Dangerous Radicalization of India
By Sajjad Shaukat
Indian society is intensely witnessing violent waves of radicalization in the form of vandalism of Christian Churches, forceful conversions of Muslims and Christians in the name of Shudhi (purification) or Ghar Wapsi, ban on beef and cow slaughter and inclusion of Hindu religious books in curriculum. In these terms, dangerous radicalization of India needs immediate attention.
The gravity of Hindu radicalization is so intense that the US President Obama and New York Times also cautioned India over the minority issues.
Although New Delhi has been destabilizing all regional states through its well-planned and deliberated strategy, however, its major focus has always been towards Pakistan, a policy of weakening Pakistan.
In this regard, Pakistani people can not afford to remain forgetful to the agony of the tragedy at Army Public School Peshawar—carnage incident which resulted in killing of more than 140 children. It was undoubtedly carried out by Ajit Doval’s stooges in connivance with the Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, as he is fond of exploiting radicalized proxies. Ajit Doval, the ex-spymaster is now National Security Advisor of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In this recent past, Doval attempted to stage a drama of “explosive boat” to defame Pakistan before the arrival of President Obama to New Delhi.
It is also an undeniable fact that Ajit Doval’s cronies are creating law and order problems in Balochistan. Doval in his recent lecture clearly threatened that Islamabad will lose Balochistan—a video is a clear confession by India that it is behind the separatists in the province of Balochistan and has a huge network of its operatives against the state of Pakistan.
Undoubtedly, Ajit Doval has been targeting Pakistan as a part of “Offensive defensive” doctrine. In this context, as per agenda of the Hindu ruling party, BJP including other extremist parties like RSS, New Delhi accelerated unprovoked firing at the Line of Control in Kashmir and Working Boundary across Pak-Indian border.
Reportedly, Indian government has refused to issue visa for the city of Panipat to Pakistani couple Rana Shaukat Ali and his wife Rukhsana to visit graves of their five children who lost their lives in the Samjhota Express blast in 2007. They have been granted Indian visa only for Noida, thus not allowing the couple to visit the graves of their children. This shows Indian present government’s insensitivity to the grief and pain of the bereaved couple. It also raises serious questions about Indian extremist rulers’ intentions to bring the perpetrators of Samjhota Express blast to justice.
However, as part of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan approach, leader of the BJP and Prime Minister of India Modi is giving impetus to Hindu chauvinism. Indian society is rapidly radicalizing, as unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism has posed serious threats to the very existence of the minorities there.
While, the constitution declares India to be a secular state, granting equal rights to the religious minorities, but in practice ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) prevails. Hindu politics and culture, dominated by the fundamentalist parties such as BJP, RSS VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena including other extremist outfits have been propagating Hindutva. Provocative utterances of their extremist leaders have resulted into unending violence against the Muslim and Christians including other minority groups, while creating war-like situation between Pakistan and India.
Radicalization of India by Hindu fanatic parties could be judged from various recent developments. On May 28, 2014, Rashtriya Hindu Andolan, a 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. Besides, forcing the Muslim employee in a Parliament Canteen by BJP leader to break his fast by stuffing piece of bread in his mouth, statement of Deputy Chief of Goa, declaring India as a Hindu state, opposition to declaration of Sania Mirza as Ambassador of Indian state by calling her daughter-in-law of Pakistan might be cited as example.
Besides other anti-Muslim incidents like the discovery of the unmarked graves of thousands of the innocent Kashmiris, killed by the Indian security forces in the Indian-held Kashmir, pre-planned destruction of the Babri Masjid (mosque) in 1992 and genocide of the 2500 Muslims in 2002 in the then BJP-ruled Indian state of Gujarat, and participants of the Indian high officials in the events especially be cited as instance.
In this connection, on March 29, 2015, a report under the caption, “Pakistani girl molested, Pune cop held”, published in Indian newspaper, “The Hindu” said that a Pune policeman has been booked for molesting a minor Pakistani national at her residence. Anand Gidde, attached to the Pakistan desk of the Foreigners Registration Office, visited the 13-year-old’s house on March 24 ostensibly for verifying documents and molested her.
Similarly, in the recent years, assaults on Christians, their churches and property have been executed by the Hindu mobs in various cities of India. In this respect, at least 100 Christians have been assassinated by Hindu extremists, mostly in the state of Orissa. In the recent past, frequent incidents of gang rape, specially the rape of elderly Nun shows the ugly face of India. Hindu fanatics are tightening the noose around the minorities in India.
It is mentionable that apparently, India claims to be the largest democracy, acting upon the principles of liberalism and secularism, but in practice, all political, economic and social fields of the country are divided on the caste lines.
In this context, Tim Sullivan of the Associated Press wrote, “There’s a lot of lip service to saying ‘I’m an Indian first, and ‘I’ do not believe in caste,” said D’Souza, a prominent campaigner for Dalits, as India’s “untouchables” at the very bottom of the caste system are now known.” Sullivan elaborated, “When it comes to sharing power, to interaction and to sharing social status, low-caste Indians are very much marginalized.”
Nevertheless, various facts verify the misdeeds of Hindu fundamentalist parties which have missed no opportunity to radicalize the national politics of India.
It is noteworthy that on November 7, 2011, leader of the VHP, Pravin Togadia, in his furious speech questioned the past of Muslims and Christians, and further gave a call to Hindus to capture the Islamic holy places in Arab and Vatican of Europe.
It is worth-mentioning that forced conversions of other religious minorities, especially Muslims and Christians by the Bajrang Dal, RSS etc. have also continued with the backing of the BJP-led government.
Particularly, a recent report of Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Testimony by Human Rights Watch presented before US Senate Committee on atrocious attitude of Hindu majority has highlighted the plight of minorities in India.
While, some of the extremist Hindu groups are not in favour of a separate and distinct culture for minorities—a Hindu fundamentalist namely Prof Balraj Madhok suggested that the minorities must adopt Indian (Hindu) names.
Now, Hindu fundamentalism is increasingly widening its influence everywhere including bureaucracy, media and educational institutions. The hate campaign unleashed by the extremist forces is keeping the minority wholly preoccupied with defending their basic human rights and cultural identity.
Hinduization of India is so intense that it has even affected the outlook of Indian Armed Forces which were generally boasting of their secular posture. In this context, Rear Admiral Vijay Shankar announced that henceforth new naval cadets would be supplied copies of Ramayana for class room exercises.
Hanuman (Hindu deity) temples are increasing in Cantonments. Hindu religious festivities are celebrated whereas Muslim and Christian festivals are not celebrated.
State TV and Radio departments do not lag behind in Hinduization of the society as morning sessions are usually started with “Vande Mataram.”
It is the right hour that the West and especially the US must abandon its double standard by taking appropriate steps against maltreatment with the minorities in India. Otherwise, dangerous radicalization of India by Hindu extremists may cause World War 111 or clash of civilizations in wake of global war against terrorism.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations