From year 1511 to 1648 when Europe witnessed a prolonged arena of barbarism, religious bigotry and intolerance, culminating into beastly violence, the Treaty of Westphalia was concluded in 1648 in order to maintain the nation-state system whose basic purpose was to honour the dignity of human beings.
Although human rights violations in the world such as torture, genocide and massacre continued after that agreement in wake of various multilateral treaties and conventions, yet India which claims to be the largest democracy, echoing secular sounds in the modern era has been brutally violating human rights both on official and non-official level.
Recently more than 2,700 unmarked graves of the unidentified bodies were uncovered in villages of Indian-held Kashmir near the Line of Control (LoC). It is not a new event, in the past three years, the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice (IPT) has discovered unmarked bodies buried at various places. Last year, discovery of nearly 1000 graves of the unmarked Muslims in the Indian controlled Kashmir was also notable.
Sources have suggested that these graves include bodies of extrajudicial executions committed by the Indian military and paramilitary forces. International human rights groups have called for a probe, remarking that the unmarked graves held bodies of civilians who have disappeared, and Indian security forces killed them through various tactics of torture A police officer pointed out that most of the bodies were of militants.
In the recent past, European Parliament strongly condemned India in connection with human rights violations in the occupied Kashmir.
However, since 1989, Indian military troops have been employing every possible tactic of state terrorism and ethnic cleansing to disturb the majority population of Kashmiris. During and after the latest so-called elections, intermittent curfews, crackdowns and massacre of the innocent Kashmiri people by the Indian security forces keep on going to crush the current non-violent mass uprising of Kashmiris.
The matter of human rights violations is not confined to Kashmir only as it has enveloped whole of India. In fact, there is a co-relationship of the Hindutva (Hindu Nationalism) and Hindu fundamentalism which are the genesis of Hindu terrorism—which has given a greater blow to human rights in India. This ideology has been encouraged by the subsequent governments officially, manifesting itself in several forms such as dominance of Hindu culture, ethnic violence, religious fervour and intolerance of Muslims and Christians.
Although violence against the other communities has been used by Hindu fundamentalists as a normal practice since partition, yet anti-Christian and anti-Muslim bloodshed in the last decade coupled with the dissemination of Hindutva has intensified.
Besides previous genocide of Muslims, more than 2500 Muslims were massacred in 2002 in the BJP-ruled Indian state of Gujarat where horrible scenes of arson, mutation and rape were perpetrated by the Hindu extremists against the unarmed Muslims. Regarding that massive genocide, both Human Rights Watch in 2002 and Amnesty International in 2003 charged the “Gujarat state administration” for involvement in “a massive cover-up of the state’s role in the massacres” and indicated numerous police officials—specifically ministers, high officials and leaders of the VHP, BJP and Bajrang Dal as participants in the violence.
Notably, various investigations failed in pointing out the real perpetrators of Hindu terrorism in Gujrat as they were high officials or police officers of the Indian government. Hence, the Supreme Court of India had ordered a fresh probe on March 25, 2008, but the same also remains inconclusive due to concealment of evidence against the culprits who are members of the dominating political parties of the country.
Apart from Gujrat, onSeptember 13, 2008, the communal riots in Uttar Pradesh killed more than 200 Muslims. In one of the most tragic incidents in Assam, Hindu extremists burnt alive six members of a Muslim family.
When the BJP-led alliance was firmly in the saddle in 1998, the ideology of Hindutva was encouraged by the government officials. Besides attacks on the Muslims and the Christians entailing their religious establishments, appointment of extremist Hindus in top positions in various institutes and alteration of courses in accordance with the Hindu ideology reflected the intentions of the BJB rulers in various provinces.
In Maharashtra, non-Hindu communities have lived in constant fear and awe since the advent of the fundamentalist party, Shiv Sena whose Chief Bal Thackeray has organised army of hoodlums to beat up any religious minority, openly directing the Hindu extremists to loot and stone any of their shop or house. Silence of the subsequent governments on every challenge of Shiv Sena and lack of serious action against Thackeray’s vandalism have clearly defeated the secular echoes of India which is in fact a terroist state. More alarming point is that Bajrang Dal has also been imparting arms training to its members near Ayodhya where the extremists Hindus want to build Ram Mandir on the site of Babri Masjid which was demolished deliberately in 1992 with the official support.
Notably, a few days ago, a leakage of the Justice Liberation Commisssion of India admitted the BJP’s leadership for the destruction of the Babri Masjid, and over other human rights violations in the Indian-held Kashmir including violence against the Muslim and Christian communities.
It is mentionable that killing and harassment of Christians including attacks on Churches by the Hindu extremists have been continuing intermittently.
Unlike the previous similar tragic events, Christian persecution rose to new heights in the state of Karnataka after the BJP came to power in February 2006. Attacks on Christian holidays became common in the state like other regions. On the Christmas Eve of 2007, Hindutvaextremists led a series of violent attacks on Christians and their property in Orissa state’s Kandhamal district, killing six Christians and razing at least 730 houses and 95 churches. In one of the events, in March, 2008, more than 150 intolerant nationalist Hindus stormed two Easter Sunday services and beat at least 16 Christians including two pastors in Bangalore and in Shimoga district as reported by the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).
 Before almost every assault, the mob of the Hindu extremist RSS, VHPand Bajrang Dal, armed with bamboo poles, sticks and rods, while beating drums shout slogans in Hindi—he “who talks in favour of only Hindus will rule the nation.”
Nevertheless, assaults on Christians and their property have continued by the Hindu mobs in Orissa, Assam, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Even the year of 2009 witnessed a number of incidents of religious intolerance. In this respect, at least 60 Christians have been assassinated in the recent past by Hindu fundamentalists in the state of Orissa.
Hindu culture, dominated by the RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena and other such fundamentalist parties—provocative utterances of their extremist leaders, propagating Hindutva are bound to result into more violence against the Christians and the Muslims including other minority groups.
Nonetheless, west has broken its prolonged silence when this year, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has placed India on the watch list owing to its severe discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities. The USCIRF is emphasising President Barack Obama to put pressure on New Delhi for its largely inadequate response to fundamentalist violence against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 and Christians in Orissa in 2008-2009.
Meanwhile, Fr. Babu Joseph, the spokesman of the Indian Bishops’ Conference (CBCI), said that the decision of the USCIRF “is a clear indication of the growing concern of the international community to the repeated failure of India to take decisive corrective measures to curb religious intolerance.”
It is the right hour that the US-dominated international community must take appropriate steps against glaring human rights violations by the Indian security forces and Hindu terrorists. Otherwise, Hindu terrorists may cause World War III between the Muslim and Western nations by manipulating the ongoing war on terror.
Sajjad Shaukat a regular writer for Opinion Maker. He writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.