Hindu Extremist Leaders Imply Need For Implementing China’s Uyghur Genocide Model in India
In the weeks following the calls for a Muslim genocide made at a Hindu extremist event in Haridwar city last month, Hindu extremist leaders, monks, and saints have continued to use their influence to spew anti-Muslim genocidal speech. On January 28, the core committee of the Haridwar hate speech assembly held a follow-up hate event in Uttar Pradesh. At the event, speakers called for India to be declared a Hindu nation, claimed that secularism was a “constitutional mistake,” and demanded that conversion from Hinduism to Islam or Christianity be treated as treason.
“Islamic jihad is a big threat to the humanity and the world. To crush it, the policy of China will have to be adopted and it can be stopped by imposing sanctions as China has done,” said Hindu extremist leader Sumeru Peethadheeshwar, implying that China’s genocide against Uyghur Muslims through concentration camps, torture, and brainwashing should be adopted by India as well.
“After acquiring teachings from our God and Goddesses, we should be armed with weapons and stop anti-national activities wherever it is promoted. If they don’t stop, shoot them,” said another priest.
Swami Swaroop Anand, who had also made hate speeches during the Haridwar event, demanded the release of Yati Narsinghanand and Jitendra Tyagi, two Hindu extremist leaders and Haridwar speakers who were arrested for their genocidal speeches.
“If our religious warriors are not released within a week, this campaign will get aggressive, Not just aggressive, the result of it will be horrible,” he threatened. He also implied that Hindu extremists might resort to bombings if Narsinghanand and Tyagi were not released from judicial custody.
Raking up genocidal sentiments through vitriolic statements are becoming more and more common throughout India, while the Modi government continues to maintain a conspicuous silence over the blatant calls for the mass slaughter of millions of Muslims.
Indian Government Bans Muslim-Owned TV Channel, Citing Baseless Security Concerns
In its latest attempt to crack down on press freedom, the Indian government’s Information & Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) has ordered a shutdown of MediaOne TV, a prominent Malayalam-language news channel that has several Muslim investors. Despite the fact that the channel has won many awards and accolades, including from the State Government, the I&B cited “security concerns” to justify its shutdown. However, the government has not provided any details as to what those “concerns” are, leading activists to decry this move as both anti-free speech and blatantly Islamophobic.
“Centre’s ban on MediaOne TV is highly reprehensible. This is the second time that the Central Government has imposed a ban on MediaOne TV. Yet another attempt to silence the political dissent through outright fascism. All people of India should unite against this tyranny,” tweeted Member of Parliament Mohammed Basheer.
This is not the first time the Indian government has attempted to silence MediaOne TV. The channel was first shut down in February 2020, after it had extensively reported on the anti-Muslim violence during the Delhi pogroms.
“The channel’s reporting on Delhi violence seems to be biased as it is deliberately focusing on the vandalism of CAA supporters…It also questions [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)] and alleges Delhi Police inaction. Channel seems to be critical towards Delhi Police and RSS,” the ministry order against MediaOne had said. The RSS is a militant Hindu extremist organization that spawned the current Hindu supremacist movement, with links to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Over the last 7 years, hundreds of journalists and media channels have come under direct attack from the PM Modi led government for reporting on its anti-minority policies and support of Hindu extremism. As a result, Reporters Without Borders has ranked India as 142 on the 2021 World Press Freedoms Index – worse than Myanmar and Afghanistan.
Anti-Muslim Policies Around Prayer & Hijab Continue To See Hindu Extremist Support
BJP-ruled Karnataka state has continued its crackdown on all expressions of Muslim identity through hijab and prayer bans in schools, betraying India’s constitutional values of secularism and pluralism.
In one public school, headmistress S.M. Umadevi has been suspended for allowing Muslim students to offer prayers on school grounds. Despite the fact that the students were praying in a closed classroom and not disrupting anyone, Karnataka’s Department of Public Instruction lashed out with a bigoted suspension order, implying that religious tolerance is important only when extended to Hindu students.
“It is the duty of the teachers of government schools to inculcate a sense of national integration. Religious tolerance, practices and traditions must be there. However, by allowing students to perform [prayers] in one of the classrooms instills a divisive mindset,” the suspension order stated.
On January 23, a group of Hindu extremists barged into the school after seeing a group of around 30 Muslim students offering prayers in a closed room, and began demanding that the school faculty order a stop to the prayers. Headmistress Umadevi’s suspension, despite the extremists’ invasive and disruptive bigotry, is yet another example of how influential Hindu extremists have become in the BJP ruled Karnataka state.
Meanwhile, Muslim students at a Karnataka college continue to face national harassment over their decision to wear their hijabs to school, fighting back against the school’s discriminatory hijab ban. Now, the students have taken their complaint against discrimination and bigotry to the courts. Siasat Media, a news publication, reports that one student has now filed a writ petition in the Karnataka High Court, seeking a declaration that wearing a hijab (headscarf) is a Fundamental Right guaranteed under Article 14 and 25 of the Constitution of India, as it is an essential practice of Islam. The case has been met with support from activists and blatant hatred from Hindu extremists, including state BJP official Raghupathy Bhat, who termed the students’ determination an “international conspiracy.”
A similar case of anti-hijab policies has reared its head in Kerala state, where an 8th-grade Muslim student enrolled in a program called Student Police Cadets was told to remove her hijab while wearing a student police uniform. The state government said in an order relating to the case that police uniforms “should be beyond any religious mark,” and that wearing a hijab “affects secularism and discipline.”
“This is outrightly outcasting Muslim girls. It is discriminatory as even when a Muslim girl qualifies academically and physically for SPC, she is asked to stay away for practicing her religion,” said advocate Ameen Hassan.
These continued attacks on Muslim religious practices are a blatant violation of India’s constitutionally mandated secularism, as well as an attempt to bar Muslim women from education and participation in greater society over the way they choose to dress.