Today, there are growing concerns over the continuous attacks on religious freedom in India under the government of prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi.
By Rakesh Raman
A group of students and faculty members from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) from Bangalore and Ahmedabad have urged prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi to speak up against the increasing incidents of hate speeches and communal violence in the country.
In their open letter, 183 signatories – including 13 faculty members – have stated that Modi’s silence over violent calls against specific communities of the country are encouraging the hate crimes.
According to an NDTV report of January 8, the IIM scholars have expressed that Modi’s tacit approval emboldens the hate-filled voices and threatens the unity and integrity of our country. The letter comes as a response to the recent Dharam Sansad (religious parliament) event in Haridwar where some Hindu religious leaders urged people to attack Muslims and called for genocide.
Recently, a group of advocates of the Supreme Court of India had written a letter to Chief Justice of India NV Ramana with the appeal to take suo motu cognizance of the calls for “ethnic cleansing” at two recent religious events in Delhi and Haridwar.
In their letter, 76 lawyers informed Justice Ramana that between the 17th and 19th of December 2021, at two separate events organized in Delhi and Haridwar, hate speeches including open calls for genocide of Muslims in order to achieve ethnic cleansing, were made.
They have also given the names of Hindu militant leaders who made calls to attack Muslims in India. “The aforementioned events and the speeches delivered during the same time are not mere hate speeches but amount to an open call for murder of an entire community. The said speeches, thus, pose a grave threat not just to the unity and integrity of our country but also endanger the lives of millions of Muslim citizens,” the advocates said in their letter of December 26, 2021. [ Click here to watch a related video. ]
The lawyers’ letter adds that the recent genocidal calls are a part of a series of similar hate speeches that are being regularly made in India against Muslims by the militant Hindu mobs. The lawyers urged the Chief Justice to intervene and take judicial action to stop such communal crimes in the country.
Today, there are growing concerns over the continuous attacks on religious freedom in India under the Modi government. In a detailed report in November 2021, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) had said that religious freedom conditions in India continue their negative trajectory.
The USCIRF report – which cited a number of hate crimes against Muslims – added that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of PM Modi promotes Hindu nationalist policies resulting in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.
Obviously, Modi will ignore the letter of IIM students and faculty members because he himself is encouraging hate crimes for political advantage. With his divisive actions, Modi entices Hindu voters by creating an atmosphere of animosity against the minority communities including Muslims and Sikhs so that the majority of Hindus could elect him and his party in elections.
While Modi politicizes religion for electoral gains, USCIRF also recommended imposing targeted sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for severe violations of religious freedom by freezing those individuals’ or entities’ assets and/or barring their entry into the United States.
The USCIRF report says that the U.S. Congress should continue to raise religious freedom concerns in the U.S.-India bilateral relationship and highlight concerns through hearings, briefings, letters, and congressional delegations.
Now, the lawyers have appealed to the Supreme Court to take action against the perpetrators of hate crimes in India. But it is expected that their appeal will fall on deaf ears. It is being increasingly observed that the Supreme Court of India judges are scared of crooked politicians who virtually control them. When the case is against the government politicians or people connected with the politicians, the judges do not take any decision that may displease their government bosses.
In a video interview of January 6 for The Wire news service, a former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur said he is “terribly disappointed” because the Supreme Court has not taken cognizance of the calls for genocide. He added that the court must insist that those who made the call for genocide are immediately arrested and put behind bars. But the spineless Supreme Court did not take any action.
In the past, multiple cases have been either ignored by the Supreme Court arbitrarily or the judgments have gone in favor of the Modi government. These cases include Ayodhya temple case, Rafale corruption case, electronic voting machines (EVM) fraud case, PM-CARES Fund case, Article 370 case on Kashmir, Judge Loya death case, Gujarat riots case, Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) case, electoral bonds case, judicial corruption case, sextortion case of former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, environmental crime case, Pegasus spyware case, and a number of other cases which still await justice.
Thus, the Supreme Court of India has lost its credibility and relevance. As a result, the lawlessness and hate crimes will continue under the Modi regime.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.
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