India has turned Muslims into a ‘persecuted minority’: Noam Chomsky



2022-02-12 12:19:00

World-renowned scholar, creator and activist Noam Chomsky. — Reuters/File
  • “The crimes in Kashmir have a long history and the state is now a brutally occupied territory, Chomsky says.
  • He mentions that pathology of Islamophobia is growing throughout the West.
  • Activist believes situation in South Asia is painful not because of what is happening but because of what is not happening.

World-renowned scholar, author and activist Noam Chomsky has said that Islamophobia has taken a “most lethal form” in India, turning some 250 million Indian Muslims into a “persecuted minority.”

“The pathology of Islamophobia is growing throughout the West — [but] it is taking its most lethal form in India,” Chomsky, who can also be Professor Emeritus on the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise (MIT), mentioned in a video message to a webinar organised on Thursday by the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), a Washington-based advocacy organisation.

Other than Chomsky, a number of different teachers and activists took half within the webinar on “Worsening Hate Speech and Violence in India.”

Chomsky was of the view that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing Hindu nationalist regime has sharply escalated crimes in Indian Illegally-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK).

‘Kashmir is now a brutally occupied territory’

“The crimes in Kashmir have a long history,” he mentioned, including that the state is now a “brutally occupied territory and its military control in some ways is similar to occupied Palestine.”

The state of affairs in South Asia, Chomsky mentioned, is painful specifically not due to what is going on however due to what shouldn’t be taking place. There’s, nonetheless, hope and alternatives to resolve South Asian torment however not for lengthy, he added.

Focus must be on standing of press freedom in India

Annapurna Menon, an Indian creator and lecturer on the College of Westminster, urged the worldwide group to give attention to the standing of press freedom in India as, beneath the BJP authorities, the state of affairs has develop into a reason for concern.

“The situation on the ground is extremely alarming as four journalists have already been killed in 2022, simply for doing their job,” Menon mentioned, including that journalists — particularly girls — have been uncovered to every kind of reprisals together with harassment, unlawful detention, police violence and sedition expenses.

“The state of affairs in IOJK is much more dire, the place journalists routinely face police questioning, ban on reporting, suspension of web companies and monetary constraints in step with BJP’s latest ‘media policy’. The household of award-winning Srinagar-based photojournalist Masrat Zahra was subjected to harassment and intimidation by Indian police because the crackdown on the press in Indian-occupied Kashmir continues to escalate,” she mentioned.

Fahad Shah, a famend Kashmiri journalist who’s the founder and editor of ‘‘The Kashmir Walla’’, was arrested not too long ago by police in Pulwama beneath terrorism and sedition legal guidelines, Menon identified. Equally, Sajjad Gul, one other journalist of ‘‘The Kashmir Walla’’, was additionally arrested firstly of February 2022.

‘Promotion of majority faith by Indian govt is best risk’

John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), mentioned the best risk to the Indian structure is the promotion of majority faith by the Indian authorities on the expense of minorities.

“The BJP and its affiliates are making hateful remarks against Muslims to gain Hindu votes around elections,” he mentioned.

The BJP authorities has adopted legal guidelines and insurance policies that systematically discriminate in opposition to spiritual minorities and different teams and it additionally stigmatises its critics, the HRW official mentioned. The federal government enacted the ‘Citizenship Act’ to focus on minorities, notably Indian Muslims.

Social media platforms resembling Fb, YouTube and Tiktok, Sifton mentioned, had failed to manage hatred unfold via their platforms.

The US Congress, he mentioned, should weigh on the Indian authorities to convey their issues vis-a-vis the violation of human and minority rights in India.

Angana Chatterji, Indian Anthropologist and Scholar on the College of California, Berkeley, mentioned prejudices embedded within the authorities of the ruling Hindu nationalist BJP have infiltrated impartial establishments, such because the police and the courts, empowering nationalist teams to threaten, harass and assault spiritual minorities with impunity.

“Hindu spiritual leaders are involved in the ethnic cleansing of Muslims,” she mentioned, including that BJP leaders and affiliated teams have lengthy portrayed minority communities, particularly Muslims, as a risk to nationwide safety and to the Hindu lifestyle. They’d raised the bogey of “love jihad” claiming that Muslim males lure Hindu girls into marriages to transform them to Islam, labelled Muslim immigrants as extremists and accused them of wounding Hindu sentiments over cow slaughter.

Since Yogi Adityanath grew to become Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP) in 2017, Chatterji mentioned the tradition of violence and impunity has taken root, declaring that UP police have carried out tons of of extra-judicial killings of suspected criminals belonging to minorities, notably Muslims.

By the point protests in opposition to the Citizenship Modification Invoice spilt out on the streets of UP in December 2019, the police manhandled protestors, behaved in a vulgar method with girls, arrested whomsoever it needed and framed distinguished activists in legal instances, she mentioned.

As tons of of hundreds of farmers of varied faiths started protesting in opposition to the federal government’s new farm legal guidelines in November 2020, senior BJP leaders, their supporters on social media, and pro-government media blamed the Sikhs as ‘Khalistani terrorists’, Chatterji mentioned.

February 23, 2022, marks the second anniversary of the communal violence in Delhi that killed 53 folks, 40 of them Muslim.

BJP brazenly incites crimes in opposition to minorities: former Indian civil servant

Harsh Mander, a former Indian civil servant and human rights activist, mentioned that whereas Mahatma Gandhi upheld the ideas of non-violence, the Hindu supremacist ideology is being at the moment being propagated by Indian leaders.

“Hate crimes have increased by a thousandfold during the BJP regime,” he mentioned. The BJP stigmatises and brazenly incites crimes in opposition to minorities, even Mom Teresa has been vilified.

Muslims, Mander mentioned have been falsely projected as bigots, unpatriotic, Jihadis and oppressors, including that even PM Modi follows a number of the hate mongers and he refuses to denounce them.

IOJK, he mentioned, is essentially the most militarised area of the world.

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