"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Indian state and its apologists have no moral right to grumble over the “sacrilege” of Indian flag Featured

 

Gurpreet Singh

 

Some self-styled Indian patriots settled in UK have launched a petition seeking action against those who tore the Indian national flag recently.

The incident happened during protests against visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The protests were mainly organized by groups representing religious minorities in India that feel threatened under the right wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by Modi.

Ever since Modi got elected as Prime Minister in 2014, attacks on religious minorities have grown. The BJP supporters frequently target Muslims and Christians, as well as so-called untouchables. Members of the Sikh minority fear assimilation, since the BJP considers Sikhs as part of the Hindu fold a claim that is  vehemently denied by the Sikh leaders). Despite this, the BJP and Hindu Right organizations have been directly or indirectly involved in attacks on Sikhs in the past and during recent times.

The Indian government also reacted sharply to the “act of sacrilege,” and the UK has apologized for the incident.

It is understandable that people can be sensitive about national flags, but considering some recent developments in India, one can argue that this reaction is completely hypocritical.

In fact, the Indian state and its apologists outside the country have no moral right to grumble over what happened in London.

Do we need to remind them that the biggest disgrace to the flag was committed by supporters of the BJP when they rallied in support of those accused of the rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Kathua? Asifa Bano belonged to a nomadic community. Some Hindu fanatics conspired to rape and kill her to not only humiliate her community, but to force them to migrate. Clearly, sexual violence was used as a political weapon on an innocent child. 

Those who rallied in support of the perpetrators were seen waving the Indian national flag. We need to ask those shedding tears for a torn flag, wasn’t this shameful? Where were these patriots when the national flag was used in defence of the rapists and murderers?

This wasn’t the first time that BJP supporters used the national flag in defence of those involved in heinous crime. Earlier, the dead body of a Hindu extremist who was convicted for the murder of a Muslim and had died due to illness was draped in the national flag. Why was such outrage missing when the coffin of a Hindu bigot was covered with the national flag?

A nation is not defined by a land mass, its boundaries or its national icons, such as flags or emblems. It is represented by its people. These patriots should rather be upset over what the current government and its supporters are doing to the citizens, by denying them equal rights, raping them and killing them with impunity, in complete contradiction to what the Indian constitution stands for. The fashionable patriots who are carried away by a symbolic gesture of protesters in London should rather ask themselves whether or not the Indian constitution is based on the principles of religious freedom and equality? If that is true, then their anger must be directed at Modi and his cohorts, instead of those who only wanted to draw  international attention to the ongoing violence against minorities in India.

 

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Last modified on Wednesday, 25 April 2018 12:52
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