‘Muslims will fight back’: Indian actor responds to call for genocide

A popular Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah has warned that civil war may break out in India if calls for Muslim genocide and ethnic cleansing continued.

“If it comes to the crunch, we will fight back… If it comes to that, we will. We are defending our homes, our family, our children,” the actor said in an interview with journalist Karan Thapar for The Wire.

Speaking about members of the Dharam Sansad, who recently in Haridwar called for genocide and ethnic cleansing, he said, “I wonder if they know what they are talking about? 200 million are going to fight back. We belong here. We were born here and we will live here.”

He said it could lead to a “civil war,” the Wire reported.

Between December 17 and 19, a large number of major religious leaders, right-wing activists, hardline fundamentalist militants and Hindutva organisations came together at Haridwar for an event called the ‘Dharma Sansad’ or ‘Religious Parliament’. Over the course of three days, this event witnessed an extraordinary outpouring of hate speech, mobilisations to violence and anti-Muslim sentiment.

On “what does it feel like to be a Muslim in Narendra Modi’s India?,” Shah replied, “Muslims are being marginalised and made redundant.” He said the Muslims were in the process of being reduced to second class citizens and that was happening in every field.

He told the interviewer that “a concerted attempt is being made to make Muslims insecure.”

He said, “It’s an attempt to make us scared.” However, he added, “We should not be scared.”

“An attempt is being made to spread a phobia among Muslims,” but “we must not admit this is frightening us.” To a question, he said he did not feel insecure because that was his home but he was concerned about the future of his children.

Talking about Indian Prime Minister Modi’s total silence after the bloodcurdling calls for genocide and ethnic cleansing, Naseeruddin Shah said “he doesn’t care” adding “at least you cannot accuse him of being a hypocrite.”

Naseeruddin Shah said not only is there no chastisement of the people who threatened genocide “but the Prime Minister follows them on Twitter.”

On the other hand, even mild criticism of Hindu extremists by Muslims can lead to arrests on charges of disrupting communal harmony. Several journalists exposing Hindu extremism have been jailed without charge.

Swami Prabodhanand Giri, president of the Hindu Raksha Sena, a right-wing organisation based out of Uttarakhand told the participants of the Dharam Sansad, “This is why, like in Myanmar, the police here, the politicians here, the army and every Hindu must pick up weapons and we will have to conduct this cleanliness drive (safai abhiyan). There is no solution apart from this.”

At the Dharam Sansad, Sadhvi Annapurna aka Pooja Shakun Pandey, a mahamandleshwar of the Niranjani Akhara and general secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha also gave a call to arms and incitement to genocide.

“Nothing is possible without weapons. If you want to eliminate their population then kill them. Be ready to kill and be ready to go to jail. Even if 100 of us are ready to kill 20 lakhs of them (Muslims), then we will be victorious, and go to jail. ”

The intolerant regime of India headed by Narendra Modi, who himself was banned from several countries before becoming the Indian prime minister, is not merely against Muslims, but also against all non-Hindu communities including Christians, Sikhs and Dalits.

The country saw a wave of fresh violence against Christians as the community was preparing to celebrate Christmas but the RSS goons forced them to hold secret gatherings.

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