MPAC Hosts Indian Democracy at Crossroads
In 1948, Gandhi was murdered by an avid follower of RSS, a Hindu nationalist ideology. By most, he is remembered as an extremist who sought to destabilize the secular nature of the nascent democracy.
Seventy-five years later, adherents of that same ideology, once considered extremists, are now the ruling party in India, a nation home to over 200 million Muslims.
Those two hundred million Indian Muslims were once in peril, subjected to prejudice and harassment, and their safety was not ensured. That was then, now we have crossed that point, and those same people are the victim of violence and are being murdered, unapologetically with the support of the government.
Modi and the rest of the BJP know that one of the only obstacles that is in the way of committing outright genocide are the journalists writing about the violence and dehumanization that is occurring and sharing it with the rest of the world.
It is for that reason we presented Ajit Sahi with our Voice of Courage award in March of this year.
Last week, we hosted an event that featured award-winning and well respected journalist Dr. Arfa Sherwani, who was able to share the daily horrors of Muslims in India. Her work has been so impactful that she has become a target of the BJP.
She was joined by Dr. Islam Siddiqui, who is a former high ranking member of both the Clinton and Obama Administrations and knows how to best navigate and adjust policy to ensure that the Indian government cannot commit these atrocities without repercussions.
Additionally Dr. Gregory Stanton presented his thoughts. He is an expert on how the evolution of acts of violence evolve into genocide. He cited religious nationalism as the number one biggest factor to causing genocide around the world, and detailed how India currently is on course for such a calamity.
We must sound the alarm when true atrocities are taking place and work to ensure they are reversed. What is happening in India must not be allowed to continue. Through the insight shared by our panelists, our DC Policy Bureau will press members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Biden administration on why they are not taking more concrete action.
Perhaps the most moving part of the entire event was the last question: Dr. Stanton asked if Dr. Sherwani had a plan to ensure that her life was protected.
That is how dire the situation has become.