Fr. Prakash: on human rights, India has touched 'terrible abysses'
The Jesuit retraces the four years of Narendra Modi's nationalist government. Gagged press; Christians attacked; mob violence; discrimination against Dalits and tribals. The invitation: "People must wake up now".
New Delhi (AsiaNews) - In the last four years, since the Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi came to power, India has touched "terrible abysses" in the field of human rights, says Fr. Cedrick Prakash, Indian priest and head of communications for the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in the Mena region (Middle East and North Africa). He traces the constant violations in India, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
" One does not have to be rocket scientist to be aware of the human rights violations that are taking place everywhere in the country today: The situation has been deteriorating since the past four years. In the 2018 Human Development Index, India has reached an all –time low of 130 out of 189 countries.". "Of course - he underlines - All this certainly does no credit to a country, in which the ruling kingpins, at the cost of the taxpayer, continue to travel across the globe, foisting on gullible people, a whole string of lies, myths and illusions!".
According to the priest, what makes it possible "the rulers, their henchmen and the capitalist friends" who look at "the rights of others with disdain" is a widespread sense of impunity that permeates politics. Obviously, he reiterates, all at the expense of the poorest and those who do not have the means to make their voices heard.
Citing the annual reports of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the Jesuit lists a series of incidents that occurred in recent years: violence perpetrated by "vigilantes[to protect cows]" against minorities, especially Muslims; public lynchings; expropriation of the lands of the Adivasi tribals; discrimination of dalits; long-standing BJP politicians (Bharatiya Janata Party) who promote Hindu supremacy and ultra-nationalism; dissent labeled as "anti-national"; activists, journalists and academics targeted for their ideas; the control of funds from abroad used as an excuse to close the NGOs critical of the government.
Fr. Prakash cites three emblematic cases: at the end of August 2018 the arrest of five famous activists who fight for the rights of the Dalits and criticize the discriminatory policies of the government of Modi, for whom "the final verdict has not yet to be pronounced" ; in September 2017 the assassination of Gauri Lankesh, a journalist who had denounced electoral fraud by members of the BJP; a few days ago the protest of thousands of farmers suffocated by debts who marched on the capital and protested before the Parliament.
Finally, a reference to freedom of religion: this too, underlines the priest, "is in the background". The proof is the numerous attacks against Christians (200 in recent months according to a recent survey), or the initiative to change the "too Islamic" names of some cities.
The country, he concludes, "is being dragged into unmitigated disaster by the Government and its unholy nexus with small group of anti-national forces consisting of fundamentalists, fascists, fanatics and other fringe elements. People must wake up now. "