• Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020
  • Last Update : 10:10 pm

India’s communal cancer

  • Published at 07:54 pm March 15th, 2020
More-'apartheid-cities'-seen-in-India-after-deadly-Delhi-riots
Reuters

Communal violence in India has long been a reality 

On February 23, followed by a fiery speech by Kapil Mishra -- a high ranking member of Delhi unit’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -- lingering protests in defiance of the promulgation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) throttled into full-scale sectarian violence that has left the Indian capital looking like a war zone.  

The final casualty number, according to Delhi Police and spokespeople of the government, is 53 dead and more than 200 injured. Section 144 had been issued in certain parts of the city where most of the violence occurred, added with a shoot-at-sight order in the most affected areas. This widespread violence had left hundreds of homes burned to the ground, thousands of families who fled in fear of further persecution, shops and markets burned to the ground, and religious establishments such mosques and temples attacked and put on fire by angry mobs. 

This widespread act of terror left many Hindus as well as Muslims in a state of fear and frenzy. Although Amit Shah, the union home minister of the Indian Republic, chose to say: “53 Indians dead, we will not say Hindu or Muslim.” 

Despite conceding losses on both sides, as per media reports, it is the Muslims of Delhi who have faced most persecution. Videos of the police watching Hindu mobs attack unarmed Muslims have been circulating on the internet ever since the eruption of violence. Many are claiming that the police were actively aiding the Hindu mobs by joining them in brutalizing Muslims. 

Although the sheer brutality of the attacks comes as a surprise to many who viewed India as a role-model for a secular republic, communal violence in India has long been a reality in India’s history. 

In 1984, following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, widespread violence erupted in Delhi. Mobs allegedly organized by the ruling Indian National Congress hunted and killed Sikhs in a killing spree that lasted multiple days. 3,500 Sikhs were killed in that purge, as per official records of the Indian government, despite other independent sources claiming the number of dead far exceeded that provided by the government. This massive escalation caused 50,000 Sikhs to be displaced as well. 

The Delhi High Court, delivering its verdict on a riot-related case in 2009, said:

“Though we boast of being the world’s largest democracy and Delhi being its national capital, the sheer mention of the incidents of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in general, and the role played by Delhi Police and state machinery in particular, make our heads hang in shame in the eyes of the world polity.”

Similar violence also occurred in Gujarat in 2002. On February 27, a train was set on fire by unidentified assailants. This fire caused the deaths of 58 Hindu pilgrims. Incredulous violence followed this tragedy, leaving 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus dead, as per official record. Coincidentally, Narendra Modi (now prime minister), was the chief minister of Gujarat at the time.

Organizations such as Human Rights Watch criticized Chief Minister Modi and his administration’s failure in averting this bloodshed. Despite all allegations, Prime Minister Modi was cleared of complicity in the bloodshed by a special investigation team appointed by the Supreme Court in 2012.

There have also been many other instances when communal violence erupted in various parts of India; it left thousands dead and many more thousands fleeing from their homes to avoid persecution. Similar incidents occurred in 1983, known as the Nellie Massacre, where 2,000 Muslims were reportedly killed in Assam.

In 1992-1993, due to the attacks and subsequent demolition of the Babri Mosque, communal violence once again erupted in Bombay. These riots lasted for nearly a month, leaving 900 dead and more than 2,000 people injured.

Unfortunately, communal riots being followed by blood-curling violence has consistently emerged in Indian history, pre and post partition. Due to the vested political interests of state or central governments, no clear resolution has been drawn between the religious fractions of their population that tend to unleash the most vicious kinds of atrocities on their fellow countrymen. 

Wasif Jamal Khan is President, Bangladesh Forum for Legal and Humanitarian Affairs.

54
54
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail