For years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been trying to transform India into a Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) regime.
Hindutva groups are openly calling for the genocide of India’s 200 million Muslims to form a new Hindu state. The BJP has doggedly pursued a regime to deprive Muslims of their rights, from criminalising Hindu-Muslim marriages and erasing the chapters on democracy and secularism from school textbooks, to endorsing a propaganda film that depicts Muslims as bloodthirsty traitors.
This persecution of Muslims started with lynchings and incarcerations has expanded to include what has become the ‘bulldozer politics’ – the rumble of state-sponsored bulldozers in Muslim-majority areas razing mosques, homes and shops.
Hindutva groups show up to cheer the demolitions and wave Hindutva flags as hundreds of Muslim families watch from behind the barricades as their livelihoods disappear into clouds of dust and debris.
Given this context, it was especially grim to see Boris Johnson sit in a JCB bulldozer during an April visit to India, as he attended the inauguration of a new factory in Gujarat, posing for cameras with the British company whose same machines have been flattening Muslim homes.
That trip to India, where both leaders discussed a major free trade agreement, and the subsequent reunion at the G7 summit last month (where Johnson accepted a hand-painted tea set from Modi), have been seen by many exasperated Indian Muslims as a provocative disregard for their experience.
This betrayal inhuman act is not new. Imperial Britain has always been in the driving seat of the bulldozer, revealing the UK’s role in both setting and enabling violence against Muslims in the country.
The UK continues to deny the skeletons in its closet, and the image of Johnson seated on a bulldozer in India has become symbolic of how today the country is more than just a complicit bystander to the impending genocide.
Hindutva couldn’t have sustained itself without consistent international support.
The support from the UK comes in mysterious ways. With new $1 billion trade deals, the UK is effectively enabling the Modi regime, blatantly dismissing Genocide Watch’s repeated mandates to all United Nations members to demand accountability.
Both countries also agreed on a programme to advance cyber security, which follows dedicated efforts from the UK defense ministry to push the sales of defense technology and data handling expertise to India rather than weapons – the country being the world’s largest importer of arms. Yet for years the Modi government has been using online surveillance as a tool to crack down on civil rights.
The arbitrary arrests of several Indian Muslim journalists, for example, have been based on their online activity from years ago.
In June 2021, WhatsApp sued the Indian government for repeatedly compromising users’ privacy and a year later Twitter filed a lawsuit against the Indian government for attempting to compromise user’s security and asking to remove content on civil rights and press freedom.
The insidiousness of the UK government’s support for the Modi regime isn’t confined to foreign policies. Home Secretary Priti Patel’s admiration for her “dear friend” Modi’s vision of a Hindu state and her support for the fascist organization Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
It’s a stark reminder of how 20 years ago, Channel 4 News revealed British funds raised by the charity Sewa International were being funneled to Hindu nationalist groups and directly incited violence in the Gujarat Riots that led to the killing of 2,000 Indian Muslims.
Still, many people in the UK are trying to resist and expose the British government’s silence in the face of human rights violations in India. Earlier this month, hundreds of Indian Muslims and their allies took to the streets of London, calling for the government to stop enabling fascism with friendly tea-ing and trade deals.
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Source: Gal Dem
عربي | Türkiye