May 23, 2023


Joe Biden and Walter Russell Mead Deserve an "F" on India (SALIL TRIPATHI, MAY 23, 2023, The UnPopulist)

Mead betrays no hint that he is aware that as chief minister of Gujarat in 2002, Modi presided over one of the worst episodes of anti-Muslim bloodletting since India's independence. Hindu militants--some tied to the BJP--massacred thousands of Muslims in a few days. Muslim women were beaten, gang raped and murdered. One survivor is Bilkis Bano, a pregnant woman whose toddler's head was bashed in front of her before she was raped by 11 neighbors and left for dead. After 17 long years, her tormentors were finally convicted--only to be released last year by the Gujarat government, which Modi or his party have ruled uninterrupted for just over a quarter century, due to "good behavior" in prison. Worse, Gujarat did so after obtaining a green light from Amit Shah, Modi's Home Minister and right-hand man. When the rapists got out, BJP leaders and activists greeted them with garlands. A BBC documentary earlier this year examining Modi's role in the Gujarat pogrom was effectively banned from the country. (To their credit, some Australian politicians and human rights activists have arranged to screen that documentary in the Australian parliament during Modi's visit.)

During Modi's first term from 2015 to 2018, Human Rights Watch found that Hindu "cow protection" vigilantes lynched 44 people--36 of whom were Muslim.

The BJP is targeting Muslims not just with violence but also abusive laws. Modi's notorious Citizenship Amendment Act, which has generated massive protests around the country, could potentially strip millions of Muslims of their citizenship unless they meet complicated conditions to prove they are Indians. Mosques that have allegedly breached municipal laws are being razed, and Muslims are increasingly facing restrictions over praying in public. Muslim girls and women are not allowed to wear the headscarf in academic institutions in one state. Muslim tenants are increasingly finding it hard to get rental property and many Muslims find their job applications go unanswered.

BJP activists take every opportunity to vilify Muslims. When the pandemic took off in India, they blamed Tablighi Muslims, who had gathered for a religious event, as super spreaders while initially ignoring large electoral rallies that Modi was addressing; the rallies were later canceled. Modi has repeatedly dog-whistled that you can tell who is violent by how they dress--a not-so-subtle effort to demonize observant Muslims. It is not surprising then that the BJP no longer has a single Muslim member of parliament even though nearly 14% of India's population is Muslim, not even a token one as had been the case in the previous BJP government.

But except for gesturing against BJP's efforts to pass anti-conversion laws, Mead maintains a stoic silence about the BJP's concerted and in-your-face, anti-Muslim crusade. Not even the BJP's efforts to make inter-faith marriages exceedingly hard to solve the entirely imaginary problem of "love jihad"--Muslim men seducing Hindu girls into marrying them--gets a mention.

An apartheid India can not be a US ally. 

Posted by at May 23, 2023 4:19 PM