Monday, February 09, 2015

Modi's "deafening" and "dangerous" silence on religious intolerance invites New York Times' wrath

By Our Representative
In an unusual move, one of the most influential American dailies, The New York Times (NYT), has editorially hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, advising him to "break his deafening silence on religious intolerance." An unsigned article approved by the NYT's editorial board, titled "Modi’s Dangerous Silence", wonders, "What will it take for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak out about the mounting violence against India’s religious minorities?"
Taking particular note of recent "attacks" at Christian places of worship, the editorial says, these have "prompted no response from the man elected to represent and to protect all of India’s citizens." Also taking exception to "the mass conversion to Hinduism of Christians and Muslims who have been coerced or promised money", the NYT says, "Modi’s continued silence before such troubling intolerance increasingly gives the impression that he either cannot or does not wish to control the fringe elements of the Hindu nationalist right."
Recalling how a number of Christian churches in India have been burned and ransacked, the NYT says, "Last December, St Sebastian’s Church in East Delhi was engulfed in fire. Its pastor reported a strong smell of kerosene after the blaze was put out." Then, a week ago, St Alphonsa’s Church in New Delhi was vandalized. "Ceremonial vessels were taken, yet collection boxes full of cash were untouched", it adds.
"Alarmed by the attacks, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has urged the government to uphold the secular nature of India and to assure its Christians they are 'protected and secure' in their own country", the NYT says.
Pointing towards the "concern about the mass conversions", the NYT says, "Last December, about 200 Muslims were converted to Hinduism in Agra. In January, up to 100 Christians in West Bengal “reconverted” to Hinduism. Hard-line Hindu nationalist groups, like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), make no secret of their support for a 'homecoming' campaign designed to 'return' non-Hindus to the fold."
"More than 80 percent of Indians are Hindu, but Pravin Togadia of the VHP says his organization’s goal is a country that is 100 percent Hindu. The only way to achieve that is to deny religious minorities their faith", the daily points out, adding, "The VHP is reportedly planning a mass conversion of 3,000 Muslims in Ayodhya this month."
Recalls the NYT, "The destruction of the Babri Mosque there in 1992 by Hindu militants touched off riots between Hindus and Muslims across India that left more than 2,000 people dead. The VHP knows it is playing with fire." Yet, it wonders shy is Modi quiet. "Modi needs to break his deafening silence on religious intolerance", it says.
The NYT concludes, "Modi has promised an ambitious agenda for India’s development. But, as President Obama observed in a speech in New Delhi last month: 'India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith'."

1 comment:

Dilip Banerjee said...


Quote:
“…. the NYT says, "Modi’s continued silence before such troubling intolerance increasingly gives the impression that he either cannot or does not wish to control the fringe elements of the Hindu nationalist right."”

Unquote:
He “cannot” as otherwise will be shoved out by the RSS-VHP combine.
He “does not wish” as he himself a duty-bound ‘RSS pracharak’.
He know quite well that he is in the chair with just around 30% vote share; a deficiency of Indian Electoral System.