WASHINGTON - India under Prime Minister Narandera Modi is “sliding toward a collapse of humanity and ethics”, says an Indian journalist in her op-ed published in a leading US newspaper on Tuesday, citing the horrendous rape and murder of an 8-year-old Muslim girl in Kashmir that involved supporters of the ruling party.
Writing for the The New York Times, the New Delhi-based journalist Mitali Saran reflected on the country’s state of affairs, saying that India’s “traditional secularism” is now in battle with Hindu chauvinist politics that Prime Minister Modi represents.
“Intimidation of religious minorities and violence against them has increased since Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the Bharatiya Janata Party to power in 2014,” said the op-ed, noting that the charge sheet and other reports strongly suggested that it was not a random crime but a deliberate act that is in line with the ugly sectarian politics across India.
The op-ed was published a day after the NYT Editorial Board severely criticized Prime Minister Modi for his silence over the murder of Asifa Bano, a Kashmiri innocent girl who was killed in January in a Hindu temple by men who supports BJP.
To make it worst, state lawmakers from the BJP party, which is part of the ruling coalition in Jammu and Kashmir took part in a rally in support of a man charged in the gruesome murder and rape of the little girl.
Detailing the details of the despicable act of barbarity, the Indian journalist wrote that one of the accused, who is a police officer, had asked his co-accused not to kill the girl so that he could rape her once more.
Exposing the growing hatred towards the Muslim minority in the area, thousands of people, including women, joined a protest rally organized by a newly formed group called Hindu Ekta Manch, or Hindu Unity Forum, in support of the accused. “So what if a girl died?… Many girls die every day,” the op-ed wrote quoting one of the two BJP state ministers who took part in the rally.
There have been protests in some cities as people also took to the social media to vent their anger and fury over the incident and the complicity of politicians in such horrific crimes against the Indian minorities.
“The sense of national crisis today is because Indians feel a rising urgency to either counter this ethical collapse or to capitalize on it in the run-up to the next election,” the Indian journalist wrote.
The NYT Editorial Board in an article published on Monday said that crimes like the murder of the Muslim Kashmiri girl was “ part of an organized and systematic campaign by nationalist forces that want to terrorize women, Muslims, Dalits and other underprivileged citizens,”.
The Editorial Board also criticized Mr. Modi’s silence over this horrendous act saying that “tweets frequently and considers himself a talented orator. Yet he loses his voice when it comes to speaking out about the dangers faced by women and minorities who are frequent targets of the nationalist and communal forces that are part of the base of his Bharatiya Janata Party”.