Hyderabad: On the first day of the India Genocide Summit, the genocide experts, human rights defenders, scholars and journalists from around the world warned that Muslims in India are facing a dire and existential threat following genocidal calls given by powerful non-state actors closely linked with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu supremacist government.
Jan Breman, a Professor at the Institute of Social Studies at the Hague, who has done extensive fieldwork in India’s Gujarat state, claimed that India is occupied by an alien regime who does not care about its people. He added that the doctrine of Hindutva “excludes not only the Muslims but the laborers, Dalits, adivasis and the poor… from protection and resources.” Maktoob Media reported. Prof. Breman likened Hindutva with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi period.
Noted human rights defender of India Teesta Setalvad asserted that hate speeches and hate crimes enabled the genocide in Gujarat in the year 2002, where over 2,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed. She recalled the mass violence that was carried out by Hindu extremists under the rule of Narendra Modi, who was the then Gujarat chief minister. Deploring the calls, to kill Muslims, given at the religious gathering at the north Indian city of Haridwar in December 2021, Setalvad stated that social media are “amplifying the hate” by not blocking hate mongers.
Veteran Indian journalist Prem Shankar Jha said that allegations that Muslims were responsible for the train fire, that was used as a pretext to launch the violence against Muslims across the Gujarat in 2002, were utterly wrong. He feared that a large part of India “will break away.”
R.B. Sreekumar, Former top police officer from Gujarat, exposed Modi’s role in the 2002 violence. He also claimed that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), organized the violence and facilitated the crimes.
Aakashi Bhatt, a surgeon in the UK and the daughter of jailed police officer Sanjiv Bhatt claimed that her father was wrongfully convicted of murdering a man he had never even met. They said that this was actually punishment because Bhatt told India’s Supreme Court that Modi had explicitly ordered the police to stand down and let mobs kill Muslims.
Hijab row: targeting of Muslim women
Panelists of the discussion titled “Hijab Ban, Hounding & Hate Speech: Targeting of Muslim Women in the Long Shadow of Gujarat 2002,” condemned the ban on the wearing of hijab by Muslim school and college students in Karnataka.
Sabika Abbas Naqvi, a gender rights activist and poet deplored ‘auction’ of Muslim women on Bully Bai app. In her opinion Hijab is not the issue. The issue is the rising hate the Muslim women are facing, she said.
Safoora Zargar, a prominent Muslim activist against India’s discriminatory citizenship law argued that sexual violence against women is used as a tool to humiliate a community as it was used in Gujarat pogrom. Hate speech always has a purpose and leads to these kinds of acts, brutality and harm on ground, said Zargar, Jamia Millia Islamia student, who was jailed in 2020 for protesting CAA.
Calling it a display of pure Islamophobia, another anti-CAA protester and Fraternity Movement national secretary Aysha Renna claimed that Muslim women have been continuously facing the vilification and harassment online and offline. She said lynchings and causalities are so common that they have become a customary practice.
Nitasha Kaul, a professor at University of Westminster pointed out that ‘othering’ the Muslims aims at perpetuating the Hindu identity of India.
Saying that hijab had become the latest pretext for Hindu supremacist governments and mobs to harass and attack Muslims, Rights activist Kavita Krishnan scorned that the same BJP leaders who are declaring that the hijab isn’t compatible with school and college uniforms, are asserting that bindi, tilak, sindoor and other displays of the Hindu faith are perfectly compatible with school uniforms”.
Role of Hindus stressed
Experts urged Indian Hindus to come forward to oppose Hindutva and support the persecuted Muslims. They told this while speaking at another panel titled “Silence is Complicity: Hindu Response to Majoritarian Violence”.
Sunita Viswanath, Executive Director, Hindus for Human Rights in her message to Hindu Indians and Hindu diaspora urged them to take the warning of the “early signs of genocide” of Muslims in India seriously from now instead of regretting later.
Brahmachari Atmabodhananda, a Hindu ascetic living in Haridwar found it shocking to know that something like the ‘Dharam Sansads’ called for a genocide. “They are not Sanyasis, they are Ravanas.” He spoke.
Dr. Rakesh Pathak, an award-winning Hindu journalist noted that Hindu-Muslim binary was created with the emergence of RSS. He argued that to think that genocide cannot happen is to ignore the danger because no genocide takes place overnight, but it is planned and takes place gradually.
Highlighting the hijab issue, Dr Pathak said, to tell Muslims “What to wear and eat” was a sign of the “Talibanization of our democratic country. He said though Hindu society is not silent completely but is not vocal as much as they should have been. He warned that “Hindutva’s next target will be Christians and Adivasis.”
Saying that the Hindu tradition, the Vedas and the Ramayana teach to ‘speak the truth, not untruth, US-based Hindu theologian Anantanand Rambachan told to Hindus, “Values that spiritually mandate us as Hindus to stand against the call of killing of our Muslim brothers”.
Hear Dr. Gregory Stanton, Founder
Today is the last day of India Genocide Summit in which Dr Gregory Stanton will address in the plenary ‘India On The Brink’.
The Indian American Muslim Council on its official twitter handle states:
Today, hear Dr. Gregory Stanton, Founder
Dr Gregory Stanton, President Genocide Watch has warned of an impending genocide of Muslims in India. Hence, he is leading an effort to organise first ever India Genocide Summit. Genocide Watch founder organized India Genocide Summit 2022, from 26 to 28 February 2002.
The summit with the theme, ‘India On The Brink _ Preventing Genocide’ has been participated by 20 diaspora organisations. The summit comprises of 16 panels and fireside conversations. 52 speakers from across the world have been sharing their views during the Summit.