Wednesday Feb 26, 2020
LONDON: A British parliamentarian said Wednesday Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies against Muslims and other minorities in India reminded them of Hitler, Mussolini, and other despots who destroyed the lives of ordinary people.
The comments were passed by lawmakers Stephen Timms, John Cryer, Richard James, Lyn Brown, and others at an event organised by the Indian Muslim Federation in the British parliament. The event was attended by people from diverse backgrounds.
The MPs highlighted the plight of Indian Muslims who fear their citizenship might be revoked under the National Registry of Citizenship and Citizenship Amendment Act.
"Modi's attitude is such a break from what we understood India to stand for. What will democracy in India be like if the direction which is pursued is continued?” questioned Stephen Timms in a conversation with Geo News.
Timms urged New Delhi to uphold the “virtues” found in the country’s Constitution. "India's decade's long commitment to equality, irrespective of religious faith is being discarded,” said the British MP, adding that Indian was taking the “wrong direction”.
At the event, International Muslim Federation President Agha Shamsuddin highlighted the voice of the Indian Muslim community in Britain.
“BJP is making a nation where some citizens count as more Indian than others. The NRC is a tool for the ethnic cleansing of Muslims, Dalits and others. The biggest democracy in the world is under threat,” said Shamsuddin. He also urged the lawmakers to “save humanity from the destruction it faces from these policies.
While John Cryer informed the audience that his Kashmiri constituents did not know where their families were as he highlighted the impact of the communications lock-down in the disputed territory. He added that his Kashmiri voters had no idea whether their loved ones are dead or alive.
“What we are seeing is a particular rise of virulent fascism which has parallels with Mussolini and Hitler. The fact that armed goons of the RSS are running around and targeting minorities is a bleak reminder of the 30s and 40s," said Cryer.
James Shannon in his address highlighted the hypocrisy of western countries when it came to India. "If we are too scared of our trade deals with India then shame on us because we should stand with those who are oppressed. I stand with my Kashmiri brothers and other people who are oppressed in India,” said the lawmaker.
An Indian Hindu present at the event also condemned Modi's policies and said that he, along with many Hindus did not stand by racial and ethnic discrimination.
Rabbi Herschel Gluck, who serves as the Chairman of the Muslim-Jewish Forum said that BJP's policies were similar to the policies adopted by Nazi Germany and that the world had a responsibility to speak up before minorities were sent to concentration camps.
Protests have broken out across India since the citizenship law came into force in December, leaving at least 30 people killed in clashes with police.
Critics say the law discriminates against Muslims. The new law has raised worries abroad — including in Washington — that Modi wants to remould secular India into a Hindu nation while marginalising the country's 200 million Muslims, a claim he denies.