As tragic story of the death of eleven Pakistani Hindu community migrants, who were lured into India by Modi’s surrogates, appeared in the media last month, Godi media downplayed it as an act of suicide. Hindu community in Pakistan regularly visits India for religious reasons as well as to meet their relatives across the border. Of late, the Indian propaganda machine has started an orchestrated campaign of luring the community through promises of a better life in India and giving them jobs for permanent settling in India.
The Citizen Amendment Act (CAA), passed by the Indian Parliament in December 2019, amended the Indian citizenship law to illegalise migrants who are Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Buddhist, and Christian from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and who entered India before 2014 following the religious persecutions. It, however, excludes Muslims and has been internationally declared as discriminatory on religious grounds.
We had discussed the reasons for promulgation of discriminatory laws in India in our previous articles, just to remind the readers that there is an underlying reason for that. Since Modi got away with Gujarat massacre and rose to become the Prime Minister, the RSS-controlled BJP had drawn some conclusions, as follows:
= As far as Muslims were oppressed and ostracised in India, there will be no challenge from within Indian political parties or international community.
= As Indian economic and diplomatic clout grew in international community, India could get away with anything related to human rights violations, something similar to Israel being left out.
= Targeting of Muslims in India actually increases the vote bank of the RSS and the BJP.
= Indian Muslims are too divided and their sold-out politico-religious leadership aka Sarkari Musalman will keep the Muslims divided and bewildered.
Based on these conclusions, the RSS goons occupying the Rajpath moved for ultimate kill, wholesale disenfranchisement of the Muslims in India. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the CAA may appear to be benign, but these have set the pace for final solution of Muslims in India. The RSS and BJP leaders have openly threatened that they would like a Muslim and Christian Mukt India by 2023. The demographic card of growing Muslim population in India has permeated the minds of common Hindus across India and people have started believing that Hindus will become a minority in India.
The CAA was specifically coined to target Muslim countries in Indian periphery and was supposed to be used as propaganda weapon, especially against Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The purpose appeared to be aimed at luring Hindu and Sikh community from Pakistan through attractive packages and then bash it as a country where minorities are persecuted.
Most of the Hindu community families who migrated to India have lived a pathetic life; barring some activists, they are neither owned by Indian government nor offered the promised jobs and greener pastures. Most of them are looked upon with suspicion of being Pakistani spies and are abandoned like beggars to live rest of their lives in poverty and oblivion.
Al Jazeera report of 3rd July, 2019 compiled by Sonia Sarkar highlighted the plight of these families in India: “Life in the slum, home to 525 Pakistani Hindus who are all awaiting citizenship, is miserable. Huts made of bamboo and twigs are surrounded by rubbish. There are only two functional toilets and one bathroom for everyone and there is no electricity.” Children of this community are having no access to basic education and most of these land up in squalid streets and shops as child workers to earn as less as one dollar a day. There is total lack of medical facilities for such families and even during the Covid pandemic, Pakistani Hindu community was left on its own to fight it out.
Many members of Pakistani Hindu community may not know that downtrodden classes in India constitute 77% of India. If we glance at the Mandal Commission Report of 1980 and assume that the population in different classes has grown at same rate then the ruling upper class in India only constitutes 23% of the population. Muslims, Dalits, Christians, Adivasis or Scheduled Tribes and Shudras combined form 77% of the Indian demography. When we compare the figures of poverty in India, these tally with the 77% downtrodden classes.
For example, Modi’s Covid food package to feed 800 million poor in India included one kg Daal and 5 kg rice per head per month. This figure indicates that almost 70% of Indian population cannot afford to feed itself and is surviving on subsistence rations.
There is a need to educate Pakistani Hindu community about the level of poverty in India and the illusion of greener pastures. Current state of Indian economy does not paint any rosy picture for future. Bloomberg report of 7 September citied former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan who said that India’s GDP data should “alarm” all of us. The reported 23.9% contraction in the economy is likely to worsen when informal sector data is disclosed.
Indian track record of negotiating Covid-19 has exposed the myth of Shining India. With more than 90,000 Covid infections per day, India stands on the victory stand of maximum infections in the world. Some estimates suggest that India could have 25% of its population infected by Covid by end of next year. This is going to make India as the global epicentre of Covid 19. How will international community interact with India, do business as usual, and remain safe from mass infections is a million dollar question. This massive infection scenario is adversely going to affect FDI, travel, tourism, health, education and trade in India.
To sum up, Indian economy and Covid infections are going to devastate India’s urban and rural landscape and this trend is likely to persist till 2022. India may run short of food and basic health facilities in near future, leaving no space for dramas like offering greener pastures to innocent Hindu community members from Pakistan. India is becoming a bottomless basket while Pakistan is rebounding with confidence, and its sterling performance in fighting Covid-19 has been acknowledged by WHO and the World Economic Forum. Our advice to brothers and sisters of Pakistani Hindu community stuck in India would be to get the first bus to Pakistan and join the land of promise.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2020.