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EDITORIAL: Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder, according to Arnold J. Toynbee. And India is one such civilization being taken to its grave by the Hindutva-driven Narendra Modi clique.

Last month, the Hindutva zealots called for mass murder of Muslims and vandalized Christmas festivities because they wanted India to be cleansed of religious minorities.

Narendra Modi saw it but kept silent, as all of it fitted well into his ideological mindset. And now photographs of more than 100 prominent Muslim women, including journalists, activists, film stars and artists were displayed on a website and put up for auction.

The women listed on the website include Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. The website named Bulli Bai, a derogatory slang term for Indian Muslims, obviously conveys that the ‘auction’ for Muslim women was intended to humiliate them as they were vocal about rising Hindu nationalism in India and policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

And this is not the first time that Muslim women were listed on a fake website. Last June, a similar website called Sulli Deals was created for the same purpose. Police opened an investigation into the case but no one was arrested. In the latest case, there will be a few detentions but nothing will happen as follow-up — because all of it is in line with the Modi’s mission to convert India into Hindu state by forcing one-third of its no-Hindu population to become Hindu or leave the country.

Undoubtedly, in Modi-run India the space for religious minorities is continuously shrinking. India that has emerged now is not going to be a civilization that had flourished over the millennia. It is the birth place of Gautama Buddha, home of Jainism; it’s also place various Muslim dynasties ruled for a thousand years and where Christian missionaries came to take care of the poor and needy. It is the home country of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and many other religious communities. Should India become an only-Hindu polity the Hindus in other countries – and they number in millions – are bound to suffer socio-political segregation.

Therefore, before the Modi gangs succeed in actualizing their sinister plans the international community must step in and preempt what seems to be replication of the Holocaust. Obviously, Pakistan is duly concerned over these ‘auctions’ for Muslim women, but so should be the reaction of the world at large, especially the Muslim countries.

“Hindutva proponents openly calling for genocide of Muslims should send alarm bells across the international community about the gross and systematic human rights violations of minorities, particularly Muslims,” the Foreign Office said, deploring the online attacks against religious minorities in India. It is important to note that the rights of minorities are protected under Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which is the universal binding provision on the rights of minorities.

People belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities do have the right to enjoy their culture, to profess and practice their own religion, to use their own language freely, and to get jobs in governments. By all means, the work is cut out for the United Nations to seek India’s compliance with ICCPR without any further loss of time. The situation has given birth to a legitimate question, a question that has already been raised by a noted global publication: how long will US President Joe Biden pretend that Narendra Modi is a democratic ally?

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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