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Is Kerala being prepared for genocide as warned by Stanton?
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camera_altPhoto Courtesy: The Quint
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Is Kerala being prepared for genocide as warned by Stanton?

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Disturbing incidents have been reported day by day in India, may be because of it is election time in the north India. But what about south India, the region known for its relative communal tolerance, which is now becoming another ground for communal disturbances, the situation in parts of the southern region have become so fragile that an even innocuous incident could trigger a mass attack on minorities.

The recent such incidents in Karnataka are alluding to the point of how delicate the social-communal fabric of south India is turning, but the reasons for this still evade social cognisance, escaping attention of intellectuals and common people.

When we study the elements that contribute to such a sensitive situation, placing ultra-sensitive religion at its centre, the frame work conditioning the social cognisance to a toxic level will force one to realise that the process is probably the result of a mammoth research well executed in some places in the world with the intention to exterminate the 'other'.

Otherness now becomes the new norm of society. It lets a group of people see people belonging to other groups as less human as though they could not claim the same treatment which the dominant group of people accord to their fellow group members.

In general terms, it is not at all a new thing in India, where the caste system is still being practiced by which superiority of a particular caste is celebrated. But it was not the case with religion. Until politics uninfluenced by religious communities take control of the social fabric, religion becomes the new tool of power.

Religious minorities in the country, who were until recently recognised for the major role they played in nation building, become the enemies of the country as per the new narrative played out by right-wing ideologues who successfully change the very concept of nation based on a religio-cultural identity rather than as a union of peoples.

There are movies, literature, popular media used to condition the minds of people to demonise and make religious minorities the other. With the continuous suggestions through various platforms, the conditioning of social fabric is near complete.

Kerala Social Conditioning
In the matter of conditioning of the social minds, Kerala is also witnessing the same pattern of experiments which is frightening if we read the unprecedented incidents in the state linking to Gregory Stanton's warning about the impending genocide of Muslims in India. Stanton is the founder and director of Genocide Watch, whose prediction of the massacre of the Tutsi in Rwanda years before could be seen to have had happened in 1994.

Though Stanton's assessments and insights are on the early signs and processes of genocide in the Indian state of Assam and Indian-administered Kashmir, he did not merely call it an event, but a 'process' signs of which can be visible in Kerala as well. The process may vary from place to place in accordance with the characteristics of the people, the policies the fringe elements involved could exert upon people, and here in Kerala, the modus operandi is seen as being run by the state police system.

Even before the police system is put in the dock, the social system in Kerala, which is by far, barring some internal separations, integrated with different religions and various ideologies, has been to some extent alienated by toxic statements the religious heads often made targeting a particular religious community and their beliefs.

The social system, the food, the dress code and the very prayer system of a particular religion have become the target of other religious sects, which until recently was unheard in Kerala. Though such discussions have been happening within the four walls of religion, there was a restraint of shame in discussing them in public. But now that element of shame has been lost, and the discussion has broken the walls to come out in more venomous forms.

The periodic, derogatory and inflammatory statements targeting a particular religious sect cannot be seen as isolated incidents, but going by the authorities' action, or lack of it, against such statements - which are punishable under the provisions of law - matters are happening other way round.

The recent reports about police discrimination and bias against people belonging to a particular community in Kerala are reinforced by the revelation of the RSS' influence in the state police force.

Innumerable incidents are reported where police let people who belong to a particular religion and groups who make derogatory and offensive remarks against a particular religion and members of that religion are let scot-free without taking any action despite there being a strong case to initiate action. And this is when there are people being booked and arrested even for Facebook posts criticising the RSS and the 'Bulli Bai', an app that put Muslim women for auction.

Such incidents can only be seen as a 'process', termed by Stanton as leading to genocide, where people of a particular group or religion may feel they are shielded and secured from penal actions for making derogatory, offensive and sometimes physical attacks against others, while a kind of feeling of being victimised would also be aroused among the members of the targeted community. The thought that they are secure and protected from legal actions will only embolden them for further attacks.

It is the result of conditioning the social minds. Though the aim of the ideology involved in the conditioning of social minds may be political, the results may be forcing members of a particular group or religion to look down upon and see people belonging to other groups or religion as inferior. The end result would be that social set up would see the targeted people exterminated.

Stanton's Report
Human Rights activists in India see Stanton's report 'alarming', calling the fear very genuine. Aakar Patel, a Bengaluru-based rights activist, writer and the former head of Amnesty International in India, urged the government to take the report very seriously, referring to a recent call for Muslim genocide made at an event by right-wing Hindu groups.

Videos of Hindu religious leaders calling for mass killings and for the use of weapons against Muslims that went viral on social media last month had recently prompted the Supreme Court to order an investigation into hate speech in Uttarakhand state.

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TAGS:Kerala Staton Report Genocide Watch 
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