The attack on the Sikh Gurudwara in Kabul, causing multiple fatalities, was a blip in the global consciousness – it happened and it has already been forgotten. The condition of such minorities in places like Afghanistan does not fit into any of the dominant narratives. However, for those who care, it brings into even sharper focus the logic behind the CAA, which has been so energetically opposed by self-appointed defendants of secularism.
The attackers, reportedly belonging to a local affiliate of the ISIS, had planned, for some reason, to attack the Indian Embassy. Finding it too well guarded, they chose the Gurudwara. Why? Because, like it or not, the Sikhs fit two categories – they are associated with India and are infidels for the Islamists. Of the three countries that the amendment to the Citizenship Act addresses, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have good relations with India, but the fundamentalists that constitute the opposition there and hold much of the public in thrall support the transformation of these countries into ‘Islamist’ states. As for Pakistan, it is already there and its ‘deep state’ is totally in cahoots with the terrorists. These leaves the minorities nowhere to go – no matter how much they seek to conform, short of conversion, they are under sentence of death. This can be carried out at any time by anybody – it only requires a trigger.
The world, of course, remains unconcerned. It matters only for India, which is why the CAA provides a green channel to these communities to take refuge if they so wish. Those who deny this reality are living in a dream world – they do not understand that there can be no solution if the reality is not squarely confronted. The ‘appeasement’ approach has been tried but it has not worked. Instead, the space conceded is readily occupied and the aggression continues.
India has tried over the years to shore up the moderate and secular forces in, both, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, but it obviously has been a policy of diminishing returns. This is partly because the battle between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran has led to the radicalisation of Muslims around the world. Even hitherto moderate nations like Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, etc., have been severely affected. India, too, has been targeted for a long while now. A most un-Indian version of Islam is being promoted by foreign preachers spread across the country and, as usual, the moderates find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. Instead of opposing the CAA, India’s Muslims need to confront this problem within and exhibit courage where it is actually needed.