Debate over Rohingya Muslims has taken a completely communal colour with Congress and other opposition parties accusing BJP-led NDA government of being anti-Muslim. Some have even gone two steps ahead and are saying that the affidavit filed by the Union Home Ministry in the Supreme Court (SC) is aimed at sending a clear signal to Indian Muslims that they are second class citizens and should not expect anything more from present dispensation than what they have already got.
One is constrained to ask, Congress which ruled the country since independence failed to bring carnage in the social status of the Muslims. Apart from the elite Muslims and those who were close to the Gandhi family, none achieved anything significant. Their lives did not change much. They started their lives from the slums and are still living in the slums. Yet if the Congress purely for political reasons is pointing fingers at BJP, it should look inwards and answer what it did for uplifting socio-economic status of Muslims of the country.
And more importantly, why is Congress silent over issue of rights of the Hindus in Pakistan, whose loyalty towards nation is questioned almost in daily basis. They are living a miserable and pathetic life. A Hindu blogger has written a letter to the Pakistani establishment asking them where his community should go in the wake of their loyalty towards the nation being questioned and their rights being usurped. A Pakistani Hindu soldier who died on the line of duty was not called a martyr for the reasons best known to the Pakistani establishment.
The Hindu blogger has questioned why this discrimination with Pakistani Hindus. He has said that Hindu and Christian girls are kidnapped and converted. Especially, in Sindh, then blogger says that he has seen people using religion to protect their crimes and the state is unable to do anything despite knowing what is wrong. Those who are raising storm over even trivial issues should answer whether minorities in India are far better or not.
Indian writers returned their awards and it made big news since that was for protecting minority rights but in Pakistan, no one returns awards in support of Hindus who daughters are kidnapped, raped and converted besides Christians whose houses are set on fire. A notice board says “religious ceremonies are not allowed” is what Pakistan is doing to its minorities. For those who are worried about Rohingya Muslims, they must note that Hindus in Pakistan are not allowed to perform religious ceremonies. Warnings are pasted on notice boards in community buildings in Karachi.
And for the human rights defenders and those pleading the cause of Rohingya Muslims, why shouldn’t these unfortunate refugees be turned over to Pakistan and the persecuted Hindus be asked to come over to India? Think about the children from the Hindu community, how would they be growing-up in such areas? When they read hateful and prohibitive messages about them, how do they feel when they are forced to live in fear because they practise a different faith?
For being co-religionists, Pakistani should welcome Rohingya Muslims while we embrace persecuted Hindus from Pakistan. Hindus have been complaining for years, but their complaints have no value in the eyes of local authorities in Pakistan and in India, it is the other way around. From the Parliament to the Supreme Court of India, institutions are strong enough to take care of the minority rights and ensure that injustice does not go un-penalised. If even a small portion of what is happening to minorities in Pakistan takes place in India, the entire country would rise against this.
And for Rohingya defenders, at the time of establishment of Pakistan, the non-Muslim population of West Pakistan was about 24.6 per cent, while non-Muslims formed about 30 percent of East Bengal and Sylhet. When the assemblies for Pakistan were set up, 18 members of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan were non-Muslim, out of a total of 69, meaning about 26 percent.
Even in the West Punjab assembly after Partition, around 10 members were non-Muslims. Hence, when Pakistan was established not only were non-Muslims in substantial numbers, they were also reasonably well represented in the assemblies too. However, very soon conditions changed and the non-Muslim percentage decreased to less than five per cent in West Pakistan. And if conditions do not change, even this percentage will disappear.
This is what is happening to minorities in Pakistan and yet neither Congress nor any other national party is ready to plead their cause but they are interested in pleading cause of Rohingya Muslims. This shows how the political parties India especially those in the opposition are yet to come to grips with the new India which is asking questions and seeking justice. These parties should immediately shift gears and stop playing politics over security related issues.