Death danced in Delhi in the last week of February during which a large number of Muslims were brutally killed and their homes burnt to ashes. For three days violent Hindu mobs freely attacked Muslim localities, torched their homes and shops and committed unspeakable barbarities against helpless men, women and children.
It was an organised anti-Muslim pogrom, a planned carnage in which the Modi government was complicit. As gangs of Hindu criminals indulged in loot and arson, the police remained a silent spectator and at places became part of the rampaging mobs, pelting stones and setting shops on fire.
In the age of the internet and mobile phones, such large scale acts of vandalism could not go unnoticed. Blood curdling images of hapless men and women being beaten to death and whole localities set on fire have been captured on mobile phone cameras and circulated on the internet.
The world media has written extensively what looked like a genocidal wave against the Muslims in Delhi. The BBC, CNN and leading US dailies have commented that what happened in Delhi on February 23-25 was an organised and planned offensive against the Muslims of India.
According to the respected Atlantic journal, “The Delhi police, who report directly to Home Minister Amit Shah, either stood idly by or escorted the mobs. Videos of police breaking CCTV cameras and taunting prone and bleeding Muslim men while filming them with their smartphones circulated on social media. The violence echoed that of 2002, when Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat and the authorities there did nothing to stem carnage that killed some 1,000 people, the majority of them Muslims. It also brought back the memories of the revenge killings of at least 3,000 Sikhs in Delhi after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards in 1984. In all these cases, mobs targeting a single religious group were allowed to run riot, unchecked by the police. This is the definition of a pogrom”.
RSS-BJP fanatics shouting “Jai shree Ram” (Hail Ram) led coordinated attacks in predominantly Muslim areas of Delhi. TV footages show how Muslim localities were targeted in a calculated manner. And the carnage continued for three days right under the nose of the Modi government.
The RSS attack was lunched against those people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which redefines Indian citizenship on the basis of religion and is blatantly discriminatory against the Muslims. The Muslims legitimately fear that if the government goes ahead with its proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), they would be the major victim. A positive sign is that many right thinking democratically concerned Hindus have also been rallying against the NRC and CAA.
The CAA is designed by the Modi government to polarise Indian society in an attempt to consolidate the majoritarian tyranny which the BJP government wants to impose on the country. In the last six years, the government has deliberately deepened the religious divide in order to garner more extremist Hindu vote.
Modi thrives on spouting hatred against the Muslims. After his 2014 electoral victory, Modi was hailed as a free-market reformist who may have outgrown his heinous role during the riots of 2002. That image of Modi remained largely intact during his first term in office despite ominous signs to the contrary, such as multiple lynching of Muslims by fanatic Hindus on the suspicion of eating beef and the hounding and assassination of journalists and free-thinkers by Hindu extremists that went unpunished.
As liberal Indian analysts have noted, it rang alarm bells when Modi appointed the rabidly anti-Muslim Hindu cleric Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, after the party won legislative elections there in 2017. Dressed in saffron robes, Adityanath has falsely charged that Muslim men were plotting to steal away Hindu women by means of “love jihad,” mounted a private army of militants called the Hindu Yuva Vahini, and threatened to drown in the sea anyone who refused to perform a yogic salutation to the sun. Since his appointment as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Adityanath has unleashed a reign of terror against Muslims in his province.
Modi’s prime aim is to transform India from a secular democracy into a Hindu-nationalist state. The aim underlies many actions he has taken since his re-election, including the annexation of occupied Kashmir, the imposition of a citizenship registry that has rendered nearly 2 million people, many of whom are Muslim, stateless and the passage of the CAA.
Modi is playing the Hindu-Muslim card to divert the public attention from the rapid socio-economic decline India has witnessed in the last few years. But he will not succeed in his nefarious game as sane sections of the Indian public have risen in revolt against his divisive policies.