The founder of Genocide Watch, Dr Gregory Stanton, who had predicted a genocide in Rwanda years before it took place in 1994 has warned of an impending genocide of Muslims in India, comparing the situation of the country under the Narendra Modi government to events in Myanmar and Rwanda, reports Dawn.
Dr Gregory Stanton, the president of Genocide Watch in a congressional briefing titled ‘Call For Genocide of Indian Muslims’, organised by the Indian American Muslim Council warns about an impending genocide of Muslims in India. In his video address on January 12th, Dr Stanton began by highlighting that Genocide Watch had been warning of genocide in India since 2002, “when riots and massacres in Gujarat occurred that killed over a thousand Muslims”.
Formed in 1999, Genocide Watch is a global organisation dedicated to the prevention of genocide. Dr Stanton is a former research professor in genocide studies and prevention at George Mason University in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States.
Dr Stanton was invited to a five-member panel discussion where he said “At that time, the chief minister of Gujarat was Narendra Modi, and he did nothing. In fact, there is a lot of evidence that he encouraged those massacres,” he said, adding that Modi, now the prime minister of India, had used “anti-Muslim, Islamophobic rhetoric” to build his political base.
Speaking on Haridwar Dharma Sansad where calls were given for mass murder of Muslims in India, Dr Stanton said, “A gathering of saffron-robed Hindu monks held last month at the north Indian Hardiwar city “was exactly aimed at inciting the genocide of Muslims”. “As the leader of India, he has an obligation to denounce this genocidal speech… Yet, Narendra Modi has not spoken against it.”
The second thing that the Modi government did was pass the Citizenship Amendment Act which was aimed at especially Muslims because it gives specific favourable status to refugees who had come from Afghanistan Pakistan and Bangladesh who were of certain religious groups but the one group that was excluded was Muslims. This act was specifically aimed at the Muslims who had fled Bangladesh during the Bangladesh genocide and civil war in 1971 and had settled in Assam, added Dr Stanton.
Adding to it, Dr Stanton mentioned that around three million such people, mostly Muslims who fled to India have settled down as regular citizens of India.
This act required then a census overseen by the Supreme Court of India and the people who were brought in the census had to prove they had been citizens of India before 1971 through documentation. Now a lot of people do not have that kind of documentation”.
He pointed out, adding that “the idea [behind the Act] is to essentially declare them (people who had fled to India from Bangladesh in 1971) foreigners, and therefore, to allow their deportation.”
He said this was “exactly was the Myanmar government did to the Rohingya Muslims” in 2017. The Myanmar government, he said, first declared Rohingya non-citizens through legislation and then expelled them through violence and genocide.
Dr Stanton stressed over Indian constitution and said ‘the Hindutva movement in India contrary to the Indian history and the constitution which was specifically set up to make India a secular country.
“What we have now though, is an actual member of the RSS ( Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) — this extremist, Hindutva-oriented group — Mr Modi as [the] prime minister of India. So what we have here is an extremist who has taken over the government,” he continued.
Dr Stanton then went on to explain that genocide was not an event but a process and that there were early “signs and processes” of genocide in the Indian state of Assam and Kashmir.
Mentioning the Haridwar Dharma Sansad where a couple of Hindutva leaders gathered and gave multiple calls to kill and attack religious spaces of Muslims, the doctor said the event was aimed at inciting genocide.
He said there were laws in India that could be enforced against such practices, “but Mr Modi has not spoken out against that violence“.
Dr Stanton said Modi, as the prime minister of India, had a moral obligation to denounce this kind of hatred and hate speech that specifically calls for the killing of Muslims.
He said the language used against Muslims in the Haridwar meeting, which was also used by the Indian government, was actually “polarisation”, which led to genocide.
“So we are warning that genocide could very well be happening in India.”
Dr Santon in his brief also mentioned revoking special autonomous status Kashmir in 2019. He went and said, “the revocation of the of Kashmir’s special autonomy was “largely aimed at restoring Hindu domination” in the valley, which had Muslim majority”.
Dr Stanton said he had predicted the genocide in Rwanda, keeping in view the situation in the country at the time.
He said he had warned the then-Rwandan president that “if you don’t do something to prevent genocide in your country, there is going to be genocide here within five years. That was in 1989. The genocide developed, the hate speech developed, all the early warning signs developed. And as we know, 800,000 Tutsis and other Rwandans were murdered in 1994”.
“We cannot let that happen in India,” he concluded.
Inputs are taken from IAMC and Dawn