It is time for India to speak about persecution of Muslims in China

Shaheen Nazar

New Delhi: – An investigation published this week by American news agency Associated Press (AP) has drawn international attention, and condemnation of China. The AP says it has found that the Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population in the far west region of Xinjiang. The AP further says that Beijing, on the other hand, was encouraging some of the country’s Han majority to have more children.

China has denied the allegations as “baseless”. The Communist government is already facing widespread criticism for holding Uighurs in detention camps. It is believed there are about one million Uighur people and other mostly-Muslim minorities detained in China, in what the government defines as “re-education” camps.

The latest revelation has prompted a global outcry with call for United Nations probe into this “demographic genocide”. The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, a group of European, Australian, North American, and Japanese politicians from across the political spectrum, demanded an independent UN investigation.

From India, none other than Rahul Kanwal, the high-profile news anchor of India Today TV, has come forward to highlight the sufferings of Muslim minority in China.

Today, he ran an exclusive 20-minute programme based on AP investigation and a live interview of a German scholar Adrian Zenz who specialises on Xinjiang re-education camps. He is a senior fellow in China studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Minnesota, US. Based on his own research, Zenz gave a chilling account of the sufferings of Uighur women who are forced to abort and even their uteruses are removed. He called on the world to take appropriate measures to stop this. Kanwal’s programme also referred to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan who in his speech at the United Nations had lectured the West on Islamophobia was but was keeping mum at Chinese atrocities against its Muslim minority.

Fair enough. A journalist must raise his voice whenever and wherever someone is discriminated against. But it should not be selective. This is the same Rahul Kanwal who just three months back became part of a campaign to demonise Muslims in the wake of Tablighi Jamaat episode. He contributed by airing a concocted story on three madrasas of Delhi NCR (National Capital Region) and falsely linking them to Tablighi Jamaat. Later, a fact-check by Newslaundry revealed that whatever claims he made was fake. He “stung” caretakers of the madrasas and claimed that they were violating national lockdown rules. He told his viewers that children were crammed into small rooms where no social distancing norms were being followed. He also claimed that teachers had bribed police to hid children from public glare.

Newslaundry spoke with the three men stung by Kanwal as well as Delhi police officials and found that Kanwal had fabricated the facts. The students of the Madrasas, all from Bihar, were not hiding, they were rather stuck because of the lockdown announced by the prime minister on short notice of just four hours. They had train reservation for April 11, but because of the lockdown declared on March 24 and government directive for students to remain wherever they are, they had no option but to remain in the madrasas.

Madrasas are run on community donations and their students come from poor families. By cornering them at a time of extreme distress he added to their miseries, including endangering their lives. Because of anchors like Kanwal, Muslims faced physical attacks and social boycotts throughout the country.

Now this man is crying foul on the sufferings of Chinese Muslims. Who would believe him? If only he had shown same concerns for Muslims at home.

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