We have a new Hitler in town.
I’m pretty sure when you clicked on the link, although you had some idea about the Muslim detention centers being built in India, you had no idea China was doing the same, right? In that case, let me burst the bubble and tell you that China has been systematically detaining Muslims for well over a decade now. Don’t believe me? Watch Vox’s coverage on the same below.
Now that you know what we are talking about let me give you some shocking details about the matter. Uighurs are a Muslim minority who have been living in the North-Western Chinese province of Xinjiang since before the 1950s. As the Uighurs are quite different culturally and religiously from the ethnic Chinese majority of Han Chinese, the Chinese government encouraged Han Chinese to move to Xinjiang to ethnically cleanse the Uighurs, similar to what has been done in Tibet.
After Uighurs protested against these unfair practices of the Han Chinese in 2009, the government changed tactics. The Uighurs started mysteriously disappearing without any clues, and all investigation activities were strongly suppressed. After continuous efforts by the World Media and independent investigative journalists, it was found out that the Uighurs were being secretly moved to detainment camps in the heart of Xinjiang province. Under Chinese government’s express directives, as many as one million Chinese Muslims have since been illegally and immorally detained in these ultra-secret internment camps.
When asked about the existence of these interment camps, the Foreign Ministry of China adamantly maintained that there are no such camps, and the media should not fan rumors. However, after several news agencies and internet sleuths threw a massive amount of evidence, including photos of the camps itself at them, the government finally acquiesced but not without an agenda that could suit their needs. Labeling the Uighur Muslims as extremist and terrorist threats, they came up with a defense that the drastic steps were being taken as a means of reform. Chinese government and its spokespersons now say that the crackdown on Uighur Muslims and their detainment in so-called ‘De-Extremification Re-education Centers’ is being done to make this extremist population accept and adhere to the ideals of the great Chinese nation. Sound familiar?
The research from World media outlets like Vox and BBC (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmId2ZP3h0c&t=2s) and the first-hand encounters of the few surviving detainees, however, paints an entirely different picture. According to the detainees, the inhabitants of the camps are forcefully taught about the faith and the work-style of China. They are tortured, exploited, and even electrocuted until they renounce their own faith and accept the Chinese regime. They are made to recite Chinese communist propaganda and sing praise songs for President Xi Jinping.
Hiding knowledge of the outside world from its own citizens and vice versa is not a new thing for the autocratic Chinese government. Banning external websites and any platform that criticizes the government is a daily life practice for Xi Jinping. Recent comments from the Chinese government include one that says that these detention centers provide free vocational training to the Muslims so that they can have a better livelihood.
Yup, just like Hitler was giving vocational training to the Jews.
Jokes aside (not really), this comes as no surprise since the rest of the Chinse population lives under constant censorship and are okay with it. The prevalent opinion among the Chinese citizens regarding this issue, according to Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act, is that as long as they follow the rules, they will have freedom. I agree, but whose rules? What if the government makes up unrealistic regulations that exist only to serve their own agenda?
If you have been following the news and not living under a rock, something similar is underway in India currently. Ever since the CAB (Citizenship Amendment Bill) has been passed in both houses of the Indian parliament, there has been continuous unrest in the entire country. As I write this article, many parts of the country, including parts of West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, remain devoid of Internet and communication facilities to suppress revolts against the act. However, the gross resentment and denial have not only been for CAB or CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) alone. In combination with NRC (National Registry of Citizens), CAA becomes a tool that can be utilized to oust Muslim minorities irrevocably from the country. NRC has already been implemented in the state of Assam, and according to resources, thousands of Muslims who could not produce proper residency documents have been detained by the authorities. If NRC is implemented in the entire country, what will happen to all the Muslims who are detained as a result is a subject of great debate, a debate that is being continually suppressed by the Indian government.
Let me simplify it. CAA aids non-Muslim minorities who have fled surrounding countries of India for fear of persecution, to get permanent Indian citizenship and asylum. Although the basic idea behind the bill is commendable, the ‘non-Muslim’ part casts a shadow of a doubt, which is solidified by the existence of NRC. Under NRC, a person who fails to prove his residency in India before a certain period with valid documents -not including Aadhar Card or PAN Card- he or she can be detained by the government.
So, the problem lies in the joint implementation of NRC and CAA and not CAA alone. On top of that, the dual stance of the government is not helping to clear any doubts. Although Home Minister Amit Shah, while launching CAA, promised to implement NRC all over India as soon as possible, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his recent address to the nation, denied the existence of Muslim detainment camps in India and any further plans to implement NRC. However, it has since been established by many news sources that such detainment camps have not only been already constructed, but many others are being built as we speak. If it is true, our country and the secular ideals on which it sits are in deep trouble. If the internment camps indeed exist, we may end up at best like China and at worst like Syria. None of these comparisons sits well with me, to be honest.
I am not saying that the situation is as deep-rooted as China. But I will say that the BJP government’s predilection for the Hindu vote and the Hindu Rashtra propaganda may very well give birth to a culture of segregating the minorities and creating tension between the many inhabitants of our great nation. India has always been diverse with many cultures, religions, and traditions co-existing and functioning successfully. Our 5000 years long history has boasted rulers from every walk of life, and still, our civilization has not only have persevered but flourished. The Egyptians perished in front of the Greeks, the Greeks were replaced by the Romans, but the Ancient Vedic culture has survived throughout eras. I hope the values and principles of our great civilization are not decimated for a handful of votes and the greed of some unrelenting politicians.