As India, the so called-largest democracy goes to the poll this month, Hindu fundamentalist forces largely took charge of the country under the stewardship of incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi, a longtime Hindu nationalist who under his nose in 2002, as Chief Minister of Gujarat systemically provoked riots which led to the targeted violence against minority Muslims in Ahmedabadthat killed about 1,000 Muslims therefore, he remained a metaphor of human rights violation worldwide. Modi’s complicity in genocide of Muslims resulted into his diplomatic ban imposed by United Kingdom, United States and several other European Nations until Indians chose him as the Prime Minister of India.
The Modi moment being the Prime Minister of India marked the culmination of a whole series of Hindutva policies. The civic space shrunk greatly even continues to shrink till today while Hindu extremism were on riseeven emboldened by the state patronage to allow extremistforces to roam free. The rise of Hindu extremism and the forceful assertion of Hindutva policies instilled a sense of fear into the mind of not just minorities but Majority Hindusas well.
The intolerant forces in today’s India have polluted theinclusive values and hard-earned secular credentials by the founding forefathers of India.Until recently, the worldhas witnessed the enactment of the assassination of Gandhi by a right wing Hindu nationalist, who no longer accepted him Mahatma (a title used worldwide for his nonviolent policies against the British Crown).
As the events followed, the myth of largest democracy is being exposed in the past five years, mainly by the aggressive awakening of Hindutva policies as a state practice pertaining in every length and width of the country. The core democratic values including equality, diversity, rule of law and liberty were being challenged, particularly curtailing the freedom of expression in the country.
International Press Institute (IPI), Vienna based global organization to protect and promote press freedom raised the concerns for the security of journalist in India as more than dozen journalist were being murdered since September 2017. The most alarming of them was the killing of Gauri Lankesh, activist and editor of LankeshPatrike who was considered to be the critic of right-wing Hindu extremism policies in country.
The organization also noted that “the impunity with which journalists have been murdered and the slow pace of investigations raise the question whether the deaths of journalists are probed thoroughly and urgently as they should be to protect press freedom.”
The sane voices raised concerns over the worsening plight of minorities in India, especially Muslims who bore the brunt of Hindu extremists attack for eating or selling beef. The mob justice and lynching becomes a new normal in country.According to a new report from Human Rights Watch, “radical cow protection groups in India have killed at least 44 people over the last three years and often received support from law enforcement and Hindu nationalist politicians”.
Mamata Banerjee, the incumbent Chief Minister of West Bengal and once named by the Time magazine among the 100 Most Influential People in the World, out cried about Modi’s sickening policies describing, India is being converted into a country of “religious orthodoxy” and its secular non-violent fabric is being distorted, she further added saying, “Muslims are attacked on petty pretexts like eating beef under BJP rule”.
A survey conducted by the London based Thomson Reuters Foundation has ranked India as the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence, harassment and being coerced into sex even war-torn Afghanistan and Syria came after India. The one Indian official at the Karnataka state government, Manjunath Gangadhara, quoted saying, “India has shown utter disregard and disrespect for women rape, marital rapes, sexual assault and harassment, female infanticide has gone unabated”.
The Modi’s policies caused a panic in country over growing culture of intolerance, many well-known and earned Indian thinkers, writers and scientists started to return their state awards in protest for boiling the climate of intolerance under Narendra Modi to which Modi accused manufactured rebellion.
The state sponsored terrorism has gone to new heights in Indian Held Kashmir validated by the first ever Human Rights report by United Nations raising concerns for increased use of force to control the indigenous movement of independence in IOK by the Indian state brutalities. The year 2018 was bloodiest in the history of Kashmir, eighteen year old girl was blinded by the pellet gunshots.
The Indian defense expert Manoj Joshi on India Todaywas heard saying, that the Modi’s government has completely messed up Kashmir policy, today we are seeing a mutation in terrorism, not run from Pakistan, but domestic local Kashmiris turning to terror, it’s very serious situation.
The Indian state institutions which remained jewel in Indian democracy’s crown for long time, now being used and abused by Bharatiya Janata Party to advance thepolitical agendas. The more alarming is that national security was being used as a pawn to win the elections against a nuclear rival, Pakistan, risking the peace and prosperity of the region.
The Indian democracy has failed the test of time, even stands on the verge of collapse today. The sickening policies of Narendra Modi earned nothing but so much shame and isolation for India globally even yearning his comeback for another term in office. Now question remains what if he managed to return to power, what will be the future of Indian democracy and democratic culturein India at large? Whatever will be the outcome of Indian polls, it would leave serious consequences for the regional peace and security.
Written by: Sarfaraz Ahmed Rana