The New York Times continues to use its space for its tirade of utter gibberish against India by writing “an open letter to the American people” in its expensive advisement section. The funders of the advertisement are American Muslim Institution, Assossiation of Indian Muslims of America, Indian American Muslim Council, Hindus for Human Rights and a few others. The advertisement brings out internal issues of India and the central government’s policies and presents it to the American people as if though it were something deeply related to them. The tone of the write-up is something one would generally see in a human rights appeal, rather than a neutral observation from a news agency. Let’s look at the seven points in the letter and rebuke each one of them.
We want to rebut each one of their points (1/9): pic.twitter.com/UUKMOsyczZ
— United States-India Relationship Council (USIRC) (@USIRCOnline) October 4, 2022
Here’s a point by point rebuttal to all of the above seven points:
- Muslims, Christians and Sikhs face discrimination, frequent demolitions of homes, businesses, mosques, churches, and religious schools in BJP-ruled states, plus deadly mob violence – including lynchings.
Unlike many dictatorial countries, India does not have a constitutional or systemic issue with discrimination among citizens. And the party in power at the centre hasn’t altered the constitution to favour the majority Hindus in any way. BJP is in power in many minority dominated states such as Goa and Manipur. But the minority here is Christian. The state of Goa has repeated voted BJP in power. It would not have done so if there was indeed a discrimination against the minority (from a national perspective). The demolition mentioned here are houses and properties of repeat offenders, criminals and mafia who do not believe in the law of the land. Yogi’s bulldozer doesn’t in general raze down houses of the poor. Even if some houses of poor have been demolished, it has been done because it was constructed in an inappropriate place. And an alternative residence was provided to them. The lynchings that NYT often quotes are always cases of Muslims being the victim, but never takes into account the horrific barbarity that Hindus are subjected to on a daily basis. The recent spate of killings, related to a former BJP spokesperson’s comments on Mohammad, should prove the point.
- The recent Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens are disenfranchising Muslims who have lived in India for centuries.
The CAA is a humanitarian gesture to minorities in India’s neighbouring countries that are facing systemic oppression and persecution. One only needs to look at the percentage of minorities, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists that remaining in the Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to realise that these two acts are a boon to the persecuted. Persecuted Muslims are also welcome, as they’ve been always been welcomed through a different provision. If indeed India was a land that mistreats its minorities, why then are Muslims from Bangladesh and Rohingya Muslims still infiltrating India’s borders?
- The BJP government is attempting to illegally seize land and property set aside by Muslims for charitable purposes. They have also severely restricted the ability of non-Hindu religious institutions to receive foreign contributions, which support care and education for underserved Indians.
If there was any institution in India that has seized land and properties by completely unconstitutional means, it is the Waqf Board. Through section 40 , Waqf can take possession of any land and can declare it as its property. Waqf can give orders to the State Government under Section 54, 55. This is also unconstitutional. After Indian Railways and Defence, Waqf Board is the third-largest owners of land with around 4 lakh registered properties and around 6 lakh acres of land. The foreign contributions have been restricted only because they came with vested and anti-national intent into this country. It is the right over every country to monitor and regulate foreign fundings in its best interest. Even the Supreme Court of India defended the Central Government’s decision to amend the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by stating “this was to stop NGOs from making chain-transfers of foreign a business. He said that there are Intelligence Bureau inputs on NGOs misusing the funds and they cannot claim to have fundamental right to receive funds from abroad.”
- Dalits (formerly ‘untouchables’) and India’s Adivasi (indigenous) peoples face discrimination and opression, including killings and rape, on a regular basis.
The NYT while covering the recent incident of rape and murder of two Dalit girls by Muslim youth in Jharkhand conveniently turned the whole issue into a caste oppression. NYT unfortunately does not have too many articles on amendment to the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Act which the Modi government passed in 2018. The amendments rule out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs. In fact, Modi himself comes from an OBC background, which makes him understand issues of the poor better than his processors. Over the last eight years 45 crore people into formal banking, 9 Crore free LPG connections to BPL families at subsidized rates, 3 Crore houses have been built for the poor at affordable rate, 14 crores people have benefitted from the health scheme wherein Rs. 5 Lakhs per family per year for free and quality healthcare services are provided, 50% of rural households now have water connection and About 10.9 crore (109 million) individual household latrines (IHHLs) have been constructed in rural India since 2014. Those sitting in the high rise of New York will never under the transformative work going in the hinterlands of Bharat.
- The Indian judiciary and police are filled with BJP/RSS loyalists and are doing little to nothing to stop atrocities against religious minorities. The constitution, religious freedom, sanctity of places of Worship, property. The lives and the honor of the minorities DO NOT MATTER as long as the BJP is in power in India.
This is perhaps the most hilarious one. Taking NYT’s pet topics on India in recent times – CAA and Farm laws, both these laws have been challenged and delayed by the courts. In a recent decision, the Apex Court ruled that all women, regardless of marital status, can obtain abortions up to 24 weeks into their pregnancies. Some may consider this as a direct opposition to the conservative right of India. In fact in many cases the judiciary of India is often at loggerheads with the executive.
- Eleven men, sentenced to life in prison for the gang rape of Bilkis Bano, a Muslim woman, and murder of seven of her relatives in 2002, were prematurely released by the BJP/RSS-led Gujarat state government, and they were given a hero’s welcome by right wing Hindu extremists.
The advertisement takes one example of an incident that happened during a riot and makes it look like a norm in India. These horrid men spent 15 years in prison. How many years did the radical Islamists of Kashmir spend in jail after a complete genocide, rape and murder of countless Hindu women in the valley? Further, rape is endemic to every state of India. Recently, in Congress-ruled Rajasthan, eight men gang-raped an underage girl. Similar episodes have transpired in New Delhi and Jharkhand. But for the champions of human rights some rapes are more important than others based on ruling dispensation.
While India has currently a woman from tribal origins as its president and a Dalit former president, United States still can’t find a suitable woman to take up the top most position. A movement like Black Lives Matter still reverberates in their streets, and millions of Indigenous Indians lie beneath the blood soaked soil of the land of freedom.
Credit: United States-India Relationship Council (USIRC)