by Khurshid Alam (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 50, No. 11, Jumada' al-Ula', 1443)
The risk of Muslim genocide in India has escalated alarmingly as Hindu fascists openly urge their followers to arm themselves and kill Muslims. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not uttered a word since these blood-curdling threats were issued at a ‘Dharma Sansad’ (Religious Parliament) held from December 17 to 19, 2021 at Haridwar in India’s Uttarakhand state.
The so-called Religious Parliament cannot be dismissed as a fringe event. It was attended by leading Hindu religious figures, right-wing zealots, hardline fundamentalist fascists and Hindutva organisations. It was convened to spew hatred against Muslims and called upon attendees to arms themselves to exterminate them.
The organizer of the Haridwar hate fest was the notorious Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand, according to a report in The Quint. “Economic boycott won’t work. Hindu groups need to update themselves. Swords look good on stage only. This battle will be won by those with better weapons,” the Hindutva fascist leader was quoted as saying. It was Narsinghanand whose hate-filled speeches had led to attacks on Muslims in Delhi in February 2020 that the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR), a UN body, called a “pogrom”.
Leading lights of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also attended the hate-fest. These included BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, who was previously arrested for an event he helped organise where calls for violence against Muslims were made openly. Another BJP stalwart, Mahila Morcha (Women’s wing) leader Udita Tyagi, was also there.
At the ‘Dharma Sansad’, Swami Prabodhanand Giri, president of the Uttarakhand-based Hindu Raksha Sena, said: “We have to make preparations.” The right-wing organisation leader went on: “And I’ll tell you what preparations those are. I will make myself clear, this is the solution, and if you follow this solution, then the path is made for you… in Myanmar, Hindus were being chased away. The politicians, government and police were just standing and watching. They started by killing them by cutting their necks, and not only this, but they began to cut them in the streets and eat them. The people watching thought we are going to die; we are not going to live.”
Myanmar is notorious for killing Muslims (referred to as Rohingyas), hundreds of thousands of whom have been forced to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh to seek refuge. Continuing with his historical distortions, Prabodhanand Giri said: “This is our state now. You have seen this at the Delhi border, they killed Hindus and hung them. There is no more time, the case now is that either you prepare to die now, or get ready to kill, there’s no other way. This is why, like in Myanmar, the police here, the politicians here, the army and every Hindu must pick up weapons and we will have to conduct this cleanliness [ethnic cleansing] drive (safai abhiyan). There is no solution apart from this.”
The Delhi violence of February 2020 that Prabodhanand Giri is referring to was instigated by a fellow Hindu fascist, the notorious Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand. Of the 53 people killed, three-quarters were Muslims, including an 85-year-old grandmother burnt alive in her third-floor apartment. Following its investigation of anti-Muslim violence, the Indian portal, The Wire, wrote: “Even though three-quarters of those killed were Muslims and most of the worst property damage was sustained by Muslims, BJP leaders describe what happened as an ‘anti-Hindu riot’. And the Delhi Police have also helped in this cover up, alleging a conspiracy to trigger violence by Muslim and progressive activists involved in the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.”
Prabodhanand’s calls for ethnic cleansing and genocide are particularly alarming since he has close connections with the BJP. He has shared photographs of himself with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on two separate occasions: the first took place in January 2018, and the second in August 2020. These images are prominently displayed on his Facebook page. Other BJP leaders he has connections with include higher education minister of Uttarakhand and BJP member Shri Dhan Singh Rawat, and former Uttarakhand CM and BJP member Tirath Singh Rawat. The latter was photographed giving Prabodhanand a sword in June 2021.
The BJP-Hindutva links go back many decades. Modi himself emerged from the bowels of the fascist outfit, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The RSS has more than 6 million members who receive military training. It also has branches in other countries including the US, Canada, Britain and wherever Hindus are present in large numbers.
As chief minister of Gujarat state, Modi presided over the mass slaughter of more than 2000 Muslims in February 2002. Modi prevented the police from coming to the rescue of Muslims as Hindu mobs went on a rampage. Following this pogrom, Modi was barred entry into the United States. The ban was lifted after he became India’s prime minister in 2014. The Times of India reported that the tourist/business visa that he already had was revoked following the Gujarat massacre.
Unfortunately, today Modi is given red carpet treatment because he is the prime minister of India with which the West wants to maintain close ties to use it against China. Does becoming prime minister wash the blood of innocent Muslims off his hands? Under his premiership, life for Muslims in India has become intolerably difficult. Genocide of Muslims in India, as indeed in Kashmir, is a distinct possibility.
What will the world, especially the Muslim world, do to avert this very real existential threat to the lives of more than 200 million Muslims?