When will India stand up and tell the United States that it will no longer put up with insults? Why are we so weak-kneed that we meekly submit to any vicious attack on our religion and culture by foreign bodies, without fighting back? What is American’s Human Rights record that it should throw mud at India with its long history of tolerance of other religions?
How dare some gutter organisations like the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (UNCIRF) place India on a “Watch List” on the grounds that the Central Government has failed to take effective measures “to ensure the rights of religious minorities in several states”? Who or what is the US for it to lecture India on religious tolerance? What does the US know about the ways in which the missionary organisations supported by fundamentalist Christian societies have created disturbances in tribal areas and encouraged hatred of Hinduism? Will Dr Manmohan Singh kindly tell Washington to mind its own business and stop meddling with our internal problems? Why can’t India appoint its own Commission on International Human Rights and expose the United States for what it is: a nation utterly without any principles? American hands drip with the blood of Red Indians, the original inhabitants of America who were, in the past massacred in thousands? White Americans in the 19th century stole Native American land as part of their “Manifest Destiny”. As was frequently heard in the US, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian”.
According to one liberal writer, Steven Baggs, “genocide, ethnocide and holocaust sound harsh in their usage when applied to the early Euro-American treatment of American Indians. They are the only words one can use to explain the millions of deaths and the complete obliteration of American Indians”. Four hundred years ago they numbered over five million. Says Baggs: “A population decrease of 95 per cent over 400 years does not just happen. Genocide and holocaust suddenly sound apropos”. White Americans consistently would commit crimes against American Indians with impunity.
Adds Baggs: “But getting a white judge and jury to convict a white man of a crime against an Indian was surely an impossibility”. One Congressman, James M Cavanaugh of Montana in a debate on the floor of the House of Representatives in 1868 is remembered to have said: “I believe in the policy that exterminates the Indians, drives them outside the boundaries of civilisation, because you cannot civilize them”. Another American, General Philip Sheridan, is quoted as saying: “The most vicious cowboy has more moral principle than the average (Red) Indians…. reckless, revengeful, fiendishly cruel, they rob and murder”, words more applicable to the white American who was bent on robbing the native (Red) Indian of his own land.
The Red Indian in America today is a dying species. In Delhi an Indian Commission on Human Rights must make a study of the conditions of the Red Indians in America today and put the US on India’s “Watch List”, if Manmohan Singh has any courage. One may say all that is in the distant past. On what about today? Has anyone heard of Guantanamo? In a recent BBC TV investigation ‘Inside Guantanamo’, the prestigious Panaroma programme exposed trans-national abductions by American forces, interrogation and torture of those abducted and trial by military kangaroo courts at the notorious Guantanamo Bay camp in the US occupied part of Cuba. In the first place, the US has no right to occupy Guantanamo. It is Cuban territory illegally occupied. Fancy Fidel Casto leasing even a square inch of territory to the United States. But the US can tell lies and get away with it. Guantanamo Bay is a sprawl of military detention camps set up by the United States military degree of the “Commander-in-Chief”. What happens there-large-scale torture of prisoners-is beyond the control of the US Constitution and of American Courts.
The US military can torture people who have been brought up there by devious means which few are aware of and nobody can challenge. These people are not called ‘Prisoners-of War’ but are described as ‘illegal combatants’! They cannot hire lawyers. After being brought to Guantanamo, they are “brutalised, often tortured, stripped of their basic rights under any civilized law and held in captivity indefinitely without trial”. The most frequently alleged methods of torture include sleep deprivation, beatings on the sole of the feet, prolonged suspension with ropes in contorted position and extended solitary confinement”.
In an interview with Panaroma, one of the released men spoke not just about his treatment in Guantanamo Bay but about the US Detention Centre in Bagram Airbase where he had been earlier held. He was tortured, forced to kneel with his hands shackled above his head for long period of time and with a gun pointed at his head. Articles from the Los Angeles Times and The Guardian have been quoted as describing how the Pentagon adopts a policy of ‘enforced disappearance’ of people. In the United States, alleged terrorists are privately tortured for days on end. In India a known terrorist like Kasba involved in the terrorist act against Mumbai is given shelter, is tried in an open court and is even given legal assistance. That is the difference between American and Indian democracy.
What Christian missionaries have done in India is shocking and disgusting beyond description. In China they are banned. In India, under our Constitution, they have freedom to propagate. These people are now manipulating their country’s Commission on International Religious Freedom to damn India and bring it to disrepute. We suffer this silently. India does not need lectures from the United States. India’s tolerance towards other religions has been a fact of life long before even the United States was born. It is sheer impertinence on the part of the Obama Government to attack India. Yes, there have been, at times angry assaults on missionaries but that was invariably because the individual had crossed the Laxman rekha.
In any event India has a better record of Human Rights than the United States which bombed Cambodians with more bombs than were used by all parties during the second world war. About the same time the United States Armed Forces killed over a million innocent, barefoot Vietnamese who had done no harm to mighty America. And America’s vicious role in building up the Taliban in recent years is too well-known to bear repetition. The Government of India must make it known to the United States that it will not tolerate accusations against it made by state ( and missionary) funded organisa-tions. But what can one expect from a weak-kneed UPA government that has little courage and even less self-respect? Do we always have to take every insult hurled at us lying down? Answer, Dr Manmohan Singh, answer.