BJP President Amit Shah on Tuesday declared that the party will “throw out all infiltrators one by one” by enforcing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) while simultaneously clarifying that no Hindu, Sikh, Jain or Buddhist need to worry because they will be accorded Indian citizenship beforehand with the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
“I want to assure all Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian refugees, that you will not be forced to leave India by the Centre. Don’t believe rumors. Before NRC, we will bring the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which will ensure these people get Indian citizenship” Shah said.
Clearly, here's what he meant - everyone is welcome to India legally, but bye Muslims. The fact that the BJP President in an open address to the public can say something of the sort and get away with it without the blink of an eye is staggering.
The refugee debate has been a dog whistle for every country, and for the current government in India, the foundation of their ideologies. The blatant dismissal of Muslims in a country based on "diversity" and "cultural variety" is surprisingly excused far too easily.
Telling Hindus that this country really belongs to them and reassuring them that they will never have to fear their citizenship or devotion to the country, and scaring Muslims into believing that they don't belong here is just another clear cut way to segregate the country.
Making these comments in an environment of violent outbursts from Hindutva organizations only instigates the issue further. The constitution itself is being pushed aside and the new agenda is just as the British - Divide and Rule.
Silly as it sounds, there is no other way to look at it. Amit Shah in April called Bangladeshi refugees termites and promised they would be driven out of the country, sounds all too familiar.
Conflating Islam with terrorism and depicting Muslims as inherently dangerous people, is the basic trick. In another instance in 2016, BJP Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Anantkumar Hegde stated “as long as there is Islam in the world, there will be terrorism. Until we uproot Islam, we can’t remove terrorism.”
Numerous BJP candidates and activists tweeted a firmly established catchphrase – “not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims", after the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka.
According to a report by NDTV, the use of hateful and divisive language by top politicians in India increased by nearly 500 percent since the BJP-led government has come to power. It has strategically "otherized" its political opposition by labeling them as pro-Muslim and anti-Hindu, creating a binary and pitting Muslims against Hindus.
While the BJP is usually quick to condemn Islamist violence, it remains silent to the violent acts orchestrated by non-Muslims. For instance, the Naxals, who are arguably the biggest threat to India’s internal security, are not part of its political discourse as they do not fit into the polarizing narrative of their election ideology.
Additionally, thr perpetrators of hate crimes against Muslims are often protected with immunity, and in some cases even directly applauded. Lynching and terrorizing Muslims in the name of beef-eating, or ghar wapsi are blatantly overlooked.
Some of the party's Ministers are also questionable candidates - A radical Hindu nationalist, Pragya Thakur, who is out on bail supposedly due to “health issues,” is the main suspect in the 2008 bomb blast in Malegaon, Maharashtra that killed six and injured over hundred people. She is charged with terrorism, murder, criminal conspiracy, and promoting bigotry.
If all these instances go unchecked, it could fuel religious discrimination and alienation of Muslim communities even further. More so, it will threaten India’s dazzling diverse traditions into questioning, mistrust, and mutual suspicion.
Which in turn, will be problematic for India’s national security as it will generate insecurities among minorities and at the same time strengthen the Islamist terrorist groups narrative who skillfully exploit communal differences.