Genocide Watch president Gregory Stanton, who had warned of the Rwandan genocide five years before it happened, on Wednesday said the early warning signs were visible in India and that a genocide could well happen here.
He added that democracy was no insurance against genocide. But he was categorical that these warning signs did not mean that genocide had begun in India.
“We don’t say that the next stage — that is extermination — has begun yet. Our view is that it is a huge danger in India because it won’t be the State that carries out any genocide, it will be mobs. It will be the same kind of mobs that carried out double genocide at the time of Partition,” Stanton said.
Calls for a genocide against Muslims were sounded at a conclave of sadhus in Haridwar last month.
In an interview to news portal The Wire a week after he addressed a congressional briefing in the US on the calls for genocide of Muslims in India, Stanton told Karan Thapar: “Our view at Genocide Watch is that a lot of the early warning signs of genocide are (visible) in India.”
He added: “We’ve learned over the years that we should not ignore these early warning signs. We knew that there were very early warning signs, for instance, in Rwanda five years ahead of the time when the genocide there happened. We warned, no one did anything about it. We tried to even warn the President of the country.
“The reason we try to warn is (that) our objective is prevention. If you warn after the genocide is over, it’s too late. Unfortunately, that’s usually been the response of most of the international community.”
Genocide Watch, which claims to have predicted every genocide in the world since its inception in 1999, is trying to have a congressional hearing by the Lantos Human Rights Commission pass a resolution asking Washington to make it its policy to prevent a genocide in India.
“President Joe Biden should tell Prime Minister Narendra Modi that if a genocide occurs in India, it will require us to reassess all of our relations with India, including trade,” Stanton said.
But given the India-US dynamic, he did not appear particularly optimistic. Genocide Watch will also try to get the European Parliament to adopt a similar resolution on the genocide calls in India.
Stanton said Genocide Watch had a model called the “10 Stages of Genocide” and India was already well down the road towards a genocide according to its parameters.
“The first is classification, in which you distinguish between ‘us’ and ‘them’, you ‘other’ people. In India, as we well know, Hindus are distinguished from Muslims, Christians and members of other religions,” he said.
“Classification itself is not an act of genocide. In fact, it’s normal human behaviour. It’s how we classify the world. But when it is used in a harmful way to classify an entire group as ‘other than us’ — as aliens, for instance — then it can become one of those processes that lead to genocide.
“The second thing is symbolisation. You can recognise people by their clothes, the places they worship, their rituals, their rules for marriage…. Again, that doesn’t necessarily lead to genocide. It’s only when those symbols are used to facilitate genocide in ID cards, for example, or in markings (on) houses or making people wear a yellow star….”
Jews in Nazi-occupied territories were made to wear a yellow star as a mark of identification.
“The third thing — discrimination – we can see in the Citizenship Amendment Act, which gave preference for asylum in India to refugees from specific religions… but it deliberately excluded Muslims,” Stanton said.
“The next is dehumanisation, in which you have the home minister of India calling Muslims ‘termites’… Bangladeshi Muslim refugees are called foreigners or aliens….
“We also have organisation, the RSS — and it’s been neo-Nazi since its beginning. In fact, the founder of the RSS was a great admirer of Hitler. We also, of course, have the leader of the BJP, Mr Modi himself, who is a member of the RSS.”
“When he was chief minister of Gujarat, a massacre of Muslims occurred in which at least 1,000, probably more than that, were massacred. And he did nothing….
“We have polarisation, we have the false propaganda of a love jihad, we have laws against conversion, which are a direct violation of freedom of religion. We have lynchings, we have a census law that has been passed in India to make people prove their citizenship. When you make people prove their citizenship to strip them of their citizenship, that’s the NRC.
“We also have persecution, we have lynchings, we have attacks on churches, we have attacks on mosques, we have arrests of Bengali Muslims in Assam, we have arrests of Kashmiri Muslims. All of those early warning signs are already there.”
Stanton said democracy did not insulate India from genocide. “I even believe that genocide is possible in the US. After all, we committed genocide against our own Native Americans; we committed genocide against African Americans during the slave trade…. ”
On the Prime Minister’s silence over the genocide calls in Haridwar, Stanton said: “Although it is State authorities who need to arrest the inciters to genocide, he as PM is the leader of the country and has a moral obligation to denounce this kind of hate speech, just like Biden has been denouncing hate speech in the US.”
Stanton interpreted Modi’s silence in terms set by Martin Luther King who said: “We will know who is against us not by what they have said but their silence.”
Stanton said Genocide Watch was not alone in warning of a possible genocide in India. “The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which has a Genocide Prevention Centre, is also warning that India is, in fact, the second most likely to have genocide in this coming year.”