The world is watching, India


Picture: daily sabah

Author: Professor Usuf Chikte

The world is watching India as it marks 75 years of independence from despotic, British colonial rule, and the indiscriminate partitioning of the country. 

The principles enshrined in the constitution declares India as a socialist,secular, and democraticrepublic, which assures all its citizens justice, equality, and liberty, and endeavours to promote fraternity. This vision is imperiled by the rise of the brazen Hindu-fascist enterprise under the leadership of Narendra Modi. The constitutional rights of every Indian citizen are now under threat, especially for marginalised communities in India – Dalits, Christians, Muslims and Adivasis.  

Far from living up to its name as the world’s largest democracy, India is now in the midst of an authoritarian crackdown on human rights, political, and civil liberties. Prime Minister Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) openly champion Hindutva, an ideology that holds Hindus as superior to other faiths (Muslims and Christians) and calls for India to be designated as a Hindu nation rather than a secular democracy.

In Modi’s India, the government refuses to condemn the violent vigilantism of Hindu supremacist groups that actively threaten and lynch minorities; the mainstream media serves as a mouthpiece for genocidal propaganda; the judiciary cracks down on minorities while allowing Hindu supremacists who commit violent hate crimes to walk free; journalists are detained under anti-terror laws for tweeting about human rights abuses; religious conversions are criminalized; government authorities call for violence against minorities with no repercussions; and activists’ homes are bulldozed as retaliation for their dissent.  

Most alarmingly, over 200 million Muslims are at risk of mass violence and potential genocide, a threat that is a direct result of the discriminatory policies and hate speech pushed by elected officials at the highest levels of government.  

The anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed in 2019, combined with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), threatens the citizenship rights of Indian Muslims. 

Kashmiris, under a brutal military occupation of 900,000 Indian soldiers, are arbitrarily arrested and incarcerated in their thousands, including journalists and human rights activists. The Indian Army death squads are engaged in terrorizing Kashmiri neighbourhoods. Inflicting harm akin to war crimes such as rape, and are extra-judicially executing hundreds of Kashmiris. Many petitions have challenged the revocation of Constitutional Article 370 that had given special status to Jammu and Kashmir state. The Supreme Court has refused to hear those petitions. The separation of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary are blurred.  

The country’s Supreme Court stands accused of complicity in Modi’s comprehensive assault on civil and political liberties of religious minorities such as Muslims; human rights defenders; the civilian population of Kashmir, the government’s critics; and dissenters. 

Activists are being charged under draconian laws such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and kept in prison for years and denied bail. The Supreme Court and the High Courts have failed in their responsibility to protect the rights of people whose rights have been trampled, further eroding the rule of law.  

As India marks the 75th anniversary of its Independence Day, there is an urgent need to highlight freedom from UAPA. The Indian state has been ruthlessly misusing its so-called anti-terror law  to curb dissent and protests in the past few years. In the wake of the citizenship protests, and protests against Hindu nationalism in India, many academics, students, journalists, and activists have been imprisoned without trial under the UAPA – often on false charges of terrorism. Dissent and protest, the constitutional rights of every Indian citizen, are now under threat, especially for marginalised communities in India – Dalits, Muslims and Adivasis. 

On Indian Independence Day, let us rally and stand in global solidarity to restore, defend and advance  the hard fought  human rights, civil and political liberties in the Indian constitution embedding  egalitarian values, secularism and democratic rights for all its citizens as well justice, equality, and liberty and social solidarity for all.  

Free all political prisoners who have been languishing in jail! 

Stop the genocide against Muslims and other minorities.  


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