Setting a new benchmark for brazen hate speech, leaders of several far-right groups have called for ethnic cleansing of India’s 200 million Muslims, in a three-day summit organised at Haridwar in Uttarakhand, sparking massive outrage and calls for stern action against them.
The three-day ‘Dharma Sansad’ was held by the controversial Hindutva figure Yati Narsinghanand from December 17 to 19, where multiple speakers made calls to kill minorities and attack their religious places, The Wire reported. “We have to make preparations. And I’ll tell you what preparations those are. I will clarify that this is the solution, and if you follow this solution, then the path is made for you… in Myanmar, Hindus were being chased away.
The politicians, government and police were standing and watching. They started by killing them by cutting their necks, and not only this, but they began to cut them in the streets and eat them. The people-watching thought we are going to die, we are not going to live,” said Swami Prabodhanand Giri, president of the Hindu Raksha Sena, a right-wing organisation based out of Uttarakhand. “This is our state now. You have seen this at the Delhi border, they killed Hindus and hung them. There is no more time, the case now is that either you prepare to die now, or get ready to kill, there’s no other way. This is why every Hindu must pick up weapons and conduct a cleanliness drive (safai abhiyan). There is no other solution,” Narsinghanand said, as the crowd cheered.
The statements calling for ethnic cleansing and mass genocide are particularly alarming given Prabodhanand’s connections with the BJP. Previous Hate Statements Prabodhanand’s anti-Muslim statement is not a recent thing. In 2017, he issued a broad statement calling for Hindus to have eight kids to contribute “towards conserving, preserving and protecting Hindutva.” In 2018, he had made a speech at Shamli saying that only Muslims rape Hindu women and spoke about ‘love jihad’, apart from expressing other anti-Muslim sentiments. He has also made genocidal statements in a video with Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati that was made public in June of this year.
Another speaker Sadhvi Annapurna, general secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha, called for the mass genocide of the minority community. “Nothing is possible without weapons. If you want to eliminate their population then kill them. Be ready to kill and get ready to go to jail. Even if 100 of us are ready to kill 20 lakhs of them, we will be victorious and go to jail,” Annapurna said. BJP leaders Ashwini Upadhyay and Udita Tyagi also participated which gave the event a level of political encouragement from the ruling party.
The speakers pointed to the 2017 mass atrocities against Rohingya Muslims and their exodus as an example and called for a similar action to enable Muslims’ ethnic cleansing. Netizens Fume In Anger A part of the summit was live-streamed on social media platforms, sparking anger with netizens using the hashtag #HaridwarGenocidalMeet and #HaridwarHateAssembly. The controversial conclave of Hindutva chiefs comes a week after PM Modi reportedly told a US-hosted “Democracy Summit” that the democratic spirit, including respect for the rule of law and pluralistic ethos, is “ingrained in Indians”.
As per the critics, Modi has failed to intervene and stop growing attacks on minority communities, misuse of religion by Hindu hardliners, and intolerance against dissent. Since BJP came to power in 2014, Hindu mobs have lynched many people —mostly Muslims and Dalit Hindus — suspected of illegally transporting cows or consuming beef. Hindutva groups have also targeted Muslims over “love jihad”, the conspiracy theory that Muslims are luring Hindu women with the aim of conversion and eventually national domination. Muslims were also accused of spreading COVID-19. In recent months, Hindu mobs have targeted Muslims praying on Fridays.