Opinion

India’s bid for a seat on the U.N. Security Council

On 26 February 2003, Rep. Frank Pallone introduced legislation (H.R. 108) expressing support for India’s bid for permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council. Members of this august body assume responsibility for promoting international peace and security, which is why I think procreation is a bad idea.
According to Human Rights Watch, an altercation on 27 February 2002 between a trainload of Hindu nationalists and Muslim vendors in the Indian state of Gujarat led to the massacre of 58 nationalists. State authorities responded by facilitating the slaughter of Muslim civilians throughout Gujarat. Survivors of the carnage describe how police stood by as mobs torched homes, gang-raped girls, and burned men alive. One widower describes the manner in which he lost his pregnant wife: “Her womb was cut open with a sharp weapon and the unborn baby was taken out and both mother and the child were burned dead.”
According to Human Rights Watch, Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, explained away the murders of nearly a thousand Muslim civilians by reasoning that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Ominously, Modi handily defeated his opponents in a recent election by exploiting the sentiments of his fiercely nationalistic constituents, many of whom remain free a year after slaking their thirst for innocent blood.
There is a chilling similarity between the Gujarat massacre and the massacre of roughly 3000 Sikhs in November 1984. In the week following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two Sikh bodyguards, police throughout India did nothing as marauders systematically massacred Sikh civilians. Local authorities supplied mobs with iron rods, kerosene, and the addresses of Sikh homes and businesses. Sikhs were removed from their homes, beaten with iron rods, doused with kerosene and burned alive.
Soon after handily defeating his opponents in national elections in December 1984, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi explained away the killing of Sikhs by reasoning that “when a big tree falls, the earth shakes.” As of 2002, Human Rights Watch still exhorts the Indian government to “prosecute and punish those found responsible for serious offenses during the anti-Sikh violence in 1984.”
This is the tip of the iceberg. India has enacted draconian laws that give authorities the power to jail and torture dissidents without trial. India has consistently shown utter disregard for the human rights of its citizens, particularly minorities. I’m sure India would do a fine job promoting international peace over at the Security Council.

R.S. Jolly is a senior majoring in philosophy.

March 21, 2003

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