Dr. Samina Salim:I am an Indian American Muslim and live in the United States. The current situation in India has caught international attention, especially the assault on three premier Indian academic institutions Jamia MilIia Islamia (JMI), Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Videos and images of police brutality on students for speaking truth to power by protesting against the unconstitutional citizenship amendment act (CAA) have made headlines in several major American media outlets. It is very telling when academic institutions begin facing assaults from the government, the law enforcement, and criminals, a pattern representative of an intolerant society. Like the people protesting on the streets in India, I also see citizenship amendment act CAA as a strategy to disenfranchise Muslims and convert India into a complete Hindu Nation. This is a manifesto of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and strikes at the very heart of the secular character of the Indian constitution.
This might sound a bit paranoid but I do fear an Indian holocaust in the making. German holocaust did not begin with gas chambers. A campaign of hate and defamation against the Jews were proximal events, followed by Nuremberg laws which led to a full blown genocide in the following years. According to the Nuremburg laws people of German descent alone were eligible to be German citizens. What happened next is history. It was a mechanism afforded via hate. Genocides don’t happen overnight, the process begins with blaming a community, hating a community, violence against that community, and finally a legislation to disenfranchise and legally undermine that community. The blame-hate-violence-legislation sequel is being played right in front of our eyes in India. We cannot afford another holocaust. The international community must act quickly to pressurize the Indian government to freeze CAA. This is critical for promotion of world peace and for preservation of democratic values globally. A nuclear power becoming oppressive and rogue is a recipe for disaster. Reports of police brutality in several Indian cities to intimidate and crush peaceful dissent are already abundant. Eyewitness accounts of police brutality which some have equated to state-sponsored terrorism are chilling reminders of the evil agendas currently prevailing in the government machinery. A great burden rests with the silence of the disengaged. Fortunately, a significant number of Indians have risen to reject the politics of hate and division, a campaign of the ruling BJP. In doing so the common Indian has stepped-up to uphold Gandhian principles represented by nationwide protests. In solidarity of the student movement in India, Indians in various cities in the United States also have organized protests and awareness campaigns. Diversity is the core of Indian existence and pluralism is the only way forward. Most peace loving Indians stand for the India that Gandhi aspired for and are actively engaged in dismissing hardline BJP-RSS agenda. Indians all across the US will assemble on January 26th, India’s Republic Day to defend India’s secular character and speak for “Sarvadharma Samabhava “.
(The writer, Dr. Samina Salim, is an Indian-American researcher and an associate professor of University of Houston College of Pharmacy.She is also on the editorial board of several international scientific journals and serves on various capacities in different organizations and boards in the United States.)
[Views are personal]