OIC raised its voice for Kashmir – Better Late than Never


 Since the Indian sub-continent’s partition in 1947, the Muslims of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) have been subjected to state-sponsored violence and oppression. Multiple generations of innocent Kashmiris have been brutalized and marginalised by the Indian state without any remorse. And to make matters worse, the international community also maintained pin-drop silence regarding the matter which emboldened the hostile behaviour of the Indian state towards Kashmiris.

Lack of direct stakes and the fire (referring to chaos and destruction in IOK) being “far from home” kind of mentality also kept the Muslims residing in other parts of India from raising a meaningful voice for Kashmiris as well.The total Muslim population in India is approximately 138,188,240 persons (Census India’s official figures for 2011) while the Muslims in Kashmir amount to approximately 6,793,240 persons (same source as above for the same year).
Now, if more than half of the Muslims within India are not making substantial efforts to emancipate innocent Kashmiris from state barbarism, then how can anyone expect the international community to show any interest?
Trouble for Muslims residing in different parts of India was just around the corner but they seemed oblivious to this fact for decades. That particular corner was turned in 2014 when the BJP finally came into power again. 
Although the BJP had been in power from 1999 till 2004 but the 2014 election victory was a different story from the start. Because this time, way bigger far-right religious fanatics were in-charge of the party. Instead of seasoned politicians like A.B. Vajpayee, the likes of Modi, Shah and Yogi assumed leadership roles. This is a leadership with no moral compass or political insight. And all that it is concerned about is political mileage and point-scoring with complete disregard for international law and human lives.
On the flip side, silence of the international Muslim community, except for a handful of countries namely Pakistan, Turkey, Iran and Malaysia also maintained strategic silence over the Kashmir dispute and Indian atrocities against Kashmiris. In fact, countries like Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, UAE and even Palestine conferred their respective nations’ highest awards and medals to appease a mass-murderer like Narendra Modi.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an organisation which “represents” the world’s Muslim population did nothing more than issue run of the mill statements of condemnation and concern, which honestly never did any good.
Circumstances for the Muslims in India, particularly in IOK took a nose dive after August 05, 2019 when India revoked the special status of the disputed region of Jammu & Kashmir (Article 370 & 35A) which is under illegal Indian occupation since 1948.Soon after, unrest ensued in IOK and protests commenced in different parts on India against this political manoeuvre. This led to a clamp-down by the state against the protesters, of which Muslims were the prime target.
Fast forward to February 23, 2020, India was jolted by the deadliest of communal violence it had experienced in decades. Riots began with Hindu mobs targeting Muslim homes in the north of capital New Delhi which led to deaths of 45 people.  All this was happening in the ‘world’s largest democracy’ while the self-proclaimed ‘leader of the free world’  the President of the United States Donald Trump was set to arrive in the country.
After being called out by a plethora of international media outlets (print and electronic) for marginalization and oppression against its minorities, particularly against Muslims, the OIC finally decided to issue a statement on April 19, 2020 voicing concern regarding the non-existing rights of Muslims in India.
The OIC's Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission(IPHRC) in a tweet urged India to take "urgent steps" to protect the rights of its minority Muslim community and stop the incidents of "Islamophobia" in the country. The statement also said the Indian media was negatively profiling the Muslims and subjecting them to discrimination.
Such statement from the OIC at such an important juncture is a good omen. Recent statements, in comparison to its past messages of concern and condemnation seem to be strongly worded, timely and to the point, which is a big improvement. Earlier statements by OIC’s IPHRC also highlighted and strongly condemned the “unrelenting vicious Islamophobic campaign in India with the intent of blaming Muslims for the spread of novel Corona Virus in the country besides negative profiling of the Muslims in the national media subjecting them to discrimination and violence with impunity.”
From increasing hate crimes against Muslims in India to detention camps (translated to Nazi concentration camps), the international media has reported about everything the Indian state is doing against its minorities but to no avail. Finally, such candid statements by the OIC are a testament to the fact that things have become extremely worse for the Muslim community in India.
Oppression and subjugation of minorities in India, especially Muslims is not a political or legal issue any more. It has become a humanitarian crisis which needs a collective effort by the international community, particularly Muslim states.The polarizing politics of the BJP under Modi have empowered Hindu nationalism beyond imagination which has covertly legitimized violence and religious hatred against minorities in India.
Analogizing India under Modi with Nazi Germany under Hitler is no joke. Ignorance to Indian atrocities against Muslims today bears great resemblance to the ignorance that was being maintained towards Hitler’s activities against minorities in Europe and history is a witness to what it resulted in. And this time it is going to be far worse as unlike Europe of that time, South Asia is home to a several times larger population with two major countries with nuclear weapons.
The OIC’s statements are welcome and a great step towards creating awareness and exerting pressure on India to stop oppression against minorities but such statements will mean nothing if not followed by concrete actions from member states. Decisive political, economic and diplomatic action needs to be taken by all member countries with the help of international community in order to protect the Muslim minority of India before it’s too late.