Is the current BJP government a threat to the entire sub-continent?
India has entered the new year on many negatives.
Its economy is simmering and showing no signs of recovery. Protests are everywhere in the country and increasing with each passing day, first started by common people and now joined by students of various colleges and universities.
BJP came again to power in May 2019 and within a few months started its Hindutva agenda under the Modi-Amit Shah duo without caring about the consequences. First by revoking Kashmir’s seminal autonomy and then by passing controversial laws, degrading its minorities and creating an atmosphere of fear.
Kashmir is still under communication lock-down and cut off from the world even after almost six months.
Kashmiris have been denied internet and pre-paid mobile services since August 2019, when Article 370 was struck down by the Indian government.
It is pertinent to mention here that students in Kashmir appeared in examinations, going to school in the second half of last year. They had to reach examinations on foot and cross many blockades and wires.
The Jammu and Kashmir economy has suffered a massive blow. According to Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, businesses have suffered about 20,000 crore rupees in losses and hundreds of thousands of young people have lost jobs due to the internet shutdown.
After Kashmir, BJP passed the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which gives citizenship to persons and refugees and immigrants belonging to several Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Budhists, and Christians.
The first reaction came from Assam, where people reminded the government about the consequences of this act and the Assam Accord. Several protesters were killed in police firing and internet and mobile services were shut down for several days to bring about “normalcy.”
Many people, mostly Muslims, have been killed in police firing in the state of Uttar Pradesh and there is no back-off from the protesters. Section 144 was promulgated in Uttar Pradesh to curb the information flow and suppress the people further.
On December 15, Delhi police entered the library of one of the most prestigious universities of India -- Jamia Millia Islamia University -- and beat up students. Later in the evening, police beat up the students in hostels in another minority institution -- Aligarh Muslim University -- which attracted widespread condemnation locally and internationally. Internet and phone services were snapped in some of the Muslim-majority areas of Delhi to prevent the people from assembling.
The Indian government has been criticized by many countries over the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, robbing it of its autonomy, then caging its population through a mass crackdown and communication shutdown for months.
There was also a recent Jawaharlal Nehru University incident, in which some outside goons, with the help of ABVP, a student wing of BJP, entered the campus and beat up students and professors with many sustaining serious injuries.
BJP-aligned Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath has warned protesters, mostly Muslims, of revenge and grave consequences of confiscating their property and other assets for the losses incurred during protests.
This has also drawn criticism from various quarters, but to no avail, as police have started to confiscate property of suspected Muslim protesters. Some BJP ministers have openly threatened those who will oppose the Modi and Yogi government.
Before the recent development of passing acts in parliament, India’s present government was changing the names of roads and other places to Hindu names.
It seems that India is slowly inching closer towards a Nazi-type regime in matters of treating its minorities and other marginalized communities with state-supported acts and legislations to demean and discourage them, eventually paving the way for a “Hindu Rashtra” in which minorities have to migrate.
It is high time for the Indian progressive people, intellectuals, academicians, and progressive political parties to stop this menace, this hate-mongering right-wing juggernaut. Otherwise, be ready for the disaster which will engulf the whole of the sub-continent.
Ashraf Lone is a writer associated with Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.