OPINION: India Bleeds But is Anyone Noticing?

TARIQ A. AL-MAEENA: What has happened in recent months in India, a previously proclaimed democracy is nothing short of alarming. The unilateral abrogation of treaties with the Kashmiri people and the delegitimizing the nationality of its Muslim residents are in no manner aimed to nurture any form of democracy.

When thugs who burn down and destroy a centuries-old Muslim place of worship, or mobs that lynch Muslims on a suspicion that they have enjoyed a side of beef in their dinner meal, then the path that this country of over a billion people is on is foreboding.

Even the roars and demonstrations that have struck all across India by people of all races and religions against the government divisive Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) have been met with strong-arm tactics by the authorities and police fire. A number of innocent people have died as a result of such protests.

The people of Kashmir were promised the right to self-determination, a fundamental human right much highly valued in all societies. It was guaranteed to them under the United Nations Security Council resolutions. All that was scrapped in what India’s opposition has called as ‘highly unconstitutional!’ Former Kashmir leaders have been picked up and locked away for months on end under dubious charges.

Dr. A. Ahmed, a renowned cardiologist, concerned at the direction his land of birth is heading toward writes that the Yogi Government of Uttar Pradesh is an example Modi-Amit Shah wants to show Indian Muslims, what can happen if you protest!

He continues, “The recent action of chief minister of Uttar Pradesh’s right-wing Hindu extremist Yogi who is known for extremely caustic anti-Muslim speeches on his election campaign and a close confidant of Modi and Amit Shah combine has shown rest of Indian Muslims what will happen if there is any opposition to the CAA. The police officers and army are let loose in that state. The Internet is blacked out as in Kashmir. This is a new Modi fashion. The present-day seizing of properties of Muslims and especially Muslims who dilute votes in predominantly Hindu constituencies is an example of what Modi’s plan is. It’s not about protest, it not about causing damage to public property.

“Millions of dollars of public property have been destroyed by Modi, Yogi, Amit Shah, and their thugs. Many lives have been loston the false pretext of beef. Yogi never took any action. He is one of Modi’s hitmen, who is systematically destroying Muslim constituencies by seizing properties.

“Twitter is the handle used to create the havoc, so that Muslims run away from predominant Hindu areas in Uttar Pradesh. It’s not about the CAA, it’s about the delimitation of constituencies so that BJP and allies win comfortably next elections. It’s already tasted bitter defeats in two states recently.

“Indian media is scared. Demonetization of currency increased corruption so that the BJP supporters can easily transfer funds. And now the CAA is a smart way to delimit constituencies. It’s times for independent observers to visit all areas banned by the Indian Government for genocide. But who will make the first start? — Dr. A. Ahmed.”

Yes indeed, while the government may want to convince the rest of the world that this is an internal matter, the fact is that it affects people in the hundreds of millions, people if the present trend continues, may one day find themselves on a refugee status seeking solace in some distant country.

Lawmakers from the United States, Europe and others have raised their concerns and have conveyed them to the Modi government. Independent NGOs along with secular-minded Indians are battling to restore India’s democracy, but yet the siege of Kashmiris remains, and the citizenship of millions of Indian Muslims is up in the air.

The blood of Indian democracy is slowly seeping away and bodes ill for the country and its neighbors.

(Saudi Gazette)

The author can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena