InternationalVOLUME 16 ISSUE # 08

The reality of Indian secularism

People belonging to non-Hindu minority religions are facing a new wave of hostility at the hands of Hindus, backed by BJP-led fanatics. A similar, but with a different modus operandi, plot has been hatched for the people of occupied Kashmir, involving young women, who are being forced to marry RSS goons for conceiving children, who will be considered born Hindus.

Elsewhere in other states, Muslims, Christians and other minorities are threatened to either convert to Hinduism or else leave India for good. This is how the Modi government is following “Hindustan is for Hindus; all others have no room to enjoy citizenship in India.” Several Indian states have passed anti-conversion laws aimed at restricting the right to propagate religion, which is guaranteed by  Article 25 of the Indian constitution. This has of late been a big question mark for the saner elements amongst the ruling Hindus but now it is a thing of the past. India’s so-called diversity and traditional ethos of tolerance exist no more; this has been marred by hostility and hate along caste and religious lines.

It is no more a secular country; Hindutva’s penetration into Nazist mentality that is hell-bent upon forced conversions is very much the new reality. The Narendra Modi government is not only harboring a grudge against anti-conversion laws introduced by various states, but also working on implementing the agenda of either expelling those who defy the orders or obediently accept Hinduism as their new religion.

Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party has taken over power in India in 2014, religious intolerance and anti-Christian violence by Hindu-RSS terrorists has surged across the width and breadth of the country. Religious persecution, especially of Muslim and Christian communities, now caricatures the changed Indian constitution. All minorities have a miserable life, their plight at the hands of goons, who have gone berserk with swords and daggers in their hands is at its all-time peak. Preachers, including the in-charge of the Delhi preaching center, have been challenged under the anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering laws. This is a fact that has not only perturbed the minorities at home but also the world community and the intelligentsia. They are demanding their respective governments to exert pressure on the Modi government to eschew the path of violence against the minorities and let them live peacefully.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recently called for putting India on the religious freedom blacklist. “India should be considered amongst the world’s worst violators”, the CIRF observes. The situation of religious minorities in India has seen a steady decline during much of independent India’s history as well as the onslaught of a hateful and divisive ideology that has sought to impose political and cultural hegemony by Hindu majority. They are being harassed and forcefully converted; their young females are being kidnapped and put into unwedded solitary confinements, so that they conceive Hindu babies, says the report.

Christian missionaries, priests and bishops are being harassed; they are either expelled and deported or even killed. The BJP government recently ordered the deportation of three American missionaries, who belonged to the Church of Christ in North Carolina, on the first available flight to the US. In a similar incident, a Christian missionary was burnt alive to death right in front of his two kids in the Indian state of Orissa by a serial killer, Dara Singh.

What to talk of the Muslim minority community, which is the major target of victimization and violence at the hands of RSS goons, who are avenging the centuries-long Muslim rule over Hindustan. A Muslim girl, Gul Naz, was kidnapped, manhandled and repeatedly raped by Satish Kumar and his friends. When they found that the girl was no more in her senses, they set her on fire by dousing her in kerosene oil. Her charred and mutilated body was later found in front of the house of the family, which is now demanding justice from the Indian police and courts of law, but no one is listening to them even after many weeks have passed. In the past, such kind of heinous crime and gory incidents have been resented by the saner elements, liberal Hindus and educated lot, including intelligentsia and educationists. Bollywood actors have been voicing their outrage over the discriminatory treatment meted out to the minority communities, their young girls and children, but now they too have gone silent, probably out of shame or fear of RSS goons.

The silence of liberals and political leaders on Gul Naz’s tragic molestation and torching to death is deafeningly deplorable. The Muslim minority community in India has either been left at the mercy of perpetrators or its own to bear the losses, abductions of females and young boys and wait for another similar kind of incident happening in front of their elders. The fear is so prevalent that even Gul Naz, on the bed in hospital, had recognized and named the perpetrators in her testimony before succumbing to her burn injuries, but no action has so far been taken by the police, local administration, political leadership or courts of law. Little coverage was given to the horrendous act, which has put a shameful curtain on the barbaric act.

Needless to say, the Muslim and Christian minority communities are the most vulnerable targets of Hindutva extremists in today’s India. Both communities are being offered only two options: become Hindu or leave Hindustan. The RSS and its Hindu goons are distributing pamphlets or dropping leaflets at homes and train stations throughout the country, warning the Christians as well as Muslims to leave India or convert to Hinduism, or they would be killed by year 2021. Already in 2016, a global index of human rights and social and religious freedoms by the PEW Research Center has placed India among the worst 10 of the world’s 198 countries when judged for “social hostilities”.