World, Americas

Sanders calls Trump's India policy failed leadership

You compel us to play role in US presidential elections, senior Indian politician threatens Bernie Sanders

Vakkas Dogantekin   | 27.02.2020
Sanders calls Trump's India policy failed leadership Bernie Sanders


U.S. Democratic presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders slammed the Trump administration's inaction to deadly mob violence against Muslims in India. 

"Over 200 million Muslims call India home. Widespread anti-Muslim mob violence has killed at least 27 and injured many more," tweeted the Vermont senator late Wednesday.

"Trump responds by saying, ‘That's up to India.’ This is a failure of leadership on human rights," he added.

B.L. Santosh, national general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Pary that rules India, lost no time criticizing Sanders and hinted the BJP could interfere in U.S. presidential elections if support messages to Muslims in India continue.

"How much ever neutral we wish to be, you compel us to play a role in Presidential elections. Sorry to say so… but you are compelling us," he tweeted only to delete it later.

The BJP is one of two major political parties in India, along with the Indian National Congress.

Clashes between pro- and anti-citizenship law protesters started Sunday and devolved into communal violence between Hindus and Muslims.

The northeastern part of New Delhi has been affected the most as rioters ransacked and set fire to mosques, houses, schools and businesses.

U.S. House of Representatives Foreign affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel also voiced concern for the arbitrary Muslim killings in India.

"Deeply troubled by the deaths from the communal violence in India over the past couple of days," he tweeted Wednesday. "The right to protest is a key aspect in democracy, but they must remain peaceful and police must ensure the safety of all.”

Several other American lawmakers have condemned the violence that killed 34 in less than a week.

"I condemn attacks against Muslims in India, and reject violence, bigotry, and religious intolerance. The US State Department should too," Republican lawmaker Don Beyer tweeted.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said the "deadly surge of religious intolerance in India is horrifying."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday also urged calm.

"Peace and harmony are central to our ethos. I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times. It is important that there is calm and normalcy is restored at the earliest," he tweeted.

Inciting violence

The violence in India's capital escalated a day after Kapil Mishra, a local leader of the BJP, warned Muslims to end protests in New Delhi's Maujpur area.

He said protesters would face the wrath of BJP supporters if they failed to heed his warning.

"We are giving the Delhi police three days to clear the roads in Jaffrabad and Chand Bagh [areas in Delhi]. After this, we will not listen to you," Mishra said at a rally Sunday, with videos of the speech posted on his Twitter account.

The lax response from police has also been criticized by India's Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court.

High Court Justice S. Muralidhar denounced police for failing to stop the violence and delays in registering a hate speech complaint against Mishra.

"We cannot have another 1984 ... under your watch," he said in reference to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, in which over 3,000 members of the minority community were killed.

Hours after those remarks, the Indian government announced Muralidhar's transfer from the Delhi High Court to the northern state of Punjab.

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