• Aslam Abdullah

Indian Cabinet Minister attacks IAMC, an American organization

In the picture, Hindu religious leaders in their religious parliament to seek annihilation of religious minorities in India


On January 30, 1948, one of their favorites, Nathu Ram Godse, killed Mahatama Gandhi, the apostle of peace and freedom in India. On January 30, 2022, in the city of Allahabad that brings two of India's significant rivers together, Hindu saints again revived the talk of violence against religious minorities. They repeated their 100-year-old call to turn India into a Hindu Rashtra. It was ironic to hear the call of a Hindu Rashtra by religious leaders who have justified perpetual structural discrimination against 70 percent of people whom they describe lower castes, tribal, or backward communities.

It was not the first time upper caste Hindu religious leaders demanded the destruction of religious minorities in India. In December 2021, they were explicit in their demands to organize genocide against Muslims.

The world took note of their provocative statements, instigating people to commit terror against Christians, Muslims, and Dalits. Every major human rights organization condemned calls to commit genocide. The Chairperson of the United States Commission of International Religious Freedom (USICRF) expressed her grave concern, and the President of the Genocide Watch described the situation in India as serious. He declared that Hindu mobs were ready to commit genocide of religious minorities under the protection of the present Hindu ruling party.

To articulate the growing concerns of the human rights supporting community worldwide, the Indian American Muslim Council, A Washington DC-based advocacy group of Indians, has been organizing webinars and conferences since 2002, the year of its establishment. It promotes common values of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for human rights that form the basis of the world's two largest secular democracies – the United States and India.

In pursuant to its goal as specified in its by-laws governed by the US regulations of non-profit organizations, AIMC recently held a few congressional briefings on threats of the genocide of religious minorities in India. Several lawmakers and their staff members attended the webinars. All of them expressed their anguish and shock at the unfolding events in India. They hoped that India would reign in terrorist elements and protect the constitutional rights guaranteed to its citizens. One of the speakers was Hamid Ansari, a two-time vice president of India. In his short statement, Ansari referred to deteriorating conditions for religious minorities in his country.

Instead of assuring the world of India's commitment to its constitution and swift action against those who violated the constitution by inciting people to commit genocide against religious minorities, the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party unleashed a series of allegations through its minister of minority affairs and external affairs. Mukhtar Naqvi, a minister in Modi's cabinet, picked up IAMC of all other event organizers for his attack. He called IAMC an agent of Pakistan and an enemy of India. However, Naqvi ignored the world-renowned scholars and leaders who participated in the discussion or sponsored the organization. The statement was to pour fuel on fire and project Muslim Americans as anti-India agents of Pakistan. The BJP believed that such an accusation by a Muslim would give more credence. However, it miscalculated the response of the Indian diaspora in the US.

More than 26 Indian organizations representing Christians, Dalits, Buddhists, Jains, Muslims, and atheists, together with national and international human rights groups, showed their solidarity with IAMC and demanded the Indian minister prove his allegations or withdraw them. Naqvi's statements added insult to the injury. He accused the state department and the world experts on human rights of lying and playing in the hands of Pakistan. Through his arrogant statement, he verified the validity of their assertion that India and its rulers were promoting the genocide of religious minorities.

Pakistan is a trump card in the hands of genocide promoters. Naqvi believed that by accusing an American organization of Muslims of Indian origin, he could intimidate people, preventing them from speaking against the terror. He failed as more voices emerged in defense of human rights and against fascism in India.

Naqvi's assault on IAMC is an assault on America and its democracy. The state department should take note of this interference in the US internal affairs and demand an apology from the Modi government for this baseless and politically motivated allegation against a respectable US organization. Furthermore, IAMC should approach the US courts to seek a ban on the entry of Naqvi and India's external affairs officials who have refused to distance their government away from calls of genocide and who have smeared a US institution.

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