‘Colossal inadequacy of United Nations’

J L Koul Jalali India has again cautioned the world about dangers inherent in religio phobias. Raising the issue of Hindu phobia as also anti-Sikh and anti-Buddhist phobias, it once more called upon the United Nations to take appropriate steps to ensure logical balance while considering or discussing such phobias prevalent in the world.There cannot be double standards on religiophobias and combating these should not be a selective exercise involving only one or two religions but the fight should be equally against non-Abrahamic religiophobias also. Early this year UN General Assembly adopted a Pakistan introduced resolution to proclaim 15th March as International Day to combat Islamphobia. Speaking at high level event on eighteenth June to mark celebration of first anniversary of International Day on Combating Hate Speech, India`s permanent representative to UN T.S.Tirumurti said that selective approach to deal with religiophobias could well set a precedent that will lead to multiple resolutions on phobias based on selective religions which could turn the world body into religion camps. Obviously the selective approach is completely unrelated to realities on ground,lop sided and illogical. Just to quote a few instances from Asian background, terrorist attack on a Gurudwara Karte Parwan in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, which came hours after the Hate Speech event on eighteenth June,killed two persons including a Sikh and injured many others. Following this latest attack Government of India has decided to grant e-visas to Hindu and Sikh Afghan nationals. Earlier in a major such incident in March,2020 a bomb attack by fundamentalists on a Gurudwara in Kabul killed twenty five Sikh worshipers. During last several decades such attacks and attrocities on Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan have almost completely diminished their population in Afghanistan which stood well over seven lacs before occupation of the country by erstwhile Soviet forces in 1979. While such incidents have continued to occur every now and then,but much earlier in March 2001 when the Taliban were at the zenith of their power in Afghanistan, explosives were laid at the base and the shoulders of the two Buddhas at Bamiyan blowing those to pieces. The whole world was outraged and aghast. During thirteenth century A.D. even Genghis Khan who had spread destruction all around the area had left the Buddhas standing. Was the outrage a reaction to Islamphobia or fulfillment of an edict to pull down the gods of infidels and ultimately dominate the world? It is such faulty approaches of the world body unrelated to reality which depict its colossal inadequacy and add credence to calls for its urgent restructuring to make it fully representative and subsequent reformation. The worst is that in Pakistan even attacks on minorities and desecration of their holy places have turned into recurring occurrences. On thirty first December in 2020, a Hindu temple including the Samadhi of a Hindu religious leader in its premises in Karak District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan were set on fire by a mob led by some clerics and supporters of radical Islamist Jamiat-e-Islam party Fazal ur Rehman group in Pakistan. In another incident ignoring UN General Assembly resolution, Pakistan Government decided to transfer management of Kartar Sahib Gurudwara to a non-Sikh body. Such heinous crimes bring into focus almost perpetually continuing decades old discrimination and persecution on religious grounds against minorities in Pakistan and draw attention to Nehru-Liaquat Pact arrived at between the then Prime Minister of India Jawahar Lal Nehru and the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan at New Delhi in April,1950 following partition of the sub-continent in 1947. Under the agreement among other matters, minority rights in both the countries were confirmed. But seeing the plight of minorities in Pakistan the Pact has failed. However, the obvious fact cannot be contended that after partition of India in 1947,the population of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain and Christian minorities who lived in areas which became later Dominion of Pakistan and now Islamic Republic of Pakistan has dwindled drastically whereas the population of Muslims who lived in areas which later became Indian Union has grown fabulously. While in India, rights and security of minorities have been continuously and effectively safeguarded, Pakistan has persistently contravened the provisions of the Pact through consistent neglect and persecution of minorities. India has also told the world body that it is equally concerned about attempts to characterise the motivation behind terror groups which could push the world back to pre eleventh September,2001 era when there was hardly any compunction even in using terrorist groups to aid state policy. But by now barbaric terrorist acts have abundantly clarified that terrorists are terrorists and there cannot be a good terrorist or a bad terrorist. Those who plead for this distinction have an obvious aim and agenda and those who aid and cover up for them are equally responsible for terrorist acts. Referring to latest UN strategy to fight terror,India has also cautioned the Security Council to guard against new terminologies and false priorities which could dilute the fight against terrorism. Earlier in his article on 29.1.2022 titled “India Urges UN For Comprehensive Convention Against Terrorism” this writer had cautioned that failure to find a common definition of terrorism and conclude a comprehensive convention against it has only added to the woes facing the mankind. It has also given a free rope to countries like China which have no qualms even in turning Pakistan,the epicentre of terrorism into an ally. Any dilution of terrorism could well turn it into a recognised means to achieve an undesirable end. India has been the worst victim of terrorism particularly cross border terrorism even though it has been the strongest bulwark against intolerance and hatred. Its multicultural edifice has always made it a safe haven for all those who sought refuge in India at one time or the other irrespective of whether they were Jews,Zoroastrians , Tibetans or those from India`s own neighbourhood. India has been following the principles of democracy with its necessary checks and balances and whenever or wherever any aberration occurs,it is addressed within the confines of law and the country does not need selective outrages from outsiders. Indis strongly believes that a society based on pluralism where every religion is respected is sine qua non for tolerance and harmony. Terrorism hampers evolution of a global human civilisation and globlised order. India has consistently pleaded including at UN platforms for concerted efforts by international community to combat hate, violence, fundamentalism, extremism and terror not just only against Abrahamic religions,but equally against followers of all other religions. The world body has to develop an education system that truly contributes to combating violence and terrorism and promotes the principles of democracy and pluralism.  (The author is a former IIS officer and freelance journalist)