Gregory Stanton, the founder and director of Genocide Watch, has warned of early signs of Muslim genocide in India. Stanton previously predicted the Rwandan genocide, and says similarities are evident in India now.
Speaking to a US Congressional briefing last week, Stanton cautioned that “signs and processes” of genocide are present in the Indian state of Assam, and in Indian-administered Kashmir. He also pointed out parallels between discriminatory policies against Muslims in India, and those against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
The ‘10 Stages of Genocide’
Dr Stanton has developed a framework for monitoring potential for genocide, broken into ten stages. In an interview with The Wire, Stanton said he felt several of the stages were clear in India:
Alongside the classification and symbolisation of Muslims, state-sanctioned discrimination has been rampant in recent years. In 2019, Modi passed the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, which granted Indian citizenship to religious minorities while excluding Muslims.
Muslims are dehumanised through common-name calling, and repeatedly told to leave India for Pakistan. Polarisation is rampant, with accusations of a ‘love jihad’ – a conspiracy theory that Muslim men are luring Hindu women into marriages, thus converting them to Islam destroying ‘true’ Indians. Last year, an Indian state passed a new anti-conversion law to prevent interfaith marriages.
India Under the BJP
Religious tensions have been present in the country since the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. The Kashmir region, on the border between the two nations, often sees severe Hindu-Muslim conflict. In 2011, mass graves with thousands of bodies were discovered in the area, and Kashmiris have been forcibly disappeared for years.
The rise of Hindu nationalism was consolidated in 2014 with the election of the ruling BJP party, led by Modi. The BJP promotes Hindutva – a political ideology that advocates a ‘pure’ Hindu Indian state. Much of the party is comprised of prominent members of RSS, an extremist Hindutva group.
In December of last year, videos went viral of Hindu religious leaders calling for the killing of Muslims. One clip shows a member of a radical political party yell “If one hundred of us are ready to kill two million of them, then we will win and make India a Hindu nation.” At least one member of the BJP was identified in these videos.
Modi and his party have remained silent, refusing to condemn this criminal incitement to genocide. Stanton has said the Prime Minister has “a moral obligation to denounce hate speech,” and denounced Modi as an “extremist who has taken over the government”. Islamophobic misinformation has also gone unaddressed by Facebook for years.
BJP spokesperson Syed Zafar Islam has rejected the Genocide Watch warning, saying “no such things exist as [are] being portrayed.” Genocide Watch is now calling on the US government to issue a resolution warning genocide should not be allowed to occur in India.
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