Washington — India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, refuted claims that there is violence against Muslims in India by pointing out that since 1947, the Muslim population in India has increased while minorities of all types have been “decimated” in Pakistan, while speaking in Washington, DC at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
She asserted that Muslims in India continue to live regular lives and questioned individuals who levelled accusations against the Indian government about whether the Muslim population had decreased or whether there had been an unusually high number of fatalities in any one community since 2014.
Sitharaman also noted that law and order was a state matter and not the purview of the Indian government when addressing at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC. She extended an invitation to people who, in her view, shaped these notions without actually being there to come to India, explore the nation, and then support their argument.
In addition to hosting the second meeting of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors, the finance minister is in Washington for the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Sitharaman was speaking with Adam Posen, the head of the Peterson Institute. She was responding to a query on how perceptions in Europe and the United States (US), based on stories in the Western news about opposition legislators losing their status or Muslim minority being the target of violence, have impacted capital flows and investment in India.
“The investors who are going to India have the key to the solution. As someone who is interested in getting investments, I would only advise coming to India to see for yourself what is occurring rather than listening to opinions being formed by others who haven’t actually been there and have only read accounts”, she added.
According to T Sitharaman, emerging economies “carry this burden” of being reminded of their status as developing markets, requested for assistance or encouraged to play a positive role, while also receiving advice from others.
She disputed the implication made by the moderator and asserted that India has the second-largest Muslim population in the world, and that figure is only increasing. I will wonder if this will happen in India in the sense that the Muslim population would be larger than what it was in 1947 if there is a perception or if there is reality that their lives are difficult or made difficult with the backing of the state, which is mentioned in most of these write-ups.
Then, in order to make the contrast more evident, she claimed she would name a nation. “As opposed to Pakistan, which was established concurrently…Pakistan proclaimed itself an Islamic nation but promised to protect minorities”. In Pakistan, every minority has seen a decline in numbers or, if I may use a harsher term, a decimation. Even some Muslim groups, she continued, had been wiped out. Mohajirs, Shia, and any other group you can think of that is not acceptable by the majority of Sunnis are met with violence. Sitharaman said that Muslims of all stripes were operating legally in India, raising their families, and receiving government scholarships.
She also stated that maintaining law and order is a state responsibility rather than one of the Government of India. Every province has an elected administration. In those states, they are in charge of maintaining law and order. If there is widespread violence in India that causes Muslims to be impacted, that is a false assertion in and of itself. It is impossible since police in every province are unique. This demonstrates that these reports have “no clue” about the law and order systems in India, according to Sitharaman.
To claim that the Indian government is solely to fault, I would like to ask: Has the population decreased between 2014 and the present? Has there been a particularly high death rate in any one community? Then Sitharaman extended an invitation for the authors of these reports to visit India. “I’ll be their host. Let them come, let them explore India, let them make their case”.