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India: Secularism is dead, Constitution changed

28th Aug 2020
India: Secularism is dead, Constitution changed

Mob of Hindu militants illegally demolish the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India on December 6, 1992. (Credit: Praveen Jain/Anadolu Agency)

M Ghazali Khan

Despite a frighteningly rising number of Covid-19 positive cases in the country, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, attended the foundation laying ceremony of the so-called Rama Temple, on the site of Babri Mosque, in Ayodhya, on August 5.

Donned in a symbolic attire, saffron kurta and dhoti, Modi addressed a large gathering of mainly Hindus and compared those who had campaigned for and participated in the demolition of 16th-century demolition of Babri Mosque on December 6, 1992, with the participants and those who sacrificed their lives in India’s freedom struggle.

“There was not a place in our country where sacrifices were not made for freedom. 15th August is the embodiment of sacrifices of the lakhs of people and a deep yearning for independence. Similarly, several generations have made [the] selfless sacrifice for several centuries for the construction of the Ram Temple. Today marks the culmination of that centuries-old penance, sacrifices and resolve,” he said.

“Fellow mates! With the enshrining of this temple, not only is a new history being written but also history is repeating itself,” Modi told his followers.
Psephologist, politician and activist, Yogendra Yadav condemned the comparison of Rama Temple Movement with freedom struggle as shameful and referred it to, “something which all of us should be ashamed of.” In a televised interview, he said, “Secularism as we know it is dead today.”

He went as far as saying, “Constitution of India has been changed. [The] constitution can be changed in two ways. One is by amendment by a parliament. Second is by simply abandoning it. You abandon the constitution; you start doing exactly [the] opposite of what the constitution says and no one stops you from doing that.”

This should also be borne in mind that August 5 also marked the first anniversary of the abolition of Article 370 of Indian Constitution. Article 370 gave Jammu and Kashmir its special status agreed upon between Indian and Kashmiri leaders in 1947.

Modi has been citing the abolition of Art 370, interference by the Government in and tempering with the family laws of Indian Muslims, generally known as ‘Muslim Personal law’ and having the Babri Mosque-Ram Janam Bhoomi case decided by the Supreme Court in favour of Hindutva militants, as his achievements.

When he addressed his supporters in the US, amid cheers and applause, he told them, “Article 370 done”; “Triple Talaq Bill, done”; “Ram Janam Bhoomi done” and assured them that this was only a “trailer.”

As for the trailer, it has been playing ever since Modi came to power in 2014. While Indian media, especially electronic media, has run amok spewing anti-Muslim venom, Hindutva militants have been given the freedom to post blasphemous posts on social media and terrorise Muslims on the streets.

So low have the standards of Indian media fallen that during an extremely tense and abrasive live debate on August 12, a pro-Hindutva channel, Aajtak, allowed, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP ) spokesman Sambit Patra to use highly uncivilised language against Congress spokesman Rajiv Tayagi resulting in Tyagi’s cardiac death.

The day when Modi was using a silver brick to lay the foundation stone of the temple on the site of Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, Zee TV celebrated the event by turning its studio into a temple while Hinditva hatemongers in Delhi marked it by roaming around chanting Islamophobic slogans. The clips showing them indulging in incitement have gone viral on social media.

Puffed up by these developments Hindutva extremists attacked a 52-year-old auto rickshaw driver, Ghaffar Ahmad Kacchawa, in Sirkar district of Rajasthan. He was stopped and asked to chant, “Modi Zindabad” (Long live Modi) and “Jai Shree Ram” (Glory to Lord Rama).

When he refused to obey the extremists, he was beaten red and blue leaving him with broken teeth and bruises. The attackers warned Ghaffar he would be sent to Pakistan unless he accepted the demand of his tormentors.
Several other incidents of attacks have been reported from different parts of the country.

However, the most terrible of all is the death of three Muslim youths in Bengaluru in the South Indian state of Karnataka where they were shot dead by the police.

They were protesting against police inaction against and demanding the arrest of the nephew of a local politician who had been posting blasphemous posts against Prophet Muhammad on his Facebook wall.

The police, however, refused even to register a First Information Report and asked the Muslims to settle the matter amicably with the offender. For more than three hours the Muslims tried to reason with and convince the police to register their complaint and arrest the offender. Meanwhile, a large crowd started gathering.

Without issuing any warning to them or using tear gas or opening fire in the air to scare away the crowd, police took direct aim at the protesters and killed three youths in cold blood. As usual, the blame is being put on Muslims, especially the Social Democratic Party of India.

Saddest of all is the fact even the liberal elements generally perceived to be sympathetic to minority rights are only talking about the burning of properties and some police vans — which is undeniably highly deplorable — but ignoring the reasons that led to this unfortunate incident.


Modi laying foundation of grand temple on Babri Mosque site ‘changed India into Hindu nation’


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