Hawzah News Agency (New Delhi, India) - An expert on issues related to minorities in India Kashif ul Huda says biggest challenge for Indian Muslims these days is their political marginalization which is the root cause of their problems that leads to violence against them.
Here is the full text of his interview:
Under the Modi led BJP government in New Delhi, religious minorities especially Muslims have felt increasingly marginalised and hate crimes have also increased. What reasons do you attribute to it?
BJP is rooted in the fascist ideology so it is no surprise that we are witnessing increasing violence against Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis, women – all marginalized sections of the Indian society. The violence has seen a sharp rise since Narendra Modi-led BJP government assumed power in 2014. Modi’s history and careful cultivation of his public image of a strong man has also given signals to different Hindutva groups and individuals that they can be hateful and violent in their speeches and actions and still get away with it. It all started with the killing of Mohsin Shaikh in Pune just days after Modi's victory and continues to this day.
Leaders of extremist Hindu groups in India like RSS and VHP openly threaten Muslims but still no action is taken against them. Recently, a senior union minister was seen felicitating killers of Muslims at a function organized by the ruling party. Do you think they enjoy government’s patronage?
What I fear is that the Hindutva genie is out of the bottle and even RSS and VHP are not able to control it, let alone the BJP government. It is an example of tail wagging the dog and now BJP MLAs, MPs, and even ministers are seen felicitating killers and the Prime Minister keeping quiet while India has become a ‘lynch land’. If they take action against the killers, BJP is going to lose its base.
What are the biggest challenges facing Indian Muslims today?
Biggest challenge for Indian Muslims these days is their political marginalization. This is the root cause of their problems that leads to violence against them and denial of basic facilities in areas where they live and discrimination in jobs and services.
India has come under severe criticism for bowing to the US pressure and betraying Iran. Do you think India should have an independent foreign policy if it seeks a bigger role on global stage?
India should play a bigger role on the world stage but not merely for its geo-political interest. The world is suffering from climate change, concentration of wealth in fewer hands, and various social challenges. The world needs leaders who have the moral conviction and global vision to lead the world to a peaceful, prosperous and equitable future. India or any other country can and should lead the world out of present chaos but only if they have fixed the issues at home.
The scourge of Islamophobia has assumed alarming proportions across the world today. What's fueling it?
The fuel for Islamophobia are the anti-Islam forces but the reason they get traction is the uncertainty in the rapidly changing world which makes people vulnerable to propaganda and rumors. It suits those in power because then people's attention is shifted towards it rather than issues of economy, climate, and justice.
How would you rate Narendra Modi government's performance? Do you think he will be re-elected?
The current NDA government’s performance has been very poor. It has failed in delivering on the promises made before the last general election. This government has no vision and plan for India and its unique challenges. All it has done in the last four years is to continue the same disastrous policies of the previous UPA government with added rebranding of some policies and institutions and marketing gimmicks.
This government is especially dangerous because they have actively undermined the institutions that have kept India a democratic nation for long. The result on the ground is visible to all as to how people continue to suffer from violence, unemployment, lack of resources and services.
However, when it comes to voting, BJP has mastered the art of forming governments even when they don’t win elections. I fear the same tactic will be applied by the party in the next general election. First, they will whip up communal passions of Hindus by creating an artificial crisis in the name of temple, terrorism, or some other issues. Even after this, if they fail to get enough seats, they have deep pockets filled with corporate and corrupt money to gather enough numbers to form the government again.
Kashif ul Huda is the founder and editor of twocircles.net, a non-profit voice for the marginalized people in India. He is considered an expert on issues related to minorities in India.