Prominent Indian journalist grills Modi for keeping mum over blasphemy protests

New Delhi, June 09 (KMS): A prominent Indian journalist, referring to the backlash in Muslim countries over the blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by two top leaders of India’s ruling party, BJP, denounced Prime Minister Narendra Modi for remaining silent amid growing protests across the country and beyond.

“Throughout all of this, the social-media-savvy Modi, known to invoke values of pluralism abroad, has remained silent as Indian democracy has descended into hate and is humiliated with international backlash,” wrote Rana Ayyub in an article published in The Washington Post.

“To me, a journalist who has been reporting on the Indian government’s relentless attacks on the country’s more than 200 million Muslims since Modi assumed power in 2014, this global reaction was long in the offing,” he wrote.

“In recent years under the BJP, India has seen the passage of a law that made religion a criterion for citizenship for the first time; restrictions on the slaughter of cows in many states; the construction of a Hindu temple at the site of a demolished mosque in Ayodhya; the abrogation of the special status that granted the majority-Muslim region of Kashmir a measure of autonomy; a ban on the wearing of Hijabs in schools and colleges in the southern state of Karnataka; and ominous discussions for a Uniform Civil Code applicable to all religious communities (currently, the personal laws of different religious communities are governed by their respective scriptures).”

Noting that the two BJP leaders were removed from their posts, Rana Ayyub, who is also the author of “Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up,” said: “The kinds of views the BJP wants to characterise as ‘fringe’ are, in fact, the language of the ruling party and state, spoken each night on the country’s leading news channels.

“Members of the prime minister’s party crossed the red line of outrageously insulting (Prophet) Muhammad (PBUH),” pointing out that even more concerning was that the BJP’s actions against the two spokespersons, Ms Ayyub said, occurred days after their comments, and only after public rebukes by multiple nations critical to India’s strategic and economic interests.

The world has long viewed India as a nation that has been the melting pot of cultures, religions, and customs; a leading light in fighting tyranny and oppression; and a leader in the discourse around secular and plural values,” the journalist wrote.

“India under Modi, however, is coming across as a petty, vindictive nation that seeks pleasure in humiliating the oppressed and the less privileged,” she said.

“The land of Mahatma Gandhi, Abul Kalam Azad, and Rabindranath Tagore is being reduced to a caricature of hate on the global stage.”