Praises “dynamism” of militant Hindu nationalist politician’s regime
26th November, 2020
“His supporters have called for digging up Muslim women from their graves and raping them,” reported The Washington Post in 2017, but the French Ambassador to India, upon meeting Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister on 25 November 2020, reported it was an “excellent meeting” that left him “very impressed” with the dynamism of one of India’s most controversial politicians.
Less than a month ago, in the French National Assembly, MP Jacques Marilossian “drew the attention of the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs to the treatment of Christians and religious minorities in several states of India.” Focusing on “anti-conversion” laws — which essentially criminalize religious conversion without government permission and are in force in eight Indian states — Marilossian warned that UP is one of the states which “make no secret of their desire to adopt this type of law.” Nevertheless, French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain gleefully met Adityanath.
When Adityanath was appointed Chief Minister in March 2018, Amnesty International took the unusual step of releasing a statement specifically directed against a particular politician, insisting that he “must publicly withdraw his previous inflammatory statements against Muslims and other religious minorities.” Aside from calls by his supporters for necrophilia with Muslim women, Adityanath himself, reported Amnesty, is known for “militant, misogynistic and anti-Muslim rhetoric.” His statements, for example, include the violent and communalist declaration: ““If [Muslims] take one Hindu girl, we’ll take 100 Muslim girls. If they kill one Hindu, we’ll kill 100 Muslims.”
“We had a fruitful discussion regarding further strengthening the ties between France and India and forging the partnership for leveraging huge potential of Uttar Pradesh,” said Adityanath after his meeting with Ambassador Lenain. The meeting comes in the midst of a massive French crackdown on French Muslims — in the name of “secularism” — which has gone so far that it is described by some as “state-sanctioned Islamophobia.” It also comes just one day after the UP government approved a law banning interfaith marriages unless couples first inform governmental authorities of their intent to marry — those in violation face up to 10 years imprisonment.
While France wages war on Islam in the name of “secularism,” however, Adityanath is as anti-secular as they come. “‘Muslims did no favor to India by staying here,” he said in February 2020, an expression of Islamophobia that may have won him favor with the current French government. Yet Adityanath also endorses the merger of religion and politics. He has “called for India to be a Hindu nation” and also stated his desire to install Hindu idols “in every mosque.” He has further declared that “this is the century of Hindutva, not just in India but in the entire world.” Hindutva, according to Amnesty International, “is the political ideology of an exclusively Hindu nation.”
His claim to infamy additionally includes pledging to continue reconversion of religious minorities to Hinduism — voluntary or otherwise — unless and until conversions to other religions stop. When formerly an MP, he called for an “aggressive campaign” of reconversion. Speaking at an event hosted by Vishwa Hindu Parishad — a group which has been labeled by the CIA as a “religious militant organization” and which is the religious wing of the Hindu nationalist paramilitary Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) — he insisted that “conversion spoil communal amity in the country.” Describing conversion as an “anti-national act” — in line with the Hindutva ideology that non-Hindus are foreign to India — he suggested that the “anti-conversion” laws in force in various states should be replicated on a national level. As French MP Marilossian noted, such laws “exclude conversions to Hinduism, which constitutes additional and explicit discrimination against Christians and Muslims.”
“Adityanath has been one of Uttar Pradesh’s most polarizing politicians, given to hateful rhetoric that incites discrimination and hostility against minority groups, particularly Muslims,” said Amnesty International India Executive Director Aakar Patel. “By demonizing Muslims, he has increased religious divisions and put ordinary people at risk of discrimination, hostility and violence. As the head of the Uttar Pradesh government, he must disown his poisonous statements, and ensure that his administration respects the rights of people of all faiths.”
Adityanath definitely has not done that.
While campaigning for India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party itself merely an extension of the RSS — in April 2019, he described Indian Muslims as a “green virus” which has “infected” the opposition. The comment earned him a temporary ban from campaigning by India’s Election Commission. Yet the ban did nothing to prevent his administration’s Islamophobic rhetoric from translating into violence.
In December 2019, after India’s passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act — which, warned the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, set a “legal criterion for citizenship based on religion” — mass protests against the act erupted around the country, with Muslims taking the lead. As India brutally suppressed the protestors, the crackdowns, reported The Los Angeles Times, were “harshest in the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, where at least 17 people have been killed and more than 5,000 detained.” Throughout the state, reported the paper, “Residents have described a military-style crackdown on Muslim areas, with police opening fire on civilians, beating children, barging into homes and vandalizing property.” As reported by The Guardian, a 73-year-old Muslim attorney was arrested, beaten in custody, and told by police: “I will fuck your mother. I am going to throw all your family members in jail where they will rot for life. I will destroy your family.”
Speaking about his supporters — perhaps the same ones who have called for raping dead Muslim women — at a rally in 2009, Adityanath declared, “When I ask them to rise and protect our Hindu culture, they obey. If I ask for blood, they will give me blood. I will not stop till I turn UP and India into a Hindu rashtra [nation].”
And yet, according to Ambassador Lenain, “France is keen to contribute to UP government’s ambitious plans in the areas of sustainable cities, defence industry, aerospace.” Profit before principle — or people — after all emerges as the French State’s raison d’être.