Gregory Stanton, the founder and director of Genocide Watch, outlines the reasons why India may be showing the early “signs and processes” of genocide, specifically within the State of Assam and Indian-administered Kashmir. Genocide is more of a process instead of a single event, according to Stanton. This process in India is currently resembling the discriminatory policies by Myanmar’s government against Rohingya Muslims in 2017, which led to genocide. Stanton fears a similar scenario to Myanmar, where the Rohingya were first legally declared non-citizens and then expelled through violence and genocide. Some of the deeply concerning policies enforced by the BJP include the revocation of the special autonomous status of Indian-administered Kashmir in 2019 – which stripped Kashmiris of the special autonomy they had for seven decades – and the Citizenship Amendment Act, which granted citizenship to religious minorities but excluded Muslims.
In 1989, Stanton said he had warned the then-Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana that “if you don’t do something to prevent genocide in your country, there is going to be a genocide here within five years”. The early warning signs were followed by the massacre of 800,000 Tutsis and other Rwandans in 1994. “We cannot let that happen in India,” Stanton said. Genocide Watch began warning of genocide in India in 2002, when a three-day period of inter-communal violence in the western Indian state of Gujarat resulted in the killing of more than 1,000 Muslims.
“Under BJP’s leadership, India became one of the most dangerous countries for Muslims and Christians in the world. They are being persecuted physically, psychologically and economically,” activist and academic Apoorvanand wrote in an OpEd for Al Jazeera. “Laws are being passed to criminalise their religious practices, food habits and even businesses.”