Time Magazine :Is India Headed for an Anti-Muslim Genocide?
BY DEBASISH ROY CHOWDHURY
Indian leaders love to talk up Mahatma Gandhi when they travel abroad. It plays well to the popular notion of India as a land of peace and love, and boosts its moral authority as a responsible democracy on the world stage. So, Gandhi and his ideas came up a lot as Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped out of India recently for the first time in about one and a half years.
Meeting Modi at the White House on Sept. 24, President Joe Biden said Gandhi’s “message of non-violence, respect, and tolerance matters today maybe more than it ever has.” In his own speech to the United Nations, Modi rued that “the world faces the threat of regressive thinking and extremism,” and underlined his country’s democratic credentials. To reinforce his point, he even coined a new sobriquet for India: “the mother of all democracies.”
No one knows what that means, least of all one Indian mother still trying to make sense of the death of her 12-year-old boy. He was felled by a stray police bullet in the northeastern state of Assam at the same time as Modi was pontificating in America.
“They killed my son,” a dazed Hasina Bano kept repeating between sobs when journalists visited her at a remote village on the banks of the Brahmaputra river. The boy, Sheikh Farid, was hit when police opened fire at Bengali Muslim villagers protesting the forced eviction from their land that the government now wants to give to Assamese Hindus, whom it calls the “indigenous community.” Ironically, moments before Farid died, he had collected from the post office a national biometric identification card establishing his own indigeneity.
The death of a child in such a manner should be the stuff of national disgrace. But the same eviction drive resulted in even more horror when a neighbor of Farid charged at the police with a stick, in a blind rage after they dismantled his home along with those of 5,000 others. The heavily armed policemen, who far outnumbered Moinul Hoque and could have easily subdued him, instead shot him dead at point blank range.