Op/Ed – 19 September 2016. Indian Prime Minister Modi is a god to his followers, but some see a monster in him. One of those is journalist Pieter Friedrich, who believes Modi is a genocidal politician who preserves a culture of state-sponsored atrocities in India.
The accused, the implicated political figures in this massacre, in this genocide in Gujarat — the primary accused is Narendra Modi. He is now prime minister of India.
Modi’s first executive office was as Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001. He soon earned notoriety by orchestrating a genocide that will haunt his political career forever.
It will not go away. It will not be an issue that is allowed to rest until he answers for it.
In 2002, thousands of Gujarati Muslims and Christians were massacred in a three-day pogrom.
Armed with voter rolls that identified Muslims residences and businesses, for about three days mobs of Hindus took to the streets, massacred Muslims as well as Christians, burned mosques, burned churches.
Victims were hacked to pieces, dismembered, beaten to death, burned alive, and gang-raped. Eyewitnesses to the attacks testified that the mobs chanted: “The police are with us. Long live Narendra Modi.”
Narendra Modi has been implicated in staging this genocide in Gujarat, India by the U.S. State Department, by Human Rights Watch, by members of his own administration, by police officers who served under him.
Over and over again, Narendra Modi has been directly implicated as orchestrating — as architecting — this genocide which was the first major incident of his political career.
We’ve also seen over the past 30 years some really egregious — some really egregious atrocities committed by the Indian government. Some full-scale massacres. Genocides, many people term them.
The first one was in 1984 in Amritsar, where the Sikh Golden Temple was invaded. This invasion was a full-scale military invasion. It lasted for about three days. It occurred at the busiest day of the largest Sikh festival of the year when there were thousands of pilgrims that were in the temple. And many of them were massacred.
Another massacre that followed up several months later — this one occurred in 1984 in Delhi. This one was also targeted against Sikhs. Again, it occurred over a period of about three days. Witnesses say that the mobs that took to the streets for these three days were armed with voter rolls that identified Sikh residences and businesses.
They targeted Sikhs based off of anybody that was wearing a turban. And they just went amok, and ran rampage through the city, and slaughtered — and when I say slaughtered, they burned alive, they gang-raped, they dismembered.
They committed many atrocities against Sikhs, killing several thousand, at least 3,000 which are acknowledged by the U.S. State Department.
Another massacre that came just a few years later was both in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh and in Mumbai in Maharashtra. This time it was Muslims who were massacred. Again, it was with implication of leading political figures, including a man from the BJP named L.K. Advani. About 2,000 people, according to the State Department, were murdered.
The last pogrom I want to talk about happened against Christians. This happened in 2008 in Kandhamal, Odisha. This one actually lasted longer. It lasted several weeks. Churches were burned as mobs took to the streets, went through villages, hunted down Christians. People were burned alive.
So all throughout India, since 1983, we’ve got a consistent track record from both political parties of these genocides and pogroms being sponsored against religious minorities of all categories — Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs.
We see at times these massacres over a period of a few days or a few weeks of thousands of people. Well, over periods of decades, thousands of other people from these same religious minority communities — Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs — have been more secretly and quietly slaughtered.
Sikhs were, over a period of about 10 years from 1984-1995, secretly disappeared by Indian police and cremated illegally to hide the evidence of the murders.
This man, Jaswant Singh Khalra, discovered it, reported on it, and then, as a result of taking his findings and reporting them to the Canadian Parliament, when he returned home to Punjab, he was picked up and he was murdered by Indian police in 1995.
This is not unique to the Punjab. This has also happened in Kashmir as well as other areas. In fact, the murder of Jaswant Singh Khalra, a human rights activist who was murdered for his human rights activism, is also not unique.
This man was a human rights lawyer — Jalil Andrabi — and he reported a very similar pattern to what was going on in Punjab, which had been reported by Jaswant Singh Khalra, where again, over a period of about 10 years, the Indian government and security forces were going in, abducting people, picking them up in the middle of the night, taking away tens of thousands of people, creating mass graves, murdering people in custody.
And, as a result of his activism — in fact, he reported his findings to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland — he was murdered in 1996 by the Indian Army.
Meanwhile, the Indian State refuses to sign the United Nations Convention Against Torture. The use of torture is employed as a daily tool in every Indian police department in the country.
Torture is basically legal in India. It’s widely practiced by police and military.
And on the extreme forms of torture which are common practice in police stations, you see people being stripped, humiliated, electric shocks, burned with cigarette butts, sexually abused, and so forth.
We see that there is basically no liberty in India. Violent Hindu extremism is on the rise and it’s met with total impunity and with complicity by the government.
While the perpetrators of injustice rule the land of India, the common Indian has no recourse in India’s injustice system. India has the largest backlog of court cases in the world.
As many as 30 million cases are pending. A report estimated that it would take 450 years to clear the backlog of Indian court cases. Countless innocent people languish in Indian jails for decades, waiting for trial, and yet they never get any justice.
State-sponsored massacres of minorities are staged with total impunity by both major political parties. And human rights defenders — people who document and report on these things — are murdered in retaliation for it by the very people that they are reporting on. By the Indian government.
Yet India continues to thrust Gandhi, the so-called Mahatma, upon the rest of the world. They say he is the face of peace, yet they pay to install his statues everywhere.
This member of parliament in India, back in 2010, managed to get a formal response from the Indian government — the Ministry of External Affairs — which admitted that they have a sustained, a deliberate campaign of installing Gandhi statues around the world.
Now why would they want to do that? Why would they want to install Gandhi statues all around the world except for purposes of using Gandhi’s life-story as portrayed in propaganda films like the “Gandhi” film to whitewash the record of India internationally?
The reality is that India is actually home to more poor people than anywhere else in the world. It’s home to one out of three poor people in the world. Sixty-seven percent of the population gets subsidized food grain from the government; 670 million Indians also live on about fifty cents a day.
An Indian’s life expectancy is one of the lowest in the world. It ranks 139th out of 194 countries. The most slaves in the world are to be found in India today, according to the Global Slavery Report.
Over 14 million Indians, especially those who are viewed or treated as low-caste, are chained through forced labor, debt bondage, human trafficking, forced sexual exploitation, and forced marriages.
Gandhi was a Hindu religious preacher who said: “Caste is necessary for Christians and Muslims as it has been necessary for Hinduism and has been its saving grace.”
It’s been coming out that Gandhi was also a sexual predator who, late into his 70’s, forced his 18-year-old grandniece Manu and 17-year-old grandniece Abha to sleep naked with him on a nightly basis to “test” his commitment to celibacy.
In one of the world’s premier examples of twisted logic, Gandhi asked: “If I don’t let Manu sleep with me, though I regard it as essential that she should, wouldn’t that be a sign of weakness in me?” Today, Gandhi would be tossed in prison if caught doing such a thing.
People have been rising up against this and exposing the reality that Gandhi was actually a racist.
Gandhi was an advocate of racial segregation of blacks in pre-apartheid South Africa.
So the real Gandhi is not anything like who he was portrayed as in the “Gandhi” film. So, once again, it’s propagandhi. But if Gandhi is not who he said he was — is not who he’s said to be — then, we have to ask, is India what it is said to be?
So tonight I am calling on you to listen to your conscience, to listen to the facts instead of Modi’s PR machine, to listen to the blood of the many thousands of innocent Indians that is crying out from the ground for justice.