The American Foreign Policy magazine said that after a year of mass protests against the controversial “citizenship law” in India, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to continue its policy of polarization on a religious basis to mobilize voters during 2021.
The magazine stated – in a report by the independent journalist specializing in political and human rights affairs, Betwa Sharma – that these demonstrations constituted the most sustainable mass upheaval since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.
She emphasized that the scale of the protests against the law surprised the Narendra Modi government, as is the case with the ongoing demonstrations led by farmers from the Sikh community against newly enacted agricultural laws, which the ruling party describes as “anti-national” demonstrations and does not grant them any political legitimacy even though the government has opened channels of dialogue with Farmers to end their blockade of New Delhi, the capital.
The Citizenship Law – which was approved by the Indian Parliament in December 2019 – allows the government to grant citizenship to millions of irregular migrants coming from 3 neighboring countries on or before December 31, 2014, provided they are not Muslims, and these countries are Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
After a year of demonstrations rejecting the law – the magazine says – the anti-law movement retreated, and its memory was not revived except with respect, as the Indian police stopped a candlelight march led by students in New Delhi on December 15.
In any case – the magazine adds – it was difficult to imagine how the movement rejecting the law could continue, especially in light of the outbreak of the Corona pandemic and the distortion of the movement’s reputation by the leaders of the ruling party and the hostile practices of New Delhi residents regarding the closure of roads, and the decline in support of those who claim to be “secular parties.” Supportive of the movement.
On the other hand, Foreign Policy confirms that many Indian citizens are increasingly showing during the Modi era their hidden intolerance against Muslims, and the last chapters of this hostility was what one of the major brands of jewelry did, as it withdrew an advertisement showing a Hindu woman marrying someone from a Muslim family after A popular backlash.
Hostility to Islam
The government in Uttar Pradesh – India’s most populous state – recently passed a law against what it called “forced and illegal conversion” and against marriages solely aimed at converting women.
Observers believe that this measure strengthens the claims of Hindu nationalists that Muslim men seek to change the religion of Hindu women through marriage, or what they called “jihad of love” (a term formally avoided by the Modi government).
The magazine stresses that the Modi government will be keen to proceed cautiously in its anti-Muslim policy, especially since hostility to Islam has become to some extent a “burden” in India, in light of negative reactions from foreign countries and parties such as neighboring Bangladesh, and this matter may turn into a problem. Thorny with the imminent arrival of US President-elect Joe Biden to power.
She concludes that, a year after the outbreak of the demonstrations against the naturalization law, the advancing forces against the law considered their appeals to support the rights and freedoms of minorities as a defense of the Indian constitution, and they now realize more than ever that the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party government is not serious about its respect for the values of the constitution, The hostility of those calling themselves the “silent majority” to their calls is a reality.