The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has joined in the outrage and revulsion felt by Indian Americans and people of conscience everywhere, over news reports that a 26-year-old Muslim woman’s corpse was dug out from her grave in Talheta village near the border of Meerut and Ghaziabad districts. Her body was found without any clothes 20 meters from the grave. The police believed the ghastly incident was an attempt to stoke “communal violence” in the region.
It may be recalled that in March 2015, video reports showed BJP MP Yogi Adityanath presiding over a Hindutva supremacist rally, where calls were made to rape dead Muslim women. Mr. Adityanath continued on the stage while such a despicable idea was being expressed. Subsequently Yogi Adityanath was promoted to the BJP’s national executive committee.
The reaction of Indians around the world over the continuing attacks on the dignity and basic freedoms of India’s religious minorities as well as Dalits (lower-castes), has been eloquently expressed by former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Ramdas, in a recent open letter to the President and Prime Minister of India. Drawing the attention of the highest offices in the land to the “threats to our shared heritage,” Admiral Ramdas unequivocally separated Hinduism, the faith he was raised in, from “Hindutva, that seems to be fanning the flames of division and fear across the country.”
Recent months have also seen a sharp increase in attacks on Dalits. Two Dalit children were burned alive in the Faridabad district of Uttar Pradesh state by upper-caste miscreants who set the house on fire while the family was sleeping. The incident has sent shock-waves across India.
“Today, as a veteran in my eighties, I am forced to hang my head in shame as I witness a series of incidents and assaults on our fellow citizens, especially minorities and dalits,” wrote Admiral Ramdas. Further in the letter, he states, “”Most shocking of all is the fact there has been no unambiguous condemnation of such actions and behaviour by those at the helm of affairs in the country.”
The letter draws attention to the “systematic and well orchestrated attempt to impose a majoritarian single point agenda of creating a Hindu Rashtra in India – led by the RSS and their network of groups…” The full text of the letter is available online.
“The ‘total disregard for the rule of law,’ that Admiral Ramdas referred to in his letter, has been evident, time and again, in atrocities committed by the foot soldiers of the Hindutva supremacist ideology espoused by the RSS and its affiliates,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “Indians of all faiths need to come together, to unequivocally condemn inhuman behavior and the ideology that supports such actions,” added Mr. Malick.
IAMC lauds Admiral Ramdas for his courage, as well as the Indian writers who have protested against the rising attacks on minorities and intellectuals, by returning their awards. In recent weeks, more than 40 eminent writers returned their Sahitya Akademi Award, which is India’s highest literary award