Will Taliban takeover of Afghanistan be used to attack Indian Muslims?

Anti-Muslim sentiments grow stronger on social media with questions like “Why are Indian muslims not condemning Taliban’s actions in Afghanistan?”

Indian MuslimsImage Courtesy:bbc.com

“Why are Indian muslims not condemning Taliban’s actions in Afghanistan?” This question is being posed all over social media for the second day running. Putting the onus on Indian Muslims for the actions of any Muslim, especialy Islamic groups such as the Taliban, anywhere in the world is not new, however, this time it has taken on a fresh new avatar. There has not really been an official condemnation from the Indian government of the Taliban’s takeover of control in Afghanistan. The sole “observation” rather than an outright “condemnation” from the right wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that backs the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came from Ram Madhav, member of the RSS’ National Executive, who also who served as the National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He had said, “India needs to quickly reevaluate the situation with Taliban’s takeover of Kabul impending. We couldn’t prevent it but we must be prepared to prevent its fallout on our interests …”

Soon, he was pointing towards Pakistan Tweeting, “Taliban hs over 30K mercenaries trained in Pak by ISI. In power in Kabul, Taliban leadership wl now deploy them ‘elsewhere’ wid d help of mentor Pak. India shud brace up for serious security challenges.” (sic)

Rajya Sabha MP, Subramanian Swamy, also reminded his followers that India shared a border with Afghanistan in PoK, and so should “not be pompous about US withdrawal” adding that “India has been seen as weak before China (Depsang since 2013 and in other parts of Ladakh since April 2020) and now weak before Taliban. This is bad for our national integrity and image.”

On cue, a section of the media, led by News Nation television channel’s Consulting Editor Deepak Chaurasia, who has a reputation of peddling communal hate had begun whipping up a voice against Afghan Muslims, saying, “Aghani Muslims are seeking refuge in India to save their lives” and taunting Indians, for “creating a false atmosphere of fear”. He is of course hinting at those who raise their voices on the ongoing attacks against Muslims in India.

In December 2020, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) filed a complaint with the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) in connection with Chaurasia’s highly communal show called Conversion Jihad. Here Chaurasia had alleged forceful conversion of Hindus by Muslims on the television news channel, News Nation. Deepak Chaurasia, who was the anchor of the show, openly claimed that there is a conspiracy by ‘one gang’ to do away with all ‘Hindus of Hindustan’. He, as the host, encouraged hate speech against Muslims by calling anti-minority propagandists to his shows. He continues to follow this pattern.

However, now he was outdone by ABP news, which then went way ahead and started tagging its usual coverage of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath’s announcement of a proposed commando training center of  the Anti-Terrorist Squad in Deoband, with #afghanistan crisis, #Taliban and #Deoband. This was a way to not only ride the trend wave, but also start the ‘news’ that the Darul Uloom Deoband, an Islamic seminary, was somehow connected to the Taliban. According to ABP news, “There is hardly any corner of the world where there are no Muslims who have studied from here”… and that the proposed “center will help in preventing Muslims of Western UP from becoming radicalised.”


The report on its website (https://www.abplive.com/news/india/taliban-crisis-uttar-pradesh-yogi-government-will-train-ats-commando-in-deoband-ann-1955125) added that “some Hindu organisations have also been accusing Darul Uloom of Deoband of having links with terrorists”.  

Shalabh Mani Tripathi, advisor to the UP CM, seems to agree.


e-Emergency X-Misc Visa

Meanwhile, India announced a new category of electronic visa called “e-Emergency X-Misc Visa” for Afghan citizens to enter India. However the six month visas which will now be given irrespective of religion, will be scrutinised and decided in Delhi after a “security review of the applicant will be done to check credentials”. This too had the usual bigots questioning why Muslims needed to be given refuge in India.

The visa listed at number 6 here: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html but was not yet live at the time of publishing this report. 

Here is a must read analysis from 1998 by SabrangIndia co-founder and human rights defender Teesta Setalvad titled Hell on Earth, that tracks the developments as they happened in Afghanistan, from April 1992. It showcases how first the Mujahedeens, and then the Taliban have misappropriated ‘Islam’ to serve theor own agendas, and how for hundreds of thousands of ordinary Afghanis, women in particular, this meant an unending nightmare of terror and trauma. 


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