THE SANTA CLARA
October 22, 2015
Last month, in a city just outside of New Dehli, an angry mob of 60 people beat a Muslim man named Mohammad Akhlaq to death and left his son in critical condition. The crime that drew the ire of the mob — the man had allegedly eaten beef. 80 percent of India’s 1.2 billion people ostensibly consider the cow sacred and 24 of the 29 states in the country explicitly ban the slaughter of cows.
The violence in Dadri is not isolated. Throughout the country, mob violence has once again broken out against Muslims while Hindu nationalists attempt to pass a nationwide beef ban. This move could severely impact the predominantly non-Hindu minorities working in the beef industry.
Around the same time as the lynching in Dadri, Prime Minister Modi was in the United States, enjoying a rockstar reception from Silicon Valley leaders and the local Indian American community. Bay Area liberals, who regularly mock the conservative participants of the circus show that is the GOP primary, were suddenly swept up in “Modi frenzy,” completely on board with the admittedly charismatic PM.
Yet, if someone with Modi’s record ran for President here, the scrutiny would be unprecedented.
In 2002, Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat, where anti-Muslim riots left a thousand dead.
To this day, he still hasn’t commented on the riots, and his silence is deafening — a passive endorsement of the injustices against Indian religious minorities.
For this response, or lack thereof, the United States actually banned Modi from entering the country, citing “severe violations of religious freedom.”
Just 13 years later, President Obama poses with the Prime Minister happily for photo ops, seemingly eager to forget his less than stellar record on human rights, a time honored tradition of the United States government.
Nothing has changed over 13 years, and Modi’s political party, which has a supermajority in Parliament, is filled with individuals just like him. A senior minister wrote that “lynching a person merely on suspicion is wrong,” implying that the lynching would have been acceptable had the “crime” been verified.
As India becomes a world superpower, establishing true secularism in the country has never been more important.
A nation that routinely disenfranchises its religious and ethnic minorities cannot be turned to as a world leader.
Prime Minister Modi, end this culture of silence and passive support for extremism in your party.
Repent for your past by leaving the Prime Minister’s office with a legacy of inclusiveness — India’s future is as tied to pluralism and diversity as it is to infrastructure and economic growth.
Adithya Prabhakaran is a senior computer science and engineering major.