By Sajjad Shaukat
On the one hand, India claims to be a secular state, while on the other it has broken all the records of violence, genocide and massacre perpetrated on various ethnic and religious groups entailing the community of its own lower castes. These atrocities and injustices have exposed India’s so-called secularism.
It is notable that historical background and religious beliefs which have formed the habits and national character of Hindus are quite different from the other ethnic and religious communities. Indians still have a strong belief in the superiority of their race. Indian Hindus are followers of Chanakya (Say some thing else and do some thing else). These facts have been verified by the misdeeds of Hindu fundamentalist parties like the BJP, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sina and Bajrang Dal which have missed no opportunity to communalise national politics of India even under the Congress rule. With the backing of Indian officials, these parties have intensified anti-Christian and anti-Muslim bloodshed in the last decade coupled with the dissemination of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism).
Besides previous genocide of Muslims and destruction of the Babri Mosque, more than 2500 Muslims were massacred in 2002 in the BJP-ruled Indian state of Gujarat. 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 that massacre” and pointed out numerous police officials—specifically ministers, high officials and leaders of the VHP, BJP and Bajrang Dal as participants.
On September 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.
It is mentionable that after the BJP came to power in February 2006, unlike the previous similar tragic events, Christian persecution rose to new heights in the state of Karnataka. Attacks on Christian holidays became common in the state like other areas. On the Christmas Eve of 2007, Hindu extremists led a series of violent attacks on Christians and their property in the state of Orissa, killing six Christians and razing at least 800 houses and 100 churches.
According to a report of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), “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…before almost every assault, the mob of the Hindu extremist of RSS, VHP and 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 Orissa.
Under the mask of democracy and secularism, Indian subsequent regimes dominated by politicians from the Hindi heartland—Hindutva have been using brutal force ruthlessly against any move to free Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura where wars of independence are alive in one or the other form.
As regards the Indian-held Kashmir, since 1947, Indian forces have intermittently been employing all the possible techniques of military terrorism such as curfews, crackdowns, sieges, massacre, targeted killings etc. to maintain their alien rule. However, under the new puppet regime in the occupied Kashmir, Indian brutalities keep on going against the current phase of Kashmiri uprising which began on August 12, 2008. In the last two years, more than 3000 unmarked graves of the unidentified bodies were uncovered in villages of Indian-held Kashmir. Sources have suggested that these graves include bodies of extrajudicial executions committed by the Indian military and paramilitary forces. European Parliament strongly condemned India regarding human rights violations in the occupied Kashmir
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 terrorists 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 secular terroist state. More alarming point is that Bajrang Dal has also been imparting arms training to its members near Ayodhya.
It is worth-mentioning that ideology of Hindu nationalism prevails in every field at the cost of other minorities. It is even supported by Indian defence forces clandestinely. This fact could be judged from the recent past, when on April 6, 2008 in the house of Bajrang Dal fundamentalists in Nanded, a bomb went off. The investigations proved that the militants belonging to the Bajrang Dal were found in the bomb-making and attack on a mosque in Parbhani in 2003. Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra arrested a serving Lt. Col. Srikant Purohit along with other army officials, indicating that they were helping in training the Hindu terrorists, providing them with the military-grade explosive RDX, used in the Malegaon bombings and terrorist attacks in other Indian cities. ATS further disclosed that Lt. Col. Purohit confessed that in 2007, he was involved in bombing of Samjhota express, which brunt alive 69 Pakistanis. Leaders of the Indian extremist parties, Shiv Sena, BJP, VHP and RSS are now pressurising the Congress regime to release the culprits.
Before these revelations about Hindu terrorism, Indian government has been accusing the Islamic organizations in contact with Pakistani or Bangladeshi intelligence agencies in carrying out bomb blasts in Malegaon and other Indian places.
As regard Hindu terrorism, BBC indicated on November 21, 2008 that a new phrase has entered the sometimes cliche-riddled Indian press: “Hindu terrorism”, calling it the latest addition to the media lexicon
Although apparently, India claims to be the largest democracy, acting upon the principles of liberalism and secularism, yet in practice, all political, economic and social fields of the country are divided on the caste lines. In this regard, Tim Sullivan of the Associated Press wrote, “There’s a lot of lip service to saying ‘I’m an Indian first, and ‘I’ do not believe in caste,” said D’Souza, a prominent campaigner for dalits, as India’s “untouchables” at the very bottom of the caste system are now known.” Sullivan further elaborated, “When it comes to sharing power, to interaction and to sharing social status, low-caste Indians are very much marginalized.”
In fact, the ideology of Hindutva is being encouraged by the government officials. Besides attacks on the other ethnic and religious communities including their establishments, appointment of extremist Hindus in top positions in various institutes and alteration of courses in accordance with the Hindu ideology have reflected the real intentions of the BJB and the Congress rulers.
It is now clear that instead of taking action, New Delhi has been using Hindu terrorists to create frenzy against the other religious communities.
In fact, there is a co-relationship of the Hindutva and Hindu fundamentalism which are the genesis of Hindu terrorism. Nonetheless, Hindu terrorism is on rise, which has enveloped whole of India.
No doubt, violence against the other communities and its own lower-minority groups has been used by Hindu fundamentalists as a normal practice since partition, but intensity of the anti-Muslim and anti-Christian bloodshed in the last decade coupled with the dissemination of Hindutva has displayed India’s so-called secularism.
Sajjad Shaukat is a regular contributor to 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.