Alleging escalation of violence against Muslims, advocacy group asks PM to save India’s secular Constitution.
Alleging that persecution of Muslims in India has “increased beyond one’s imagination,” a leading advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the US has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop the violence and save India’s secular constitution.
“The Narendra Modi government must demonstrate to all Indians and the international community that the Constitution is still in effect,” Ahsan Khan, president of the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) stated Monday.
“This will require putting a stop to the violence against Muslims by groups affiliated to the larger ideological fraternity of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),” Khan added in a media release.
India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is ideologically affiliated with RSS, a Hindu nationalist right wing volunteer organization.
IAMC noted that India is set to celebrate its Republic day on Jan. 26 in honor of the day its Constitution came into effect in 1950 “to secure for all its citizens justice, liberty and equality and to promote fraternity among them all, without regard to caste or creed.”
Khan alleged that a series of recent incidents suggested “Indian state legitimized the persecution of Muslims, encouraged, and enabled violence against the largest minority community in the country.”
Condemning the vandalization of the grave of Brigadier Mohammed Usman, an Indian Muslim war hero killed in action during the Indo-Pakistan war of 1947, Khan said it “marks yet another low in India’s rapid descent into fascism.”
“The fact that the grave of a true national hero and martyr like Brigadier Usman was targeted shows that the nationalism of Hindutva is not about the nation at all, nor does it adhere to the norms of any religion,” he said.
“Rather, it is a narrow, bigoted creed that does not regard anything as sacred in its naked drive for power and supremacy.”
“Be it Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh, there is no limit to persecution of Muslims by the state,” said Khan. “Being a Muslim in India has become a nightmare and that needs to stop.”
Numerous cases of harassment of interfaith couples had been reported in the aftermath of the anti-conversion ordinance issued by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, he said.
Khan noted that over a 100 former civil servants from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and other branches of the services, declared that the Ordinance turned the state into “the epicenter of politics of hate, division and bigotry.”
These former civil servants including former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, former Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and former Adviser to the Prime Minister TKA Nair have urged Adityanath, to withdraw the controversial law.
Mohammad Jawad, IAMC national general secretary, referred to recent attacks on Muslim households and places of worship in Ujjain, following rallies carried out by Hindu right wing groups.
“In Ujjain district of Madhya Pradesh on Jan. 31, police razed the house of a daily wager who had built his house over the past 35 years, pushing a family of 19 to the street,” he alleged.
“It was done in a one-sided action by the Police after the local Muslim community resisted vandalism of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha workers who tried to create communal disturbance by chanting Hanuman chalisa in front of a mosque, and later damaging its minaret,” Jawad said.
Members of right wing Hindu groups used collection of donations for the construction of Ram temple as a pretext to create fear among Muslims, he alleged.
Claiming that the “agitation for demolition of Babri mosque during the 1990s was turned into a source of majoritarian violence,” Jawad alleged that “Hindutva groups are following a familiar model of violence.”
IAMC said it’s is dedicated to promoting the common values of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for human rights that form the basis of the world’s two largest secular democracies – the United States and India.