Sunday, May 04, 2014

International media chain Huffpost expresses "distaste" for Modi, compares him with ultra-nationalist Milosevic

By Our Representative
One more powerful western media chain has strongly thrown its weight against the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who it predicts will win the current Lok Sabha polls. Top online newspaper Huffington Post, with presence in a dozen countries, including the US, UK, France, Japan and Brazil, has compared Modi with Slobodan Milosevic, Yuglosav ultra-nationalist who was president of the country from 1997 to 2000 and was charged with genocide in connection with the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo by the International Criminal Tribunal. Milosevic died in 2006 in jail.
Published in the UK’s online edition, the headline by Huffpost, as it is called in short, itself is stunning: “ We Must Not Turn a Blind Eye to the Election of Narendra Modi, India's Milosevic?”. Written by Mehdi Hasan, political director of the Huffington Post UK, the commentary wonders if British foreign secretary will express "deep distaste" if, “as the polls suggest, Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is declared prime minister of nuclear-armed India after 12 May? Will the EU have the guts to downgrade diplomatic ties with the world's biggest democracy?”
The context of the commentary is significant. “When Jörg Haider, the leader of Austria's far-right Freedom Party, joined the country's coalition government in 2000, the res­ponse from the rest of the European Union was swift. Every other member state agreed to introduce diplomatic sanctions against Austria. Our then foreign secretary, Robin Cook, expressed ‘deep distaste’ at Haider's rise to power”, the writer says.
Saying that Modi, 63, is a card-carrying member of the “far-right, Hindu nationalist RSS”, the Hasan quotes Prof Chetan Bhatt, director of the Centre for the Study for Human Rights at the London School of Economics to say that "The RSS is a secretive, militaristic, masculine cult; a distinct Indian form of fascism that was directly inspired by Italian Fascist youth movements", adding, "Its founders greatly admired Hitler and Mussolini. In Modi's Gujarat, Adolf Hitler is glorified in secondary-school textbooks.”
The commentator accuses Modi, as Gujarat CM, turning a “blind eye to a horrific wave of violence against Gujarat's Muslim-minority population in February 2002, after a fire on a train which killed 59 passengers, most of them Hindu pilgrims, and which Modi blamed on terrorists.” He adds, “It is estimated that as many as 2,000 people were killed in the anti-Muslim pogroms that followed, and tens of thousands lost their homes.”
Hasan quotes a “chilling report” published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in April 2002 documenting how the orgy of killing, burning, raping and looting had been "actively supported by state government officials". He adds, “It spoke of how a pregnant Muslim teenager had had her womb ‘cut open with a sharp weapon... the unborn baby was taken out and both mother and the child were burnt dead’. Several witnesses were told by police: ‘We have no orders to save you’.”
Also recalling how the Supreme Court described Modi as a "modern-day Nero", fiddling while Gujarat burned, Hasan says, “The National Human Rights Commission concluded that ‘there was a comprehensive failure on the part of the state government to control the persistent violation of the rights to life... and dignity of the people of the state’,” adding, “The bloodstained buck stopped with the BJP chief minister.”
Saying that “Modi has never apologised for the violence, nor has he expressed remorse”, the commentator goes on, “On the contrary, he explained away the killings as springing from ‘the natural and justified anger of the people’; dismissed relief camps for displaced Muslims as ‘baby-making factories’; and (I kid you not) compared his own sadness over the massacres with that of a driver who runs over a puppy.”
Huffpost doesn’t stop here. It predicts, “A Modi-led India won't be safe for the country's 176 million Muslims - or 25 million Christians. Since the election campaign began, one of his hard-right allies has said the chief minister's opponents would have to leave India and move to Pakistan once he was elected PM. Another suggested that Muslims could be prevented from buying property in Hindu-dominated areas”.
Despite all this, the top commentator regrets, “David Cameron's government has been reaching out to Modi, the leader of one of India's most business-friendly states. In October 2012, the UK lifted its travel ban on Modi and our high in India held his first meeting with the chief minister - even though three British citizens were murdered in the Gujarat violence” and Barry Gardiner, the shadow environment minister, “disgracefully praised Modi as a hugely important figure", defended his role in the 2002 killings.

No comments: