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CAA-NRC protests: Why is Narendra Modi so obsessed with Pakistan?

Highlights

  • How the Modi government claims that an explicit policy, which applies a religious filter to refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, is New Delhi’s infernal issue is a mystery.
  • And why should Modi care more about minorities in Pakistan than the Muslims of India currently facing unprecedented brutality in Uttar Pradesh under Yogi Adityanath’s government.
Also in this package
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  • In pictures: India rages and burns against Citizenship Amendment Act
  • Pictures: Anti-CAA protests continue in Indian cities
  • Look: Modi, Shah trolled with witty, creative banners as India protests CAA

The Narendra Modi government’s controversial domestic actions such as the religious filter in the proposed National Register for Citizens (NRC), the abrupt removal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and whittling down India’s only Muslim state to a municipality are finally beginning to have international consequences.

The world is wondering that with the application of a religious filter to policy decisions can India still be called a secular republic?

How has the world’s largest democracy (our prized tag) snuffed out the Internet and democracy in Kashmir?

Indulge me when I tell you about a phone call I got from the fiery young Iltija Mufti, the daughter of Mehbooba Mufti, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Mufti along with two other former chief ministers, Omar Abdullah, and his father, 83-year-old Farooq Abdullah, have now been in detention for five months.

A tearful Iltija told me that she had been detained in her Srinagar home and was not being allowed to visit the grave of her grandfather Mufti Mohamed Sayeed, also a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

Iltija asked me: “What is my crime? Was I going to throw stones? Is it a sin to want to seek comfort from my family when my mother has been detained for five months? They will never release her. My mother will die.”

The brave firebrand I know was openly sobbing on the phone gulping down her tears.

I felt stricken — unable to offer her any comfort. What could I say? What reassurance could I offer a daughter about her mother in detention for months.

And, what reassurance can we offer Kashmiris our fellow citizens, but who are made to feel that they are living in one large open air prison.

Modi has perhaps counted on India’s credentials as a stable democracy and his fellow “strong” leaders around the world not to question his actions, but now domestic policy is impacting foreign policy.

Every day the government spokesman says nearly, on rote, that countries such as Bangladesh, which are alarmed by India’s actions should take heed that polices such as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) are India’s internal matter.

How the Modi government claims that an explicit policy, which applies a religious filter to refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, is New Delhi’s infernal issue is a mystery.

The Pakistan obsession

The Modi government’s singular obsession with Pakistan has got the hyphen with Pakistan back. Says a senior foreign office official wryly: “Our institutional memory should remind us that all governments worked hard to ensure that the world should stop the hyphenation of India with Pakistan. Now the Modi government only compares us to Pakistan.”

The Modi government’s Pakistan obsession is puzzling. Modi said at a rally that the Opposition and students protesting against the CAA and its bigoted twin the NRC, should protest against the way the minorities are treated in Pakistan.

Read more from Swat Chaturvedi

  • CAA-NRC protests: The Modi effect and the taming of the Khans of Bollywood
  • CAA-NRC: Narendra Modi’s dreams of an image as global statesman and good days for India are history
  • India rises to save secular democracy under siege from Narendra Modi and Amit Shah
  • CAA and NRC: A pyromaniac is at play to hound Muslims, turn secular India into a Hindu state
  • Maharashtra elections: The day democracy was stabbed in the back in India
  • Kashmir lockdown, arrest of activist, WhatsApp spying: Is India headed from democracy to police state?

I wonder why should Indians protest against Pakistan?

And why should Modi care more about minorities in Pakistan than the Muslims of India currently facing unprecedented brutality in Uttar Pradesh under Yogi Adityanath’s government.

More than 25 people have died protesting in Uttar Pradesh after an eight year old boy died in Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi and yet Modi keeps wanting to change the subject to Pakistan.

The world is now asking serious questions and India can’t keep claiming that it’s our internal matter. We need to now demonstrably walk the democratic walk.

Swati Chaturvedi shirttail, Swati Chaturvedi intro, Swati Chaturvedi

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