If we thought the last five years were bad, we haven’t seen anything yet.
The possibility of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) retaining power following the Lok Sabha election is legitimately frightening for a large section of India’s population as the last five years have seen, among other things, a rise in violence against Muslims and Dalits, crackdown on dissent and civil liberties, high unemployment, poor economic growth and anti-farmer and anti-worker policies.
To add to these fears, BJP leaders have been dropping hints about the saffron party’s plans on what the next years may look like for the Indian democracy. Based on it, here is a list of 5 things that are likely to happen if the party comes back to power.
1. No more elections, obviously.
Don’t say BJP MP from Unnao Sakshi Maharaj didn’t warn us. While addressing a gathering of party workers last month, he proudly proclaimed that 2019 election would be the last election of the Indian democracy if Prime Minister Modi wins.
According to the saffron-clad so-called monk, there is an awakening in the country and that “Hindu jag gaya hai (Hindus have awaken)”. He added, “After this (2019) election, there will not be an election in 2024.”
Before you disregard his words as ramblings of a ‘motormouth’, remember that party president Amit Shah had also said that the BJP would be in power for the next 50 years. “We have not come to power for 5-10 years, but at least 50 years. We should move forward with a conviction that in 40-50 years we have to bring major changes in the country through the medium of power,” he had said.
2. Goodbye to the Constitution of India (as you know it), you had a good run
Pankaja Munde, a BJP minister in Maharashtra and the party’s Lok Sabha candidate from Beed, said while addressing a poll rally this week, “This is not a Zilla Parishad, but a Lok Sabha election. Mahamanav Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar wrote the Constitution. We have to change the Constitution, bring new Bills and make some changes.”
If anyone has doubts about what kind of changes she might be referring to, remember that the BJP’s ideological mothership, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, wants India to be a ‘Hindu rashtra’. This blatant disregard for constitutional values finds a friend in BJP’s loud proclamations of Hindu nationalism.
Union Minister for Skill Development Ananth Kumar Hegde has also hinted at dropping the word ‘secular’ from the constitution, “Some people say the Constitution says secular and you must accept it. We will respect the Constitution, but the Constitution has changed several times and it will change in the future too. We are here to change the Constitution and we’ll change it.”
3. Demonetisation Redux
PM Modi demonetised Rs 500 and 1000 notes on November 8, 2016, and the Indian public forced to stand for long hours outside banks and ATMs was the least terrible consequence of it. Reports have suggested that the policy destroyed India’s informal economy, putmillions out of a job and resulted in the death of around 100 people.
However, the government refuses to acknowledge that the policy has been a failure. There have been allegations that after demonetisation, BJP chief Amit Shah oversaw a large money laundering racket involving top government officials, where black money was exchanged for a commission.
What exactly was the purpose of demonetisation? No one really knows. Earlier this month, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu reiterated that the measure was taken to eradicate black money. “This (demonetisation) was one measure aimed at taking care of black money. I am not going to tell you whether we need one more (round of it),” he said.
If the BJP does implement the policy again, it will come as a shock but not as a surprise.
4. Say hello to legalised child marriage
The ruling party has time and again expressed their desire to restore the worst practices of the Indian society.
BJP leader Gopal Parmar, who was an MLA in Madhya Pradesh before the 2018 assembly election, had referred to the law against child marriage as the ‘18-year disease‘ that causes ‘love jihad’, because the agency and health of young girls can be sacrificed for bigotry.
“Earlier, the elders of the family used to fix marriages in the childhood, and those relations used to last longer,” the erstwhile BJP MLA had said, adding that “Since the government started this ‘18-year disease’, many girls have started eloping as the fever of love jihad has gripped them.”
While he may no longer be a lawmaker, there is another BJP MLA who was elected to office after she promised that she will not let the police take action against child marriages.
While campaigning in Rajasthan’s Pali, now BJP MLA Shobha Chauhan had said, “In your area, when younger girls are getting married, the police arrives. It is very fortunate for all of you that both political and organisational power is with us. If it is at my level, I will take care of it and if it is at the level above mine, then I will get it done from those above me. Hereon, if there is a such an event (child marriage), the police won’t come to your house. I promise this to you.”
Chauhan may have won from the Pali seat but girls and women lost.
5. Dividing citizens into separate classes
One of the amazing thing about the Indian constitution is that it promises us the right to equality irrespective of gender, language, caste and religion. The state is not allowed to discriminate among the citizens based on any such differences. However, it appears that the BJP is not really a fan of this feature.
Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, addressing a rally in Pilibhit, told people —Muslims— that she is going to win this election, with or without their votes. She carefully added that in the event that they do not vote for her, she will not give them jobs (lol because everyone else got so many jobs under the Modi govt) and will not work for her.
In another rally, she further told people, in detail, how villages will be categorisedaccording to the share of people that voted for the BJP. ‘A’ grade for villages from where 80% of the votes are cast for the BJP; B category villages where 60% of the vote share goes to the BJP; C category for villages where 50% votes go to the BJP; and D category for the rest.
Moreover, she said that development work in these villages will be prioritised in A villages, followed by B,C and D respectively.
6. Ethnic cleansing (or genocide)
This is not a bogeyman. The BJP government at the centre brought in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that is prima facie discriminatory against Muslims and other religions. It seeks to provide citizenship to “illegal migrants” from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who are of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian extraction only. The bill, thankfully, did not pass in the Rajya Sabha. Right now, the definition of “illegal migrants” in the Citizenship Act, 1955 does not discriminate against Muslims.
The implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, as it has been pointed out, inherently discriminates against linguistic, religious and ethnic minorities. Around 40 lakh people were left out of the first NRC draft, many of whom have lived in Assam for generations but don’t have official documents dating back to 1971 to prove their citizenship.
Amit Shah has referred to these people —mostly ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities — as ‘infiltrators’ and ‘termites’, following in the footsteps of one Adolf Hitler who referred to Jewish people as ‘cockroaches’ before he went ahead and killed at least 6 million jews and launched a war that killed many more people.
Recently, Amit Shah said that after coming back to power, they will implement NRC in the entire country. to remove “every single infiltrator” except Buddhas, Hindus and Sikhs.
We will ensure implementation of NRC in the entire country. We will remove every single infiltrator from the country, except Buddha, Hindus and Sikhs: Shri @AmitShah #NaMoForNewIndia19.2K1:18 PM – Apr 11, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy13.4K people are talking about this
The BJP manifesto also promises a nation-wide NRC. Shah’s words carefully excluded Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities. What Shah is saying, is that the BJP government will expressly discriminate on the basis of religion. If you think that the constitution will stop this from happening because it espouses secularism, refer again to point number 2. If you think that you will simply vote out the regime in case it implements these draconian laws, refer to point number 1.
Hate crimes against minorities, especially Muslims and Christians have gone up under this regime. Those persecuting religious minorities are even rewarded by the state. You can read this Human Rights Watch report that points out how the state protects these criminals, if you doubt this claim.
The BJP has made its intention very clear and it would not be the first regime in the history of the world to threaten minorities with taking away their rights, expelling them from the country and unleashing violence against them. Rohingyas in Myanmar, Jews in Germany and in other parts of Europe, Muslims and Croats in Bosnia, Serbs in Croatia, Tutsis in Rwanda have all been subjected to the worst that humanity has to offer. You don’t even have to look at the world map, just refer to the several riots against Muslims and Christians in India itself.
If you’re still unable to grasp the horrors that probably await India’s religious minorities, put yourself in their shoes for a minute. If your entire life, your future and that of your family depended on producing documents that were issued 50-60 years ago, would you not be scared?