Like China, India's Modi Is Engaged in a Massive Faith Cleansing of Its Muslim Minority

He is yanking their rights and building detention camps.


Many people expected Prime Minister Narendra Modi's landslide re-election victory this summer to spell trouble for India's pluralistic democracy. But few appreciated just how much trouble. Last week, in two days flat, the Modi government pushed through both chambers of parliament the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). This law uses a good cause as a Trojan horse to advance a radical faith-cleansing agenda that has more than a passing similarity with the shocking policies that China has deployed against its Uighur Muslim minority.

On the surface, CAB is a mass amnesty bill of the kind that pro-immigration advocates in America can't even dream of. It amends India's Citizenship Act to hand expedited citizenship—not mere legal status—to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Christians from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh currently living in the country without authorization.

But it conspicuously leaves out Muslims. This means that the Ahamadiyyas, who belong to a reviled Islamic sect in Pakistan, are out of luck—as are the Rohingya from neighboring Myanmar. The omission of the Rohingya lends a lie to the official explanation for excluding Muslims, namely, that the bill is aimed at handing relief only to persecuted minorities in India's neighboring countries, not members of the majority population. Myanmar is a majority-Buddhist country that has subjected the Rohingya minority to some of the most grisly bloodletting in modern times. Yet they didn't qualify.

This kind of anti-Muslim discrimination isn't the worst feature of the citizenship bill. What makes it even more abominable is that it lays the legal groundwork for a wholesale attack on the rights of India's 140 million Muslim citizens, not just unauthorized Muslim refugees.

The Modi government has pledged to create a National Register of Citizens before the 2024 election that will contain the name of every man, woman, and child in the country who is entitled to be an Indian citizen. The eligibility criteria to get on the list is not entirely clear yet, but if the pilot in the state of Assam is any indication, all of India's 1.3 billion residents will have to produce papers to show that they or their ancestors have lived in the country since before 1971.

This exercise will change the fundamental presumption of the Indian polity: Indians will now have to prove to their government that they're entitled to citizenship rather than the government having to show them they're not. An additional problem is that India is an exceedingly informal country where people, particularly the poor and illiterate, don't bother to maintain meticulous records. In villages especially, people often don't even know their birth dates, let alone keep birth certificates or passports going back generations. Nor do municipal governments bother with good record-keeping, making it incredibly difficult for people without means or connections to retrieve the necessary documents.

The upshot in Assam was that a whopping four million people—13 percent of the state's population—were excluded from the NRC. This would have been no problem for Modi if the excluded were Muslims. Amit Shah, his home minister, whose brainchild this whole scheme is, calls Muslims termites and infiltrators and made an election promise to throw them into the Bay of Bengal. But as it happened, lots of Hindus in the state didn't make the list either. If this happens nationally, the whole purpose of the exercise—boosting the already massive numerical strength of Hindus—would be defeated. Hindus are 80 percent of India's population and Muslims only 14 percent. But in the paranoid Hindu nationalist mind, that is not enough of a guarantee of enduring Hindu dominance against the allegedly higher Muslim fertility rates.

That's where the citizenship bill comes in. It will offer recourse to Hindus who are unable to prove their ancestry to get on the NRC, but not to Muslims in the same predicament. According to Indian Express' Harsh Mander, in Assam CAB will treat all Hindus who speak Bengali as refugees, even those born in India, so that they can qualify for its immunity. But Bengali-speaking Muslims will be excluded. Similar guidance will likely apply in other parts of the country. So Muslims whose Indian ancestry dates back eons will be rendered stateless, but Hindus—recent arrivals and those with longstanding roots alike—will be protected. This makes a mockery of the rule of law.

What are Modi's plans for Muslims who can't satisfy his stipulations?

Unless some other country agrees to take them, they'll be evicted from their homes and communities and thrown into detention camps that his government has already started constructing around the country. This will affect literally every Muslim in the country. But the hardest hit will of course be poor Muslims who don't have the money to buy off bureaucrats. Many of them may well prefer conversion to imprisonment. Either way, this will serve the faith-cleansing agenda of Hindu nationalists who for years have been offering mass reconversion ceremonies to Muslims.

If this seems like what China is doing to Uighur Muslims, that's because it is. Beijing has reportedly thrown 1.5 million Uighurs—more than 10 percent of the country's total Uighur population—into internment camps, where they are being subjected to brutal torture and political indoctrination against their own faith. But given India's much larger Muslim population, the scale of Modi's operation may well dwarf China's.

The Hindu nationalists' beef—so to speak—isn't only with Muslims. As far they are concerned, India is meant only for indigenous faiths whose holy places reside on the Indian subcontinent, not in Mecca or Bethlehem. That would mean that India's 65 million Christians don't really belong in the country either. Violence against them is already rampant and rising.

The fact is that no group is really safe under a mentality that gets high from its powers of exclusion. It will always find ways to discriminate based on infinitesimally small differences and disagreements. Sikhs, who belong to a minority indigenous faith, have faced their share of violence in contemporary India. Nor is being a Hindu any protection. Hindu nationalists hate liberal Indians of any faith more than anyone else. It has become fashionable to dehumanize them as "libtards" and "sickularists," and violence against them is also on the rise.

It may take a while before Modi and his fellow nationalists officially declare open season. Or it may happen quickly. (The fact that the government is responding with massive violence against anti-CAB protests that have broken around the country might suggest the latter.) After all, who would have thought 10 years ago that a country impatient for more liberalization and modernization would be staring at what might turn out to be the largest disenfranchisement drive in human history?

If Modi is possible in India, then anything is possible.

A version of this column originally appeared in The Week.


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  1. If China and India are undesirable places to live, the Koch / Reason solution is to invite the entire populations of both countries to immigrate to the US. We have plenty of space.


    1. Nice.

    2. Import Not Americans, become Not America.

  2. You know that saying if your meet a jerk, he’s a jerk. But if everyone you meet is a jerk, then YOU are the jerk?

    Maybe muslims should consider that.

    1. Islam is way better than Christianity at least.


      1. Such outright bigotry and death cult love

  3. What is the major difference between India and Pakistan? Anyone?

    1. Wokeness?

    2. It’s obvious!

      The faces of one are black on the left side, white on the right side.

      The other has faces that are white on the left side, black on the right side.

      1. In India, blackness is considered a skin disease.

      2. I come to Reason only for the comments.
        And they never disappoint!
        An original series Star Trek reference.
        You sir, win the Internet for today!

      3. Wait. I thought the Indians bellies had stars, while the Pakis bellies had none upon thars. Pretty sure I read that in a book by some famous doctor. So, argumentum ad vericundiam.

    3. India is primarily a Hindu nation, Pakistan is an explicitly Islamic one. In fact, It’s official name is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Which was the whole point of it’s succession from India.

      1. Exactly. So unkindness towards Muslims in India shouldn’t be shocking.

        1. They probably said ‘enough is enough’. Or however that translate.

  4. Not all that surprising Hindus and Muslims have been fighting each other for several centuries now.

    1. But superior white American progressives are going to read them the riot act!

      Because it wasn’t enough to carve out Pakistan.

  5. religion. gunpowder of the masses.

  6. I’m sad there’s no mention of how both India and China obviously got their ideas about ethnic cleansing from Trump. Everybody knows Mexico paid for the Gates of Vienna and it was Trump who sent them the bill.

    1. Hanktastic

  7. Islam is basically a death cult which subjugates, terrorizes and brutalizes any non-Muslim. Muslims, in this case, are being treated as they treat others. So while I absolutely abhor any abuse of human beings Muslim or otherwise, less Islam on the planet is not a bad thing.

    1. Take that bigotry back to Breitbart.


      1. So… You are in favor of a religion which openly persecutes and murders women, gays and any non believer?

        Take your bigotry and death cult love back to ISIS.

      2. YOU are the bigot and apparently supporter of terrorism, misogyny and homophobia.

        And you have the gall to suggest others are bigots?


        Personally, I favor freedom to believe in anything you wish as long as you don’t persecute and murder others. Is that difficult to understand?????

        1. You’re new around here.

          OpenBordersLiberal-tarian is a parody account.

          He says the stupid shit liberals post as if it were smart. He’s making fun of liberals. The fun of the joke is that he can never say anything so stupid that a liberal wouldn’t say it. They really do say the stupid stuff he says. And it’s all in fun–now that you’re in on the joke.

          Say the Second Amendment is the law of the land, and he may call you a racist–because liberals really are stupid that way. No matter how stupid he is, there are real liberals who are really that stupid. It makes it hard for new people to tell that he’s kidding. Now you’re part of the club.

          1. Thanks..

            It got me a little upset, lol.

            Unfortunately, “liberals” say the same insane shit. There’s only so much hypocritical death cult love, anti-freedom insanity I can take before it gets under my skin.

            1. hypocritical death cult love

              I saw these guys when they played in Philly back in ’75.

              1. Didn’t they open for BTO?

            2. Pod, jeff and mike are not schticks sadly.

              1. Nor are Pedo Jeffy’s many sock puppets. The child rape loving piece of shit even tried to pretend to be a special forces vet for on of his socks.

                I truly wish a horrific end for that punk.

        2. Hey everybody, check out the new guy falling for OBL’s shtick!

          1. Hush. You’ll embarrass him. A knowing eye-roll would suffice.

      3. So.. as long as a group calls itself a religion, anything they believe is defensible? If the Nazis or KKK called themselves a religion, then they are perfectly fine and anybody who criticizes, opposes them is a bigot?

        That’s deranged.

        1. In all seriousness, the First Amendment protects religions from democracy–even stupid religions. It also protects speech–even when the speech is stupid or harmful. I have a qualitative preference for freedom, which is why I defend the First Amendment from all comers. Other people aren’t here for your benefit and neither are their religions.

          1. P.S. There is an idealized system of government in which no one is allowed to do anything unless it’s in everyone’s interest. It’s called “socialism”. The “idealized” system of government in which no one is allowed to believe things unless it’s in everyone’s interest is called “totalitarianism”. I think people should be free to do and believe what they want–so long as they don’t violate someone’s rights, and that’s what makes me a libertarian capitalist rather than a totalitarian socialist.

          2. People should be free to have their stupid cults. But they should not be free to violate the rights of others. Unfortunately, Islam’s core set of beliefs supports not only their right to completely fuck over others but their duty to do so. And this includes the right to completely fuck over any gay or female Muslim just for kicks or if they decide to express their sexuality or not wear a burka.

            1. “Unfortunately, Islam’s core set of beliefs supports not only their right to completely fuck over others but their duty to do so. And this includes the right to completely fuck over any gay or female Muslim just for kicks or if they decide to express their sexuality or not wear a burka.

              Have you ever been to Westwood in Los Angeles. It’s the neighborhood around UCLA. It’s where the gay community, the Jewish community, and the Muslim community all overlap each other. You should see it on a Saturday night. Gays, Jews, Muslims, all in the same restaurants, having a great time. It’s been that way for a long time, too–decades.

              The secret ingredients are freedom and prosperity. Free and prosperous Muslims are no more of a danger to gays and Jews than free and prosperous gays and Jews are to them. That’s another good reason to be a libertarian capitalist.

              1. Free and prosperous Muslims are no more of a danger to gays and Jews than free and prosperous gays and Jews are to them.

                The victims of Bin Laden and their survivors might not buy that.

          3. The 1A doesn’t protect speech, it’s a prohibition on government action.

        2. Well, the Proge are going about fixing that. Their favorite religions, Climate Catastrophizing and Gender Bending, are now to be placed above all other religions, and the adherents to the old disfavored religions forced to bow at the altars of the new gods

        3. In “Mein Kampf” Hitler describes how he was first attracted to the Christian Socialist party before joining a Labor party and revamping it into a National Socialist outfit that did NOT welcome non-Christians. The nazi platform also endorsed Christian religions in Plank 24–the same one that endorses altruist collectivism and condemns individualism.

  8. “If Modi is possible in India, then anything is possible.”

    Like a Caste System? How surprising is this really?

    1. The Democrats certainly favor something in the direction of a caste system here. Force the masses onto public education, and public programs, while enabling the elites access to better private institutions. So your kids can’t compete with theirs.

  9. What’s interesting here is how little interest Arab Muslims have in fighting in India, Pakistan, Myanmar, and China.

    1. See the link below.

  10. “What are Modi’s plans for Muslims who can’t satisfy his stipulations?”

    If you’re trying to start an international crusade of journalists, intellectuals, NGOs, and government officials to condemn Modi and his policies, then this is an excellent line of reasoning. If you want to persuade the people of India to reject Modi and his policies, you probably need to focus your arguments on why Modi’s policies are bad for them.

    Also, we should note two things:

    1) Condemnation by elitist outsiders only drives more support for a populist like Modi.

    2) The same dynamic is at work in Europe and here with Trump in the United States–for the same reasons.

    1. Shikha, Mole of the Right, discrediting Globalism and strengthening Populism where ever her propaganda flies.

    2. Typical articles about India in the West contain so many factual errors, that they would be laughed off by educated persons in India. That is the reason the authors present their work to a Western audience, who are not aware of the reality in India.

  11. It has become fashionable to dehumanize them as “libtards”

    First they stole our technology. Now they’re stealing our insults!

    1. They took our jokes!

    2. Libtards still count as human. Barely.

    3. I like “baizuo”
      It means “white left” and is apparently a popular slur in China

  12. Payback’s a bitch.

  13. The Hindu nationalists’ beef

    Are they kosher too? Asking for a wiener lover.

  14. I think this is not really comparable to literally putting Muslims in concentration camps like in China

    Basically it’s a not so subtle way of trying to get them to move to Pakistan

  15. So Shikha is puzzled that not everyone worships the ground Saracen berserkers walk on, yet she prefers not to live in Pakistan?

  16. “detention camps”

    +1 for Shikha for not calling them concentration camps

    I know, it’s kind of generous to grant points for not being an hysterical propagandist, but baby steps.

  17. I can’t help but think some mention of anti-Hindu bias and Pakistan should have been mentioned in this article.
    The subject was interesting but written in the ‘fake news’ style which I’m so sick of parsing.

    1. It is fake news. So, she selected an appropriate suitable style!

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  19. “Indians will now have to prove to their government that they’re entitled to citizenship rather than the government having to show them they’re not.”

    You would think that anyone who paid attention to the past 100 years of Indian history would recognize how necessary it is to qualify citizenship, given the slough of illegal immigration and nation-building nonsense that the world has inflicted upon the locals…but whatever.

    Imagine if some moron a couple thousand miles away drew up a fake country and told all the people you’ve been fighting for 4,000 years to move there, form a permanent society with a capable military (and nukes?) and that you have to kiss the feet of all the subversives who stayed in your country instead of migrating to the one created for them.

    World leaders of the 20th century and prior would all be disgusted at the lack of self-preservation and suicidal tendencies of 21st century cultural critics. Why is there always a push to destroy borders, identities, and recognize real distinctions in a world where identity continues to become more blurred and alienated?

  20. What say we take up a collection to kit out Shika and De Espresso (ie. ChemJeff) and then airdrop them into India where they can meet with the locals and establish a resistance movement.

  21. religion. gunpowder of the masses. A Bad move from Government

  22. The question that needs to be asked here is how can we, as Americans, support Modi in this? After all, we are going to have to do something similar in the not to distant future.

  23. I have worked with several moslem doctors, and they seem to be fine people.
    It does seem that every country with a large moslem minority has a lot of conflict with them.
    And all the moslem majority countries are awful dens of intolerance and cruelty.
    I do find it interesting that no moslem country has noted China’s’ treatment of its moslems.

  24. I have noticed that Shikha Dalmia gets as hysterical and dishonest as left wing sites when writing about India. Let me give a sample. She claims that Amit Shah called muslims as termites. He actually referred to illegal immigrants as termites. She claims that poor people in India don’t have papers. They may not have birth certificates, but it is common for most people in India, especially the poor, to have ration cards. She claims that four million people were left out in the NRC in Assam. The finalized list left out 1.9 million people, for around 6% of the population. The estimated illegal population of Assam is much larger. So, the problem really is the number of illegals who were not filtered out. Such errors are a characteristic of her writings on India.

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  26. Modi is a true indian hero. The way he take strong decisions in favor of indian citizens, no other leaders have ever done. India is so proud of having Modi as our Leader.

    And He tried to make it very clear with several social campaigns, that this bill is not against any minority including muslims. But it helps people to get the indian citizenship too, who actually deserve that.

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