Father Joseph Varghese, Executive Director, Institute for Religious Freedom and Tolerance( IRFT)
On a State Visit to the US Capital, the Indiaâ€™s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the Whitehouse press meet that â€œDemocracy is in Indiaâ€™s DNA, it is in Indiaâ€™s spirit, in its blood, the democratic Indian government works on the basis of a democratic Indian Constitution, and if there are no human values, no humanity, no human rights, there is no democracy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.â€ Modi further said â€œIf there are no human values, no humanity, human rights, it is not a democracy,â€ reiterating the principle of â€œsabka saath, sabka vikaas, sabka vishwas, sabka prayasâ€ that has been his governmentâ€™s stated motto. The Washington visit as an opportunity to highlight his dangerous Hindu supremacy and a test to the resolve of US foreign policy on the virtues of Religious Freedom, democracy and the human rights.
Once again USA tge Biden Administrationâ€™s foreign policy on self serve rather than the virtues it herald on the world stage . Mr. Biden has concluded, much as his predecessors did, that he needs India despite concerns over human rights just as he believes he needs theocratic countries like Saudi Arabia and other countries that are either outright autocracies or do not fit into the category of human rights and religious freedom.
A reality check on Modiâ€™s India, the opposite is true. Modi is a Hindu nationalist whose party has cracked down on political opponents and inflamed anti-Muslim bigotry. As I write, The Christians in the state of Manipur is targeted and a genocide is taking place. Almost 300 churches were burned by the Hindu mobs and so many are killed. This is happening with the clear support of the BJP government in the State of Manipur. In a letter dated June 19, the Opposition parties blamed â€œthe divide and rule politics of the BJP government at the Centre and in the state for having failed to contain the violence in Manipurâ€. They also termed Manipur Chief Minister as the â€œarchitect of present ethnic violenceâ€ and said the clashes could have been averted had he taken preventive measures and prompt actions.
Since Modi took office in 2014, and especially after winning reelection in 2019, he has systematically taken a hammer to the core institutions of Indian democracy. The prime ministerâ€™s government has undermined election process in India, planted his cronyâ€™s to the benches of the Supreme Court and canvass for favorable ruling, used government machinery to frame cases against opponents and opposition leaders, increased control over the press, systematic and targeted attacks on minorities and the religious institutions. As the Indiaâ€™s religious freedom and democracy is in danger, the monotone on democracy by Modi like the sermon on chastity by a prostitute.
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