The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) organized a petition along with 30 other organizations to label India a “Country of Particular Concern” because of “ongoing persecution of minorities.”
A number of the signatories range from questionable to outright hypocritical.
What do the Indian American Muslim Council, Church of Scientology, and Cambodian Development Foundation have in common? The answer lies with an ongoing effort to prevent India and the USA from getting closer.
Apart from the Church of Scientology, whose reputation speaks for itself, another dubious organization is the Khalistani group “Poetic Justice Foundation” with links to banned terrorist organizations. You can read about the Khalistani resurgence in Canada, the UK, and the US here. The resolution argues that India’s elected ruling party, the BJP, has been systematically oppressing minorities and the Indian media. It cites the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) riot of February 2020, the CAA itself, forced religious conversion laws, and the BJP’s affiliation with the RSS for its case.
The anti-CAA riot was orchestrated when Donald Trump visited India in February 2020. Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain confessed that he “wanted to teach Hindus a lesson” using his political power and money.
In his own words:
“On February 4, in Abu Fazal Enclave, I met Khalid Saifi for planning the riots. It was decided to provoke people sitting on the anti-CAA strike. Khalif Saifi said that something big has to be done at the time of Donald Trump’s visit so that the government kneel.”
How was this an anti-Muslim riot when it was clearly a pre-planned riot to damage the image of the BJP and India during a major international visit?
The CAA itself fast tracks citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, and Christian illegal immigrants who escaped religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. The motive of this act is to provide a path to citizenship for these groups as religious minorities of neighbouring Islamic states. This act would not block any path to citizenship for Muslim immigrants or any other groups, and wouldn’t impact Indian Muslim citizens in any way. It’s up to the reader’s judgment to decide if this constitutes as oppression of 200 million Indian Muslim citizens.
A lesser-known fact is that when it comes to personal laws, India has two legal systems. Non-Hindus are allowed to follow their personal laws but Hindus have to follow the civil laws made by the state. Until recently, there was also a law called “triple talaq” under which a Muslim man could legally divorce his wife with three words “talak, talak, talak”, leaving the Muslim woman to fend for herself. This archaic law was scrapped recently by the BJP government, a move that Indian establishment media portrayed as Muslim suppression.
Law and order across the country mostly falls under the purview of state governments, half of which are controlled by non-BJP parties. Some states enacted anti-forced religious conversion bills, including both BJP and non-BJP state governments. These colloquially called “Love Jihad” bills are aimed at forceful religious conversions through marriage that can happen when a woman is forcefully converted to Islam. This extremist practice is similar to what happened in the long-ignored Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal in the UK. Ironically, such “Love Jihad” discussion is most prominent in the state of Kerala, where the Communist Party leads the state government. The Kerala high court infamously asked the communist government to frame laws to stop “Love Jihad.”
These anti-forced religious conversion bills apply to all religions where a woman cannot be forcefully converted to any religion against her wishes. Nevertheless, anti-BJP critics cite these as an example of religious persecution.
Opponents of the BJP parrot that the RSS founders admired Hitler and the Nazi Party, a claim that has repeatedly been debunked. The resolution drags up a 1938 quote from an early RSS leader Golwalkar to try and make this connection between the RSS and Nazis once again (Golkwalkar wrote those lines in adaptation of an earlier Marathi work and then later disowned even that).
There was already a BJP-led Indian government from 1999-2003 under the leadership of A. B. Vajpayee. However, since India-US relations weren’t closer at the time, this RSS bogeyman propaganda never went into overdrive in the establishment media. In reality, the RSS is a social service organization that helps millions of Indians, including in COVID relief efforts.
Because of these welfare programs and the “triple talaq” bill, there was a significant effort by the Congress party and its allies in the Indian establishment media, who were in power for most of post-independence India, to protect its minority vote bank. They propped up dozens of so-called fact-checkers to create an illusion of an increase in communal hate crimes with the rise of the BJP government.
After Indians voted for Modi for the second time in 2019, these “hate fact checkers” were pulled down as there was no incentive for them to continue until the next elections. However, the damage has already been done, since the global media parroted this flawed argument stemming from these pro-Congress sources.
Practically, India is not a secular country. Hindus don’t have the same opportunities in many aspects as minorities and the government controls Hindu temples, but not mosques or churches.
It’s also notable that the resolution ignores a recent spate of anti-Hindu and anti-BJP violence that occurred after local elections in West Bengal. In the aftermath of the elections, at least 1,934 police complaints were filed against the ruling party, the TMC, including 29 for murders, 12 for rapes, and 940 for instances of looting. West Bengal’s high court criticized the TMC government for not probing into said violence and implied the party allowed it as retribution against BJP party workers.
The main reason why overseas Muslim, Christian, and Scientology organizations can find common ground is that the Modi government enacted a law requiring the 2.3 million NGOs operating in India to disclose any foreign funding.
The Anti-Indian Nexus With Global Left Media As Its Ally
Ever since the formation of the QUAD, a strategic partnership aimed at counter-balancing China and comprising of the democratic countries of India, the USA, Japan, and Australia, there has been an overdrive of this sort of narrative manufacturing in an attempt to paint the democratically elected Indian government as “authoritarian.”
During the Cold War, India was non-aligned, which acted as a natural barrier to close relations with the USA. However, Pakistan was a US ally during the Cold War and later a non-Nato ally, and has enjoyed significant diplomatic, political, media, and lobbying relationships with the USA to this day. Since BJP and Modi came to power in 2014, India has developed improved relations with most of the countries of the world. Narendra Modi went on worldwide diplomatic offensive. India got 99 per cent vote for the resolution on declaration of International Day of Yoga in 2015 by the United Nations.
To top it off, George Soros openly pledged $1 Billion to “fight would be dictators like Modi,” and eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar created dozens of anti-India news outlets since 2014. Nothing like Sunday morning’s coffee and James Bond villain billionaires trying to take down democratically elected governments.
The New York Times, which has allowed opinion articles from a Taliban leader and Pakistan’s Imran Khan, but never gives a platform to the BJP government or any other non-left journalists from India, publishes takes on India such as an article titled “I know what it takes to defeat Narendra Modi,” as if the entire world were waiting for Modi’s defeat.
The gatekeeping of the global media’s India reporting was briefly exposed when the NYT posted a job description for a South Asia correspondent, where the prerequisite should be anti-Modi and anti-Government. It’s worth noting that the NYT job description for Hong Kong correspondent doesn’t mention the CCP’s crackdown on Hong Kong.
In addition, there has been a resurgence of Khalistani groups with terrorist links. They are even funding farmers’ protests, including inciting violence and wreaking havoc on Republic Day, as well as blockading the Delhi national highway for over a year to this day. So much for “cracking down dissent”.
Impact On The Biden Administration
For the first time in history, with the advent of the QUAD, there is a concerted effort for India to build closer ties with the USA. The Trump administration’s efforts to address a rival China played a significant role in bringing India to the QUAD grouping.
Ever since Biden was elected as President in 2020, there has been a significant effort to undermine the QUAD and wedge a gap between India and US relations. China and Pakistan, who have historically enjoyed extensive Washington think tank and lobbying support, are working overtime to achieve this objective.
There are already some indications that these efforts will bear fruit. In March 2020, the Biden administration fired Amit Jani allegedly because of his positive attitude towards the BJP, a democratically elected Indian government. Did the Biden administration hold the same standard for his staffers who expressed support for Pakistan’s government, Turkey’s government, the Taliban, or the CCP? Likely not.
“Concerns about Indian Government and Modi” is a standard argument in Washington DC think Tanks and lobbies.
We are witnessing a lack of critical thinking in global media and Washington DC. India is a country of 1.3 billion people, 28 states, 164 parties, and various levels of government, yet Modi is to blame for any and all issues the country faces. At the same time, any good news that the Modi government is directly responsible for will be swept under the rug.
This resolution was clearly aimed at pushing an anti-BJP agenda ahead of Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s trip to New Delhi, India slated for 28 July 2021. Considering the Delhi riots occurred during Trump’s visit in February 2020, is it possible that anti-Indian forces planned to wreak havoc during this visit as well?