India victimizing detained Hurriyat leaders

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Release of Kashmiri detainees demanded

Srinagar, March 21 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Hurriyat organizations have said that India is victimizing the illegally detained Hurriyat leaders and activists to intimidate the Kashmiris into submission and force them to stop resisting its illegal hold over Jammu and Kashmir.

Hurriyat organizations including Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Tehreek-e-Mazahmat, Kashmir Tehreek-e-Khawateen, Tehreek-e-Wahdat-e-Islami and Democratic Political Movement in their statements said that Narendra Modi-led communal government in New Delhi had devised a plan to send Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik, to gallows in a 30-year-old false case. They maintained that India was plotting to prolong the illegal detention of Hurriyat leaders and annihilate them. They appealed to the world human rights bodies to take cognizance of the plight of the Kashmiri detainees.

Meanwhile, the Grand Mufti of occupied Kashmir, Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam, addressing a meeting of religious leaders held in Srinagar, today, to discuss the situation arising out of coronovirus spread, demanded release of all illegally detained Kashmiris, saying that the prisoners could be affected by the disease as most of the jails lacked basic facilities.

Hurriyat leader, Ghulam Muhammad Khan Sopori, in a statement in Srinagar said that due to the lockdown in different countries in the wake of coronovirus pandemic, the world community must have no difficulty in realizing the sufferings the people of occupied Kashmir had been going through during the continued military siege for the past over seven months.

The Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Employees Movement, Muhammad Shafi Lone, in a statement in Srinagar deplored that the Indian government and its agencies had implicated the illegally detained Muhammad Yasin Malik in a three decades old fake case.

The illegally detained Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Salvation Movement, Zafar Akbar Butt, was admitted at a police hospital in Srinagar after his health deteriorated at Chanapora police station in Srinagar. The JKSM President, Altaf Ahmed Butt, in a statement in Islamabad called for immediate release of Zafar Akbar Butt and other Kashmiri detainees.

On the other hand, an Indian soldier committed suicide by shooting himself with his service rifles while on duty at Civil Secretariat in Srinagar, last night. This incident raised the number of such deaths among Indian troops and police personnel in occupied Kashmir to 448 since January 2007.

APHC-AJK leader, Sheikh Abdul Mateen, in a statement in Islamabad denounced the chargesheet against Muhammad Yasin Malik by a TADA court in a 30-year-old fake case. He said that India is using its judiciary to suppress the resolve of the Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders and activists but would never succeed in its nefarious designs. The Chairman of Kashmir Council Europe, Ali Raza Syed, in a statement issued in Brussels called upon the world community to put pressure on India to immediately release Muhammad Yasin Malik.

10 martyred in IOK in February

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India extends 37 laws to IOK

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Srinagar, March 01 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Indian troops in their unabated acts of state terrorism martyred 10 Kashmiris during the last month of February.

According to the data issued by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service, today, of those killed, three were martyred in fake encounters or in custody. During the month, 30 people were critically injured due to use of brute force and firing of teargas shells by Indian police and paramilitary personnel on peaceful demonstrators in the occupied territory while 137 civilians, mostly youth, were arrested. Most of the detainees were booked under black law, Public Safety Act.

The people of the Kashmir Valley continue to hit by severe hardships due to the ongoing military siege and internet suspension on the 210th successive day, today. More than 50 per cent industrial unites have completely stopped functioning as a result of seven-month lockdown and internet gag.

In view of the mass uprising threat in the upcoming summer against revocation of Kashmir’s special status, India has decided to retain its additional troops, brought into the territory in the wake of New Delhi’s illegal action of August 5, last year. At least 400 additional companies of paramilitary forces including Central Reserve Police Force and Border Security Force were deployed in Kashmir the day before the Article 370 was revoked.

Meanwhile, Indian occupation authorities invoked draconian law Public Safety Act against two more Kashmiri youth identified as Pervez Jilani and Tashoq Ahmad.

In yet another step towards the total annexation of occupied Jammu and Kashmir with India, New Delhi has approved 37 laws, which could not be previously applicable to the territory because of its special status under Article 370 of the Indian constitution. Indian Food and Drug Control department has refused to register more than 8,000 Kashmiri students who completed medical assistant course during the year 2019 citing the reason that they completed the course under the Pharmacy Act of occupied Jammu and Kashmir, which did no longer exist after the abrogation of Kashmir’s special status.

The first opening ceremony of the book ‘Dogra Ahd Ka Rajouri’ by Maulana Shamsi, the Chairman of Pir Panjal Civil Society, was held in Rajouri. A large number of people from different walks of life from Rajouri and Poonch districts attended the ceremony.

In Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, over 22 Kashmiri students of Aligarh Muslim University were booked on the charge of participating in anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests.

 

Anti-Muslim violence in India reaches alarming proportions

By C J Werleman

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The ongoing brutality in New Delhi dubbed ‘communal violence’ is the live unfolding of a pogrom against Muslims.

The international media fixated on the pomp and ceremony, or rather glitz and glam of what was a two-day extravaganza of right-wing populist and ultranationalist odes and slogans. US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi went about their business pretending as though the country’s second-largest city wasn’t literally and actually on fire.

On Monday, pro-government Hindutva thugs responded to the city’s ongoing and growing protests against recently legislated anti-Muslim citizenship laws, otherwise known as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), by attacking protesters and setting Muslim owned homes, cars and businesses alight.

Eerily, the same Hindu nationalist goons had marked Hindu-owned properties with saffron-coloured flags to help attackers identify Muslim targets, borrowing a sinister measure used on the eve of the 2002 Gujarat riots, which left more than 2,000 Muslims killed and thousands more battered, raped, and abused.

Starting in the Muslim-majority areas of northeast Delhi, the violence spilt into Monday evening, culminating with the deaths of at least two anti-CAA protesters, and the injuries of dozens more.

Footage shows Delhi Police officers firing tear gas shells into a crowd, followed by baton large charges. By Wednesday morning, the death toll had risen to at least 20. Among the dead are a 22-year-old rickshaw driver, a labourer, and a father of six.

A video that went viral on social media shows a dozen or so Muslim males being kicked and beaten before being forced by police to recite Vande Mataram — India’s national song and a nationalist ode of sorts — as they lay defenceless on the ground.

Another shows an isolated Muslim man being mercilessly punched and kicked by a mob of dozens of pro-government street thugs, as cars and shops around him are vandalised, while another shows a Muslim shrine being torched with a petrol bomb.

Hindus have woken up after long [passivity],” one man, who identified as a pro-CAA protester, told a local journalist as he carried out an arson attack.

On Tuesday afternoon, a mob chanting Jai Shri Ram (victory to Lord Rama) and Hinduon ka Hindustan (India for Hindus) surrounded a mosque in Ashok Nagar, before setting it alight, while a man placed a Hanuman flag atop its minaret.

That footage also shows Delhi Police officers participating in the violence, joining pro-CAA protesters in throwing rocks at Muslims, underscores the dangerous new reality the country’s largest religious minority now face.

“The police is with us,” a Hindu man says in a video posted on Twitter, as his colleagues throw rocks toward mostly Muslim anti-CAA protesters.

Chillingly, these moments of violent mayhem and madness, which evidently enjoy the tacit and implicit approval of the Modi government, are perpetrated to an ode to a Hindu deity, but one now heard as a death chant to victims of this violence. Today, Jai Sri Ram is typically the last three words a Muslim hears the moment before he or she is attacked or murdered.

All across India, Modi radicalised saffron terrorists are assaulting, raping, and lynching Muslims with impunity, as government leaders openly refer to the religious minority as “termites” and “pests,” while they declare an urge for another 1947-scale Muslim exodus.

Earlier this month, hundreds of right-wing nationalists converged on New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI), chanting anti-Muslim slogans and shouting, “shoot the bastards” as police stood by as idle onlookers.

Recently, the international watchdog group Genocide Watch recently issued genocide alerts for Muslims in both Kashmir and Assam.

“Preparation for genocide is definitely underway in India…The next stage is extermination – that’s what we call a genocide,” said Professor Gregory Stanton, the author of the 10 Stages of Genocide in a speech to US lawmakers in December.

Certainly, both territories are ground zero in the government’s effort to marginalise and make invisible the country’s persecuted religious minority, with eight million Muslims in Kashmir living under a military lockdown and communications blackout that has now surpassed 200 days. Three million Muslims in Assam face the prospect of deportation or detainment as a result of measures implemented as a result of the NRC.

“My mother gave birth to me at home. My birth was never registered, so how do I produce a certificate?” a Muslim resident of Assam told Foreign Policy. “Nor do I have land ownership or tenancy records dating back five decades. Although we’re law-abiding citizens, having lived peacefully in India all our lives, we might be thrown out of the country.”

The events of the past 48 hours have demonstrated that the safety and well-being of India’s 200 million Muslims have never been in greater peril since the Gujarat pogroms and the violence of partition.

Should they become the target of overt state-sanctioned violence, recognising they always been the target of covert violence in the country, then the international community would be presented with a catastrophe of unprecedented proportions, resulting in the world’s largest pogrom and humanitarian crisis.

At the helm is Narendra Modi, a man accused of direct involvement in the country’s most recent anti-Muslim pogrom during his capacity as Gujarat’s chief minister.

If these realities aren’t enough to give rise to global alarm, then what is?

Is India sleepwalking toward a Muslim Holocaust?

By Irfan Raja

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Men ride a motorcycle past security forces patrolling a street in a riot-affected area after clashes erupted over the new anti-Muslim citizenship law in New Delhi, India, Feb. 26, 2020. (REUTERS Photo)
Men ride a motorcycle past security forces patrolling a street in a riot-affected area after clashes erupted over the new anti-Muslim citizenship law in New Delhi, India, Feb. 26, 2020. (REUTERS Photo)

The holocaust – the last century’s tragedy that left unbearable losses and stains on the face of secular Europe – could happen again in secular India.

Shockingly, Indian Muslims are experiencing the same sets of denunciation as the Jews faced under the Nazi regime: exclusion from mainstream society, racial profiling based upon belief, negative media representation and bigotry.

Exactly identical to the representation of Jews in German films and press during the Nazi rule as the “bad guys,” the Bollywood films and sections of the Indian media portray Muslims as gangsters, dons, smugglers, terrorists and anti-state actors.

Hindu nationalist RSS terrorists are ideological equals of the Nazis. They back and endorse more horrific forms of torture including the imprisonment of Muslims in detention centers, police raids on Muslims mosques and at Jamia University, brutally beating young and elderly Muslims in public, intentionally demolishing their homes and lynching on the pretext of “holy cow protection.”

What hypocrisy! At home, Hindu radical mobs kill any Muslim who eats beef, but the outside world sees India as the world’s largest exporter of beef, an activity that has dramatically increased under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. This is the real face of a democratic India that is clearly anti-Muslim.

History seems to be repeating itself. As the Nazi Jews were seen as “disloyal” and “enemies within,” similarly, in today’s India, from Kashmir and Assam to Bengal, Indian Muslims have to prove their loyalty to Modi’s fascist government which considers them the “enemy within.”

Dr. Gregory Stanton believes “possible mass extermination of Muslims” is “definitely underway in India” as Modi had already committed a Muslim genocide in Gujrat.

So what can be done to stop the horrific repetition? This situation is petrifying as each day Indian Muslims are losing their hope to live as normal citizens.

Are they the new Jews?

Today, Muslims are living in concentration camps in Palestine, China, Myanmar and India.

Charles B. Anthony wrote: “Muslims are the new Jews. Perpetually vilified in the press, scapegoated by politicians and attacked in ever-increasing numbers on the street, Muslims are punished for their faith and culture, shackled to the jailer of prejudice drunk on his own self-righteous thirst for supremacy.”

Ordinary Europeans were persuaded that the Jews controlled money and businesses, conspired against their country of residence and plotted to kill European royals. The Nazis’ frequent and skillful propaganda brainwashed ordinary Germans to such an extent that they believed that the Jews must be expelled or killed.

Currently, similar patterns and tactics are in practice, as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership backs a systemic campaign aimed at Indian Muslims that labels them as outsiders, incompatible, an enemy within and a threat to the RSS version of Indian society. Therefore, Muslims must be expelled according to their rhetoric.

Such a destructive campaign against the Indian Muslims has resulted in the rise of a racist slogan – “Go back to Pakistan” – which has been heard in films and from sports stars, namely, Nasseruddin Shah.

Hitler of our time?

Today, Modi has proved that he has much in common with Hitler such as Hitler’s concept of blood superiority (the Aryan nation) and racism centered on Jews. This prompted Imran Khan to say that Modi has Hitler’s mindset.

In a similar manner, BJP’s leaders are constantly suggesting they are Brahmins and Aryans, making them superior people in comparison with the Dalit Muslims of India.

So what next? A tragic and horrible past is turning into a reality in India. Seriously, we are at the threshold of a probable Indian Muslim’s Holocaust. So what shall be done to stop it?

BJP leader Rajeshwar Singh vowed to wipe out Indian Muslims and Christians by Dec. 31, 2021. Singh said, “We have decided that Islam and Christianity will be finished in India by 2021.” This is the “pledge” of the BJP, the political party with the most representation in the Indian parliament and state assemblies.

Already, the world is witnessing a growing tidal wave of bigotry and oppression against the Indian Muslims who are being forced to live as stateless.

To put it simply, a list of the Modi’s government illegal actions includes the Citizenship Amendment Bill, National Register for Citizens (NRC) and Citizens Amendment Act (CAA).

The British liberal press such as The Guardian have criticized Modi’s government over its draconian citizenship laws. These bills are evidently anti-Muslim which shows a plan for a grand-scale expulsion and a genocide of Indian Muslims.

Whether someone takes it or denies it, this is the writing on the wall. A Muslims holocaust will happen, if not now maybe later, as Modi’s seeds of hatred against Muslims have already rooted deep.

If Modi is genuinely patriotic to India, he should not forget what happened to ordinary Germans because of Hitler’s madness.

The challenge ahead is to deprecate ill designs of the fascist BJP, and this can only happen if all peace-loving Indians come together in this battle.

Restrictions on IOK mass rape day intensified

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Srinagar, February 23 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Indian authorities further intensified restrictions particularly in Kupwara district, today, on the 29th anniversary of the Kunan-poshpora mass rape incident.

Indian troops had gang-raped around 100 women of all ages from eight to eighty on the night of February 23 in 1991 during a siege and search operation in Kunan-poshpora area of the district. The troops were deployed in strength on all entry and exit points of the district to prevent people from expressing solidarity with the victims of the mass rape.

Since 2014, twenty-third of February is observed as Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day every year, the call for which was, first, given by the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society and supported by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. Hurriyat leaders and organizations in their separate statements expressed solidarity with the victims of the heinous crime. Jammu and Kashmir Muslin Conference Chairman Shabbir Ahmad Dar in a statement termed the incident as one of the most horrifying and terrifying incidents in the history of mankind.

APHC leader Muhammad Shafi Lone in a statement in Srinagar urged the US and other big powers to promote peace and development in South Asia through settlement of the Kashmir dispute as per the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. The Jammu and Kashmir Students and Youth Forum rejected the statement of the Indian Foreign Ministry on Kashmir, saying that Kashmir was an international dispute awaiting settlement on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions.

Meanwhile, the upcoming visit by US President Donald Trump to India has, once again, raised fear among the Sikh community members of the Kashmir valley. The visit has freshened the sad memories of March 2000 among the community when 35 innocent Sikhs were massacred by men in uniform in Chattisinghpora area of Islamabad district during the-then US President Bill Clinton’s visit to India. Jagmohan Singh Raina, the Chairman of All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee, in a statement in Srinagar said that the Sikhs of the Valley have to face such fearful situation whenever a high profile foreign personality, especially, from the US visits India.

APHC-AJK leader Abdul Majeed Malik addressing a meeting in Islamabad condemned the continued military lockdown and gag on communication means in occupied Kashmir.

UN Secretary General’s visit of Pakistan – his role under Article 99 of the Charter in Kashmir

By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

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Welcome Mr. Secretary General to Pakistan and have a rewarding stay, in a country which is home for major religions of the world. It has hosted the Afghan refugees and 2.5 million Kashmiri refugees (five generations) recognised in UN Security Council Resolution 47 of 21 April 1948. Your participation at the International Conference on Afghan refugees would attract a criticism of inequity and discrimination, if you fail to uphold the guarantees made to Kashmiri refugees in paras 12 and 14 of UN Security Council Resolution 47.

The principle of ‘equality of peoples’ under the Charter, calls upon the United Nations Secretary General to interpret article 99 in the manner Dag Hammarskjold interpreted in the case of Tunisia in 1961, U Thant in 1971 in Nigerian civil war, Waldheim in North Vietnam and Vietcong, Perez de Cuellar in Iran-lraq war, Boutros-Ghali in 1994 in Burundi, Kofi-Annan in 2005 in Zimbabwe and Ban-ki Moon in 2006 and 2013 in Fiji and Syria.

UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, on receiving an invitation from President Habib Bourguiba to visit Tunisia in 1961, told the Security Council that it was “Obvious that he could not discharge the responsibilities flowing from article 99 unless he could make visits and thus be in a position to form a personal opinion about the relevant facts of a situation which might threaten international peace and security”. No member of the Council challenged the interpretation of the duties of the Secretary General. Nor were there any objections to the fact finding missions initiated by U Thant in connection with the Nigerian civil war.

UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold visited the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, for two days from 20-22 March 1959. He wanted to know for himself the situation in Kashmir. These were the times when Indian citizens, required an Entry Permit (VISA) to visit Indian administered part of Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian Government has committed a political vandalism on 5 August and a military aggression on 31 October 2019. People have remained under lock and key and cut off from the rest of the world. It is not only article 99 that envisages  your duty towards the people of Kashmir but  the 9 December 1991, General Assembly resolution 46/59; “Declaration on Fact-finding” in the Field of the Maintenance of International Peace and Security”, has further  strengthened the role of Secretary General. The Secretary General can start any activity designed to obtain detailed knowledge of the relevant facts of any dispute or threatening conflict, in which the competent UN Organs need effectively to exercise their functions pertaining to the, maintenance of international peace and security. He may bring any such matter to the attention of the Security Council.

Seven of your predecessors listed above have explicitly invoked the duties under article 99. “Declaration on Fact-finding” by the United Nations has strengthened this role since March 1991. I wish to quote UN Security Council record of 611th meeting held on 23 December 1952 and invite your attention to “a very grave offence”.

The representative of Netherlands addressing the 611th meeting of the UN Security Council on 23 December 1952, has said, “In obtaining the consent of the parties to have the final and deciding process, that of an impartial plebiscite, held under the offices of the United Nations, the Council has placed the authority of our world Organization at the service of both parties and at the service of the people of Jammu and Kashmir themselves. We believe that this in itself constitutes a guarantee of considerable value. The party that would dare to violate an agreement thus reached would load upon itself a very grave offence against the other party, against the United Nations, and against the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to self-determination, a right which, in other contexts, both parties have so often and so eloquently defended.” Para 28.

On 5 August and 31 October 2019 Government of India has “loaded upon itself a very grave offence against the other party (Pakistan), against the United Nations, and against the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to self-determination.” Netherlands has further added that, “So, when there is a difference of opinion on the question of the remaining military forces, let us not underestimate the significance of the fact that the authority of the Security Council has become a factor in the solution of this matter- unless an agreement can be found outside of the Council and that the auspices of the United Nations are involved.”

The two OHCHR reports on the Human Rights Situation in Jammu and Kashmir and your report of May 2019 on Children and Armed Conflict, warranted an urgent consideration of your role under article 99 and Under UN “Declaration on Fact-finding” in saving Kashmiris defined by UN as “Historic” and “People of Legend”, entitled to “Rights and Dignity” and “Security and Self-Determination.”  Maharaja of Kashmir was able to impose a curfew for 11 days in 1931, but the present Government of India led by Narendra Modi, has placed men, women, children, sick and elderly under the guard of over 900,000 soldiers.

The character, number and location of Indian forces in Kashmir, has been defined in UN Security Council resolutions. These forces do not have an occupational role. They were required, “for the maintenance of law and order and of the cease fire agreement, with due regard to the security of the State and the freedom of the plebiscite.” These forces are sub-ordinate to the local Government. As a supplement, these forces remain under seven restraints.

Secretary General has to address the Kashmir Case on the basis, that India has surrendered its Kashmir accession at the UN Security Council on 15 January 1948, for a UN supervised vote. The earlier arrangements from 27 October 1947 to 14 January 1948, changed on 15 January 1948. Authority of the Security Council has become a factor in the solution of this matter

UN Security Council has explained that “Security of the State”, would not be the exclusive responsibility of India. In respect of Resolution S/2839 Netherlands has argued that, “The draft resolution takes into account a difference in the basic positions of the two parties with regard to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It recognizes a difference in the responsibility of the remaining forces on both sides of the cease-fire line when it refers to the principles and criteria contained in paragraph 7 of Mr. Graham’s, proposal of 4 September 1952. According to that paragraph, there shall be, on the Pakistan side, the minimum number of forces required for the maintenance of law and order and of the ceasefire agreement, with due regard to the freedom of the plebiscite; on the Indian side, in addition to these two criteria, the stipulation “with due regard to the security of the State” must be taken into account – although that does not mean that India has the exclusive responsibility in this respect.”

India has “loaded upon itself a very grave offence” and there is an urgent need for the UN to unfreeze the five out of the six elements (sixth being India), from inaction, frozen under UN Resolutions and allow them to structure a credible defence of the people of Kashmir. Or it is time that UN Security Council revisits Pakistan’s proposal to induct UN Forces into Kashmir. The proposal has been supported by Australia, Cuba, United Kingdom and United States of America. Thirdly, UN Security Council needs to move in and ensure to establish a “Provisional and Responsible” Government of Jammu and Kashmir, represented by all principal elements, to re-appoint the Plebiscite Administrator and consider the final disposal of Indian soldier, to ensure the freedom of Plebiscite.

Azad Kashmir Government (on the Pakistan side) established to discharge responsibilities under UNCIP Resolutions, has its berth in the UN supervised Government in Jammu and Kashmir (at Srinagar). Its forces (Azad Forces) need to be re-organised and the UN should assist the Azad Kashmir Government, to be able to build institutions and prepare for participation in holding the Plebiscite. Although Pakistan has taken on to help Azad Kashmir Government to discharge the responsibilities under UNCIP resolutions, it needs further support of all member states of the United Nations.

The second UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold visited Srinagar in March 1959. It is high time that the 9th UN Secretary General, António Guterres, should visit Srinagar and Muzaffarabad in March 2020. It would be in keeping with the traditions set by your predecessors. It is right time that the UN Secretary General invokes article 99 and UN “Declaration on Fact-finding”, in the interests of peace and self-determination.

INDIA 2020: ‘SUPERPOWER’ OR STILL ‘SUPER POOR’?

 

The hopes of India’s over 1.3 billion people were shattered after their country objectively failed to become the “superpower” that many of their leading “influencers” (read: propagandists) predicted it would be by 2020, with this finally being acknowledged by the popular Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party last week after it did an about-face by pleading for Trump to reclassify their country as a “developing” one because it “is miles away from the status of developed countries on parameters like education, health, employment, cleanliness and poverty alleviation” and thus supposedly deserves to retain tariff-free access to the American market.

“Superpower 2020”?

Indians entered the current decade with bated breath, having been indoctrinated since shortly before the turn of the century with the completely false expectation that their country would finally become a “superpower” by 2020. They didn’t know exactly what this would mean in practice, but it sounded prestigious enough and was a welcome distraction from the abject poverty that marks many of their lives. After all, Prime Minister Modi told them last March that they were now a “space superpower” after successfully conducting an anti-satellite missile test. He then declared less than a month later ahead of the parliamentary elections in May of that year that only he could fulfill India’s “superpower” dreams. Then-BJP President Amit Shah seconded this statement shortly thereafter prior to it being reiterated by Modi’s Minister of State in September when he promised his people that India is on the “verge of being a superpower”. Once again, nobody ever really explained what being a “superpower” entailed, but the hyper-nationalist population wanted so desperately for the rest of the world to recognize them as one anyhow.

An Epic Disappointment Decades In The Making

That was why it was a disappointment of epic proportions for them that India entered 2020 without becoming the envy of the world like they falsely expected. The popular Indian online news site Scroll.in published a powerful piece at the time titled “India Superpower 2020: Tracing the brief history of a spectacularly incorrect prediction“, which touched upon the 1998 origin of the “superpower 2020” prediction and then explained its viral evolution across the proceeding years to the point where it basically became the country’s unofficial slogan over the last decade. Those who had earlier expressed their reservations about this unrealistic expectation were viciously attacked for being so-called “anti-nationals”, and if they weren’t Indian, then they were usually accused of “Hinduphobia”, but those defamatory abuses are no longer relevant after the influential Shiv Sena Hindu nationalist party publicly acknowledged that India isn’t even a “developed nation”, let alone anywhere near becoming a “superpower”.

The US Calls India’s “Superpower” Bluff

This was very important development because the organization contributes to framing the national narrative, meaning that Indians might never talk about being a “superpower” again, as if what Scroll.in described in their article as the nation’s “collective delusion” over the past two decades never happened at all. Shiv Sena didn’t suddenly switch their narrative from one of impending “superpower” status to that of India simply being yet another “super poor” “Global South” country no different from dozens of others just for sake of factual accuracy but because the nation stands to lose several billion dollars a year if it sticks to that debunked script. The US recently reclassified India as a “developed economy” ahead of Trump’s visit to the country later this month where he’s expected to sign major military and trade deals with America’s new strategic partner. Asia Times reported that this decision was made for technical reasons since India’s share of world trade was above the 0.5% threshold qualifying it for “developing economy” status, hence why nearly 2000 of its products are no longer eligible for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) regime that had previously given $5.7 billion in imports to the US duty-free status in 2017, thus making it the largest beneficiary of this program.

$5 Billion In Economic Restrictions Got Shiv Sena To Switch Their Narrative

Shiv Sena, forgetting all about everything that it had said in the previous years about India’s supposedly imminent “superpower” status, furiously lashed out at the US last week by describing its move as “a big blow to our economy…a big crisis for India.” Walking back its entire narrative of India’s “miraculous growth” which had hitherto won it millions of devoted followers all across the country, the Hindu nationalist party repeated the same observations that the nation’s critics at home and abroad have been saying for years already, namely that “India is miles away from the status of developed countries on parameters like education, health, employment, cleanliness and poverty alleviation.” Evidently, speaking incessantly about India’s supposedly impending “superpower” status is useful for winning votes but becomes economically counterproductive the moment that the US acts like it believes that false narrative and then makes moves to eliminate the country’s preferential market access as a result. With $5.7 billion on the line, Shiv Sena had no choice but to tacitly admit that it and everyone else who had been celebrating India’s rise as a “superpower” were simply lying this whole time.

It’s No Longer “Hinduphobic” To Share Facts About India

There are some crucial lessons that other countries can learn from India’s humiliating experience, the most obvious of which is for political leaders to be more responsible when talking to the public about their country’s future status. Giving the largely impoverished masses unrealistically high expectations of global prestige using a never-defined slogan such as “superpower” is deceptive to the extreme and strongly suggests that they were deliberately manipulating their people for political purposes, likely to distract them from their dire economic situation with delusions of international grandeur. It’s all fun and games until the deadline for “superpower status” finally passed with a whimper and then the US took India at its word by restricting duty-free market access for $5.7 billion worth of its exports, thus dealing a heavy blow to some of its companies which were dependent on that regime in order to remain competitive. Shiv Sena is right, “India is miles away from the status of developed countries on parameters like education, health, employment, cleanliness and poverty alleviation”, but they were wrong for lying about that all this time, though at least those who repeat the party’s new rhetoric can finally speak freely without fear of being attacked as “anti-national” or “Hinduphobic”.


By Andrew Korybko
Source: One World

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