MOON Desk: Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, during his recent visit to the US claimed that democracy is “in India’s DNA” and denied that his government has engaged in discrimination based on race, faith or other such distinctions.
Narendra Modi addressing a joint press confer-ence with the US President, Joe Biden, at the White House in Washington on June 22 said, “We are a democracy… India and America both have democ-racy in our DNA. Democracy is in our spirit and we live it and it’s written in our Constitution. There is absolutely no space for discrimination on the grounds of caste, creed or religion.” However, the fact is that there has been an erosion of religious, political and press freedoms under Modi’s watch in India and Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.Jama Masjid | Mirwaiz Umar Farooq exposes ‘no house arrest’ lie – Telegraph India
India, right from its creation, has been projecting itself as a secular country. Its constitution allows for the freedom of religion, meaning people should be able to follow and freely practice their religious beliefs. However, attacks on the minorities and even low-caste Hindus (Dalits) in the country by the members of majority Hindu community, particularly the followers of the Hindutva ideology, have re-mained a norm for the last over seven decades. This persecution of the minorities increased to an alarming proportion ever since the rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party led by Narendra Modi came into power in 2014. Backed by the extremist Hindu organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Modi gov-ernment is forcefully pursuing its agenda of turning India into a Hindu Rashtra (state).This is what the Supreme Court has ruled on powers of Article 370 in the past
Sadly, when it comes to Islam and Muslims, es-pecially Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), religious freedom and claims of secularism mentioned in the Indian Constitution are completely absent. After the abrogation of the special status of IIOJK through the repeal of Article 370 on August 05, 2019, the Modi regime is hell bent upon erasing the Muslim identity of the Kashmiri people and impose the Hindutva ideology of RSS. It has also introduced new domicile rules, allowing the Indian citizens to get permanently settled in the occupied territory. So far, over six million Kashmir domiciles have been issued in the last over three years. The main motive behind the exercise is converting the Muslim majority in IIOJK into a minority.
Historically, Jammu and Kashmir has been a place of not only demographic but also religious diversity where followers of various religions like Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism have lived together with peace and harmony for centuries. The three regions of the territory (Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Ladakh) differ almost in all respects. The predominant religion in the entire IIOJK is Islam. However, there are different religions dominant in different divisions. Islam is the main religion of Kashmir Valley, Hinduism of Jammu and more than 40% people in Ladakh are followers of Buddhism.