PM Narendra Modi surgical strike against Muslims puts India at war against itself
ISLAMABAD - From Germany to Chile and South Africa, nations have had to endure painful reconciliation processes to heal themselves, put the past behind them, and draw lessons from violent brushes with history to prevent their recurrence. India has chosen to beat a reverse path.
Tired of the country’s stable democracy, preserved for seven decades after a blood-soaked independence, its muscular new caretakers are urgently poking old wounds in the hope of stirring up India’s demons to take it down the same road to perdition it long ago escaped.
Despite being born in a frenzy of religious violence accompanying the partition of independent India into a Hindu-majority India link and a Muslim-majority Pakistan link in 1947 – which left up to 2 million dead and 14 million displaced – the new Indian nation chose to become a secular republic in which people of all religions would have just as much right as Hindus.
This idea of India ran up against the country’s increasingly assertive majoritarian politics this week, and came up short on the floor of its House. But the resultant friction between the two ideas of India has jolted the foundational arrangement of a complex nation, triggering panic and protests nationwide, in what could well be a prolonged period of social and political unrest.
Amid opposition protests and marathon debates, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s link Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) this week pushed through a bill in parliament that will give Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh link and Afghanistan link. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, or CAB, which became an act on Thursday with the president’s assent after it was cleared by both Houses of Parliament, allows for the first time in constitutionally secular India a citizenship provision based on religion link. Modi himself was conspicuously absent throughout the House debates and let his closest aide and Home Minister Amit Shah lead the government side in piloting the bill.