Crackdown in Assam

In December 2017, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government announced that citizens of Assam had to prove their familial roots in India predating 1971, as a part of the National Registry of Citizens (NRC). On 30 July 2018, the Assam government issued a list which excluded more than four million people, who India now categorizes as ‘illegal immigrants’.

These are according to Indian Prime Minister Modi; ‘Muslim Bengali infiltrators’ who are to be thrown out of Bengal at the end of this year. While not all classified as non-citizens are Muslims, their overwhelming majority, is yet another example of Hindu extremism bearing its brute on the Muslim minority in India. Since the BJP party has gained popularity in the Indian National Assembly, systematic prejudice, racism and radical Hindu religiosity has become prevalent in laws and policies.

While the underlying assumption is that these are illegal Bengali immigrants, Bangladesh has finally responded in saying that “this is India’s problem, not ours, these people are NOT Bangla”. The question then is, where exactly will these four million people go at the end of 2018?

It seems that the world refugee crisis is increasing alarmingly- with more and more states, willing to disown their disenfranchised communities. Prime Minister Modi is taking a leaf out of his friend Donald Trump’s book, in his desire to cleanse India of all those who are not Hindu. Modi is just following the western trend of refugee discrimination, prevalent in the United States and European countries such as Italy and France.

Contrarily enough, just yesterday Prime Minister Modi has made a phone call to Imran Khan, in response to his “If India takes one step, we will take two” comment. Prime Minister Modi congratulated Imran Khan and let him know that India is looking forward to a better Indo-Pak relationship. However given the deportation of millions of Muslims from their homeland, it would not be easy for the Pakistani government to sell the idea at home.

Wonder if India realizes during all their anti-terrorism and anti-extremism diatribes to Pakistan that it is itself not practicing what it preaches. Religious intolerance especially against Muslims and other minorities has reached an all-time high in India, and instances of mob-lynching and targeting killings have become a norm. Given that BJP is confident in its re-election during the Indian General Elections of 2019, wonder if the survival of non-Hindus is possible in India?

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