114 Army Veterans slam Modi’s anti-Muslim campaign

On July 30, 2017, in an open letter to the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi 114 veterans of Indian Armed Forces condemned his government’s racist policies against Indian Muslims (150 million) and Dalit (180 million untouchable Hindus and Christian).

What is happening in our country today strikes at all that the Armed Forces, and indeed our Constitution, stand for. We are witness to unprecedented attacks on society at large by the relentless vigilantism of self-appointed protectors of Hinduism. We condemn the targeting of Muslims and Dalits. We condemn the clampdowns on free speech by attacks on media outlets, civil society groups, universities, journalists and scholars, through a campaign of branding them anti-national and unleashing violence against them while the State looks away. We can no longer look away. We would be doing a disservice to our country if we do not stand up and speak for the liberal and secular values that our Constitution espouses. Our diversity is our greatest strength. Dissent is not treason; in fact, it is the essence of democracy,” days the letter.

Indians belonging to all faiths (Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism) are protesting all over India as part of the Not In My Name (watch a video below)campaign against lynching of Muslims and Dalits over consuming cow meat by anti-Muslim extremist Hindu groups known as Hindutva allied with the ruling party BJP.

The Dalit, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Adivasi, which make more than 45% on India’s 1.2 billion population  – mostly consume beef. Mahatma Gandhi and Hindu historian Dr. D.N. Jha (Delhi University) has claimed that Hindu scriptures never banned eating beef and many of earlier Hindu religious leaders consumed beef and other meat products.

According to Indian sources, country’s 8 largest beef exporting companies are owned by Hindus. Indian government hopes to increase leather exports to US$9 billion by 2020 from its present level of US$5.85 billion.

In Modi’s home-state Gujarat, cow slaughter is now a non-bailable offense, punishable with life imprisonment, meaning that people who kill a cow will serve the same time as a murderer.

Indian Muslim community has always been victim of Hindu violence since the partition of British India in August 1947 which resulted in a Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan against the wishes of the Hindutva parties. However, the anti-Muslim violence has increased two-folds after the victory of BJP in 2014. In June 2017, the Mumbai-based Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) and the UK-based Minority Rights Group International (MRG) released a joint report claiming that Modi party BJP stroke violence against Muslims.

Communal violence over the last five years has taken a huge toll on minorities, including Christians and Sikhs. But Muslims – who form 18 per cent of the country’s population – have borne the brunt of these hate crimes, such as lynching, threats, attacks on places of worship and forced conversion,” said the report.

In 2002, as chief minister of Gujarat state, Narendra Modi supervised the Hindu mobs which slaughtered over 2000 Muslims and rapped several hundred Muslim girls and women. Modi government accused Muslims for setting the Sabarmati Express to fire which resulted in the death of a dozen Hindu passengers. Justice Markandey Katju (a Kashmiri Brahmin), former judge at India’s Supreme Court, however, claimed that it’s a false flag operation by a right-wing Hindu organization. Justice Katju claimed that “the Godhra incident was planned in a precursory way to kill Hindus and find a reason to ignite communal riots in Gujarat.”

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