastic head who represents the more radical wing of Hindu supremacism, Bisht (commonly known by his monastic name of Yogi Adityanath) is notorious for his hate speech and policies against Muslims

As Bisht rose to power, my life was about to change. The social climate in the state began to worsen as extremist Hindu politics picked up pace. Marginalized in politics, Muslims began to be obliterated culturally. Muslim-sounding place names began to be changed. The name of my city was changed from the Mughal-era Allahabad to Prayagraj.

I became more conscious about the existential threat our community now faced and wanted to stand up to this injustice. I contested the students’ union election and was elected president, using the platform to speak out against Bisht’s hate-mongering and the rising threat to Muslims all over India. The ugly right-wing retaliation I faced only made me more determined to push back. As a student leader, I was called a “free-thinking”, “modern” Muslim woman taking on patriarchy. But everyone chose to ignore the identity I was really trying to assert the most: that of an Indian Muslim. I started wearing the hijab to assert my presence as a Muslim woman in spaces where I felt unwelcome or that stereotyped everything I represented.

Riaz Haq said...

Bulldozer Justice in India: Anti-Muslim Hate Demolished My Home | Time


My activism led me headlong into the nationwide protests that broke out in 2019 against a new citizenship law that discriminates against Muslims. Like many Muslim student leaders, I faced a media trial from the shamelessly biased television channels that are the prime vectors of hate in India. They misrepresented my speeches and branded me a secessionist.

Many of my friends were arrested and Muslims were killed in orchestrated and state-sponsored pogroms in the national capital to stop the protests. In responding with violence to a non-violent civil rights protest by Muslims, the state had a clear message for us: even a mere exercise of constitutional rights is overstepping our boundaries; Muslims have no rights.

As the pandemic hit, the protests were called off. Our (now-demolished) home became a food distribution center, where we handed out monthly rations to people who would have otherwise starved during the Covid lockdown in 2020. Those in the business of distributing hate were equally hard at work: now blaming Muslims for the spread of the virus in India. The government made the community a scapegoat to escape accountability, because hate against us trumps all rationality.

And so, it has been: every passing week a new frontier of attack on Muslims, a new trick in the Hindu supremacist playbook, new outrage, new fears. Ramadan this year thus felt like a blissfully familiar break from the toxicity slowly consuming the community, but it was too good to last. The violent Hindu processions started, leading to more violence, crackdowns and arbitrary demolitions of Muslim homes and establishments. Sometimes Abbu had trouble sleeping, feeling helpless against the rising tide of hate. He continued to fight back in the way he knows best—filing petitions and complaints with the judiciary and police.

Following the ugly comments on the Prophet Muhammad by BJP spokespersons, he appealed on Facebook to constructively channel the anger and pray for the community. Protests ensued anyway after the Friday prayers on June 10. More crackdowns. More demolitions. Only, this time “bulldozer justice” literally came home to us. They destroyed our home and telecast it live. Media allies of the ruling BJP gloated at this latest show of collective punishment for Muslims.

Days have passed by in a blur since – not knowing what’s happening to Abbu in police custody, preparing for the legal battle facing us despite knowing how compromised the state institutions are, and not knowing if I’ll ever have a good night’s sleep again. It has been punishing. This state of being—of having to prove innocence, of anxiety, of vulnerability, of pain—itself is the punishment. For being a Muslim in Modi’s India. Does the world know how we live? Does it care?

Riaz Haq said...

#Muslims Have Become A Persecuted Minority In #India, warn 3 renowned international law experts, including Sonja Biserko, Marzuki Darusman and Stephen Rapp. Report launched on serious #humanrights violations against Muslims in India since 2019.via @forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewelinaochab/2022/07/16/muslims-have-become-a-persecuted-minority-in-india-experts-warn/

The Panel found that the following incidents may amount to crimes against humanity, as defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: “the crack-down on protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (December 2019 – June 2020) in Uttar Pradesh” and “the repressive actions by the government against human rights defenders, journalists and activists in Jammu and Kashmir following the change of its special autonomous status in August 2019.”

The Panel stated that the killings and torture of civilians in the ongoing non-international armed conflict in Jammu and Kashmir may amount to war crimes.

Lastly, the Panel identified that a number of public speeches made by prominent political or religious leaders in Delhi, Chattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh between December 2019 and April 2022, calling on their audience to kill Muslims or rape Muslim women and girls, may amount to direct and public incitement to commit genocide. According to the Panel, “some leaders [made] clear references to eradication or elimination or destruction of the religious community from the nation.” The Panel emphasized that such statements warrant further investigation by an independent body. Furthermore, urgent action is required to prevent repetition of such incidents.


End of June 2022, a Panel of Independent International Experts (the Panel), consisting of three renowned international law experts, including Sonja Biserko, Marzuki Darusman and Stephen Rapp, launched their report on serious human rights violations against Muslims in India since 2019. The Panel found that there is credible evidence to suggest that a wide range of international human rights of Muslim communities have been violated by the authorities in India. According to the evidence reviewed, federal and state-level authorities “adopted a wide range of laws, policies and conduct that target Muslims directly or affect them disproportionately.” In relation to violations perpetrated by non-state actors, the State failed to take the necessary measures to prevent the acts, effectively investigate and prosecute them. The Panel further found that some of the violations may amount to crimes against humanity, war crimes and incitement to commit genocide.

The Panel was established to review available evidence and determine whether there was sufficient credible information to require an independent international investigation into the situation of Muslims in India. The Panel reviewed reputable sources for information, including reports of independent media, civil society organizations and academic institutions.

Prophet Remarks Row: DU Students, MSF Members Protest Against BJP Leaders Nupur Sharma And Naveen Jindal

The Panel found credible evidence to suggest that several human rights are being perpetrated against Muslims throughout India, and especially in Assam, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh, including “arbitrary deprivation of life, arbitrary detentions, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, gender-based violence and discrimination, incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, discrimination in laws and policies, including to nationality and representation, violations of freedom of religion or belief, violation of freedom of expression, association, assembly, violations of right to fair trial, and violation of economic, social and cultural rights.

Riaz Haq said...

The rise and rise of anti-#Muslim #hate music in #India. The lyrics are abusive or threatening. They are usually based on the premise that #Hindus have suffered for centuries at the hands of Muslims - & now it's payback time. #Modi #Hindutva #Islamophobia https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-62432309

Sandeep Chaturvedi, 26, is readying to record his new song in a makeshift studio in the city of Ayodhya in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

The song is about a mosque that has became a subject of controversy after Hindus claimed the right to worship there. It is riddled with innuendos against Muslims. But Chaturvedi says the song could get him back in business.

Chaturvedi's songs are part of a growing trend of music on YouTube and other social media platforms where supporters of the Hindu right-wing spew venom at Muslims.

Why people get away with hate speech in India
The lyrics are abusive or threatening. They are usually based on the premise that Hindus have suffered for centuries at the hands of Muslims - and now it's payback time.

Writer and political analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay says that in addition to being a source of income, such music fetches their singers some attention. But for him, this is not music. "This is a war-cry. It's as if music is being used to win a war. This is a misuse of music and this has been happening for years."


Rana says that he gets a steady income from the videos he uploads on YouTube.

"We are bringing foreign currency to India. YouTube pays in dollars," he beams, pointing to wall-mounted YouTube Silver Play Button that shares space with images and portraits of Hindu warriors.

Ever since Rana moved on from composing devotional and romantic songs to ones with "historical" overtones, he has become a kind of star in Dadri. He has close to 400,000 subscribers on YouTube and many of his songs have been viewed millions of times.

Rana says that creating a music video costs him a mere 8,000 rupees (£84; $100). He has his own set-up to record and edit videos and a team comprising a cameraperson and an editor.

The young Indians spreading hate online
Mr Mukhopadhyay says the trend of weaponising music against minorities is reminiscent of events that have occurred in the past. He recalls the controversial foundation stone-laying programme in Ayodhya in 1989 organised by the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) which culminated in the demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992.

"Just before that, an industry of audio tapes had sprung up. They contained religious songs and so-called provocative slogans related to the Ram Janmabhoomi issue [Hindus believe that Ayodhya is Lord Ram's birthplace] and these tapes used to be played in processions to mobilise people."

Three decades on, the tone has become shriller.

Compositions proclaiming "if you want to live in India, learn to say Vande Mataram ("I praise you, Mother")… and learn to live within your limits", or "thinking of Hindus as weak is the enemy's mistake" make no effort to hide who they are targeting.

These songs have also helped right-wing organisations "mobilise" their cadres.

Riaz Haq said...

#Meta execs told #HumanRights groups they wouldn’t release full #India #HateSpeech study for their own security. An earlier 2020 study concluded that #Hindutva groups support violence against #Muslims, #minorities & should be banned from #Facebook https://www.wsj.com/articles/meta-officials-cite-security-concerns-for-failing-to-release-details-of-india-hate-speech-study-11664370857?st=h010tutay1jsf5g via @WSJ

Executives at Meta Platforms Inc. META 5.36%▲ privately told rights groups that security concerns prevented them from releasing details of its investigation into hate speech on its services in India, according to audio recordings heard by The Wall Street Journal.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, in July released a four-page summary of a human-rights impact assessment on India, its biggest market by users, where it has faced accusations of failing to adequately police hate speech against religious minorities. The India summary was part of the company’s first global human-rights report. The 83-page global report offers detailed findings of some previous investigations; it included only general descriptions of its India assessment, which disappointed some rights advocates.

“This is not the report that the human-rights team at Meta wanted to publish, we wanted to be able to publish more,” Iain Levine, a Meta senior human-rights adviser, said during private online briefings with rights groups in late July after the summary was released, according to the recordings.

“A decision was made at the highest levels of the company based upon both internal and external advice that it was not possible to do so for security reasons,” he said.

The company said at the time of the report’s release that it wouldn’t publish the full India assessment. It also said United Nations guidelines for companies reporting on human-rights issues caution against releasing details that could imperil stakeholders, a term that generally refers to people such as staff and external researchers involved in the reporting process.

Representatives from the rights groups contended in their meeting with Meta executives that the company wasn’t being transparent in its human-rights efforts, that it appeared not to take the undertaking seriously and that the groups had participated in good faith only to see Meta bury the findings, according to the recordings.

The fact that Meta isn’t releasing the full assessment is “a slap in my face and my people’s face who have endured so much hate speech on this platform,” said a person in the briefing who identified herself as an Indian Muslim researcher, according to the recordings. “We want a release of this report—now,” she said.

Mr. Levine and Miranda Sissons, Meta’s human-rights director, said they understood those complaints and wished they had been able to release more details, according to the recordings.

The executives said during the briefings that the effort represented an important first step in Meta addressing human-rights concerns. They said the summary was written after consulting the guidance on human-rights impact assessments for digital companies from the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

“This is the beginning of a reporting process where I think no activist, no human-rights defender of any kind would ever think that any of the work any company, or probably any entity, that is done is good enough and this team would agree,” Ms. Sissons said in one briefing, the recordings show.

Mr. Levine, who worked for more than three decades for global human-rights groups before joining Meta in 2020, told attendees of the briefings that 120 people at Meta reviewed the report, and that it was approved by president of global affairs Nick Clegg and chief legal officer Jennifer Newstead.

Riaz Haq said...

In the U.S. and Western Europe, people say they accept Muslims, but opinions are divided on Islam


The vast majority of people across 15 countries in Western Europe and in the United States say they would be willing to accept Muslims as neighbors. Slightly lower shares on both sides of the Atlantic say they would be willing to accept a Muslim as a family member.

At the same time, there is no consensus on whether Islam fits into these societies. Across Western Europe, people are split on Islam’s compatibility with their country’s culture and values, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey. And in the U.S., public opinion remains about evenly divided on whether Islam is part of mainstream American society and if Islam is compatible with democracy, according to a 2017 poll.

The vast majority of non-Muslim Americans (89%) say they would be willing to accept Muslims as neighbors, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The same survey finds that most people (79%) say they would be willing to accept Muslims as members of their family.

In Western Europe, most people also say they would be willing to accept Muslim neighbors. However, Europeans are less likely than Americans to say they would be willing to accept Muslims as family members. While about two-thirds of non-Muslim French people (66%) say they would accept a Muslim in their family, just over half of British (53%), Austrian (54%) and German (55%) adults say this. Italians are the least likely in Europe to say they would be willing to accept a Muslim family member (43%).

Surveys in both the U.S. and Western Europe were conducted on the telephone, and due to the tendency of some respondents to give socially acceptable responses, may overstate the share of people willing to accept others (also known as social desirability bias).

In both the U.S. and Europe, the surveys find higher acceptance of Muslims among those with more education. In the U.S., for example, 86% of adults with a college degree would be willing to accept a Muslim into their family; among Americans without a college degree, this share falls to 75%. Similarly, in Germany, a majority of those with a college education (67%) say they would be willing to accept a Muslim in their family, compared with roughly half (52%) among those without one. The same pattern is present in other countries, such as the UK (71% vs. 44%) and Austria (67% vs. 51%).

On both sides of the Atlantic, attitudes toward Muslims are tied to politics, even after taking education, age and other demographic factors into account. In Western Europe, those who lean toward the right of the European political spectrum have less accepting views than those who lean toward the left. Likewise, in the U.S., those who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party are more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to say they would be willing to accept a Muslim family member (88% vs. 67%). Still, majorities among both Democrats and Republicans say they would be willing to accept Muslims in their lives. Additional analysis of how other demographic factors (such as religion) are correlated with these kinds of attitudes in Europe can be found here.

Riaz Haq said...

The Guardian view on Modi’s India: the danger of exporting Hindu chauvinism
New Delhi’s foreign policy won’t be insulated from its domestic politics, which demonise India’s 200 million Muslims


While a rising power, India’s ascent depends on building bridges with others. The Middle East is a key energy supplier and regional trade partner that supports 9 million Indian workers. India’s security depends on Arab states sustaining a hostile environment for terrorism. So when BJP functionaries made derogatory remarks about the prophet Muhammad this summer, Gulf states lodged formal protests with New Delhi. Chastened, the Modi government was spurred into action – suspending one party official and expelling another, as well as saying it accords “the highest respect to all religions”.

Bland assurances may not be enough. The intimidation of India’s 200 million Muslims is hiding in plain sight. State elections in Gujarat begin on Thursday, weeks after BJP ministers approved the premature release of 11 men convicted of rape and murder of Muslim women and children during the riots. On the campaign trail last Friday, India’s home minister claimed troublemakers had been “taught a lesson” in 2002. This sounded like a signal to Hindu mobs that they could do as they pleased.

Worryingly, there are signs that the communal clashes seen in India are being copied elsewhere. In Leicester, many south Asian Muslims – like the city’s Hindus – have Indian roots. Yet when violence erupted between these communities this September, escalating into attacks on mosques and temples, the Indian high commission in London condemned the “violence perpetrated against the Indian community in Leicester and vandalisation of premises and symbols of [the] Hindu religion”. Pointedly, there was no condemnation of Hindus’ violence against Muslims. Once careful to proclaim its secularism, India’s government appears content to export its Hindu chauvinism. That should trouble everyone.

Riaz Haq said...

Indians Are Leaving India in Droves, Most Going to Muslim Nations. Exodus Speeds Up Under Modi's Rule


India had the largest diaspora population in the world with 18 million people from the country living outside their homeland in 2020, according to a report by the United Nations.

According to the 'International Migration 2020 Highlights', by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the UAE, the US and Saudi Arabia host the largest number of migrants from India.

In 2020, 18 million persons from India were living outside their country of birth. Other countries with a large diaspora population included Mexico and Russia (11 million each), China (10 million) and Syria (8 million).

India's large diaspora is distributed across the United Arab Emirates (3.5 million), the United States of America (2.7 million) and Saudi Arabia (2.5 million). Other countries hosting large numbers of Indian migrants included Australia, Canada, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar and the United Kingdom, the report said.

Renouncing citizenships
More than 1.6 million Indians have renounced their citizenship since 2011, including 1,83,741 in 2022, according to government data.

The United States remains the main draw for Indians moving abroad and gaining citizenship in other countries.

As many as 1,63,370 Indians renounced their citizenship to become citizens of other countries in 2021, according to latest government data.

Riaz Haq said...

Between 2000 and 2020, the number of migrants grew in 179 countries or areas. Germany, Spain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America gained the largest number of migrants during that period. By contrast, in 53 countries or areas, the number of international migrants declined between 2000 and 2020. Armenia, India, Pakistan, Ukraine and the United Republic of Tanzania were among the countries that experienced the most pronounced declines. In many cases, the declines resulted from the old age of the migrant populations or the return of refugees and asylum seekers to their countries of origin.


In 2020, Turkey hosted the largest number of refugees and asylum seekers worldwide (nearly 4 million), followed by Jordan (3 million), the State of Palestine (2 million) and Colombia (1.8 million).3 Other major destinations of refugees, asylum seekers or other persons displaced abroad were Germany, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sudan, Uganda and the United States of America.

In terms of regional migration corridors, Europe to Europe was the largest globally, with 44 million migrants in 2020, followed by the corridor Latin America and the Caribbean to Northern America, with nearly 26 million (figure 14). Between 2000 and 2020, some regional migration corridors grew very rapidly. The corridor Central and Southern Asia to Northern Africa and Western Asia grew the most, with 13 million migrants added between 2000 and 2020; more than tripling in size. The majority of that increase resulted from labour migration from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka to the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) (Valenta, 2020). While it is too soon to understand the full extent, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 may have slowed the growth of this regional migration corridor. In many of the GCC countries, tens of thousands of migrant workers in the construction, hospitality, retail and transportation sectors lost their jobs due to the pandemic and were required to return home (UN-Habitat, 2020).

India’s diaspora, the largest in the world, is distributed across a number of major countries of destination, with the United Arab Emirates (3.5 million), the United States of America (2.7 million) and Saudi Arabia (2.5 million) hosting the largest numbers of migrants from India. Other countries hosting large numbers of migrants from India included Australia, Canada, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. China and the Russian Federation also have spatially diffused diasporas. In 2020, large numbers of migrants born in China were living in Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and the United States of America. Migrants from the Russian Federation were residing in several countries of destination, many of which are member states of the CISFTA, including Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, as well as Germany and the United States of America.

Riaz Haq said...

'Ideology Of Hate' Consuming #India, Says #Gandhi's Great-grandson. Tushar, 63, attributes this tectonic shift to the rise of Prime Minister Narendra #Modi and his #Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (#BJP). #Hindutva #Islamophobia #Hate #Violence https://www.barrons.com/news/ideology-of-hate-consuming-india-says-gandhi-s-great-grandson-01674969308

India's rising tide of Hindu nationalism is an affront to the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, his great-grandson says, ahead of the 75th anniversary of the revered independence hero's assassination.

Gandhi was shot dead at a multi-faith prayer meeting on January 30, 1948, by Nathuram Godse, a religious zealot angered by his victim's conciliatory gestures to the country's minority Muslim community.

Godse was executed the following year and remains widely reviled, but author and social activist Tushar Gandhi, one of the global peace symbol's most prominent descendants, says his views now have a worrying resonance in India.

"That whole philosophy has now captured India and Indian hearts, the ideology of hate, the ideology of polarisation, the ideology of divisions," he told AFP at his Mumbai home.

"For them, it's very natural that Godse would be their iconic patriot, their idol."

Tushar, 63, attributes this tectonic shift to the rise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Modi took office in 2014 and Tushar says his government is to blame for undermining the secular and multicultural traditions that his namesake sought to protect.

"His success has been built on hate, we must accept that," Tushar added.

"There is no denying that in his heart, he also knows what he is doing is lighting a fire that will one day consume India itself."

Today, Gandhi's assassin is revered by many Hindu nationalists who have pushed for a re-evaluation of his decision to murder a man synonymous with non-violence.

A temple dedicated to Godse was built near New Delhi in 2015, the year after Modi's election, and activists have campaigned to honour him by renaming an Indian city after him.

Godse was a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a still-prominent Hindu far-right group whose members conduct paramilitary drills and prayer meetings.

The RSS has long distanced itself from Godse's actions but remains a potent force, founding Modi's party decades ago to battle for Hindu causes in the political realm.

Modi has regularly paid respect to Gandhi's legacy but has refrained from weighing in on the campaign to rehabilitate his killer.

Tushar remains a fierce protector of his world-famous ancestor's legacy of "honesty, equality, unity and inclusiveness".

He has written two books about Gandhi and his wife Kasturba, regularly talks at public events about the importance of democracy and has filed legal motions in India's top court as part of efforts to defend the country's secular constitution.

His Mumbai abode, a post-independence flat in a quiet neighbourhood compound, is dotted with portraits and small statues of his famous relative along with a miniature spinning wheel -- a reference to Gandhi's credo of self-reliance.

Tushar is anxious but resigned to the prospect of Modi winning another term in next year's elections, an outcome widely seen as an inevitability given the weakness of his potential challengers.

"The poison is so deep, and they're so successful, that I don't see my ideology triumphing over in India for a long time now," he says.

Riaz Haq said...

Politics of ruin: Why #Modi wants to demolish #India’s #mosques. The necro-economy of #Hindu nationalism relies on making history its most important site. #Muslim shrines must suffer. #Islamophobia #Hindutva #BJP https://aje.io/37g9an via @AJEnglish

A historic 16th-century mosque, Shahi Masjid, in Prayagraj city in India’s Uttar Pradesh state was demolished by bulldozers on January 9 under a road-widening project.

The demolition took place even though, according to the mosque’s imam, a local court was supposed to hear a petition seeking a stay on the city administration’s plans on January 16, a week later.

This incident should have caused public outrage, but the matter hardly made any headlines. The destruction of structures using bulldozers in India has become a banal occurrence and has already lost its shock value.

Shahi Masjid is also not the first ancient mosque to have been sacrificed for a road widening project. Last November, a 300-year-old mosque in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district that stood in the way of a highway was razed.

Another mosque, one of the largest and oldest in India, Shamsi Jama Masjid, an 800-year-old national heritage site in Budaun, Uttar Pradesh, became a matter of dispute last year when a court case was filed on behalf of a local Hindu farmer — backed by the right-wing Hindu nationalist group Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) — alleging that the mosque is an “illegal structure” built on a demolished 10th-century temple of Lord Shiva. Their petition states that Hindus have rightful ownership of the land and should be able to pray there.

The claim of illegality rests on a far-right narrative according to which most of the Indian mosques were actually temples at one point in time and were forcefully converted into mosques by Muslim rulers. Even though most historians today deny these claims because there is little material evidence to support them, they have enormous popular support.

The rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is increasingly marked by a destructive urgency. The party’s attempts to culturally homogenise India began with the renaming of places in an overtly Hindu vocabulary and progressed to new strategies such as bulldozing Muslim monuments and archaeological excavations to find Hindu roots at Muslim religious sites.

In the past few years, there have been a number of controversies surrounding Mughal monuments. Even the Taj Mahal, a monument of global importance, has not been spared. Far-right Hindu groups claim, again without any evidence, that it was a Hindu temple.

The fate of Indian Muslims has reached a watershed moment. Scores of petitions have been filed by right-wing Hindu groups against mosques across the country.

The past several years have also seen the activation of an informal apparatus of religious volunteers who use religious processions to establish dominance over Muslim places of worship, including mosques and Muslim shrines. During several Hindu festival celebrations in 2022, including Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti, armed Hindu mobs, led at times by BJP members, entered Muslim neighbourhoods and chanted obscene slogans while planting saffron flags on mosques.

Riaz Haq said...

In Pictures

The Rise and Rise of Islamophobia in India
Muslims have been subjected to violence for decades, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has only made things worse.


By Danylo Hawaleshka
Published On 18 Apr 2023
18 Apr 2023
History Illustrated is a weekly series of insightful perspectives that puts news events and current affairs into an historical context using graphics generated with artificial intelligence.

Muslims in India are being targeted by vile propaganda, intense intimidation and mob violence.

For instance, Hindu nationalists in 1992 destroyed the 16th century Babri Mosque. Nationwide riots then killed about 2,000 people, mostly Muslims.

In 2002, 59 Hindu pilgrims were killed in a train fire in Gujarat state, which was blamed on Muslims.

Narendra Modi, who headed the state at that time, was accused of doing little to stop the violence.

In 2019, Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party enacted a citizenship law, seen to discriminate against Muslims.

Human Rights Watch said ensuing riots in New Delhi over that law killed 53 people, mostly Muslims, and that Hindu mobs injured over 200.

Propaganda films like The Kashmir Files demonise Muslims, a film Modi endorsed.

Today, mosques are often attacked, like the 300-year-old one in Uttar Pradesh razed for a highway.

This cycle of violence and vilification directed at a religious group is something history has seen before—and it never ends well.

Riaz Haq said...

#US religious freedom panel #USCIRF again recommends #India for blacklist. For a 4th year, the independent body says India should be singled out for discrimination against #Muslims and other #minority groups #Modi #Hindutva #Islamophobia https://aje.io/zgyyme via @AJEnglish

An independent commission in the United States has, for the fourth year in a row, recommended that India’s government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, be added to a religious freedom blacklist, saying that conditions in the country for religious minorities “continued to worsen” throughout 2022.

In its annual report on Monday, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) again called on the US Department of State to designate India as a “country of particular concern”.

The independent panel has made appeals for the designation since 2020. The label accuses a government of “systematic, ongoing [and] egregious violations” of religious freedom and opens the door to economic sanctions.

The body said that the Indian government “at the national, state and local levels promoted and enforced religiously discriminatory policies” in 2022. Those included “laws targeting religious conversion, interfaith relationships, the wearing of hijabs and cow slaughter, which negatively impact Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits and Adivasis (indigenous peoples and scheduled tribes)”.

The report noted that about 14 percent of India’s population of 1.4 billion is Muslim, about 2 percent is Christian, and 1.7 percent is Sikh. Nearly 80 percent of the country is Hindu.

The panel further asserts that the Indian government, led by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), “continued to suppress critical voices — particularly religious minorities and those advocating on their behalf”.

The US panel only offers recommendations and has no ability to set policy. There was little expectation the State Department would adopt the commission’s position, as Washington and New Dehli have continued to strengthen their ties in a bid to counter China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

In its report, the religious freedom watchdog noted the administration of US President Joe Biden “failed to designate India” as a “country of particular concern” after it made the recommendation in previous years.

“The United States and India continued to maintain strong bilateral ties around economic trade and technology. Trade reached $120 billion in 2022, making the United States India’s largest trading partner,” the report said.

“President Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted on multiple occasions, including the G20 and G7 Summits and the Quad Leaders Summit,” it added, the latter referring to the informal grouping of the US, India, Japan and Australia.

The Indian government did not immediately respond to the latest report. Following last year’s recommendation, New Delhi’s foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi accused senior US officials of making “ill-informed” and “biased” comments.

“As a naturally pluralistic society, India values religious freedom and human rights,” Bagchi said in a statement at the time.

For its part, the Indian American Muslim Council said the latest USCIRF report “reaffirms what [the rights group] has been saying for years: that India’s government, under Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] has continued to systematically violate the religious freedom of minority communities, particularly Muslims and Christians”.

More recommendations for blacklist
The report also called on the Biden administration to add Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria and Vietnam to its blacklist, and for the redesignation of Myanmar, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

The panel first made the recommendation for Afghanistan last year, following the Taliban’s takeover of the country in August 2021. Afghanistan has long been on the commission’s watch list, and the Taliban itself had been designated of “particular concern” in some of the panel’s earliest reports, from 2000 and 2001.

Riaz Haq said...

The Kerala Story's true picture: 3 'radicalised' women, not 32,000


KOCHI: Amid the raging controversy over the upcoming film 'The Kerala Story'.


32K Women Missing Claim Made By 'The Kerala Story' Does Not Add Up While a teaser of the film released in November mentions the 32K figure, the trailer released last week makes no mention of it


The makers of the movie 'The Kerala Story' have claimed that 32,000 women in Kerala belonging to the Hindu and Christian communities have disappeared and have been trafficked to places such as Syria and Afghanistan to be sold as sex slaves to terrorist outfits such as ISIS over the last ten years. This they claim has happened through 'love-jihad' -a term that describes a conspiracy theory peddled by the Hindu right that alleges an elaborate ploy by Muslim men to lure Hindu women into romantic relationships with the ultimate aim to convert the latter to Islam.

BOOM found that the makers of 'The Kerala Story' have grossly exaggerated the claim and that there is no data either by the Indian government or international organisations which supports the 32,000 figure. While there have been instances reported (read here, here and here) where law enforcement agencies are probing women from Kerala being duped with promises of jobs or ISIS sympathy, no record reflects a number so large. BOOM found that the reasoning provided by the makers of the film are based on extrapolation and sources from where they are yet to recieve replies, such as Right to Information (RTI) applications. The movie is slated to be released on May 5 as a trailer was recently released for the film, which was followed by a slew of controversies. In a Facebook post, the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, has lashed out against the film and so has his party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress, which is in opposition in the state.