Selective outrage should be condemned by all, but when it comes from the European Parliament, it amounts to hidden bigotry.
A parliament comprising diverse nationalities and groups representing different ideologies should be called out if it adopts a one-sided resolution on Manipur.
Selective outrage is when the acts committed by one group are called out more harshly than similar actions by another. While agenda-driven media and politicians tend to indulge in selective outrage, there is no excuse for a parliament that sets so much store by human rights to do so.
A few days ago, the European Parliament adopted a which contains the following statements on the Manipur violence. The exact wordings of the statement and reports on the resolution are followed by my comments.
“Whereas, minorities, civil society, human rights defenders and journalists regularly face harassment; whereas women in particular face severe challenges and violations of their rights often related to tribal and religious backgrounds, including sexual violence and harassment."
Comment: When no evidence is cited indicating that largely “minorities” (among other named groups like journalists and human rights activists) face harassment, and when no supporting proof is given that women from “tribal and religious backgrounds” face more sexual violence and harassment than the rest, this is nothing but selective outrage.
“...in the latest round of violence human rights groups have accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in Manipur and nationally of implementing divisive ethno-nationalistic policies which oppress in particular religious minorities…”
Comment: This is questionable. If any group in the North East is ethno-nationalist, it is the Nagas, Mizos and some Christian tribes who are decidedly anti-Hindu in their rhetoric. You can read about how a Baptist-majority Nagaland reported the first instance of mob-lynching of a Muslim in Dimapur in 2015, long before this phenomenon was ascribed to Hindu nationalist elements. Or and about what happens in Mizoram. There is no need to mention what happened to Hindus in Kashmir Valley. An entire people’s ethnic cleansing, mass murder and rape went largely unnoticed by the world.
The EU motion, which was apparently supported by both Left and Right-wing politicians, was reported by as specifically mentioning the Christian minorities in Manipur as being targeted. The online publication quoted the resolution as saying that India should…
“...take all necessary measures and make the utmost effort to promptly halt the ongoing ethnic and religious violence, to protect all religious minorities, such as Manipur’s Christian community, and to pre-empt any further escalation”.
Comment: The sectarian violence, which erupted after the , was at least partly the result of the largely Christian Kukis opposing this. Whether the Manipur High Court was right or wrong to make such a recommendation, , but there is little doubt that the violence was related to the prospect of a Hindu group being designated as a Scheduled Tribe. The violence has thus effectively killed any possibility of such a benefit being conferred on Hindu Meiteis in the foreseeable future. The point is, proximate cause and violent fallout cannot be used to label one community alone as the victim. The Meiteis were also victims here. The fact that the EU Parliament resolution was supported both by Left and Right suggests that when it comes to Hindu issues or rights, the world will not be supportive.
The EU motion also noted…
“...the use of the unlawful Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), and internet shutdowns. Denounces in the strongest terms nationalistic rhetoric deployed by leading members of the BJP party. Calls on the central government to repeal the AFSPA…”.
Comment: This is rich. So, a law (AFSPA) passed by Parliament, and which no Indian court has struck down, is “unlawful”. How would it work if India’s parliament were to declare some of the laws of the EU as “unlawful?” And this came just when France was burning due to ethnic violence, and other European countries were also rocked by such protests. In Sweden, violent immigrant groups attacked the police in April last year, . Mass shootings of innocent citizens has now been a regular feature in the US, but the EU has not noted it strongly enough so far.
Worse, if the BJP should be called out for being nationalistic, why not call out the rising tide of nationalisms in every European country due to immigration fears?
What India should worry about is the Right-Left nature of the forces ranged against it in creating an anti-Hindu narrative. The EU resolution strengthens the case for India to formally declare that it will specifically protect Hindu rights, since no one else will. The case for a non-theocratic Hindu Rashtra, but which also protects its minorities’ rights, has never been stronger. In “secular” India, only the rights of the so-called majority get passed over.
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