by Hugh Fitzgerald
What was it that Prime Minister Modi of India did in early August that was so terrible? His government announced that it had decided to scrap Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which since 1949 had conferred a special status on the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) – the only Muslim-majority state in India — allowing it to be nearly autonomous, except in areas like foreign policy and defense. Until now J&K has been able to mostly govern itself, even having its own constitution and flag. Now its status will be that of a “union territory,” meaning that India’s central government in New Delhi will gain much more control over the area’s affairs.
This change has Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, foaming at the mouth. In a series of tweets on August 18, he alleged that Muslims in India were being “disenfranchised” and “RSS goons were on the rampage.” But no Muslim citizens have been “disenfranchised.” He compared the Indian government to those who ruled Nazi Germany. Khan posted: “India has been captured, as Germany had been captured by Nazis, by a fascist, racist Hindu supremacist ideology and leadership. This threatens 9 million Kashmiris under siege in IOK [Indian occupied Kashmir] for over two weeks which should have sent alarm bells ringing across the world with UN observers being sent there.”
Now let’s see. Which Muslims have been “disenfranchised” — that is, citizens deprived of the legitimate right to vote? So far, none. Are RSS (a Hindu nationalist group, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) “goons..on the rampage”? Are Muslims being attacked all over India? Between May 2015 and December 2018, a total of 36 Muslims were killed in 12 Indian states, according to Human Rights Watch. Compare that to the 166 Hindus (and Jews) killed in the single attack by Muslim terrorists in Mumbai in 2008. Or consider that in the same period, May 2015 to December 2018, hundreds of Hindus, Sikhs, and other non-Muslims, including Indian army personnel, were killed by Muslim terrorists, some of them trained in Pakistan. Who is on the rampage? Who are the goons?
Below are eye-opening 2015-2017 statistics for terrorist incidents (those for 2018 were unavailable) in India. Most, though not all, of these incidents of terrorism, were carried out by Muslims.
Terrorist incidents in India
Year Number of incidents Deaths Injuries
2017 1000 470 702
2016 1,025 467 788
2015 884 387 649
Imran Khan claims hysterically that “the threat also extends to Pakistan, the minorities in India and in fact the very fabric of Nehru and Gandhi’s India. One can simply Google to understand the link between the Nazi ideology and ethnic cleansing and genocide ideology of the RSS-BJP [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-Bharatiya Janata Party] founding fathers.”
He went on to claim that Indian Muslims in India face oppression and discrimination: “Already four million Indian Muslims face detention camps and cancellation of citizenship. [The] world must take note as this genie is out of the bottle and the doctrine of hate and genocide, with RSS goons on the rampage, will spread unless the international community acts now to stop it.”
What “detention camps” for Muslims does Imran Khan have in mind? The Indian government has made plans, in the single State of Assam, to detain those migrants, many but not all of whom are Muslim, who cannot prove that they or their families were citizens before 1971. Why 1971? That was the year when war broke out in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and many Muslims fled into the Indian state of West Bengal to avoid the fighting, but never returned to Bangladesh. These are the “four million Indian Muslims” whom he claims face “cancellation of citizenship,” but who never obtained legal citizenship in the first place; they were refugees from Bangladesh who simply remained.
A comparison of how Muslims have fared in India with how Hindus have done in Pakistan and Bangladesh is revealing. Muslims constituted 9.8% of the Indian population in the 1951 census. Now the Muslim percentage of the Indian population has gone up by 50%, to 14.5%. Meanwhile, since Partition in 1949, in Pakistan (formerly West Pakistan), the Hindu population has shrunk from 15% to 1.6%. In Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan), the Hindu population has gone from 35% to 10.5%. Clearly it is Hindus, not Muslims, who are suffering.
Not content with labeling Narendra Modi a “fascist,” “racist,” and “Hindu supremacist,” Imran Khan claims that his regime is a worldwide threat: “The world must also seriously consider the safety and security of India’s nuclear arsenal in the control of the fascist, racist Hindu supremacist Modi government. This is an issue that impacts not just the region but the world.”
Prime Minister Khan shows no signs of tamping down his hysterical invective. The “fascist, racist Hindu supremacist Modi government” has done nothing more terrible than cease to allow Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir to exist as an autonomous state. It will now come under greater control of the national government. Modi’s move did not occur in a vacuum. It was a response to three decades of attacks on the Hindu Pandits of Kashmir by local Muslims.
Horrible things have happened in Kashmir. But the scrapping of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is not among them. Imran Khan would have you believe that atrocities have been, and are being, committed against the Muslims, in Jammu and Kashmir. But the most telling statistic about J&K is this: in 1990, there were between 300,000 and 600,000 Kashmiri Pandits (Brahmins) in Kashmir; now there are fewer than 3,000. That is a reduction in the Hindu Pandit population of between 99 and 99.5%. What could be more damning to the Muslim case?
The killings of the helpless Pandits led those who survived to flee their ancestral homeland in Kashmir for places further south in India where, having abandoned their homes and lands, they arrived impoverished.. The story of what happened to the Kashmiri Pandits has seldom been told in the Western media. (In this respect, it is like the failure of the Western media to discuss the 900,000 Jews who from 1948 to 1951 fled pogroms in Arab lands). No one in the Western media has mentioned it even now, when Kashmir is so much in the news, with the Pakistanis and Indian Muslims raging about Prime Minister Modi’s “facist, racist, supremacist” change in the status of J&K. Perhaps now that there will be less autonomy in J&K, and likely a more robust Indian army presence, some of those Pandits will be brave enough to return.
The Indian government would do well, right now, to go firmly on the offensive. Modi himself should remind Imran Khan what happened to the Pandits of Kashmir when the Muslims exercised their autonomy in the state. The “fascist, racist, Nazi” Prime Minister Modi should also let Prime Minister Khan know how many terrorist attacks by Muslims on Hindus in India have taken place in the last few decades, and how many victims there have been. He might even remind Khan – whose howls of rage can well be imagined – and the world about the centuries of Mughal rule, during which there were 70-80 million Hindu victims of Muslim massacres. And then he might, in a final fillip to Imran Khan, he might end with this: “Prime Minister Khan, you describe me as adhering to a ‘fascist, racist, supremacist ideology.’ Given that in the Qur’an Muslims are described as ‘the best of peoples’ (3:110) and non-Muslims described as ‘the most vile of created beings,’ can you see why some might be forgiven for thinking that Islam itself is a ‘supremacist ideology’? Billions of non-Muslims would welcome your answer.”
First published in Jihad Watch.