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New Delhi: At a three-day global summit held virtually, experts working on hate speech and genocide concluded that since genocide is a process and not a one-time event, it can be stated that the genocide against Muslims in India has begun.
Experts, civil society leaders and officials from international organisations came together for the ‘India on the Brink: Preventing Genocide’ summit between February 26 and 28.
“We have had direct calls [for genocide] in India recently,” said Greg Gordon, a former attorney with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, at the . “Conditional calls – ‘If they do this, we will do that’ – are also incitements.”
Maung Zarni, a researcher at the Genocide Documentation Center in Cambodia, said, “I believe that India is not only on the Brink but is already in the process of an unfolding genocide. …The killers portray vulnerable populations as a security threat to their religion. When this dehumanisation begins, the country is already deep in the genocidal process even though the killings may not have started.”
Human rights attorney Meetali Jain brought up the extent of hate speech and misinformation in India “of a genocidal character, very much akin” to what has been seen in Myanmar and Ethiopia. “We advocate for a nuanced understanding of hate speech that takes into account the kind of speech that may not technically qualify as hate speech but still gives people the feeling of wanting to do harm offline,” Jain said. “We need much more experts on staff in social media companies who understand the nuances.”
Adama Dieng, special advisor to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, said, according to a press release issued by the summit’s organisers, that though India had a long and cherished history of peaceful coexistence, intolerance and discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief had increased.
Two Indian journalists speaking at the event – Alishan Jafri and Kaushik Raj – talked about how anti-Muslim violence had only been rising ever since Narendra Modi government came to power. What’s more, members of the ruling party and ministers at the state and Central level have issued and supported such calls for genocide, without facing action.
Christopher Tuckwood, the executive director of the Sentinel Project, a Canadian nonprofit, expanded on what the two said by adding that preventing genocide in India would be difficult, as the state was both the perpetrator and an active protector of other perpetrators.
Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale University and the author of How Fascism Works, compared what is happening in India now to Nazi Germany. “The early thinkers of the RSS made explicit suggestions that India should follow the Nazi’s model,” he said. “The CAA looks frighteningly like the Nuremberg laws. There is a movement to strip from Muslims the right to have rights. The map is extremely clear.”
Open calls for genocide in India have become less and less rare of late. Most recently, a teenage Bajrang Dal member in Karnataka said all those who propagate the hijab will be “cut with Shivaji’s sword”. Before that, at the Haridwar ‘Dharma Sansad’, multiple Hindu right leaders had called on supporters to kill Muslims.