Sunday, September 25, 2022

Blood Brothers: India and Pakistan heading in opposite directions

While Pakistan has attempted secularism, India has moved away from the other. One thing India can claim is that it does not prevent Muslims from holding high positions. India has had Muslim Presidents, but unlike Pakistan, the President of India is a person who has no real authority. If they had the power to dismiss the Parliament, as the Presidents of Pakistan had, it would be interesting to see how many Muslims India would uplift.

Today, for the first time since 1947, India has no Muslim chief minister, 15 state cabinets with no Muslim ministers, and 10 states with only one Muslim minister usually given minority affairs. None of the 303 Lok Sabha MPs from the ruling party are Muslim. Even in its previous 282 Lok Sabha majority, there was no Muslim. When Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who has not been given a Rajya Sabha seat, loses his post as a minister, India’s Union Cabinet will not have a Muslim for the first time. Whether the exclusion of minorities from power is through law in Pakistan or through practice in India, the boycott is real.

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Of course, India has gone a long way from pluralism in favor of laws. Starting in 2015, Bharatiya Janata Party states began to make the possession of beef a crime, triggering a series of beef lynchings.
In 2019, the Parliament of India criminalized the statement of triple talaq In one sitting, punishing Muslim men for non-incident (as the Supreme Court had already invalidated triple talaq). Seven states of BJP have been criminalized after 2018 interfaith marriage By allowing conversion and invalidating such marriages which also involved children. Conversion to Hinduism – defined as “ancestral religion” – is exempt and does not count as a conversion in the BJP states of Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh. No one in India has been convicted of forced conversion, so these laws are not required but are intended to harass.

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In 2019, Gujarat tightened a law that debarred Muslims from buying and leasing property from Hindus and placing them in ghettos. In fact, foreigners can buy and rent property in Gujarat which Gujarati Muslims cannot.

We don’t need to deal with Kashmiris here as the collective punishment imposed on them no longer arouses interest in us.

In fact there is no real difference between India and Pakistan as they move from two sides to each other. Started from a communal end but moved towards secularism. The other started at the secular end and slipped into communalism.

(Author is author, columnist and commentator. Views are personal)

Nation World News Desk
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