Isn't PM being anti-national by not condemning hate-killing of Hindu Indian by a foreigner?
Does Modi feel hesitant over calling out xenophobia in the United States because it would draw parallels to events in India?
Has PM Narendra Modi issued a strong condemnation of the murder of the 32-year-old Indian engineer, Srinivas Kuchibholta, in Kansas by a white-skinned US navy veteran?
PM Modi, who was quick to issue a tweet in the wake of the Orlando gun massacre last year, has remained eerily silent over an issue that directly relates to the well being of Indians residing in Donald Trump’s America. The unbelievably xenophobic and openly racist 45th President of the United States has created a climate of such bigotry in his country that immigrants – brown, black and yellow – are afraid to even speak in their own language in public places.
Trump, when not blaming and shaming the US media, or banishing prestigious media houses and newspapers from White House press briefings, is usually tweeting, or talking things that are so utterly shameful that they defy logic and his constitutional seat of the highest elected office in the US. Trump and his “circles of enabling”, such as the “alt-fact” cheerleaders Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, have a direct bearing on a rapid escalation in hate crimes reported in the US since November 8 last.
The fatal shooting of Srinivas Kuchibholta, a promising Indian techie and an immigrant to the US, in Kansas on February 23 is therefore part of a larger malignant picture, which is the consequence of an administration and its political machinery gone rogue. Along with Kuchibholta, who died on the spot, his friend and fellow engineer Alok Madasani, was also shot at by Adam W Purinton, the US navy veteran who thought he was serving his country by killing two “Middle Easterners”.The fatal shooting of Srinivas Kuchibholta in Kansas on February 23 is the consequence of an administration and its political machinery gone rogue. [Photo: CNN]
It is exactly this climate of hostility that has created ripples of disturbance across the world. Kuchibholta’s murder was patently not by just a “lone wolf” white nationalist, but someone who suddenly found a purpose in life and a narrative to strengthen when he saw the US government echoing ideas that better fit the likes of Klux Klux Klan, or the Nazi party in 1930s Germany.
Trump’s obnoxious and downright undemocratic statements, such as building a wall along US-Mexico border, deporting all illegal immigrants on a war-footing, imposing a travel ban on seven Muslim countries, repealing Obamacare, as well as knowing no difference between facts and fiction and betraying it in innumerable occasions, have, in fact, mirror images in what’s happening in India.
Just like Trump humiliated a late Iraq war veteran’s parents because they happened to be Muslim, in India today a 20-year-old daughter of a Kargil war martyr is trolled on social media and is threatened with rape because she dares to speak the harsh truth. Gurmehar Kaur’s brilliant and bold stance has obliterated the very binary of the patriot soldier versus the left-liberal anti-nationals, which the RSS/ABVP/BJP milks at every opportunity, because she has known sacrifice like no other.
We can expect little else from the student body affiliated with the RSS when the BJP national president Amit Shah equates his political opponents with Ajmal Kasab, the lone Pakistani terrorist caught alive after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. This, after the exposé of BJP IT cell in Bhopal harbouring ISI spies, is not just delusional, but intentionally communal and aimed to vitiate an already toxic electoral climate in the country.
It is extremely sad that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who extols the virtues of his NRI supporters all across the world, hasn’t felt the need to issue a strong and scathing condemnation of the blatant hate crime that killed Srinivas Kuchibholta in Kansas. Does the PM think that doing so would call attention to the strategies his own party and its leaders have been deploying in order to win elections and supplant the liberal universities all across the country?
Does the PM feel hesitant over calling out xenophobia at the topmost government level and its bloody, violent consequences in the United States because it would draw immediate and strong parallels to what’s happening in India? Is he waiting for his “circles of enablers” to interpret this as Hinduphobia? Does he not see this as a fundamental breach of the human rights of Indians abroad, particularly in the US?
PM Modi’s failure to condemn Kuchibholta’s murder is actually an indirect confession of his own complicity in violence and riots that have happened because bigotry got the better of majority Indians. Violence such as lynching to death of Mohammad Akhlaq in September 2015 over beef rumours. Violence such as the Muzaffarnagar riots, the open lumpenism of ABVP hurting and punching students and teachers, obstructing seminars and poisoning the university as a haven of independent intellectual debate.
PM Modi’s failure to stand up for an Indian killed abroad, however, is also the strongest evidence of his own anti-nationalism. After all, only an anti-national sees his/her countrymen dying, felled by foreigners, and admits to weakness - moral and physical – by refusing to condemn the death.
Just like Modi sarkar has made a mockery of democracy in India, the Trump administration is violating the constitution at every step. The direct result of this is a rise in incidences of white nationalist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, racist hate crimes in America, and a corresponding increase in anti-Muslim, anti-liberal, anti-secular rhetoric, violence and threats in India. Incidentally, both have been done in the name of nationalism, patriotism and making the respective countries “great again”.
Doesn’t that make Narendra Modi as much of an anti-national as Donald Trump himself?