By Sarvat Hossein
Amulya Leona, a young Indian woman, was arrested recently during her participation in a demonstration against a controversial new Indian citizenship law, which analysts say discriminates against Muslims. Ms Leona was arrested and charged with sedition for chanting ‘long live Pakistan’.
It has not been publicised that in fact, she intended to follow up her chant with ‘Long Live India’ as well.
Immediately thereafter, Asaduddin Owaisi, a prominent local Muslim politician on the same platform, denied the allegation that neither he nor his party support Pakistan, an enemy of the Indian nation and he also condemned Ms Amulya’s comment.
After news of the incident was spotted in the Southern city of Bangalore, India, it went viral, and Ms Leona and her family became the target of massive outrage.
The tension between Pakistan and India is not a hidden story. The neighbouring countries, born out of the partition exercise, have fought three wars since Pakistan came into existence in 1947, following the granting of her independence from India.
Lately, tensions between India and Pakistan have been mounting due to the prolonged lock-down in Kashmir by Indian PM Narendra Modi’s government.
Indian Muslims, especially the politicians amongst them, have had to face discrimination and are often targeted by their political rivals as being ‘pro- Pakistan’.
Amulya Leona’s comment has been circulated widely and that has jeopardized her family’s safety and put them under an immediate and existential threat. Her father complained that a group of men, indeed a mob, barged their way into their house and forced him to chant ‘hail mother India’. The father has also been told that he has failed to bring up her daughter properly and threatened him against attempting to get bail for her.
The controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) caused an uprising all over India. This law shows an obviously biased generosity to speed up the process of obtaining Indian citizenship for members of six religious minorities, all except for and excluding Muslims. These groups include Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, those of the Jain following and Christians.
The rationale behind this is that the Muslim Indians should and do ‘belong to Muslim-majority Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh. Additionally, those in the chosen minorities must live in India for only six instead of 11 years before becoming eligible to apply for citizenship.
Analysts have heavily criticized what they consider to be a flawed rule and argued that it will alienate India’s Muslim minority. But the Indian government’s counter-claim is that this will provide a refuge for people ‘fleeing from religious oppression’.
India claims to be and is widely acknowledged to be the largest democracy in the world but given Modi’s policies, it appears to be drifting away from accepted democratic norms. UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet recently expressed concerns over ‘increasing harassment and targeting of minorities – and in particular, of Muslims’. Pak Destiny