Double Standards: Pro-Israel Rallies Allowed, Palestinian Solidarity Rallies Banned in IndiaOctober 25, 2023
Despite being the first non-Arab nation to formally recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the 1970s, there are indications of India leaning towards stronger relations with Israel. Recent developments in India have brought into question the treatment of protests and gatherings related to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
The devastating airstrikes on Gaza by Israel, which resulted in the tragic loss of almost 6,000 lives, including a significant number of children, have sparked global outrage and calls for an immediate ceasefire. Nevertheless, some social activists in India have voiced concerns over government actions that seem to target and suppress their activities.
In a troubling incident, just days after the Gaza offensive began; authorities in Uttar Pradesh initiated a search for Atif Chaudhary and Suhail Ansari, two Muslim scholars who had expressed their solidarity with Palestine through a WhatsApp photo. They now face allegations of inciting hostilities between different social groups. While Ansari is in custody, Chaudhary remains at large.
What’s particularly noteworthy is the differing treatment of these incidents. While the police took action against students from Aligarh Muslim University for organizing a pro-Palestine march, a pro-Israel rally by the Hindu far-right group Bajrang Dal in the same city proceeded without any opposition. This discrepancy has raised concerns about unequal treatment and potential limitations on freedom of expression.
These contrasting responses have ignited discussions about the state of freedom of expression in India and the government’s position concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.