Hindutva And Its Implications on Minorities of India
By Sana Hamid
“We all are still slaves…..We have to fight for freedom”, said now long sought-after pro-Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh whilst addressing a rally in September last year. The statement is the expression of grievance and indifference reciprocated by other minorities in the state of India as well. And hence, not only Punjab and Kashmir but the states of Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, Assam in the country’s restive northeast have seen secessionist movements to break away from Hindustan with Manipur unilaterally declaring Independence and a government-in-exile in Britain in 2019.
So where lies the problem and why is the Union of India facing historical and ever-increasing demands from minorities ranging from autonomy to secession? While divulging into the complexity of the dilemma, RSS-lead Hindutva ideology and vicious desire of its implementation, no matter the means, comes to light as an utmost bone of contention. This ideology simply put can be summed into 3Hs of Hindi (as a national language), Hinduism (as the only tolerable religion) and Hindustan ( as the land for Hindus and Hindu culture only), and as this ideologue begins to implement its ambition of shaping the entire gamut of socio-political life in India within the ambit of Hindutva, this is where it draws violence, systematic repression, prejudice and racial/religious segregation to the agony of its minorities. And in order to achieve the said goal, RSS deploys about 184. 4 million people being an umbrella organization of some 70 organizations.
BJP has risen as the political wing of what we refer to as Sangh Parvar and hence from Babri Masjid Demolition (1992)-with the unrest killing 1700 mostly Muslims-to 2002 Gujarat riots to Citizenship Amendment Act violence (that tends to disenfranchise millions of Indian Muslims by stripping them from their right to citizenship or at least resident-ship) has been wreaking havoc on the socio-political fabric of India, specifically when it comes to the rights of minorities. “The government is providing political patronage and cover for bigotry”, says Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director, Human Rights Watch
Authorities continue to use arbitrary detentions to target protesters, dissidents and other civil society organizations. Detention of more than 100 Sikh individuals, Internet shutdowns and ban on assemble of more than 4 people in the manhunt of a single individual-Amritpal- signifies the nature of aforementioned claim. United Christian Forum report, also claims a sharp rise of 400%-from 147 in 2014 to 598 in 2022-in violence against the community. The violence included forced conversions to Hinduism, assault murder and illegal occupation of churches and their vandalization, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported.
Not only India, as the so called largest democracy in the world exhibits pattern of systematic violence and indifference but adheres to systematic impunity rather appraisal of those convicted or involved by virtue of such acts as that of Armed Forces Special Powers Act that allow the security forces in Kashmir particularly to secure violence with full impunity and hence the result being exhibited in such forms as that of more than 11,144 women being raped in IIOJK. According to India-based Quill Foundation, out of all the minority groups, Muslims faced the most serious violations. Fouad Hafees, in his book “Hindutva-The Rise of the Fourth Reich '' reports some 10, 000 Muslims being killed in India as per 2011 Statistics. The number today is much higher and continues to rise. Kashmiri Muslims in particular become victims to such systematic violence, prejudice and human rights violations.
HRW, endorsing the fact, maintained in its 2023 report that “Fascist Hindutva Government continues to restrict free expression, peaceful assembly and other basic rights there” with Legal Framework of Kashmiris estimating some 312 deaths in 200 major cordon and search and 116 military operations. Following in the footsteps of settler colonialism of Israel, India annexed some 24 structures (with 350 more under consideration) with the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 (A) in its illegally occupied Kashmir. Going against its own Constitution, it issued some 3.4 million domiciles to non-Kashmiris, following August 5, 2019. The pattern of grace and egregious human rights violations continue to grow against not only Muslims but all its minorities in utter disregard to International Law and practices and despite scathing criticism and condemnation from various National and International organizations.
India, instead of mending its structural fabric to deal with its simmering protracted social conflicts despises the factual perspectives as that of “Foreign Destructive Ideology” and instead of undergoing major systematic overhaul continues to encourage Hindutva ideology to prosper and extent in scope and dimension at the stake of its minority populace. It appears to be the only state whose ideology promotes stratification making it not the UNION OF States but the Federation of Dissent.
*Opinions expressed in this article are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The South Asia Times