January 12, 2019

SEEMS A DUBIOUS ROLE MODEL:

Is India Becoming a Hindu Pakistan? (Mihir Sharma, January 10, 2019, Bloomberg)

A decades-old accord set the date beyond which cross-border migration became illegal at 1971, the same year that Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan. Now, the government is demanding people prove they or their parents arrived before then -- an absurd process that, if carried to its logical end, would require India to set up internment camps for literally hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people. (Some camps have already been built.) The government hopes, through the new citizenship rules, to ensure that no non-Muslims are caught up in this sweep of "foreigners."

Assam's sub-nationalists are furious: They don't want to welcome any outsiders, Hindus included. Yet the government is facing a tight reelection later this year, and at least some BJP strategists appear to hope that anti-Muslim sentiment will serve as a wedge issue elsewhere in India -- especially in nearby West Bengal state.

Personally, I doubt that will work; like Assam, West Bengal is one of those parts of India where ethnicity has traditionally counted for more than religion. In the religiously polarized north and west of India, however, the law might help the BJP mobilize a few million extra voters.

Surely even a few million votes aren't worth allowing India to lose a seven-decade old argument and accept that Jinnah's "two-nation theory" was correct after all? Is an election victory worth making India's 170 million Muslims feel unwelcome in their own country?

Posted by at January 12, 2019 6:34 PM

  

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