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‘Love Jihad’ – Another Step Towards India’s Nazification

A new law based around a conspiracy theory that Muslim men are tricking Hindu women into marrying them to turn India into an Islamic caliphate is yet another example of the country’s descent, says CJ Werleman

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2020. Photo: Hindustan Times/SIPA USA/PA Images

‘Love Jihad’ Another Step Towards India’s Nazification

A new state law based around a conspiracy theory that Muslim men are tricking Hindu women into marrying them to turn India into an Islamic caliphate is yet another example of the country’s descent, says CJ Werleman

Through the 1935 Nuremberg Laws, German Jews were otherised, marginalised and stigmatised by the Nazi Party before they were excluded from Reich citizenship and prohibited from having sexual relations or marrying persons of ‘German blood’ – dealing a fatal blow to the religious minority’s right to live without fear.

The concentration camps and the Final Solution soon followed.

This history can ring an alarm bell when an alarm bell is in need of ringing and, in India today, the international community is faced with a five-alarm fire, as the country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) takes further steps towards the Nazification of India’s laws and institutions.

The BJP has been chipping away at the democratic and civil rights of India’s 200 million Muslims since the moment Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn into office in 2014. But the past 12 months has seen an acceleration of this, with the country’s largest religious minority cast as ‘traitors’, ‘terrorists’ and ‘pests’.

The process of classifying and legislating for discriminatory policies against Muslims is well underway, with the updating and enacting of a pair of anti-Muslim citizenship laws in 2019, known separately as the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which work together to identify Muslims as ‘infiltrators’ and exclude them from the same rights enjoyed by the Hindu majority.

Today, the BJP’s Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh state, Yogi Adityanath, has proposed legislation to prohibit Hindu women from marrying Muslim men under the guise of preventing ‘Love Jihad’ – an Islamophobic conspiracy stipulating that Muslim men are tricking Hindu women into marrying them and forcing them to convert to Islam as part of grand plot to transform India into an Islamic caliphate.

The conspiracy theory was first circulated across social media platforms, then picked up by right-wing media pundits in the media before being used by BJP officials to further stigmatise Muslims. It will soon be the law in Uttar Pradesh and several other BJP-ruled states have announced plans to follow, including Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

It should also not be overlooked that Adityanath also threatened death to Muslim men who marry Hindu women, telling an audience last month: “I warn those who conceal identity and play with our sisters’ respect. If you don’t mend your ways your ‘Ram naam satya’ (a chant associated with Hindu funerals) journey will begin.”

‘Purity of Race’

Anti-‘Love Jihad’ laws represent the legalisation of hate against Indian Muslims, in a similar way to the Nuremberg Laws.

“The laws of the Nazi Government made the Holocaust possible,” observes Richard D. Heideman in Legalizing Hate: The Significance of the Nuremberg Laws and The Post-War Nuremberg Trials. “They permeated all aspects of daily life in German society, stoked national anti-Semitism, and enabled, influenced, and emboldened the police and German judiciary to act with complete disregard for the inalienable rights of people to be safe and free.”

Last week, Dr Gregory Stanton, widely considered the world’s foremost authority on genocide and ethnic cleansing, and author of the Ten Stages of Genocide, warned that “preparation for genocide is definitely under way in India”. 

“The persecution of Muslims in Assam and Kashmir is the stage just before genocide,” he told a panel in Washington DC on Tuesday. “The next stage is extermination – that’s what we call genocide.”

The evidence for Dr Stanton’s claim cannot only be found in the country’s laws and political discourse, but also in its construction of concentration camps in Assam for undocumented Muslim migrants; abrogation of Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status, which has launched New Delhi’s Hindu-settler-colonial-project in the disputed Muslim-majority territory; and never-ending upward surge in hate crimes against Muslims. 

The BJP’s goal is to make life so unbearable for Muslims in India and Kashmir that they will be left with no other choice but to self-deport to Pakistan, Bangladesh or elsewhere – and it is a one that members of India’s ruling party announce in broad daylight.

Both Modi and the BJP have used public and political institutions to idolise the late Hindu nationalist ideologue Madhav Sadashiv Golwakar as a “champion of robust nationalism”, a man who led the fascist Hindutva paramilitary group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and professed admiration for Adolf Hitler, contending that the Nazis provide a “good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by”.

“To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races – the Jews,” wrote Golwakar in 1939. “Race pride at its highest has been manifested here… the non-Hindu… may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges… not even citizens’ rights.”

This Nazification of India includes the Government’s crackdown and jailing of journalists, critics and human rights organisations, with Amnesty International shutting its operations in the country this year.

The international community must urgently recognise the disaster which is already unfolding – and the disaster yet to come.

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