By Qudrat Ullah
In November 2021, Vir Das, an Indian comedian, in the monologue of his show, described “India’s two sides, saying people in the country worship women during the day but gang rape them at night”. His show drew criticism from Hindu right-wing BJP and even Bollywood actors. BJP’s spokesperson Aditya Jha called it ‘an insult to India’, whereas, outspoken actress Kangana Ranaut termed it as a soft terrorism.
It is just a reminder that even Hindus, the nation’s majority, if try to speak out against the Human Rights violations in India, they are hounded, intimidated and silenced. Some of the members of Congress and other communist parties tried to encourage Vir Das, saying it needs courage to stand against repression in India.
Meanwhile, Munawar Faruqui, a Muslim comedian in India, was threatened by right wing groups and forced to cancel his shows.
Since PM Modi came into power in 2014, such incidents have increased, and there seems to be a systematic effort to put all the seculars in line with the Hindutva ideology. Several individuals in civil society, politics and media who despite such harassment have not toed the right-wing groups; and are facing the worst kind of harassment.
While majority of the mainstream media, has gradually changed their editorial policy, some of the them are still pushing against the majoritarian view. Same is the situation happening with the minorities in India, where for the most part, Muslims are targeted, followed by Dalits and Sikhs. In the start of Covid pandemic, Muslims were called “super spreaders” and “Coronavirus terrorists”, whereas Hindus were allowed to gather for their religious festivals. During farmers’ protests, Sikhs were tagged as anti-India and being foreign funded, whereas, in states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, Muslims were denied from offering Friday prayers in opens areas.
Rana Ayyub, one of the critics of right-wing politics, is Washington Post’ author and her views are mostly against the majoritarian Hindutva. She is continuously being harassed by online trolls and even her morphed videos were uploaded to porn sites, to threaten her.
These all above mentioned incidents hints a systematic, well framed policy of ruling party of India, the BJP, irony is that Indian opposition political parties are accomplice in such violations, as they have not taken a firm stand against it, else of issuing mere statements.
India, once known for its secularism, have slid down, both in democratic and human values. In last recent months, international media and Human Rights organizations have alarmed global community against impending genocide in India. As Juan E Mendez, the first UN Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide, called out the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to step in and protect Indian minorities.
These remarks came after the incident in which Pooja Shakun Pandey, a senior member of the right-wing Hindu Mahasabha political party, urged her supporters to kill Muslims in order to protect the country (India). After criticism and outcry, Indian Supreme Court intervened and ordered the investigation in the matter.
These hatemongers and right-wing extremists have a tactic support from PM Modi and other leading parties, in the form of silence.
The situation may deteriorate as the poll bound Uttar Pradesh, Indian Punjab and other three states are gearing up for the final stages of elections. Like in the past, the adherents of RSS ideology will not hesitate to fan the hate among their supporters against Muslims and other minorities just to stick to the power, they are having in the form of so-called democracy.
As Juan E Mendez called the UNSC to step in, in the same way, the western human rights defenders, including European Union, must speak out against the worst form of extremism in the name of religion in the world’s largest so-called democracy, at least to justify themselves of being on the side of humanity.
*Qudrat Ullah is a freelancer and media activist. He writes on political developments and security issues with special focus on South Asia and the region.