Skip to main content

India's "nationalist populism" behind campaign in Assam against Bengali Muslims: UN official to Govt of India

By Our Representative
The United Nations special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Tendayi Achiume, in a new report to the UN General Assembly, has revealed that she has written a letter to the Government of India taking strong exception to "updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), a process governed by local authorities in the state of Assam."
Written in May 2018, the letter, according to her, "drew attention to the heightened concerns of the Bengali Muslim minority, who have historically been portrayed as foreigners despite having lived in India for generations, even preceding the colonial era."
"Since 1997, the Election Commission of India has arbitrarily identified a large number of Bengali people as so -- called 'doubtful or disputed voters', resulting in their further disenfranchisement and the loss of entitlements to social protection as Indian citizens", she said in the letter.
"While many have affirmed that the updating process is generally committed to retaining Indian citizens on the NRC, concerned parties fear that local authorities in Assam, who are deemed to be particularly hostile towards Muslims and people of Bengali descent, may manipulate the verification system in an attempt to exclude many genuine Indian citizens from the updated Register", the special rapporteur quotes the letter as saying.
Suggesting that this is not an isolated incident in the world, Achiume says, "Nationalist populist parties" in several countries "have implemented administrative and other rules leading to the exclusion of minority groups from official citizen registries on the basis of claims that they are irregular migrants, notwithstanding evidence showing that they are entitled to citizenship."
Tendayi Achiume
"This in turn has led to statelessness, disenfranchisement and increased vulnerability to discrimination, including the denial of basic rights and access to public services such as health and education", she underlines.
Achiume says, "In her most recent report to the Human Rights Council" she has "denounced the growing number of states that have threatened to adopt, or even adopted, blanket bans against refugees and other non-nationals of particular religious affiliation or national origin, most commonly Muslims and residents of Muslim- majority countries."
"In the United States", she states, "Such bans have been implemented by the executive orders of a President who has publicly made racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic statements against non-nationals as well as United States citizens belonging to racial and ethnic minorities."
Especially criticising "President Trump’s nationalist populist agenda", she adds, it has "also included policies separating thousands of children from their asylum -- seeking families at the southern border of the United States, which have rightly drawn global condemnation."
She continues, in her "most recent report to the Human Rights Council" she has "highlighted the racialized impact that nationalist populist mobilizations can have on counter-terrorism policy", adding, "Populists in Europe and beyond have capitalized on the increased number of terrorist attacks in the past two years to garner support for policy proposals that are blatantly discriminatory and legitimize profiling in security-related surveillance that targets mainly Muslim communities."
Ironically, the special rapporteur's criticism comes alongside her critical remarks in the ruling BJP. Thus, Achiume underscores, "In India, the election of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been linked to incidents of violence against members of Dalit, Muslim, tribal and Christian communities."
She asserts, "Reports document the use of inflammatory remarks by BJP leaders against minority groups, and the rise of vigilantism targeting Muslims and Dalits", even as referring to jnstances of several countries where "nationalist populist political parties and even elected officials have been among the worst offenders where racist and xenophobic speech is concerned."
Achiume's report, says a note by the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (UNOHRC), "analyses the threat posed by nationalist populism to the fundamental human rights principles of non-discrimination and equality."
UNOHRC approvingly states, "The focus of the report is ascendant nationalist populist ideologies and strategies that pose a sobering threat to racial equality by fuelling discrimination, intolerance and the creation of institutions and structures that will have enduring legacies of racial exclusion."
It adds, "The report condemns nationalist populism that advances exclusionary or repressive practices and policies that harm individuals or groups on the basis of their race, ethnicity, national origin and religion, including in combination with gender, sexual orientation, disability status, migratory status or other related social categories."

Comments

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.