–‘Genocide Watch’ is declared when there are signs of early stages of the genocidal process
WASHINGTON DC: Genocide Watch – a US based organisation that exists to build an international movement to predict, prevent, stop, and punish genocide and other forms of mass murder – has issued two alerts; one for Indian-occupied Kashmir and the other for Assam state.
According to the website, a ‘Genocide Watch’ is declared when there are signs of early stages of the genocidal process.
“On August 5, the Indian President revoked the Special Autonomous Status of India Administered Jammu and Kashmir under Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution of India. India has over 600,000 troops in Kashmir. Movement of people and freedom of the press are restricted. India has cut off internet communications,” Genocide Watch stated in its alert.
Explaining the reasons behind issuing the alert, the organisation also recalled the Indian atrocities in Kashmir where occupation forces have already committed genocide and massacres, killing thousands of people with impunity.
The organisation has also given a list of risk factors for a genocide that are early warnings of massacres in occupied Kashmir:
- Prior genocidal massacres and continuing impunity for such killings;
- Continued armed conflict between India and Pakistan over border areas in Kashmir;
- An exclusionary ideology of “Hindutva” – India as the Hindu nation – by Modi’s ruling BJP;
- Authoritarian military rule without legal restraints imposed by civilian Indian officials;
- Rule by a minority military force (Hindus and Sikhs) over majority Muslim citizens;
- Cut-off of communications and outside access by internet, media, and trade;
- Widespread violations of basic human rights – torture, rape, 2-year detentions without charge, arbitrary arrests and deportations of Muslim political and human rights leaders.
Genocide Watch’s stages of the genocidal process are also far advanced:
- Classification: Hindu and Sikh Indian Army “us” vs. Kashmiri Muslim civilian “them;”
- Symbolization: Muslims have Muslim names (on ID cards), Kashmiri language, dress, mosques;
- Discrimination: Hindu pandits were economically dominant until 1990; BJP reasserted Hindu power;
- Dehumanization: Muslims are called “terrorists”, “separatists,” “criminals,” “insurgents;”
- Organization: 600,000 heavily armed Indian Army troops and police dominate Kashmir;
- Polarization: Modi and the BJP incite anti-Muslim hatred; social media spread falsehoods;
- Preparation: The Indian Army occupies Kashmir; BJP leaders speak of the “Final Solution” for Kashmir;
- Persecution: Kashmiri Muslims are locked down, subject to arrest, torture, rape, and murder;
Genocide Watch has urged the United Nations and its members to warn India not to commit genocide in Kashmir.
Genocide Watch has also issued an alert for Assam state in India, where millions of Bengali Muslims face losing citizenship status.
Over seven million people in Assam State, mostly Muslims of Bengali descent, may lose their Indian citizenship and risk imprisonment in special “foreigner detention centers”. A process is now underway to “verify” the citizenship of all 32 million inhabitants of Assam state, which requires each person to affirmatively prove that they are Indian and not an “illegal migrant”.
“At the urging of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist central government, Assam is updating its master list of ‘citizens’ […] Anyone not on the final ‘citizen’ list will be presumptively declared a ‘foreigner’, subject to statelessness and indefinite detention.
“Assam’s Muslims are especially likely to be excluded from the ‘citizen’ list as part of a decades-long pattern of discrimination. The word ‘foreigners’ is a common term of dehumanization used to exclude targeted groups from citizenship and the exercise of their fundamental civil and human rights,” said Genocide Watch.
“The Home Minister of India has repeatedly referred to the Bengali Muslims as ‘termites’. Anti-Muslim propaganda has polarised the Assam population.
“Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has requested additional Indian government troops and police to arrest ‘foreigners’. The Assam state is constructing ten new ‘foreigner’ detention centers to add to the six prisons already in existence,” added Genocide Watch, concluding: “These are the classification, symbolisation, discrimination, dehumanisation, organisation, and polarisation stages of the genocidal process.”
Roundups of “foreigners” are likely to ignite genocidal massacres and a massive refugee crisis, the organisation highlighted.
“If India imprisons Bengali Muslims in Assam, it will be violating its obligations under the UN Refugee Conventions. If it expels them from India, it will be perpetrating ‘forced displacement’, a crime against humanity. If genocidal massacres occur, India will violate its obligations to prevent genocide under the Genocide Convention,” added the watchdog.
Genocide Watch called upon the UN secretary-general, the UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and key UN member states to warn India “not to strip citizenship from, imprison, and forcibly displace millions of Bengali Muslims, many of whom have lived their entire lives in Assam state”.