The top American ambassador in India Elizabeth Zones said on Friday that the US government “will continue to express” concerns about the tone of the Indian election campaign, which borders on racial hatred.
“That’s one of the benefits of this consequential relationship, that we can discuss a great variety of issues; easy issues, difficult issues, issues on which we agree, issues on which we don’t,” she said.
She continued, “We have been discussing this for a long time and will continue to do so.” regarding the communal rhetoric.
The recent poll campaign in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat has devolved into communally charged statements by the BJP. “Because of the chaos, there was no room for development in Gujarat. They attempted communal violence in 2002… we taught them a lesson by locking them up,” Union Home Minister Amit Shah had remarked on November 16.
“People of Gujarat had seen the days when communal riots were common, especially between 1985 and 1995 (under non-BJP governments). Curfew remained imposed for 250 days out of 365 days (a year). Women used to pray for their family members whenever they used to visit the walled city areas,” Shah had said.
Shah said the BJP governments improved the situation as a result of which no one dares to create disturbance now.
“All the Latifs and Ijju Shaikhs (two criminals from Gujarat) were already eliminated. Today, 20-year-old youths do not even know what curfew is like. We eliminated the appeasement-based politics and established the rule of law in Gujarat,” he further said.
Other BJP leaders, including Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, have since expanded on this rhetoric as the BJP seeks to extend its 27-year unbroken reign in Gujarat and retain Himachal Pradesh.
“Hindus normally do not contribute to riots. Hindus do not believe in ‘jihad’,” Sarma said on Thursday in an interview with NDTV.