Former naval chief and senior military commander Arun Prakash has warned that India could descend into civil war as political leadership of the country had failed to condemn the recent genocide calls against Muslims by Hindu hardliners.
Leaders of several far-right Hindu groups had called for genocide of minorities in India, particularly country’s 200-million-strong Muslim community at a three-day ‘hate speech conclave’ organised by the controversial Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand in December, 2021.
In an interview with The Wire, former admiral Arun Prakash said the silence of the country’s political leadership over calls for Muslim genocide and ethnic cleansing is “ominous … (and) there should be outright condemnation and firm action”.
He added that if this continues “there’s bound to be a counter” and “the next step could be conflict”. Asked if this meant India could face a civil war, the former admiral replied: “Yes, indeed”.
Prakash along with three other former Naval chiefs and a former Indian Air Force chief wrote an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 31 about the calls for genocide and ethnic cleansing.
When asked if he received any response from either, he replied, “None so far (and) it’s futile to expect one”.
The ex-admiral also raised serious questions about the fact that not a single former Indian army chief was willing to sign the letter.
The former army chiefs did not sign the letter either “because they believe the call for genocide and ethnic cleansing is something they agree with or because they are apprehensive of the consequences of signing such a letter”.
While discussing the impact of such calls of genocide could have on the three services, particularly the army, all of which have Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Sikh soldiers – in fact, soldiers from all the faiths of the country, he said: “Think what goes on in a soldiers mind? Such talk will send a message of deep disquiet to the armed forces.”