Coronavirus has brought a very serious crisis for India, but for the Narendra Modi regime, it has also provided a powerful political opportunity.”
Indian hate campaign bleeds into the Gulf
While these exchanges were on, tweets by the BJP member of parliament, Tejasvi Surya from 2015, quoting the self-styled Islamic “scholar” Tareq Fatah (who had been popular in Hindutva circles in India a few years ago) cropped up. The tweet said, “95% Arab women have never had an orgasm in the last few hundred years. Every mother has produced kids as act of sex and not love.”
This obviously was found most offensive. Noora Al Ghurair, a prominent businesswoman in Dubai, said: “Pity your upbringing that respect for women couldn’t be instilled in U despite India having some great female leaders.” She advised that, if he were to join the Indian foreign ministry in future, he “should avoid visiting Arab lands. You are not welcome here”.
A commentator from Kuwait, Abdul Rehman Nassar tweeted directly to Prime Minister Modi insisting that Tejasvi Surya be deprived of his parliamentary membership. He told the prime minister that Indians in Kuwait constitute the largest community among those infected with the coronavirus and were being treated in the best hospitals. He reminded Modi that Indians remitted billions of dollars to their country and all of them (mostly Hindu) were treated well in all Gulf countries. How are Muslims treated in India, he asked.
A Kuwaiti lawyer and human rights activist, Mejbal Al Sharika, also questioned Modi on the Surya tweet, pointing out that Surya had “publicly humiliate(d) our women” and demanding punitive action. He announced he was attaching himself, with other Gulf activists, to the cause of the Indian Muslims against “Hindutva fascism”.
On April 19, Modi intervened for the first time with a tweet.
Most observers would see these remarks as reflecting little conviction and less enthusiasm. In any case, they are likely to have no impact on his zealous followers. As Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay has pointed out in his article on April 24: