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  • Anti-Muslim riots in India's Delhi have taken the lives of almost 40 people and injured over 300 as of Thursday.

    Anti-Muslim riots in India's Delhi have taken the lives of almost 40 people and injured over 300 as of Thursday. | Photo: Twitter @14Milimetros

Published 27 February 2020

While the president of the ‘world's oldest democracy’ still was a guest in the ‘world's largest democracy’, mosques and shrines were torched, and properties were either burned and looted.

Bullet-ridden bodies kept lining at hospitals' wards as Donald Trump applauded India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “hard work to ensure religious freedom." The U.S. President's much-awaited visit to India on Feb. 24 coupled with anti-Muslim riots in the country's capital city where almost 40 people have been killed and over 300 are injured. 

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Soon after Trump left India, the U.S. issued level-two travel advisory and safety notice. "Exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism. Some areas have increased risk." 

While the president of the ‘world's oldest democracy’ still was a guest in the ‘world's largest democracy’, mosques and shrines were torched, and properties were either burned and looted. Two "democracies" together failed to control the riots which are still going on.

The goons assaulted Muslims on the streets while chanting "Jai Shri Ram" (Hail Lord Ram), the far-right Hindu slogan in India. Many said the police have been conniving with the rioters. "This is communal police,” said Vrinda Grover, the country's prominent lawyer. They were treacherous to their oath of upholding "peace', performing public "service" and ensuring a "just" approach towards citizens.

In 1969, when Richard Nixon visited India, he reportedly told the White House that Indians were "slippery, treacherous people.” Nixon, a racist to his core, had to resign from the post of President of the U.S. following the Watergate Scandal. He hated the non-whites and even called Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, a witch. Nixon, a loathsome man said what he did about Indians out of his deep-entrenched racism. After half-a-decade since, a U.S. president visits India and rather than calling its current Prime Minister, a "mass murderer," as the Supreme Court of India once observed, he eulogized Narendra Modi, notorious for spearheading the Gujarat anti-Muslim pogrom. Modi is the man who the U.S. denied a diplomatic visa in 2005 citing his "failure" to halt the "Hindu-riot.” 

Right-wing propaganda TV channels of India hailed the hand-shake and "bear-hug" of Trump and Modi when the country (particularly women of India), protested the amended Citizenship Bill since December 2019 after it was tabled in the parliament and quickly passed as an act. The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, and Parsis, who the ministers of the ruling party say "faced religious persecutions" in neighboring Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. 

However, it excludes Muslims from everywhere including Myanmar (where Rohingyas are facing brute of Myanmar Army) and Hindus from Sri Lanka. It is evident that the act in question is discriminatory and despite that Trump only said, "I want to leave that (act in question) to India and hopefully they will make the right decision for their people." The act promising safety and happy life to the minority in the neighborhood, is setting a highway for killing minorities within India's border. 

Seeking happiness, Melania Trump visited schools in Delhi to attend "happiness classes" run by the Union Territory government. The newly-formed government of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the capital and the chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who came to power recently maintained "strategic" silence. Probably, for the first time in Delhi, one could question what Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi said, "What you seek is seeking you." The Delhiites were seeking happiness, but they got death instead. Death, perhaps, is the only happiness for the Muslims.

As Delhi burnt in the anti-Muslim pogrom, Mr. Trump and Melania Trump walked the red carpet for the dinner hosted by the President of India. Such dinners need special lights; the great Roman Emperor, Nero used to hold giant feasts. Known for his "madness and cruelty", Nero would burn bodies of prisoners and poors to illuminate the feast he served in the night. In Delhi, as evening approached and sunlight got moved to the West, the flames from burning houses must have illuminated the duo's table as they dined. However, has India treaded Nero's path? We do not know. What we do know is that this is not the first time when India has burnt the poor minority of its country. 

In 1984, the anti-Sikh pogrom spearheaded by the then ruling Congress party shattered Delhi to the core and more than three thousand Sikhs were massacred within a week on the streets of India's capital. The then, newly elected Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had said, "When a big tree falls, the earth trembles," referring to the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (by two of her Sikh bodyguards) and the bloodbath that the Indian state took recourse into. 

In 2002, the anti-Muslim pogrom saw bloodbath on the streets of Gujarat. Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister. A coach of a train was burnt and over 50 right-wing people died. Till today, no one knows how that coach carrying Hindus caught fire, but Muslims were instantly blamed. When Hindu rioters assaulted Muslims, burnt their houses, raped Muslim women, cut womb of pregnant mothers and threw children in the burning fire, Modi told in a meeting with his officials, "Let the Hindus vent their anger." Sanjiv Bhatt, the officer who revealed this to the public has been languishing in prison soon after Modi became the Prime Minister of India. 

In 2008, hell broke out in Kandhamal where about 50 Christians were killed, 250-300 churches were destroyed, 600 villages were ransacked, 5,600 houses were looted, more than 50,000 were rendered homeless in a months-run riot by Hindu rioters. Statements filled with venom were spread to justify crimes against humanity. Similar voices echoed from the mouths of several leaders from the country’s current ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the Delhi elections which ended recently. 

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The Home Minister of India, Mr. Amit Shah asked voters to "press” the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) so hard that the "current" reaches out to Shaheen Bagh, where Muslim Women sat in protest against the CAA. The movement was considered Muslim women uprising in India and served as a model for other areas of the country to come out and assert themselves. They did come and said, "we would not be cowed down.” 

They have been worrying that if clubbed with the nationwide register of citizens, the National Population Register (NPR) and the CAA would be “catastrophic." Protestors fear that the National Population Register (NPR), a precursor to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) would ask the citizens of India to prove that they are Indians. The government said that it only wants to document citizens, a claim which stood redundant after the right-wing goons unleashed Hindu-terror echoing the Home Minister who had, several times in the past, said, "illegal immigrants" would be pushed out of the country and "termites" (a slang he fondly uses against Muslims) would not be tolerated. 

India, a culturally diverse country and a heterogeneous one, would have people outside the frames of state, like Sadhus (Saints), vagabonds or people who do not believe in the concept of the nation-state. “They are most important for a democracy to survive as they fiercely criticize the state,” Varun Sahni, the Vice-Chancellor of the Goa University had said in a public talk by Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), a think-tank body of the Indian state. They do not maintain a proof for showing the state who they are, not primarily because they simply rebel (as state portrays the non-state actors) but due to their ideological non-acquiescence towards a world imprisoned by boundaries. Above all, many "others" are forced to be stateless and are pushed into the Detention Camps (India is making new ones) because they are "undesirable,” a ready-made fuel to illuminate Nero's feast.

As happens in any anti-minority right, members of the majority community also pay the price, this time, in Delhi, a few among the dead are Hindus. 

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Trump that once India had about 40 million Muslims and now it houses 200 million. The parameter to decide “religious freedom” is faulty as Trump was not told that Hindus as well grew to the tunes of 966.3 million in the last census from 303 million in 1951. Also, Jammu and Kashmir, the Muslim majority population which India later administered had been exempted from the 1951 Census of India.

By saying what he did, Narendra Modi once again fanned the fire of lies that the Muslim population is “exponentially growing.” The truth, however, is that it has been growing slower than it did in the last decades. The prestigious newspaper The Hindu was called a “minority appeasement newspaper” when it reported otherwise, using the government census report. What Nixon and his security advisor Henry Kissinger said about Indians is something no Indian would like to listen to. Agreeing to Nixon's bigotry remark “slippery and treacherous,", Kissinger added that "the Indians are bastards anyway. They are the most aggressive goddamn people around." Whether Indians proved the imperial and the racist America correct can be understood by visiting the areas hit by an anti-Muslim pogrom in Delhi.

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