If the annexation of Kashmir wasn’t enough to quench Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) hate against Muslims, the Hindu Nationalist government in India has now targeted members of the minority community in the northeastern Assam state by taking away their citizenship. Under the new National Register of Citizens (NRC) scheme, the Modi government has effectively excluded two million people from the list of citizens — most of them happen to be Muslim.
Aimed at pleasing BJP’s co-religionists, Modi plans to replicate the Assam-style disenfranchisement all over India. While those excluded from the citizen’s list will have 120 days to contest the move at hundreds of quasi-judicial bodies known as foreigners’ tribunals, many might end up in detention centers being constructed all over the state or even face possible deportation. And the human rights violations within those contemporary detention camps, some visibly similar to those used by Nazi Germany, will soon be defended as India’s domestic affair. But nothing happened overnight. India, under Modi and his BJP nationalists, has systematically legalized acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Since assuming power in 2014, the BJP government has meticulously schemed to oppress the Muslim minority community across India. Earlier this year, the lower house of parliament passed a legislation that granted citizenship to immigrants who moved to India as long as they were not Muslims. Soon after that, the Indian government authorized the annexation of the Muslim-majority Kashmir, which it has forcefully occupied for decades. If not stopped now, the Modi regime will very soon, make religion an eligibility criterion for Indian citizenship which by default will marginalise Muslims. What has happened in Assam and what might follow in the rest of India, leaves members of the minority community one legislation away from being deprived of their citizenship and other basic rights. And since the actions of India’s nationalistic regime indicate its strong desire to preserve the country’s Hindu identity and continue with its drive for Hinduisation at any cost, the fate of millions, most of them among the most vulnerable in the country, remains uncertain.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2019.