December 16, 2002
India’s secular democracy suffered a severe setback yesterday when the fascist Bharatiya Janata Party was elected in a landslide victory in Gujarat, winning 125 out of a possible 181 seats. Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently charged being in Belgium as a
international war criminal for “Crimes against Humanity”, received an overwhelming mandate to return to power.
The Indian Muslim Council (www.imc-usa.org) joins concerned citizens of all countries and communities in expressing grave concern about what the BJP’s victory means for India’s secular democracy.
Earlier this year, Gujarat witnessed the worst communal violence since India’s independence, where over 2000 were killed, 150,000 displaced, over 800 women and girls raped, and 132 mosques and religious tombs destroyed. Nearly all of the victims of the well organized pogrom were Muslim. Eight months later, many continue to live in relief camps, fearing their lives.
The United Kingdom’s High Commission condemned the violence as “ethnic cleansing”, and “the making of an apartheid”, and “pre-planned.” In a scathing indictment by two retired Senior Indian Judges, P B Sawant and Hosbet Suresh concluded that Chief Minister Modi is “liable for prosecution for genocide, for refusal to take any preventive measure to protect the lives and properties of minorities in the State.” The tribunal accused him of “connivance and facilitation of the carnage, transfer of honest police officers, abusive comments against the affected and victimized community, and not taking punitive action against provocative press and other organizations.”
In assessing and understanding the BJP’s overwhelming electoral victory, the Indian Muslim Council wishes to raise four concerns:
1) The BJP’s victory suggests widespread endorsement for the savage violence organized by Chief Minister Modi. The Hindutva-fascists are
already promising to apply this “winning formula” at the national level.
2) The BJP’s victory is a severe blow for those who cherish the values of freedom and pluralism. That the BJP campaigned on an open policy of belligerent ultra-nationalism and racism, indicates that fascism has totally engulfed Gujarat. Over the past months, journalists-many of them Hindu-who have written or reported against the BJP have been attacked or censored.
3) The BJP’s victory in Gujarat is dangerous for the international community. India is a nuclear power in a region plagued by unrest and instability. India is also a country that is tragically being led by fascists who openly confess their admiration for Hitler’s extermination of Jews. With national elections approaching, the BJP stands a strong chance of re-election at the federal level. If India continues to be led by religious extremists armed with nuclear weapons, one only fears that the regional stability will be jeopardized.
4) The BJP’s victory is an obstruction to fair and equitable education. The BJP is part of a larger fraternity of Hindutva organizations called the “Sangh Parivar”. Throughout India, the Sangh Parivar operates over 100,000 schools that encourages militancy and trains young, impressionable minds to hate minorities. The BJP has led the charge, both at the federal and state level, to alter textbooks and curriculum to indoctrinate the next generation into believing that India’s minorities-the Christians, the Muslims, the Parsees-are foreigners according to Hindutva-fasicts definition of a Hindu in India and hence do not belong in the country. With the BJP firmly in power in Gujarat, one should expect-and fear-further efforts by the Sangh Parivar to instill religious hatred. Between January 1998 and February 1999 alone, there were 116 attacks against Christians in India. According to the South Asia Human Rights Documentation report, “Most of these attacks have been perpetrated by the Sangh Parivar.”
Right here in the United States, the Sangh Parivar runs over 44 chapters and raises millions of dollars to finance Hindu extremist in India. With the BJP firmly in power in Gujarat, one should expect-and fear-further efforts by the Sangh Parivar to further its global proliferation of religious hatred.
It is unfortunate that the BJP should win in the home state of Mohandas Gandhi, the courageous Indian freedom fighter who championed the cause of non-violence, tolerance and religious harmony. Gandhi was himself assassinated by a member of the Hindutva- fascist RSS, an organization that today counts Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its member. One only wonders what Gandhi would think if he knew the party that produced his assassin is ruling his home state.
History bears witness that fascist forces can only be stopped by heightened international pressure. The Indian Muslim Council is dedicated to restore Gandhi’s vision of a pluralistic India and calls upon all people, regardless of their religious background, to help resist the Hindutva forces that have steered the world’s largest democracy towards fascism.
Contact Person: Dr. Shaik Ubaid