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EDITORIAL: Last week, the Muslim minority was under the Hindutva sword; it seems that it is now the Christians’ turn to pay the price of being peaceful citizens of the so-called secular India. While the Hindutva vigilante groups vandalized the statue of Jesus Christ, disrupted Christmas celebrations in UP and Assam states, the Narendra Modi government on Monday froze the bank accounts of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity (MOC). The government has accused MOC of leading religious conversion programmes under the guise of charity by offering poor Hindus and tribal communities money, free education and shelter. This is an extremely inhuman move on the part of Modi establishment. The West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee warns that some 22,000 patients and employees of the MOC would be left without food and medicines. According to Fr Dominic Gomes, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Calcutta, the MOC accounts freeze is “a cruel Christmas gift to the poorest of the poor”. Not that MOC is a new stakeholder in the field of humanitarian assistance — it was established by Mother Teresa in 1950. What is new is the rise of Hinduism prompted and enforced by the extremist Hindu groups. Even when the germ of Hindutva was always there in Indian polity for over a century, the call for its supremacy coincided with the election of Narendra Modi as prime minister in 2014. Since then the right wing Hindu groups have consolidated their position across states and launched persecution of minorities, saying that their action is to prevent religious conversions. The fact on the ground, however, is that it is the Hindu extremist groups’ consistent drive to force the minorities’ homecoming (Ghar Waspi). The government does promise action against the Hindutva vigilante, but on the ground nothing happens. “Not a peep, much less condemnation, from the government. Sad truth is that this deafening silence isn’t a bit surprising,” says Michael Kugelman from the Wilson Centre. For the Muslims in India the Hindutva plans are far more punitive. Since Muslims are much more than Christians (Christians represent only 2.3 percent of India’s population the Muslims are nearly 18 percent) they should be dealt with Rohingya-like mass murder. This was decided by the participants at a three-day Hindutva conclave held in Hardiwar only recently. And for that they decided to use gun because the “swords look good on stage only”. According to them, “this battle against Muslims will be won by those with better weapons”. And among them was a man who wished he had killed former Sikh prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

Under Narendra Modi’s superintendence the religious minorities are under increasing pressure to convert to Hinduism or leave India. Unfortunately, however, there is not much on the international front to stop the Modi government from forcing minorities to convert to Hinduism. While the minorities in India face existential threat the West, which generally prioritizes its treatment of other states on the basis of respect for human rights and safety of minorities in there, looks the other way. Do leaders there look at the plight of Indian minorities through their anti-China strategic prism? If so then they must know that driven to the wall these much persecuted minorities would take the path of resistance, as is the case in Kashmir and Assam.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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