This latest wave of Hindutva supremacist repression is happening in the wake of a stunning eruption of massive protests against the deeply bigoted Citizenship Amendment Act, which will provide citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Christian and Parsi migrants from neighboring countries, but denying the same to Muslims. People of conscience across the country are rightly outraged by a legislation that goes against not only India’s secular Constitution, but also against the country’s centuries old heritage of diversity and pluralism.
Together with the National Registry of Citizens (NRC), the CAA threatens to disenfranchise millions of bonafide Muslim citizens of their voting rights. Already noted citizens such as the families of former Indian President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed as well as Muslim soldiers who gave their lives fighting the Indian side in the Kargil war have been targeted by this law. Massive detentions reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps are underway in the state of Assam.
In just the last five days, the death toll in police led violence against protesters in Uttar Pradesh has mounted to
22 . An 8-year old boy in Varanasi
was among the victims. The UP police have themselves acknowledged the arrest of 705 people in a massive crackdown on popular protests comprising of citizens from all walks of life.
While news media has covered the death toll and the arrests, reports from people on the ground paint a very grim picture of the entire state machinery turning against Muslims and those looking to stand in solidarity with them. “Locals are calling in saying it is a carnage. Muzaffarnagar, Sambal and Kanpur right now are the hotbeds of anti Muslim violence. Cops barging into homes, destroying property, beating children, detaining youth,vandalizing. Calls not getting through. Many are calling in from landlines. Disturbing videos of bloodbath,” wrote noted journalist Rana Ayyub in a Facebook post
Renowned historian of South Asian history, Dr. Audrey Truschke who has faced death threats for her candid assessment of both Indian history and the fascist roots of Hindutva supremacy, today deplored the violence in a powerful tweet. “This is turning into a bloodbath. Key point, especially for media reporting on this: It’s the police, not the protesters, who are enacting systematic, targeted violence. There’s a history of this in India, and a specific history of Modi overseeing such violence (Gujarat, 2002),” wrote Truschke
. Indeed the systematic nature of the police violence can be gauged from Prime Minister Modi’s absurd declaration that those committing arson could be identified by their clothes .
Equally telling is noted Supreme Court lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan’s comment
, that “this is much worse than anything we saw during the Emergency of 1975. We are faced with a govt that devours it’s own people.”
The entire BJP administration, most notably Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, have blood on their hands,” said Theresa Matthews of South Asia Solidarity Initiative.
Noted activist Kanhayya Kumar
has rightly pointed to the irony of those who were trying to protect the Constitution being termed “anti-nationals” while those who were destroying it calling themselves “patriots.”
“We fully expect this evil law to eventually target all marginalized communities. This is why all caste oppressed communities are standing together with our Muslim brothers and sisters” said Thenmozhi Soundararajan the Executive Director of Equality Labs.
AJA has lauded the courage of the protesters and called on the intern ational community to hold India accountable for its massive human rights violations. AJA is also leading protests against the CAA in several cities across the US.