BRUSSELS: A recent report compiled by the European Parliament’s Internal Research Centre has said that the atrocities against Indian Muslims, the situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK) and the rise of Hindu nationalism at the behest of the Narendra Modi government are affecting Indian democracy and its economy.
The report, titled “Problems Facing India’s Democracy and Economy”, prepared to assist the members of the European Parliament and their staff provides an overview of the current situation in India with respect to the minorities in the country.
The report has highlighted the grim situation in IoK since New Delhi revoked its special status in the context of Hindutva and the arrest of thousands of political activists and leaders there.
“India has a 70-year history of democracy, tolerance and rule of law; it has been successful in managing its multicultural diversity, and enshrined secularism in its Constitution. However, this state of affairs is currently challenged by a growing Hindu nationalist influence on society and politics,” it said.
The research report linked the current rightwing influence in the country to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s previous rule. “Some warning signs were already present during the first term served by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in charge since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won an absolute majority in the lower chamber (Lok Sabha) in 2014.”
It stated that communal violence in the country of over a billion people has increased, as have violence and discrimination against religious minorities.
The report further states that Modi’s landslide victory in the May 2019 elections has created an identity crisis in the country.
The BJP government, the report added, has taken several steps to increase the Hindu nationalist electoral base and as an important step towards this, Article 370 was removed from the Indian Constitution to end the sovereign status of Kashmir, the only Muslim state in India.
To suppress dissent, thousands of political leaders and activists were arrested beside the deployment of a large numbers of troops in the region.
The report also named India as a global leader in shutting down the internet, where internet services were suspended 106 times in 2019 alone in the name of preventing riots.
The European Parliament’s investigative report also criticised the Modi government’s new citizenship laws, calling them a means of targeting Muslims. “As a result of these nationalist policies, violence against minorities has increased in India.”
The report, citing the Freedom House’s Freedom Report issued in 2020, said that it had not only downgraded India by several degrees but also marked occupied Kashmir with the clear words as “not free”.
It quoted the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, which found that violence and discrimination against minorities had increased in India.
The report described the attacks on journalists as a “dramatic change” and expressed grave concern over the state of press freedom in India.
Muslim have been protesting against various discriminatory laws. Protests against the BJP, resulted in the killing of 53 peaceful people with 2,000 injured. Muslim homes and shops were set on fire and mosques were desecrated and vandalised.
The immediate transfer of a Delhi High Court judge after he ordered the police to register an FIR has also been met with concern over the independence of the judiciary in India.
The report also mentioned that the BJP’s current style of politics may be an attempt to divert attention from the government’s inability to deliver on its promise to create growth and jobs.
“Job creation is lagging, in a country with 800,000 young people joining the labour force every month.”
“Unveiled in February 2020, the Union budget for FY 2021 has not met expectations of tackling existing structural weaknesses and providing a large fiscal antidote to the economic slowdown,” the report stated.
KC-EU’s chair praises report
Welcoming the report, Chairman Kashmir Council Europe Ali Raza Syed said the EU’s report is based on facts.
“The report is very important as it has clearly acknowledged the atrocities in occupied Kashmir.”
He said the Indian government is not only behind large scale human rights violations but it has been also involved in threatening religion minorities throughout India.
He called upon the international community especially UN and EU to stop the violation of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir as well as different parts of India.
“Kashmir is a disputed territory and it is the duty of the international community to play its role for an eternal resolution of the issue as per the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”