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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

International anti-Hindu sentiment guides response to Bharat’s internal matters

What explains the strident response to Bharat’s handling of the Shaheen Bagh and recent farmers protests even when the protests were virtually handled with kid gloves, whereas the same ecosystem has been very measured when speaking of the violent handling of the recent protests in Pakistan?

In March this year, the self-styled “democracy ranking agency” Freedom House had downgraded Bharat’s status from democratic in 2019 to “partly democratic” in 2020. It should be noted that Freedom house is funded by the US government.

The “downgrading” of Bharat’s democratic status had invited appropriate response from many of Bharat’s citizens. For example

Former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal called Freedom House a “coterie of self-important people with an urge to judge others”

The official response of Bharat’s government was to unequivocally rebut the Freedom House Report on the 7 points: the alleged discrimination against Muslims, using the sedition law, covid-9 lockdown, treatment of human rights organizations, the alleged intimidation of academics, Internet shutdowns, and Freezing of Amnesty international’s assets.

A similar self-styled Sweden-based agency V Dem has recently outlandishly rated Bharat to be as autocratic as Pakistan and worse than both its neighbours Nepal and Bangladesh.

With respect to the Pakistan protests, these began on April 12 after the arrest of Tehreek-E-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) leader Saad Rizvi. Another leader of the same party, Syed Zaheer ul Hassan Shah claims that the Pakistan government had signed an agreement with TLP promising to consider action against the French Ambassador in response to Emmanuel Macron’s “blasphemy” of publishing cartoons of the Prophet. The TLP wanted the Pakistan government to not just expel all French diplomats but also ban all French products.

While Tuesday saw an escalation of the anti-French protests, on Wednesday, the Interior Minister of Pakistan, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad announced that the government planned to ban the radical Islamist TLP. In the face of the escalating violence, France has urged its citizens to leave Pakistan.

According to some reports, the violent mob of the radical Islamist group TLP bludgeoned to death two police officers and some reports claim that 340 police officers were wounded in the protests. The Pakistan government has deployed paramilitary forces to control the Islamist mobs. Reports claim that at least 1400 protestors from TLP group have been arrested. Moreover, Pakistan has decided to ban the TLP which has limited political presence but is popular among radical elements within the country.

Despite this heavy handedness, at least so far, so-called liberal media has not critiqued the handling of the protests by the Pakistan government and has curtailed itself to giving factual reports on the situation.

Contrast this with the type of badgering Bharat faced from the foreign press on the recent farmer protests. The only factor that can explain differences in media response to the type of coverage Bharat receives vis-a-vis how Islamist nations tend to be presented, is the international anti-Hindu sentiment in the so-called liberal ecosystem. Ever since the BJP, which is perceived as a Hindu-minded party, came to power in May 2014, Bharat has been the target of bad press from fake liberal media and organizations.

(Featured image source: The Print)

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