We call upon the governments of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, of member states of the European Union, and the European Union to:
• condemn the persecution of India’s 200 million Muslims and 30 million Christians by the Hindutva Hindu supremacist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and to communicate to the Indian government that its persecution of Muslims and Christians will not be tolerated by the democracies of the world;
• condemn open incitement by Hindutva extremists to commit genocide against India’s Muslims, and to call upon the Indian government to denounce this incitement and esure the Indian government meets its obligation under the Genocide Convention to prevent the impending genocide of Indian Muslims;
• ensure that the Indian government meets its democratic and human rights obligations under international law, and recognize that an unfirm commitment to the larger global democratic order by India is a tell-tale sign of the democratic decline within India that calls into question the suitability of India as a partner on the global stage;
• denounce discriminatory laws in India, including the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register for Citizens (NRC), the anti-conversion laws, the “Love Jihad” laws, and the application of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) to human rights organizations;
• recognize that Meta has ignored human rights in its largest user market by neglecting Facebook moderation in Indian languages, to urge Meta to release the full, unredacted Human Rights Impact Assessment on Facebook in India it has been suppressing, and to take strict action against Meta’s facilitation of incitement to genocide on its platforms, especially Facebook and WhatsApp.
We further call upon:
• the European Union to condition the ongoing Free Trade Agreement negotiations with India on commitment both to the prevention of genocide and to an international order based on respect for international peace and security, in accordance with the European Parliament Resolution A9-0124/2021 of 16 April 2021 which holds that India-EU relations must be centred on human rights and human security.
• the Government of the United States of America to accept the recommendations of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to designate India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) due its violations of the religious freedoms of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other religious minorities.
The process of genocide is well underway in India, experts say at final day of global summit
March 1-2, 2022
Washington, DC / Montreal / London / The Hague / New Delhi, March 1-2, 2022
Since genocide is a process and not an event, India is not merely at the brink of a genocide of its Muslims. The process of genocide is, in fact, already underway in that country, experts said at the conclusion of a three-day global summit, titled, India On The Brink: Preventing Genocide held virtually.
Participating in a panel on “Dehumanization & Polarization: Hindutva Hate Speech,” Greg Gordon, a former attorney with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, said prosecution for hate speech should be made through the lens of incitement to genocide. “We have had direct calls [for genocide] in India recently,” he said. “Conditional calls – ‘If they do this, we will do that’ – are also incitements.”
“As dehumanization turns into actual incitement to genocide, the process reaches the ‘twilight phase,’ which is when legal action in the genocide framework should commence,” Gordon said. “Abetting” the incitement should be legislated as a new offense to prosecute incitement “in a more comprehensive manner.”
Jean-Damascene Gasanabo, the Director-General of the National Research and Documentation Center on Genocide at Rwanda’s National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide, recalled how the news media in Rwanda played a central role in enabling the genocide of 800,000 Tutsis at the hands of the Hutus.
While the actual genocide occurred in 1994, the process had already begun as early as 1957 when Hutu “intellectuals” published the hate-filled “Hutu manifesto” that intended to “exclude the other groups” and was endorsed by political elites, Gasanabo said. The “10 commandments of the Hutu” published in 1959 stressed that a relationship between the Hutus and the Tutsis was impossible and was like “a chronic illness.”
During the 1994 genocide, Rwandan newspapers linked to the militias re-published the “10 commandments of the Hutu” from 40 years earlier. During those years, political leaders directly funded hate propaganda in the newspapers. Political speeches and slogans “transformed into songs” and radicalized the Hutu youth, Gasanabo said.
When the genocide intensified in March 1994, foreign embassies in Rwanda noted “increased incitement to genocide.” Hate speech continued after the launch of genocide. Rwanda’s president asked the public to “actively participate in the killings.”
Veteran human rights attorney Meetali Jain said she had earlier published a report on hate speech and misinformation in India “of a genocidal character, very much akin” to what has been seen in Myanmar and Ethiopia. Her report listed hundreds of hate-filled posts with millions of views on Facebook during the time India legislated the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) that “codified Islamophobia and culminated in violence in Delhi that killed many people, most of them Muslim,” she added.
“We advocate for a nuanced understanding of hate speech that takes into account the kind of speech that may not technically qualify as hate speech but still gives people the feeling of wanting to do harm offline,” Jain said. “We need much more experts on staff in social media companies who understand the nuances.”
Jain slammed Facebook for behaving arbitrarily. “We have not seen Facebook taking meaningful action in removing or de-platforming some of the most egregious manifestations of hate speech by others, for example Hindu priests.”
Manavi Atri, a human rights lawyer said India’s Karnataka state, where last month Muslim girls were banned from wearing the hijab to school, had become “a hot spot for hate speech. If this kind of dehumanization continues, we are sure to see similar patterns emerge across Karnataka.”
Participating in a panel titled, “Genocidal Hate Speech & State Responsibility,” Adama Dieng, Special Advisor to the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC), said though India had a long and cherished history of peaceful coexistence, intolerance and discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief had increased.
“The tragedy is that the authorities seem to be indifferent,” he said. The international community must “work together to advance tolerance.” Saying that the world needs to recommit to the motto of “Never Again,” Dieng said. “We should move to action.”
Alishaan Jafri, an Indian journalist who documents anti-Muslim violence in India, said such violence was applauded by the Indian government and federal ministers. He pointed out that attacks on Muslims took various forms. At the time of the covid crisis, prominent Muslims were attacked. There is “no dog whistle. People can simply say, ‘I want to kill Muslims and this is how I will kill Muslims,’ and they get away with it.”
Kaushik Raj, another Indian journalist, said mob lynchings of Muslims shot up after Modi became prime minister in 2014. The government’s response was that after one lynching, of Mohammad Akhlaq in Uttar Pradesh, the government offered jobs to the killers. In a false case of violence in Delhi, 16 of the 18 accused are Muslims. “Police did not consider the role of those who openly incited violence,” Raj said.
Participating in a panel titled, “The Big Lie: Power of Propaganda,” Dr. Angana Chatterji, researcher-scholar at UC Berkeley, said persecution in India was targeting not just Muslims, but Dalits, Adivasis, and others, too. “The campaign is driven on the ground and social media, and it also has branches in the UK and the US.”
Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale University, said Hindutva was part of a “global fascist movement. Ultra-nationalists see this as their time.” There was a “direct causal link” between the Nazis and Hindutva. “The early thinkers of the RSS made explicit suggestions that India should follow the Nazi’s model,” he said. “The CAA looks frighteningly like the Nuremberg laws. There is a movement to strip from Muslims the right to have rights. The map is extremely clear.”
Saying that his parents were Holocaust survivors, Prof. Stanley said the “structure” of persecution in India was “classic fascism… The Hindutva ideology tells us there was a mythical history, where India was pure. They use the language of corruption and infestation. We know that pre-genocide, there are years. It takes years before it unfolds. But we’re clearly seeing the structure of fascism.”
Ayushman Kaul, a researcher with US-based think-tank, Atlantic Council, said “special interests” were leveraging digital communication platforms to “create the in-group, specify the out-group, and, over time, dehumanize the out-group.” The civil society, academia, and the government must come together to stop the hate-mongering.
Participating in a panel titled, “India’s Responsibility to Protect Muslims,” journalist Raqib Hameed Naik said the Rohingyas from Myanmar may face genocide in India, too. While the administration in the Indian province of Jammu and Kashmir demonized the Rohingya refugees, the BJP made it into a “nationwide anti-Muslim discourse.”
The BJP bigots worked actively to deport Rohingyas, Naik said. “How can Rohingya refugees be safe in a country whose own Muslim population is facing an impending genocide?”
Maung Zarni, a researcher at the Genocide Documentation Center in Cambodia said, “I believe that India is not only on the Brink but is already in the process of an unfolding genocide.” Drawing a parallel between India and Burma, he said India portrayed the majority Hindus as under threat or siege from the vulnerable minority.
“The killers portray these vulnerable populations as a security threat to their religion. When this dehumanization begins, the country is already deep in the genocidal process even though the killings may not have started,” he added.
Participating in a panel titled, “Investigating and Monitoring Genocide in India,” Arjun Sethi, a law professor in Washington, D.C., said the data from the Indian government painted a “very distorted picture” as there was a lack of repercussions for hate crimes. “Some perpetrators are celebrated and admitted to the Modi cabinet,” he added.
Christopher Tuckwood, the executive director of the Sentinel Project, a Canadian nonprofit, said preventing genocide in India would be difficult as the state was both the perpetrator and an active protector of other perpetrators.
Mohan Dutta, a professor from New Zealand who Hindu supremacists recently targeted, said Muslims were frustrated at Facebook’s failure to take down hateful content, such as comparing Muslims to pigs and dogs, even after it was flagged. “Research suggests that dehumanization is a key component to violence,” he said.
Nicole Widdersheim of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum said India was “second” at risk for mass killing, as reported in the annual risk report at the Center for the Prevention of Genocide of the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Early warning strategies could be “as simple as a phone tree” where people spread the word, hot spot mapping where you go into communities and discuss tensions, actor mapping where potential perpetrators are identified, scenario planning where you prepare for the worst case.
Participating in a panel titled, “India’s Role in Global Islamophobia,” Hatem Bazian, a professor of Islamic law at Zaytuna College in the US, said Muslims were facing genocides across the world, including in China, India, Myanmar, Palestine, and Kashmir.
“It is not only the governing states and policies that are removing the hijab but the whole rejection of Muslims in the society as Muslims, with the full articulation of citizenship and protection that is accorded in relation to the constitution,” he said.
India Must Punish Incitement To Genocide At Haridwar Under Genocide Convention: Gregory Stanton
Washington, DC, February 28, 2022
Washington, DC, February 28, 2022
The Indian Government has a duty under the Genocide Convention to immediately punish those who have called for a genocide of India’s Muslims at Haridwar city in December, the world’s foremost genocide expert, Dr. Gregory Stanton, has said.
“Genocide does not already have to be underway to be punishable,” Dr. Stanton said delivering a plenary address at the end of a three-day global summit. “Incitement to commit genocide is covered under the Genocide Convention, Article 3. Incitement to commit genocide is exactly what was preached at the Haridwar congregation.”
Dr. Stanton’s reference was to a Hindu religious gathering organized in December at the north Indian city of Haridwar where a speaker openly called for the killing of two million Muslims. The self-styled Hindu monk, Yati Narasinghanand, who organized that meeting, was bailed by a court within days of arrest. Pooja Pandey, a saffron-robed female monk who gave the call for genocide, is yet to be charged or arrested.
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide – the Genocide Convetion – was conceived in response to last century’s Holocaust in which over six million Jews were killed. India has ratified the Convention and is therefore covered under it. Article 3 covers “direct and public incitement to commit genocide.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has maintained a silence on the calls for genocide. His government has rejected international calls to act against hate speeches. Narasinghanand and Pandey are well known affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India’s 96-year-old Hindu supremacist movement that wants to convert India into a Hindu nation and strip Muslims and Christians of equal rights. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is an affiliate of the RSS. Modi himself is an RSS member.
While identifying “ethnocentrism” as the cause of genocide, Dr. Stanton said nationalism was the “most deadly form of ethnocentrism… It is racism on steroids.” Genocide begins by portraying “as the real killers – that they will kill us, if we don’t kill them first,” he said. This is “mirroring,” a “most accurate prediction of what the perpetrators intend to do themselves,” which is genocide, he added.
Dr. Stanton is the founder-president of Genocide Watch, a US-based nonprofit that has issued an alert for genocide of Muslims in India. Thirty years ago he had predicted the genocide in Rwanda. He is also the founder of the global Alliance Against Genocide.
He made his remarks bringing up the concluding day of the three-day summit, titled India On The Brink: Preventing Genocide, where over 50 panelists spoke on 17 panels.
Genocide also involves dehumanizing a community. For example, India’s home minister Amit Shah has “called Muslims: termites. It renders other people not human, and killing them not murder. Dehumanization overcomes the normal human revulsion of committing murder. Exclusion becomes a religious doctrine ordained by God,” he said.
Dr. Stanton blamed social media for making “propaganda fast, and deadly. Facebook and WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, are now the main platforms for incitement to genocide in India.”
To counter Hindu majoritarian nationalism, India “must re-center nationalism. It must take the religion out of India’s nationalism. It must be re-centered on the secular vision of India’s founders. This movement must be led by people in India that believe India must remain a secular democracy.”
Dr. Stanton said the Indian diaspora can help the “movement for a secular Indian nationalism. We should organize a continuing movement to keep the defeat of Modi’s nationalism at the top of the policies around the world. We have therefore announced the launching of a campaign to counter Modi’s nationalism.”
Under PM Modi Millions Of Indian Muslims Risk Losing Citizenship, Scholars Say Second day of global summit on preventing genocide of Indian Muslims sees panelists call upon international community to pressure India
Washington, DC / Montreal / London / The Hague / New Delhi, February 27-28, 2022
Washington, DC / Montreal / London / The Hague / New Delhi, February 27-28, 2022
Preventing genocide of Muslims in India is an urgent need and the international community must rally to pressure Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to ensure the safety of India’s Muslims, genocide experts, human rights defenders, scholars and journalists from around the world said. Participating in various panel discussions on Saturday, the second day of the three-day virtual conference, India On The Brink: Preventing Genocide, panelists said hate speech and violence, fueled by social media, was prepping India’s masses to commit a genocide of the Muslims.
British journalist-author Yvonne Ridley lauded the hijab-wearing students in Karnataka state who have challenged the ban on the hijab. “I personally salute the Muslim girls for their courage and the girl who shouted Allahu Akbar in her belief in her God for inspiring people around the world,” she said, referring to Muskan, the student whose video of responding to Hindu extremists stalking her has gone viral globally. “Lioness Muskan disrupted the narrative of Muslim women as oppressed, weak and submissive.”
Speaking at a panel titled, “Indian Muslim Genocide: A Clear and Present Danger,” Ridley said there was a “genuine concerns” of threat of a genocide of India’s Muslims, as has been voiced lately by Dr. Gregory Stanton, President of Genocide Watch.
“India was even warned before Gujarat 2002 of the genocide of Muslims but the warnings were ignored even then,” Ridley said. “Under Modi and his Hindu nationalist party BJP, India is once again on the brink of genocide. There is a fear of Muslims’ existence and millions of Muslims are facing the threat of losing their citizenship.”
She said journalists that deliver Modi’s propaganda were “delivering hate speeches” and were “ruining India’s reputation globally.” Ridley said the British government should “stop sending weapons to India” as they use it on Kashmir’s civilian population.
Indian Dalit rights activist Kancha Ilaiah likened Russian President’s demonization of Ukraine’s people to the demonization of Muslims and Dalits under Modi’s right-wing rule. A Hindu religious leader’s call to kill two million Muslims, made at a religious conclave at Hardiwar city in December, had created fear in the minorities, he said.
Speaking at a panel titled, “India’s Nuremberg Laws: Legalizing Genocide,” Nadim Khan, convenor of United Against Hate, an Indian human rights platform, said there was a “deep state working in India that is Islamophobic, anti-Muslim and anti-Dalit.” The victims of the crimes of lynching themselves are accused as criminals, he added.
“The laws and courts have been discriminatory in these cases. The burden of proof is now on the victims,” he said. Khan provided several examples of how the courts have appeared to be biased against Muslims. He cited the case against a Muslim in Gujarat, who is still in prison, without evidence, on charges of serving beef at a wedding.
“We have seen the saga of discrimination and hatred in the cases of lynchings and Love Jihad which gives a free hand to Hindu right-wing goons,” he said. The Assam government was refusing to renew the contracts of judges of the “foreigner tribunals” who did not send many Muslims to the detention centers, Khan said.
Prof. Apoorvanand, a noted Indian human rights defender, said, “Muslims and Christians are systematically being attacked in India by the use of laws, hate propaganda and street violence. The laws are used to illegalize the food habits of Muslims, Dalits and Christians that affect them adversely in economic terms.”
He condemned the so-called “Love Jihad” laws that virtually criminalize marriages between Muslim men and Hindu women and placed the onus to prove innocence on the accused Muslim men. “The idea is to push Muslims in ghettos and disconnect them from the rest of the society. Many states are trying to bring laws that would further marginalize Muslims.” Muslims were also being denied the use of public spaces to pray. “They want to expel all the Muslim symbols from public spaces.”
He said the “Hindu society at large and Indians in general were used to the idea of isolation and considering other human beings as “inferiors” since it is a hierarchical society that believes in the idea of seeing others as polluters… What’s happening in India is serious and the world must stop it before it’s too late.”
Muslim student activist Afreen Fatima said Muslims and Christian were being isolated in India. “Muslim men are depicted as savages trying to abduct the Hindu women and this propaganda is spread further by the media,” Fatima said. “In the post-colonial country, India, it is ironic that imperial and colonial ideas are being used against its minorities.”
It was “worrying and problematic” that laws against Muslim-Hindu marriages, triple talaq and cow protection were being legislated. “We need to think about the ways in which the society can be de-radicalized and these laws not considered okay.”
India’s news media had become a “Radio Rwanda, that is not only furthering the agenda of Hindutva but it has become a lynching mob itself.”
Participating on a panel titled, “Whatsapp As A Weapon, Hate Speech And Violence,” Ram Bhat, a Fellow at the London School of Economics, said television news depended on trending news on social media “that can be easily manipulated. Any violence that becomes symbolic feeds the profit-making technology companies.”
Added Avinash Kumar, former Executive Director of Amnesty International India, technologies and tools such as WhatsApp and Facebook were “used for spreading propaganda.”
Suchitra Vijayan, New York-based attorney and author, said the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in 2002 and in Delhi in 2020 “give us the way to think about the condition of society that leads to a point where such violence occurs.” Such violence was “not only inflicted on the bodies of people but also on the Constitution of India.”
Vijayan said surveillance was being implemented in unconstitutional ways, she said. “The biggest terror is the state terror. Technology is only a mediating tool. We need to think beyond it to understand the genealogy of the violence. Once mass conditioning takes place, genocide takes place and it requires generations to overcome its effects.”
Participating in a panel titled “Can International Law Prevent The Genocide Of Indian Muslims?,” Irene Massimino, a prominent global activist on genocide prevention, said there were two purposes of International law: accountability and crime prevention.
“The people at the grassroots have the right and power to prevent persecution of the minority,” she said. “International laws can help prevent future violence and humanitarian crimes.” Media accountability was “important for preventing genocide.”
Katherine Southwick, a prominent jurist with a vast portfolio of working on human rights, said international laws can prevent genocide in India “but only when the Indian government wants to implement international laws.” She said it was “incumbent” on India’s people to recognize that persecuting a minority “will have ripple effects on the rule and law of the entire country. Burma has a very long path now as it let it happen.”
Burmese Rohingya leader Tun Khin said international law had failed to “prevent genocide in Rwanda and Myanmar.” The UN Security Council “did nothing” when Rohingya and Uighurs genocide took place. “The international community will have to take it seriously that Muslims be saved from the genocide. Ad hoc action on international law can not be taken if the state does not comply with international law.”
Khin said, “First they denied our identity and then denied the right to have citizenship, the right to have lands and even babies.” He blamed Facebook for spreading propaganda and hate speech against the Rohingyas.
Participating on a panel on “Role Of Gender In Preventing Genocide,” Elisa Von Joeden-Forgey, a professor in holocaust and genocide studies at Stockton University, said a genocide cannot be prevented without involving women. “Taking women’s suffering seriously and hearing them helps us study the genocide and prevent it,” she said. “We need to remember the suffering of Bosnian women who faced it and how they bravely stood for justice [that] helped them pursue justice and stand against injustice.”
“We have seen from the studies of genocide, that women’s approaches are very different when it comes to taking decisions as they play multiple roles,” Jordan-Forgey said. Hindu and Christian women should ally with Muslim women without conditions. “There is a need to build the narrative of truth through formal and informal education. Everybody in the world should think how they can contribute to protecting Muslims in India so that those who are planning to do something should feel the pressure.”
Velma Šarić, president of Post-Conflict Research Center that publishes school curriculum’s about the Holocaust and exposes war crimes, said peace building education and youth awareness was “very important” for preventing genocide. This can be done through “social media, art, and photography through civil society.”
“Art can be used to sensitize people and especially youth by giving training to them by professionals. We are looking for the people’s heroic stories where people helped each other during such horrific times,” she said. “It takes a lot of time in post-violence time to rebuild the society so people need to be aware that war is not what you see on television, it is much worse. It affects a whole generation and the next generation altogether. Society can never rebuild itself ever again.”
Speaking at a panel, “Assam’s Forgotten Genocide: Revisiting Nellie Massacre of 1983,” Maiko Kimura, a professor at Tokyo’s Tsuda University, said ever since over 3,000 Muslims were killed by Assamese nationalists in 1983, the “silence of civil society in Assam has been contributing to the plight of the victims” till today.
Subasri Krishnan, an award-winning documentary filmmaker who made a film on the Nellie massacre, said while Assam’s Muslim citizens were being stripped of their citizenship, the phenomenon of their being sent to detention centers was “not new.” In the 1960s and again in the 1990s many people were sent to detention centers.
Krishnan said the Nellie massacre spread to 14 villages and “was well planned and not spontaneous. The authorities failed to stop the violence even despite it continued for six long hours.” While earlier the majoritarian narrative was largely anti-Bengali, “right now, it fits the Hindutva politics. [Today,] many people who have all the required documents are still being sent to detention centers.”
Indian attorney Aman Wadud, who has defended many Assamese people accused of being foreigners by the National Register for Citizens (NRC) and is currently on a Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship for 2021-22 at the University of Texas School of Law, said the calls for genocide lead to actual genocide. “We as responsible citizens should be aware of fake news.”
Scholars, experts say Indian Muslims face imminent threat of genocide, mass persecution First day of global summit on preventing genocide in India brings home the reality of India’s rapid descent into fascism
February 26-27, 2022
Washington, DC / London / The Hague / New Delhi, February 26-27, 2022
India’s 200 million Muslims are facing a dire and existential threat following genocidal calls given by powerful non-state actors closely linked with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu supremacist government. Genocide experts, human rights defenders, scholars and journalists from around the world essentially all concurred on this assessment at a three-day virtual conference, India On The Brink: Preventing Genocide, that started on Saturday.
“India is occupied by an alien regime who does not care about its people,” said Jan Breman, a Professor at the Institute of Social Studies at the Hague. “There is a similarity between the foreign occupation [of India] and [the] current regime” of Prime Minister Modi, he added, speaking at a session titled “Gujarat: Cradle and Harbinger of Identity Politics,” which is the name of a new book he has published this year.
Prof. Breman, who has done extensive fieldwork in India’s Gujarat state, said the doctrine of Hindutva – Hindu nationalism – “excludes not only the Muslims but the laborers, Dalits, adivasis and the poor… from protection and resources.”
Prof. Breman said there were similarities between Hindutva and Adolf Hitler’s Nazi period: the idea of “superiority of genetic supremacy,” that “Hindutva is hierarchical” creating the “idea of superiority and inferiority;” and the idea of segregating “those who are considered the enemies” who are then “deported and exterminated.”
“People who have been keeping a low profile and keeping silent, increasingly are getting frustrated by the Hindutva and its inability to create income, employment, and a dignified standard of life,” Prof. Breman said.
Speaking at a panel titled “Gujarat 2002: The Beginning of Genocide,” noted human rights defender Teesta Setalvad said “hate speeches and hate crimes enabled the genocide in Gujarat” in the year 2002, where over 2,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed. “For three months, Muslims were not allowed to go back to their villages,” she said recalling the aftermath of the mass violence that was carried out by Hindu extremists under the rule of Mr. Modi, who was Gujarat’s chief minister at that time.
She added that those who organized the religious gathering at the north Indian city of Haridwar in December 2021, where calls to kill two million Muslims were given, had been “trying to get support from right wingers right from 2017… We tried to complain but got the reply from Facebook that they can block the users.” Setalvad said social media was “amplifying the hate.”
She said civil society needed to “build a movement by journalists, activists and academics against hate speeches by analyzing these speeches.” She said there was a “lack of desire to recognize the calls for genocide.”
Veteran Indian journalist Prem Shankar Jha said India was on the brink of “losing its soul, saying that he feared that a large part of India “will break away.” He detailed his findings about a train fire in February 2002, in which nearly 60 people were killed, that was used as a pretext to launch the violence against Muslims across the state. The findings that Muslims were responsible for the train fire were utterly wrong, he said.
Former top police officer from Gujarat, R.B. Sreekumar, who, as a whistleblower, exposed Mr. Modi’s role in the 2002 violence, said he had sent an anonymous message informing India’s President of the complicity of police officers in that violence. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), organized the violence and facilitated the crimes.
For his honesty and courage, Mr. Shreekumar was continuously hounded and persecuted even as he submitted several affidavits affirming the truth of his allegations. “I was pressured to not speak the truth.” Eventually, no action was taken, he said.
Aakashi Bhatt, a surgeon in the UK and the daughter of jailed whistleblower police officer Sanjiv Bhatt, said, “We live in a world where systematic genocide takes place and the perpetrators are scott free and continue to live freely for decades. The virtue of non-violence and tolerance burnt with Gujarat riots.”
Her father was wrongfully convicted three years ago of murdering a man he had never even met. This was actually punishment because Mr. Bhatt told India’s Supreme Court that Modi had explicitly ordered the police to stand down and let mobs kill Muslims.
“For the past twenty years my father has been paying the price for fighting for justice. It takes courage to fight a long lonely battle.”
Speaking at a panel titled “Hijab Ban, Hounding & Hate Speech: Targeting of Muslim Women in the Long Shadow of Gujarat 2002,” panelists condemned the ban on the wearing of hijab by Muslim school and college students in Karnataka.
“Muslim women have woken up in India to find their names on auctioning apps… The call to rape and kill Muslim women is routine, and efforts to dehumanize Muslim women is on the rise,” said Sabika Abbas Naqvi, a gender rights activist and poet. “Hijab is not the issue. The issue is the rising hate the Muslim women are facing.”
The Hindu right-wing “fear our ability to write, to speak, to journal, to dream, articulate, assert, organize, and fiercely fight the oppressors. They either sexualize us, try to act as our messiahs or plot to kill. But we are here to conquer the world. We are lawyers, poets, journalists, actors, activists, entrepreneurs, scholars and the only hope that our country has. Fierce and fearless in the face of hate and discrimination,” she added.
Nitasha Kaul, a professor at University of Westminster, condemned the “moral policing of women’s behavior… People must stop and think why it is necessary to be ‘othering’ the Muslims. The aim of these majoritarian projects is to perpetuate the Hindu identity of India.”
Rights activist Kavita Krishnan said the hijab had become the “latest pretext for Hindu supremacist governments and mobs to harass and attack Muslims. The same BJP leaders who are declaring that the hijab isn’t compatible with school and college uniforms, are asserting that bindi, tilak, sindoor and other displays of the Hindu faith are perfectly compatible with school uniforms,” she said.
“The aim is to mark visible signs of Muslim identity as “alien” and un-Indian: as prescribed by RSS ideologues Golwalkar and Deen Dayal Upadhyay decades before hijab-wearing was deemed “controversial” by the BJP this year in Karnataka.
“The public stripping of Muslim women on the streets of India is a foreboding of the genocide that Indian Muslims face. If this is not enough to convince you, then you don’t want to be convinced. You are complicit,” said Safoora Zargar, a prominent Muslim activist against India’s discriminatory citizenship law for which she was jailed in 2020.
“Sexual violence against women is used as a tool to humiliate a community as it was used in Gujarat pogrom. Hate speech always has a purpose and leads to these kinds of acts, brutality and harm on ground. We will never be able to leave this baggage and injustice which have destroyed us and our country,” she added.
“I was jailed for “orchestrating terrorism” because I protested. I am casually called a terrorist. Isn’t it absurd?” Ms. Zargar said.
Another anti-citizenship law protester and prominent youth leader Ayesha Renna said, “Muslim women have been continuously facing the vilification and harassment online and offline which is a display of pure Islamophobia. Everyday we wake up to new lynchings and causalities but it has been normalized to an extent that these attacks have become a customary practice. These Hindutva groups have problems with our existence itself.”
Speaking at another panel titled “Silence is Complicity: Hindu Response to Majoritarian Violence,” panelists said India’s Hindus must come forward to oppose Hindutva and support the persecuted Muslims.
Sunita Viswanath, Executive Director, Hindus for Human Rights, noted that Genocide Watch, the world’s foremost expert on genocides, had given a warning of the “early signs of genocide” of Muslims in India. “My message to Hindu Indians and Hindu diaspora is to look at it from now instead of regretting later.”
Brahmachari Atmabodhananda, a Hindu ascetic living in Hardiwar, said it was “shameful to know that the Bharatiya Janata Party that claims to be a Hindu party has jailed, sanctioned and poisoned many of the Satyagrahis (genuine Sanyasis and Sadhvis). It was shocking to know that something like the ‘Dharm Sansads’ called for a genocide took place in Haridwar. In the name of Sanyasis. They are not Sanyasis, they are Ravanas.”
Dr. Rakesh Pathak, an award-winning Hindu journalist, said even India’s freedom fighters did not use the “language of division [saying] Hindus are in danger.” But with the RSS’s emergence, the “Hindu-Muslim binary was created. RSS and its leaders are ready to achieve their agenda of Hindu Rashtra. To think that genocide cannot happen is to ignore the danger because no genocide takes place overnight but it is planned and takes place gradually.”
To tell Muslims “what to wear and eat” was a sign of the “Talibanization of our democratic country. Hindu society is not silent completely but is not vocal as much as they should have been. Particularly Hindu women should have reacted and spoken,” he said. “Hindutva’s next target will be Christians and Adivasis.”
US-based Hindu theologian Anantanand Rambachan said, “Any call for genocide must be universally called out. Such a call can not be justified on any grounds. Values that spiritually mandate us as Hindus to stand against the call of killing of our Muslim brothers: Our tradition does not approve the silence in current reality. The Hindu tradition, the Vedas and the Ramayana teach us to ‘speak the truth, not untruth.’”
India appears to be on the brink of genocide. 20 years after the Gujarat riots, the India on the Brink Summit serves to commemorate, share, and look ahead.
Please visit our website at: https://indiaonthebrink.com/
Global Conference: India on the Brink – Preventing Genocide A three-day virtual summit jointly organized by international diaspora led organizations and allies around the globe
February 21, 2022
What: Virtual summit titled “India on the Brink – Preventing Genocide”
When: February 26 through February 28, 2022
Where: Online (zoom link emailed to registrants)
Co-sponsored by: A global coalition of over 20 organizations
Registration: Visit https://indiaonthebrink.com/
The rapid escalation of human rights abuses against India’s religious minorities and marginalized communities has reached a breaking point. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s anti-Muslim policies, the daily incidents of violence and hate speech against Muslims and minorities, and government apathy over open calls for genocide of Muslims have created a deeply repressive and dangerous situation for India’s 200 million Muslims. Experts from leading global human rights watchdogs such as Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum have said the government’s Hindutva driven agenda is pushing India further down the abyss of hate and violence and creating conditions where a genocide of Muslims and Christians has become a real possibility.
In this backdrop, Indian diaspora organizations around the world are partnering with globally acclaimed human rights organizations to host a three-day virtual summit titled “India on the brink – Preventing Genocide.” The Summit, co-sponsored by a global coalition of over 20 organizations, is joined by leading international human rights lawyers, genocide prevention experts, faith leaders, activists, lawmakers and human right defenders from around the world. The goal of the summit is to bring awareness to the situation in India, to advance the discourse on the international community’s role in safeguarding lives, and to facilitate deeper conversations about a vision for India that builds on its longstanding tradition of pluralism and respect for diversity.
“The international community has a moral obligation to act now to prevent a cataclysmic turn of events in India, where millions of Muslims and other marginalized communities are already living in fear and experiencing the rapidly shrinking space for civil rights and religious freedom,” said Dr. Gregory Stanton, President of Genocide Watch and a co-chair of the Summit.
“The far-right political leadership in India has fueled the ongoing crisis with vitriol and the dehumanized representation of Indian Muslims,” said Dr. Ritumbra Manuvie, Executive Director of Stichting The London Story, a Europe based human rights organization, and a co-chair of the Summit. “The Summit will bring credible and authoritative voices from around the world to shine a light on India’s rapid descent into fascism,” added Dr. Manuvie.
“This Summit is an urgent call to action to safeguard peace, pluralism and justice for all Indians,” said Mr. Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Director of the Indian American Muslim Council, and co-chair of the Summit. “We yearn for a better world where religion and spirituality are wellsprings of love, compassion and a shared ethic of the sanctity of life, and not of hate and mass violence,” added Mr. Ahmed.
We invite all who care about India and the world, to register for this summit and be part of an event that can help push back against bigotry and the potential for mass violence against hapless millions.
India appears to be on the brink of genocide. 20 years after the Gujarat riots, the India on the Brink Summit serves to commemorate, share, and look ahead.