By CAP Liberté de Conscience April 2024

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), a U.S.-based advocacy organization, recently released its annual report titled “365 Days of Hate: 2023 in Modi’s India.” The 49-page report aims to inform legislators and policymakers about human rights conditions in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

According to the report, since coming to power in 2014, Modi and the BJP have pursued a vision of India where Hindus reign supreme while religious minorities, especially Muslims and Christians, are treated as second-class citizens. The BJP espouses Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism, an ideology the report describes as “authoritarian” and “supremacist.” The BJP maintains close ties with its parent organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which the report claims was modeled on 20th-century European fascist parties and argues for Hindu superiority over non-Hindus.

In 2023, the report states the Indian government suspended over 140 politicians from parliament, including opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, persecuted independent media, and allegedly launched assassination campaigns targeting overseas critics in North America. With these actions, the report argues India has taken “decisive and disturbing steps in the direction of authoritarianism,” deserving its downgraded status to “Partly Free” by Freedom House and “Electoral Autocracy” by V-Dem.

The report claims that in BJP-ruled states, interfaith marriage and conversion to Islam and Christianity have been criminalized, effectively creating two sets of laws – one for Hindus and one for minorities. Thousands of Muslim and Christian homes and places of worship were allegedly bulldozed. “It is no exaggeration to say that for India’s Muslims and Christians, the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion has already been destroyed,” the report states.

The report urges the U.S. government to ensure its strategic alliance with India involves a mutual dedication to human rights and religious freedom. It calls on Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the State Department to use ongoing dialogue with India to advance human rights conditions there.

Delving into specific issues, the report alleges the BJP government has enabled and inflamed violent persecution of Muslims and Christians through the direct participation of BJP officials in anti-minority violence, the involvement of RSS-affiliated paramilitary groups tied to the ruling party, and the passage of discriminatory laws and policies.

One such law is the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed in 2019, which provides a path to citizenship for illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan – but not if they are Muslim. The report warns the CAA’s implementation ahead of the 2024 elections could lead to mass disenfranchisement of Muslims.

The report also highlights a rise in anti-minority hate speech, citing researchers who documented 256 public assembly hate speech events in the first half of 2023, 80% of which occurred in BJP-ruled states. Around 42% were allegedly organized by RSS-affiliated groups.

In Kashmir, the report criticizes the Indian Supreme Court’s 2023 decision to uphold the revocation of Article 370, which had granted autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir. It claims this has enabled a “settler-colonial project” to alter the Muslim-majority region’s demographics.

On the economic front, the report accuses the Modi regime of pioneering “a novel form of economic apartheid” that punishes Muslims while maintaining a lopsided and corrupt economy. It cites boycotts of Muslim-owned businesses and budget cuts to minority affairs.

In its recommendations, the IAMC calls on the U.S. Congress to pass a resolution condemning human rights violations in India, the State Department to designate India as a Country of Particular Concern for religious freedom violations, and the Treasury Department to sanction Indian officials and entities involved in human rights abuses under the Global Magnitsky Act.

It also urges the Indian government to hold accountable those making speeches calling for violence against minorities, ensure police investigate and prosecute harassment and violence against minorities, and stop using laws to arbitrarily arrest activists, journalists and dissenters.

Download the report :


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