Together with Berlin for India and India Solidarity Germany, we have sent an open letter to German Members of the Bundestag and Members of the European Parliament to draw their attention to the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Berlin on 2 May 2022. We would like to use this occasion to express our concerns about this meeting and to point out the authoritarian shift to the right and the alarming human rights situation in India.
Dear _____________ ,
We are writing to you in the light of the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the 6thIndo- German inter-governmental consultations being held on 1st and 2nd of May.
India Justice Project, Berlin for India and India Solidarity Germany are collectives of Indian and German citizens residing in Germany, concerned about the deteriorating conditions for protection and fulfilment of fundamental human rights norms in India.
As you might be aware, India is currently witnessing an unprecedented right-wing authoritarian shift in society and politics under the rule of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is not the first time that the rights protected by the Constitution are being systematically undercut by the Indian government. However, the present situation is particularly urgent and it demands immediate attention of the international community.
Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, members and supporters of BJP, including those connected with ministers in BJP governments, have violently attacked the lives and livelihoods of different minorities and marginalised communities. Government of India has amended, repealed, and/or introduced laws/provisions which take away rights of the most deprived communities, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, farmers, workers, the Dalits and Other Backward Castes, Adivasis (indigenous communities) and the people striving for self-determination such as Kashmiris. Perpetrators of violent hate crimes enjoy tacit state and judicial protection from any form of presecution of accountability processes.
The government has used extreme police brutality and other violent methods to harm legitimate and peaceful protestors, as in Kashmir, in the movement against the CAA/NRC legislations and in the farmers’ protests (to just name a few). The government is preventing rights defenders and journalists from traveling abroad or speaking to the international community. The government has put several rights defenders, academics, advocates, journalists, environmentalists, poets, students and even comedians under prolonged pre-trial incarceration, using highly repressive “anti-terror” laws. Therefore, we want to stress how urgently we need the international community to oberserve, listen and act.
On January 12, 2022 the chairman and founder of ‘Genocide Watch’ Gregory Stanton, issued a warning while briefing the US Congressthat there are noticeable signs of genocide of Muslims in India. He said genocide needs not necessarily be similar to the mass extermination of Jews; rather, it will assume the form of mob violence, slowly seeping into majoritarian consciousness. And thus, in this letter, we particularly want to bring to your notice the accelerated persecution of Muslim cultural and religious identity in India in the last 7 years, especially due to concerns of an impending genocide.
- Laws like the cow-slaughter act and the anti-conversion law violates Muslim (and Christian) communities’ right to eat and practice/profess religion of their choice. Unprovoked attacks on Muslims by Hindu mobs have become routine in India – lynching of Muslim men by cow protection groups, recurring attacks on mosques and churches, barriers to pray are commonplace in the present India.
- Interfaith marriages between consenting adults have been targeted by Hindu supremacists, who believe Muslim men are ‘luring’ Hindu women into conversion. Two state governments have passed laws against ‘love jihad’, criminalising interfaith marriages between Muslim men and Hindu women .
- Atleast, one state in India has started blocking the Right of Muslim women to education by imposing sudden Hijab Bans in educational institutions.
- In 2019, the Indian government amended its citizenship laws with a plan to officialise the exclusion of Muslims.
- Militant supporters of government have violently attacked Muslim businesses and workers while spreading unchecked propaganda calling for economic boycott of the Muslim community.
- In February 2020, a 4-day pogrom in Delhi left over 50 people dead, the majority of victims were Muslims. The attacks started with the hate speach of a prominent BJP leader calling for violent attacks on Muslims. Police officials helped violent mobs and protected the perpetrators.
- In just the last 4 weeks (April 2022) there has been a spate of violence against the Muslim community across the country, which leaves little to no doubt that Gregory Stanton’s alarmist sounding prediction is in fact turning into a reality. Violent Hindu mobs armed with swords rampaged through Muslim localities in as many as 11 cities. Led by Hindu religious heads and BJP members, these mobs desecrated mosques and gave anti-muslim hate speeches calling for rape of Muslim women and for the “starting the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in India from eastern Uttar Pradesh” and desecrated mosques. In response to the violence faced by the Muslim communities in last three weeks, the Indian authorities arrested Muslim men and bulldozed their houses, places of worship and work.
The actions by the Hindu supremacist mobs cannot be seen as fringe activity but as furthering of the larger agenda of Modi, BJP and its supporters to establish a Hindu Nation with Brahmins (priestly caste) and Baniyas (Merchant Caste) at the top of the heirarchy with absolute social, political and economic power and OBCs, Dalits and Adivasis at the bottom with little/no rights.
As Indian diaspora and concerned German citizens, we refuse to ignore the daily incidents of human rights violations in India and in Kashmir. We see the complicity of the Indian government in abetting and allowing acts of crimes against Muslims and marginalized communities in the country. For far too long, the international community continues to ignore Indian Government’s atrocities for trading interests. We believe the time has come when democratic countries like Germany cannot ignore the clear signs of fascism and impending genocide in India. Germany’s strategic interest in India should be balanced by a concern for human and democratic rights and shared constitutional values.
We believe that the Modi government wants to depict its image as one in line with the Western democratic values, in order to maintain cultural diplomacy, make gains in the trade relations, and exercise military alliances. Under the circumstances described in this letter, a meeting between German government officials and Narendra Modi will work towards endorsing the latter’s policies and therefore should be avoided. And in case of bilateral discussions between German government officials and Indian counterparts, the alarming human rights situation in India should be brought strongly and should be pivot of the conversations.
Thank you and looking forward to your actions,
India Justice Project, Berlin for India and India Solidarity Germany
 Stanton, Gregory. 2022. “Early Signs of ‘Genocide’ in India: What Gregory Stanton Told the US Congress and Why.” National Herald, January 23, 2022.