‘200m are going to fight back’: Naseeruddin Shah warns of civil war in India: Naseeruddin Shah, one of the most highly regarded Bollywood actors, has warned of a civil war in Modi-led India as calls for genocide against Muslims and ethnic cleansing in India continue to create headlines.
“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 prominent Indian journalist Karan Thapar for The Wire, an Indian news website.
Speaking about members of the Dharam Sansad, who a few days ago in Haridwar called for genocide and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in India, 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.”
According to The Wire, between December 17 and 19, a large collection of major religious leaders, right-wing activists, hardline fundamentalist militants, and Hindutva organizations 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, mobilizations to violence, and anti-Muslim sentiment.
The Bollywood actor was asked, “what does it feel like to be a Muslim in Narendra Modi’s India?”. To this, he said, “Muslims are being marginalized and made redundant.”
He said 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, Shah said he did not feel insecure because that was his home but he was concerned about the future of his children.
Talking about Prime Minister Modi’s total silence after the bloodcurdling calls for genocide and ethnic cleansing, Naseeruddin Shah said “he doesn’t care” adding that “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”.
He said: “Our leader keeps silent but claims to care for everybody”. “He’ll parade his own religious beliefs yet issue dog-whistles against Muslims.”
According to The Wire, Naseeruddin Shah’s “powerful interview” has to be heard and seen.
“It cannot be written about and described. Very few – if any – Bollywood stars of Naseeruddin Shah’s stature have spoken out the way he has. That alone makes it a rare and special interview.”
Swami Prabodhanand Giri, president of the Hindu Raksha Sena, a right-wing organization based out of Uttarakhand told the participants of the Dharam Sansad:
“This is our state now. You have seen this at the Delhi border, they killed Hindus and hung them. There is no more time, the case now is that either you prepare to die now, or get ready to kill, there’s no other way. 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 (safari 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.
Without any ambiguity, she gave a direct call for the mass murder of Muslims.
“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 fascist Modi regime’s targeted campaign is not merely against Muslims rather it is aimed at ethnic cleansing of 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 RSS goons forced them to hold secret gatherings.
Christmas celebrations were disrupted, Jesus statues were smashed and effigies of Santa Claus were burned in a spate of attacks on Christians during Christmas.
Amid growing intolerance and violence against India’s Christian minority, who make up about 2% of India’s population, several Christmas events were targeted by Hindu right-wing groups, accusing them of using festivities to force Hindus to convert.
In Agra in Uttar Pradesh, members of right-wing Hindu groups burned effigies of Santa Claus outside missionary-led schools.
In the state of Haryana, on Christmas Eve, an evening celebration at a school in Pataudi was disrupted by members of a right-wing Hindu vigilante group.
In the same state, the day after Christmas, a Jesus statue was torn down and the Holy Redeemer Church in Ambala was vandalized in the early hours.
Since the BJP came to power in 2014, attacks on Christians have been on the rise. According to a report by the organization Persecution Relief, crimes against Christians increased by 60% from 2016 to 2019.
According to a report released in October, there were more than 300 documented attacks on Christians across India in the first nine months of 2021.
A recently published detailed news report in The New York Times revealed that anti-Christian vigilantes are sweeping through villages, storming churches, burning Christian literature, attacking schools, and assaulting worshipers.
In many cases, the police and members of India’s governing party are helping them, government documents and dozens of interviews revealed. In church after church, the very act of worship has become dangerous despite constitutional protections for freedom of religion.
Fearing death, Christians began to identify themselves as Hindus.
Hindu extremist lawyers have repeatedly lodged complaints to shut down a Christian-run charity, with Hindu extremist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi massacring Muslims also silent on the genocide of Christians.