“Preparation for a genocide is definitely under way in India”, said Dr. Gregory Stanton, founder of Genocide Watch, at a briefing titled Ground Reportd on Kashmir and NRC in Washington D.C. on December 12th. He further elaborated that there are 10 stages of Genocide and the persecution of Muslims in Assam and Kashmir is “the stage just before genocide”. “The next stage is extermination — that’s what we call a genocide”, he added.
These statements come at the heels of the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (now Act, CAA) at the Lok Sabha on December 10th. The CAA is an extremely divisive act that discriminates specifically against the Muslim population in India. It states that illegal immigrants from all religious backgrounds, except Muslims will be allowed citizenship of India. It has been said that the law aims to facilitate citizenship of persecuted populations arriving from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, but very clearly excludes Muslims.
In addition, Indian Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah has announced that the government is planning to bring the National Registry of Citizenship (NRC) all over India. The NRC requires that citizens prove their ancestral background in India before the decided cut-off year through documentation. If they fail to do so, their citizenship will be revoked and they will be declared illegal immigrants. The NRC has already been operating Assam where thousands of Muslim citizens are being persecuted.
This combination of the CAA and the NRC would mean that Muslim citizens who are unable to prove their ancestral background will be declared illegal immigrants under the NRC but cannot get citizenship under the CAA.
These legislative changes are a clear sign of prejudice against Muslims, it is a sure sign of an impending genocide. The news of these actions was received with widespread outrage in India with protests breaking out all over the country. These protestors were not just from the Muslim population but from all religious backgrounds. India calls itself a secular state; home to people of all castes, races and religions. But at its root, India’s rigid caste system has always placed its minorities at a disadvantage.
While within Indian borders, the news was received with indignation, most of the International community has failed to express the kind of concern actions like this warrant. The Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed concerns over the CAA’s “fundamentally discriminatory nature” and others have expressed apprehension at the implications of these developments. However, there is yet to be definitive action or conversation on the matter on the international stage.