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India’s brutal Prime Minister Narendra Modi, personally responsible for the deaths of thousands of Muslims, recently visited United States President Joe Biden at the White House. This was a ‘state visit’, the most prestigious hospitality that the U.S. can offer to a foreign dignitary. The reason for the visit was to strengthen the ties between the two nations; as the U.S. increases tensions with China, it is looking for another major player to help reset the balance of power in the U.S.’s favor.
It is interesting to look at the history of the man that Biden invited to the White House for a state visit. Modi has been Prime Minister of India since 2014, but his blatant racism predates that date by many years. Writing in Time on February 28, 2020, journalist Rana Ayyub stated the following: “In February 2002, as Gujarat burned in communal flames for days and a thousand Muslims were killed, leaders of his (Modi’s) Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, gave speeches provoking Hindus to teach Muslims a lesson. Modi himself gave the most incendiary speech mocking riot victims, calling relief camps set up for Muslims, child producing factories.”
In India, under Modi, press freedom and free speech are curtailed, with the government arresting journalists, and generally stifling any voices of dissent. Commenting on the situation, as reported by The New York Times on February 8, 2021, Gyan Prakash, a professor of history at Princeton University, “… cited what he called a creeping dismantling of the pillars of democracy under Mr. Modi, from the coercion and control of the mainstream media to influencing of the courts.”
The blatant anti-Muslim racism that Modi encourages can be seen no more clearly than in Kashmir. In August of 2019, Modi altered the Indian constitution and abrogated Article 370, which gave limited autonomy to Kashmir. Prior to this time, Kashmiris has suffered greatly for decades under Indian violence; this suffering accelerated quickly. Within two weeks of the abrogation, at least 4,000 Kashmiris had been arrested and held under the so-called Public Safety Act (PSA). This laws enables Indian authorities to jail anyone, without charge or trial, for two years. And the 4,000 arrested at that time does not include people whose detentions had not yet been recorded.
A report from AA from November 20, 2020, states the following:
“’Pakistan strongly condemns the extra-judicial killing of four more innocent Kashmiris in a fake encounter outside the city of Jammu by the Indian occupation forces in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK),’ the Foreign Ministry said.
“Indian forces said that they killed militants in a shootout on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.
“Over the past year, more than 300 Kashmiris, including women and children, were killed by Indian forces, the ministry said, calling for an independent inquiry into the ‘extrajudicial killings’.
“Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised his security forces for their ‘bravery and professionalism.’”
One learns all one needs to know about Modi when he praises the killings of innocent men, women and children.
Modi, while in Washington being fawned over by Biden, uncharacteristically answered a few questions from the press. He was asked about his repression of any dissent, and the Indian government’s treatment of religious minorities, specifically Muslims. He said this: “There’s absolutely no space for discrimination. When you talk of democracy, if there are no human values and there is no humanity, there are no human rights, then it’s not a democracy.”
Yet not everyone agrees with Modi’s description of ‘democracy’ in India. On February 5, 2021, Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, the founder and president of Genocide Watch, a global organization that flags the intentional destruction of ethnic, racial and religious groups, said this: “The systemic state-sponsored discrimination against Kashmiri Muslims bears all the hallmarks of a genocide.
“We believe that the Indian government’s actions in Kashmir have been an extreme case of persecution and could very well lead to genocide.”
A Human Rights Watch report of April 9, 2020, says the following:
“Muslims in India have been increasingly at risk since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was first elected in 2014. Faizan (author’s note: a 23-year-old Muslim who was severely beaten with four other men in February by Indian policemen and forced to sing the Indian national anthem, and who died two days later from his injuries) died in a carnage amidst rising communal tensions in the country. On December 12, 2019, the Modi administration achieved passage of the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). Under the act, for the first time in India, religion is a basis for granting citizenship. The law specifically fast-tracks asylum claims of non-Muslim irregular immigrants from the neighboring Muslim-majority countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The amended citizenship law, coupled with the government’s push for a nationwide citizenship verification process through a National Population Register (NPR) and a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), aimed at identifying ‘illegal migrants,’ has led to fears that millions of Indian Muslims, including many families who have lived in the country for generations, could be stripped of their citizenship rights and disenfranchised.”
It must be noted that the newly-minted United Nations in 1948 passed a resolution stating that the future of Kashmir, and whether it would become a part of India or Pakistan, was to be determined by a plebiscite, and that that plebiscite should be held ‘as soon as possible’. Seventy-five years later, the people of Kashmir are still waiting for their voices to be heard.
This is the man that Biden invited to the White House; this is the leader who addressed the U.S. Congress on June 22, 2023, and received fifteen standing ovations.
U.S. government spokespeople are forever stating that human rights are a pillar of U.S. policy around the world. Why then is Modi feted with such respect in the White House and the halls of Congress? Why does the U.S. finance and give complete diplomatic cover to Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people? Please remember that at least three, internationally renowned human rights organizations (B’Tselem, located in Tel Aviv; Amnesty International, located in Geneva, Switzerland, and Human Rights Watch, located in New York City) have documented in great detail that Israel is an apartheid regime. Why sanction Venezuela, Iran, Cuba and many other countries? The U.S. issued brutal sanctions against Iraq before invading that country in 2003. It is difficult to forget the response of Secretary of State Madeline Albright when questioned about one of the results of those sanctions. Here is the exchange with journalist Lesley Stahl:
“’We have heard that half a million [Iraqi] children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima,’ asked Stahl, ‘And, you know, is the price worth it?’
“’I think that is a very hard choice,’ Albright answered, ‘but the price, we think, the price is worth it.’”
Over 500,000 innocent children died because of U.S. sanctions, and the U.S. Secretary of State found that perfectly acceptable.
In view of all this, Biden’s welcome of another brutal world leader is not surprising. China must not be allowed to take a major role on the world stage; already, that country’s influence is being felt in the Middle East, so Biden will sell the U.S. soul to the devil to try to regain center stage. That devil arrived in the U.S. last week, and was given all the honor the U.S. government can bestow.
The idea of the U.S. as a beacon of freedom and an advocate for human rights around the world has never been true, and that myth is believed less and less outside of U.S. borders. At some point, U.S. government officials will recognize that, if they haven’t already, but power and profits always trump human rights for the U.S. government. Modi’s visit to the U.S. is just the latest in a long line of evidence, proving that fact.
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Featured image: President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India walk along the Colonnade of the White House, Thursday, June 22, 2023, to the Oval Office following the State Arrival Ceremony on the South Lawn. (Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith)