PM Imran likens Delhi ‘pogrom’ to Kristallnacht

Published: February 28, 2020
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Pakistan PM Imran Khan (left) and India PM Narendra Modi (right). PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Pakistan PM Imran Khan (left) and India PM Narendra Modi (right). PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday shared an interview of a Cambridge lecturer on Twitter to draw parallels between Hindutva extremists in New Delhi killing and beating Muslims and setting their homes, shops and mosques on fire and the infamous Kristallnacht — a pogrom against Jews in Nazi Germany in which they were murdered and their homes, businesses and synagogues were torched.

The premier in his tweet noted how Dr Priyamvada Gopal, a lecturer at the University of Cambridge, in her interview likened the violence against Muslims in Delhi to the Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass, which was a pogrom against Jews carried out by SA paramilitary forces and civilians throughout Nazi Germany on November 9 -10, 1938.

The Nazis in Germany torched synagogues, vandalised Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed close to 100 Jews similar to what the Muslims faced recently in New Delhi when violence triggered by protests against a contentious citizenship law left at least 38 people dead and over 200 others injured. The law is seen by critics as anti-Muslim and part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda.

“As I have stating repeatedly, Modi’s Hindu supremacist agenda is akin to the Nazi pogrom of Jews in the 1930s while the major powers appeased Hitler. Modi conducted pogrom against Muslims in Gujarat as CM and now we are seeing the same in New Delhi,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet.

“Images coming out of Muslim homes and businesses being burnt, Muslims being beaten and killed, mosques and graveyards being burnt and desecrated are similar to Jews fleeing the pogrom in Nazi Germany. The world must accept this brutal reality of the Modi fascist racist regime and stop it.”

Dr Gopal, while speaking on the news programme Democracy Now!, stressed the need to “drop the language of clashes and even riots and communal violence” when discussing what happened in New Delhi.

“A lot of the language, certainly in the British press, and I think in the American press, as well, has been presenting this as a conflict between equal and opposite sides, as a kind of religious fight. It is not a religious fight. We are witnessing a situation of very deep structural violence. There is a majoritarian supremacist party in power in India,” she observed.

“Mobs, directly incited by senior Indian politicians, are roaming around in Muslim-majority areas, identifying Muslim shops, businesses, homes, setting them on fire, identifying Muslims, beating them up,” she added.

“There is some pushback, certainly, as you might expect, but this is not a situation of equality. And I’ve said that any press outfit which refers to this as ‘clashes’, clashes between Hindus and Muslims, or even as kind of riots, is actually culpable of a dereliction of duty, and certainly of critical analysis.”

Reiterated that it was not a situation where equal and opposite forces were in conflict, the Cambridge academic noted: “It’s not even a civil war. What we have is a very dangerous supremacist ideology that is now out on the streets. And I’m afraid that the parallels with 1930s Germany are extremely clear. What has taken place in Delhi in the last couple of days is comparable to the Reichskristallnacht [Kristallnacht], when Jewish businesses were attacked and set on fire.”

Dr Gopal pressed the need for the world to wake up to the gravity of the situation in India, “because we are in a situation not unlike what was happening in Germany in the 1930s, in its 21st century variation”.

“I think that to just play this out as conflicts and clashes and religious fights is deeply irresponsible.”

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