Prior to now few days, India’s governing Bharatiya Janta Celebration (BJP) has discovered itself in the midst of a political and diplomatic storm after two of its high-ranking staffers – the get together’s nationwide spokeswoman Nupur Sharma and Delhi media operation head Naveen Kumar Jindal – publicly made disparaging remarks about Prophet Muhammad.
On Friday, tons of of Muslims took to the streets within the Uttar Pradesh metropolis of Kanpur to protest towards the offensive remarks. Somewhat than transferring to calm the tensions and punish these accountable underneath India’s hate speech legal guidelines, the authorities responded with violence: The police booked protesters underneath the state’s stringent “Gangster Act” and even threatened to “seize and demolish” their properties.
Because the information concerning the offensive remarks – and the federal government’s response to protests over them – reached past the nation’s borders, no less than 5 Arab nations, together with Qatar, lodged official protests towards India.
Requires a boycott of Indian items have additionally been made on social media in a number of Arab nations and Indian merchandise have been faraway from cabinets in some retailers in Kuwait.
In the long run, not the comprehensible anger of Indian Muslims, it appears, however the specter of worldwide condemnation and financial repercussions motivated Indian authorities to embark on an operation to restrict the injury.
Quickly after the diplomatic protests, the federal government introduced that robust motion had been taken towards the accused – Sharma was suspended and Jindal expelled from get together membership. The BJP additionally issued a generic assertion, saying: “[The party] strongly denounces insults of any spiritual personalities of any faith.” India’s ambassador to Qatar, Deepak Mittal, in the meantime, stated the offending remarks have been made by some “fringe components” throughout the get together, and didn’t characterize the views of the Indian authorities.
The transfer to “droop” and “expel” the staffers who insulted the prophet, and the efforts to distance the federal government from their feedback, nevertheless, didn’t fulfill anybody inside or outdoors India – and for good purpose.
Initially, Sharma and Jindal can hardly be described as “fringe components” throughout the get together. In any case, previous to the incident, they each held high-ranking positions throughout the BJP – positions that allowed them to talk for the governing get together and talk its insurance policies and techniques to the nation.
Secondly, and maybe most significantly, it’s troublesome to argue that their Islamophobic views don’t characterize the federal government of India when not one of the BJP’s leaders got here out to challenge a powerful apology and the get together’s Islamophobic insurance policies, actions and statements are already effectively documented.
Certainly, Islamophobia has all the time been half and parcel of the BJP’s governing technique.
Within the not so distant previous, for instance, the BJP’s chief, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tried to make connections between Muslim figures from India’s distant historical past and current-day “terrorism and non secular extremism” in two of his public speeches, implying that India’s Muslims ought to be held accountable and punished for the alleged crimes dedicated by their “ancestors”. He obtained no pushback from the get together for these blatantly Islamophobic feedback.
Yogi Adityanaththe BJP affiliated chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, additionally made anti-Muslim speeches over the last state meeting elections. In a single such speech, he mocked Muslims and stated he sees the state elections as a battle between the 80 % (the share of Hindus within the state) and the 20 % (the share of Muslims).
The BJP-affiliated Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma is much more brazen in his speeches. Final 12 months, he known as the killing of two Muslims, together with a minor, by cops throughout a pressured eviction drive in Assam “an act of revenge” for previous “martyrdom” of Hindus.
Beneath the BJP’s rule, a number of campaigns have been began to make sure mosques and different locations sacred to Muslims throughout the nation are handed over to Hindus who declare that these locations have been initially Hindu. There are, for instance, such campaigns presently underneath option to switch the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi, Jamia mosque in Srirangapatna, Qutub Minar in Delhi – and plenty of others – to Hindus.
Earlier this 12 months, right-wing Hindu teams held processions in Muslim neighbourhoods and made hate speeches throughout Ram Navmi celebrations in a number of states. In states starting from Gujarat to Delhi, Hindu males sporting saffron scarves – and in some instances carrying sticks and swords – performed provocative songs laced with threats of
Genocide outdoors muslim houses and mosques, and raised hate slogans.
The bjp authorities not solely refused to punish these provocateurs but in addition used the entire indian state’s would possibly to forestall muslims from defending themselves. Certainly, muslim males who stood as much as these mobs have been swiftly arrested and their properties bulldozed by authorities.
And past casually and usually making islamophobic feedback, and supporting the violent islamophobia of their supporters, bjp leaders have additionally handed numerous islamophobic and discriminatory insurance policies and legal guidelines previously few years.
Legal guidelines criminalising triple talaq or prompt divorce, banning cow slaughtercriminalising spiritual conversions supposedly within the title of “preserving spiritual freedom”, criminalising unions between muslim males and hindu girls and government orders throughout the nation virtually banning all meat consumption are however a couple of examples of the islamophobic insurance policies that took impact through the bjp’s reign in india.
In fact, there may be additionally the citizenship modification act (caa)which discriminates towards muslims because it makes religion a foundation for granting indian citizenship. The bjp authorities not solely handed this anti-muslim legislation but in addition allowed its supporters to focus on indian muslims protesting towards it. Not one of the bjp leaders who added gasoline to the caa-related clashes confronted any significant rebuke from the get together, regardless of the violence claiming tons of of lives.
In gentle of all this, it’s clear that the bjp authorities’s claims that the offending feedback by sharma and jindal don’t characterize its views are deeply disingenuous.
These remarks weren’t missteps by “fringe components” throughout the governing get together or errors by a couple of low-ranking staffers, however an correct reflection of the bjp’s views on and attitudes in direction of muslims and islam.
This actuality was maybe defined greatest by the saudi arabia-based organisation of islamic cooperation (oic) in a press release issued concerning the newest controversy.
The oic not solely condemned the offending remarks by the bjp staffers in its official assertion however emphasised that they got here in a “context of intensifying hatred and abuse towards islam in india and systematic practices towards muslims”.
The oic’s assertion clearly struck a chord, because the indian authorities swiftly and sharply rejected it, calling the criticism “unwarranted” and “narrow-minded”. “it’s regrettable that oic secretariat has but once more chosen to make motivated, deceptive and mischievous feedback. This solely exposes its divisive agenda being pursued on the behest of vested pursuits,” it stated.
The federal government responded harshly to the oic’s assertion as a result of it identified that india, underneath bjp rule, is changing into an islamophobic nation the place assaults and insults towards muslims are commonplace.
Because the world reacts to the newest islamophobic controversy in india, it ought to maintain this in thoughts and never purchase the bjp’s story that the offending remarks have been mere emotional eruptions by some wayward people whose views don’t characterize the governing get together.