BJP’s Election-Victory: Anti-Muslim and Anti-Pakistan Slogans

By Sajjad ShaukatIndia's President Mukherjee administers the oath of office to Prime Minister Modi at the presidential palace in New Delhi

The Indian fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won a landslide victory in the elections 2014 by defeating the Congress. It is the first time that BJP has won simple majority in the last three decades. Its leader Narendra Modi who himself is follower of the Hindu extremism has become prime minister of India which claims to be a secular country, as stated in the Indian constitution.

But Hindu politics and culture, dominated by the fundamentalist parties such as BJP, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena and other similar groups which have been propagating Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) are feeling pleasure, because Indian elections based on media campaign against Islam and Muslims in general and Pakistan in particular enabled BJP hardliner Narendra Modi to get a land sliding triumph. Whereas the Indian Hindus celebrated Modi’s victory, the Muslim community in India felt alienated, frightened and perturbed, as most of them believed that they have been effectively disenfranchised.

Undoubtedly, Muslims aware of Narendra Modi’s agenda to reduce the Muslim community in India to second class citizens, feel nervous and gloomy. Muslim anxiety in India is multiplying due the fact that during the election campaign, Hindu majority was mobilized on ‘hate Muslim’ slogans and ‘anti Pakistan’ jargons. Hence, Modi regime is likely to target and persecute Muslims in India. Whereas Muslim dilemma in India is justified, while the incessant and unjust Indian propaganda against Pakistan is beyond anybody’s cognition. It simply speaks of Hindu deep seated animosity against Pakistan and Pakistani public.

Anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan approach of the BJP and Indian new Prime Minister Narendar Modi could be judged from two developments. Encouraged by the election-victory of the BJP, on May 28, this year, in a provocative act to disturb communal harmony among different religious communities in India, Rashtriya Hindu Andolan, a little known Mangalore-based Hindutva outfit and activists from various right wing groups organized a protest in Mangalore in front of the office of Deputy Commissioner by demanding the authorities to ban the morning Muslim call to prayer (Azan) across the country. On May 27, during his meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Nawaz Sharif who went to New Delhi to participate in the oath-taking ceremony of the India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi proved faultless, because Modi raised baseless issues of terrorism as pre-conditions to advance the Pak-India dialogue to resolve various disputes including the core issue of Kashmir. He said that slow pace of trial of against the terrorists regarding the Mumbai 26/11 terror case, being held in Pakistan—Islamabad should take action against the culprits in this respect, and should stop cross-border terrorism in India.

While showing unrealistic approach, and talking in the terms of Hindu religious extremism, Indian new prime minister ignored the fact that on July 19, 2013 the Indian former home ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror-attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws. Similarly, Modi also neglected the statement of Indian ex-Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde who revealed on January 20, 2013 that organized training camps run by the fundamentalist parties, RSS and BJP were promoting Hindu Terrorism. He also explained that these extremist parties were behind the Samjhauta Express, Meccca Masjid and Malegaon blasts.

Earlier, New Delhi has been blaming Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) for these terror attacks, while Indian new prime minister is again accusing Pakistan about the Mumbai carnage.
As regards cross-border terrorism, former Indian Army Chief Gen. VK Singh openly confessed in September 2013 that special intelligence unit like Technical Services Division were raised by him to operate inside Pakistan, particularly in Balochistan and Azad Kashmir to conduct terrorism and to bribe the politicians in the Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Notably, The Times of India had reported on December 17, 2010 that Congress Party’s heir, Rahul Gandhi feels that “the bigger threat to India may be the growth of radicalized Hindu groups which create religious tension and political confrontation with the Muslim community.”

In fact, the ideology of Hindutva which was already being encouraged by the BJP and its leader   Narendra Modi who won the elections on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda is, now, alarming.

However, Indian propaganda against Pakistan goes on without any pause as Indian media propagate against Pakistan, its Armed Forces and intelligence agencies, especially ISI under all circumstances and during all seasons. In this context, Indian Express on M ay 9, 2014 published a baseless article titled, ‘Pak Official Named in FIR on Zakir’ alleging that Tamil Nadu police arrested an agent of ISI, sent to India to collect details of Indian establishment, whom ISI wanted to target. In this regard, Amir Zubair Siddiqui, Counselor (Visa) at Pakistan High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka, has also been included as second accused in the case, alleging that Pakistani backed extremists were being trained in Sri Lanka. The article further suggested that arrest of Pakistani spy in India and visa Counselor in Sri Lanka could trigger a diplomatic wrangle between India and Pakistan. No doubt, Indian propagandists succeeded in upping the ante, but, owing to Sri Lankan Military’s timely response—rejecting baseless accusations of Tamil Nadu BJP leader L. Ganesan, against Pakistan and Sri Lanka—the situation has been saved from further flare-up. It, however, uncovered the real face of Indian propaganda and their evil designs.
Nevertheless, our own political leadership and media must give a matching response to the BJP-led new government. In this regard, they must make it clear that Modi’s victory in Indian elections is a source of concern not only for Muslim community in India, but also for the regional neighbors, particularly Pakistan. His election campaign was based on negative emotional appeal in which, he used Pakistan as enemy, while tipping-off Muslims to go to Pakistan. In this connection, exploiting emotions negatively will have serious repercussions for both the nuclear countries in particular and South Asia in general.

Our internal entities must point out that Indian media already toes Hindu mindset and conducts propaganda against our country. That is why, Hindus hate Muslims in India and Pakistan. In this respect, Indian false accusations through print media have been refuted by Islamabad and Colombo, clearly rejecting Indian contentions that Pakistan-backed extremists were being trained in Sri Lanka.

Own media response must also explain to the audience that there are broader designs of building narratives against ISI and Pak Army, as Indian establishment desired to restrict space for new government led by Prime Minister Modi by prohibiting any positive overtures towards Pakistan. Hence, such propaganda is aimed at accentuating the perceptions of civil military divide in Pakistan.
By speaking in positive tone, especially own electronic media response must counter Indian propaganda, and suggest to the new leadership in New Delhi to avoid playing with the fire, otherwise, the consequences would become disastrous.

Nonetheless, Prime Minister Modi must understand that every action has its own opposite and equal reaction, as experienced in the demolition of Babari Mosque and subsequent burning of Hindu Manders (Places of Hindu worships) in Pakistan. Therefore, let us give peace a chance, before the propagandists spoil the issue to a point of no return. In order to settle all the issues including the thorny dispute of Kashmir with Pakistan, which are essential for peace of the region, BJP and Prime Minister Modi must forget that they won the elections on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Affairs.

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