WASHINGTON : In spite of its aberrations and cruelties, India could still claim of being a ‘liberal democracy’ until a few years ago. Not anymore, as murderous hate against minorities, particularly Muslims, is getting into the mainstream India.
In an article “A Cruel April in Kashmir”, published in the prestigious New York Times, the author narrated a spate
of incidents mainly against Kashmiri Muslims in the occupied valley and the reaction by the sections of society to these incident to expose India’s claim of being a ‘liberal democracy’.
In the backdrop of these incidents, the article stated that the mainstreaming of murderous hate comes at a time of ‘near-incendiary mutation of the foundational principles of India, and to the idea of India herself’.
“The spectacular consolidation of power by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, the B.J.P., has been synchronous with the spread of hate speech and violence against India’s minorities – Muslims, Dalits and Christians,” wrote Mirza Waheed, a writer and the author of the novels “The Collaborator” and “The Book of Gold Leaves.”
For the author, seasons of killings and mourning come to Kashmir almost every year. Last year, nearly 100 people were killed and hundreds blinded by firing of pellets on protesters by Indian troops. More than a dozen people, including a 12-year-old boy, have been killed so far in Kashmir this month.
In one of the most bizarre incident, Indian troops while on patrol this month chanced upon a 26-year-old Farooq Ahmad Dar and assaulted him, wounding his hands and arms. But, after the assault, they tied him to the front of jeep and drove through several villages a live trophy – a ‘human shield’. According to a report, a soldier was heard saying through a public address system that “those who throw stones will meet the same fate.”
While many in India expressed their shock, a large section of Indian media, including some editors and columnists, openly celebrated what was a violation of Geneva Convention, the article said.
India’s attorney general Mukul Rohatgi justified the use of human shield and praised those do did it. A judge on India’s Armed Forces Tribunal, which hears court-martial appeals, Air Marshal (Retd) Anil Chopra, called it ‘an innovative idea’ in a tweet reported by the Indian media.
When eight protesters were killed on April 9, “much of India’s broadcast media chose to invest airtime in a video that showed an Indian trooper ‘harassed and slapped’ by some protesters. Many channels decided to whip up hostility toward Kashmiris, the article said.
According to the article, a former captain of India’s cricket team, Gautam Gambhir, in fact, called for a mass murder. “For every slap on my army’s Jaw lay down at least a 100 jihadi lives”. A senior editor, R Jagannathan, Editorial Director of Swaraja, called Kashmiris ‘mosquitoes’.
Citing these examples to show the mainstreaming of murderous hate in India, the article concluded: “India could perhaps show a light. Not crush Kashmir but solve one of the world’s longest-running conflicts along with Pakistan – even if the relationship between the forever estranged nuclear siblings is at its lowest.”-APP