The assertions of world’s largest democracy and secular state are spurned aside, when the people living in the so-called secular state come up with total rejection of such claims through their actions. The plight of minorities in India is now an open secret. India which comprises of different minorities’ including Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and Jains entitles itself as human rights defender but unfortunately the ground realities are quite different and alarming. Definitely one can say that government has given free hand to the policy makers and followers who are least concerned about human values and ethics.
Off and on media reports the condition and misery of minorities living in India. In past incidents like forced conversions to Hinduism with a name of program as Ghar Wapsi, was to counter Love Jihad campaign, inhumane treatment with Dalits considering them as the worst class in India, ban on cow slaughter, killing many Muslims in the name of religion and false allegations of eating beef. So, there is much sectarian hatred in India which is often portrayed in forms of violence and brutality. The extremist organizations are promoting saffronization of India by brain washing youth mind-sets such as making compulsory education of Geeta, Maha Bharat and Hindu literature for Muslims in educational institutions. In past according to report released by Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission immoderations against religious minorities in India is a continuous marvel by using violence and disavowal of constitutional rights as the main tricks by Hindu extremists.
Report shows India as an intolerant and unbearable country for religious minorities. A report by The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) says, in India, hate crimes against religious minorities, their social boycotts and forced conversions have escalated dramatically since 2014. The report titled as, “Constitutional and Legal Challenges Faced by Religious Minorities in India” examines the country’s constitution and national and state laws that discriminate against religious minorities and Dalits. The report says that India is a religiously diverse and democratic society with a constitution that provides legal equality for its citizens irrespective of their religion and prohibits religion-based discrimination, however, the reality is far different. In fact, India’s pluralistic tradition faces serious challenges and during the past few years, religious tolerance has deteriorated and religious freedom violations have increased in some areas of India.
The report also claims that both by their design and implementation, anti-conversion laws infringe upon the individual’s right to convert, favour Hinduism over minority religions, and represent a significant challenge to Indian secularism. The report further states that since the inception of India in 1947, various efforts were made by the central government to pass nationwide legislation to control religious conversions in India. One can easily sense, India’s rapid shift from its secularism to religious and social extremism. The RSS and other extremist elements must be checked and controlled to reduce communal riots and human rights violations. In short, Modi must review its hard lined and hawkish policies and work to create a balanced, peaceful and co-existent environment at home and abroad. A non-discriminatory and tolerant approach must be adopted towards all factions of Indian society. India calls itself a true symbol of secularism but nowhere in the world one can see how this secularism is grassed other than India. Theoretically, Indian Constitution protects the rights of minorities, but Hindu majority led by BJP has shown complete disrespect to it and commit brutalities against Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Dalits with liberty.
It is not only minorities in India who are facing hard times but the people living in Kashmir are equally sufferers since many decades. Now the Indians are not only increasing their violent activities in Occupied Kashmir but unfortunately the Hindu fanatics are not sparing innocent children of their brutal acts. One such recent child rape case of Asifa and later the protection of criminals by the police and no action by government shows how senseless Indians are towards Kashmiris and particularly Muslims. In one of latest incident in Kashmir where masses were protesting against Indian forces brutalities, the live example came when Indian forces started firing on protestors leaving many injured. It’s not the first time that anti India protests and clashes have raged in Kashmir. The new uprising in Kashmir which has started after martyrdom of Burhan Wani is intensifying with every passing day which is only demanding India to leave Kashmir which they have illegally occupied. The phenomenon of religious persecution against the Muslims of IOK is also not new like rest of India.
The huge Indian occupational forces under the cover of Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA) and other black laws frequently engage in ethnic cleansing of Muslims. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces personnel have the powers to shoot suspected persons India has been victimizing Kashmiri leaders every off and on through dirty tactics to break their will and resolve. They have been repeatedly harassed and physically intimidated. Instead of accepting the existing reality, India has sought to blame Pakistan for allegedly promoting the Kashmiri uprising. These Indian accusations against Pakistan is a tactic to delude the International Community on Kashmir issue and a concealment to their state sponsored atrocities on innocent people of IOK.
The plight of Kashmiris and minorities living in India show that how biased Indians are turning towards humankind. They need to review their hard core policies and see that even after the decades of ruling in Occupied Kashmir through use of military might and exertions of power in rest of India, anti-Indian and anti-state sentiments runs deep down in the society and they are increasing with every passing day.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think-tank based in Islamabad.