ISLAMABAD - Holocaust could repeat itself in India under the notorious Citi­zenship Amendment Act 2019 and National Population Reg­ister, concluded a symposium about discriminatory laws here on Monday.

The speakers said that the In­dian Holocaust will be designed to justify religious discrimina­tion against Muslims in India.

India, they said, was a fas­cist regime and flagrant vio­lator of international law and human rights.

The symposium on the fall­out of CAA 2019 and NPR was organized by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (PRI) here to discuss how the CAA was the latest move in a series of steps taken by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of his agenda to promote Hindu nationalism in a consti­tutionally secular India.

The speakers pointed out that the CAA and NPR not only threaten India’s secular foun­dations, it will also marginalize her 200 million Muslim minor­ity population.

The symposium was moder­ated by president of the PRI Am­bassador Vice Admiral Khan Ha­sham bin Saddique (Retd) who stressed that the international community cannot turn a blind eye until another full-blown pogrom unfolds, with millions forced out of their homes, rav­ished and butchered. He said India must be held accountable for its deplorable acts against humanity. “Institutionalized anti-Muslim atrocities have now systematically made their way from Indian Occupied Kashmir to mainland India,” he warned.

India termed fascist state

Dr Mujeeb Afzal from the Quaid-e-Azam University, Is­lamabad, pointed out that ever since the Hindutva-in­spired Narendra Modi took office, the quandary of the

Muslim minority in India has only compounded. He stressed that the sham secular mask of the so-called biggest democ­racy in the world has slipped obtrusively as the deep-seated prejudice and antipathy against Muslims and other minority groups have now been given le­gal umbrella. The CAA 2019 has introduced a two-tiered system which pigeonholes already per­secuted Muslims, he added.

Dr Afzal discussed how the protests that had erupted in various states, especially Uttar Pradesh (UP) where the state apparatus have been fanning flames of communal tension, are a serious threat to Prime Minis­ter Modi who wants to create an ethno state inspired by Israel.

The celebrated teacher on the international relations warned that such a fascist model could very well be implemented in the entire country, especially states where there is opposi­tion or insurgency against the Indian government.

Dr Afzal said that in a bid to es­tablish an absolute Hindu fanat­ic state, the Indian government has initiated the NPR which not only happens to coincide with the CAA but also the NRC.

“Purportedly, it attempts to separate what it defines as ‘usual residents’ from ‘un­usual ones’ while the minority groups fear that this could be used to challenge their citizen­ship in court and confiscate property under the pretext of alleged sedition,” the univer­sity professor concluded.

Jamal Aziz, Executive Direc­tor, Research Society of Interna­tional Law giving the legal per­spective about the CAA and NPR highlighted that Pakistan should build on the responses to CAA by various international entities.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights has termed the Act “fundamen­tally discriminatory” in nature, and stated that amendment will have a discriminatory effect on people’s access to nationality.

Aziz informed that the United States Commission on Interna­tional Religious Freedom has called on the US government to “consider sanctions against the Indian home minister and other principal leadership.”

He pointed out that Hin­dutva ideology of the Indian government and brazen poli­cy moves has put India in the global spotlight and damaged its reputation as the world’s biggest democracy. According to Aziz, international law can play an important role in guid­ing Pakistan’s foreign policy and domestic policy responses to exert increasing pressure on India. Amongst several practi­cal policy recommendations, Aziz strongly urged that an In­ter-State Communication should be filed by Pakistan under Ar­ticle 11 of Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimi­nation due to the CAA’s impact on Bengali Muslims; a Special Sessions of the Human Rights Council should be called; the Human Rights Council be en­gaged to constitute an Inde­pendent Commission of In­quiry to investigate India’s systematic violations against minorities; and the UN Spe­cial Rapporteurs and Working Groups be requested to report on the law and observe the sit­uation in detention camps.

In the second session, it was also pointed out that the NPR is part of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Indian government’s obses­sion with identity of its citizens, in order to invigorate the Aadhaar databases to carry out mass sur­veillance of its population.

The participants unanimously agreed that Pakistan should de­velop strategic narratives based on strong legal foundations to show the world that India is a fascist re­gime and flagrant violator of hu­man rights. The cause of Kashmir should be advocated under Inter­national Humanitarian Law.

The speakers at the sympo­sium called for building special­ist capacity in state institutions like the ministry of foreign af­fairs and others to invest in scholarship and research in in­ternational law.