by Hari Ravindran

There is a growing realization in the Hindu American community that Democrats, who present themselves as warriors for social justice, do not believe in justice for Hindus. They are even willing to whitewash crimes against Hindus in order to appeal to Muslim voters. These concerns have grown sharply over the last few months.

Central to the issue are reactions to the policies of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is portrayed on the Left as being the Trump of India and disparagingly referred to as a Hindu nationalist. Modi is held in high esteem by many American Hindus. Various Modi policies have been condemned by Democrats but praised by Hindus who see them as addressing historic wrongs against their community.

Consider, for example, Modi’s repeal of the special status of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in August of last year. Kashmir, which has been mired in a separatist insurgency that has left more than 40,000 dead over three decades, began its descent into chaos in 1990 with the ethnic cleansing of more than 300,000 Hindus. At the time, Islamic fundamentalists published ultimatums in local newspapers ordering all Hindus to leave immediately, broadcast messages encouraging the purge of Hindus using the loudspeakers of mosques, and killed and raped hundreds, leading to an exodus of Hindus out of the region.

Kashmir’s Muslim-dominated government passed several discriminatory laws, including ones that made it virtually impossible for Hindus to own land there. They were able to do this because Article 370 of the Indian Constitution granted them a semiautonomous status. Modi’s repeal of this special status was therefore viewed favourably by many Hindus around the world, including many in the United States.

Democrats have reacted by accusing India of trampling on human rights. They also criticized steps taken by India to thwart Pakistan-backed terrorist organizations operating in the region and to prevent further violence, such as imposition of communications blockades and detentions of individuals known for making inflammatory speeches.

Bernie Sanders, whose campaign manager is a Pakistani American, heaped criticism on India while addressing a convention of the Islamic Society of North America, an organization known for hosting Islamists and anti-Semitic speakers, as the crowd cheered. Not once did he mention the ethnic cleansing of Hindus or acknowledge that Kashmir would now benefit from progressive laws and rights defined in the Indian Constitution.

Elizabeth Warren tweeted that she was concerned about the restrictions and that the U.S.-India relationship was based on shared democratic values, as if to imply that the measure, which had passed through both houses of India’s Parliament, was undemocratic. At a U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Human Rights in South Asia led by Brad Sherman, Rep. Ilhan Omar referred to the events as a Hindu nationalist project and accused journalist Aarti Tikoo Singh (a victim of the ethnic cleansing) of presenting a dubious version of events. She even questioned Singh’s journalistic credentials.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal performed the biggest act of virtue-signalling by condemning her country of birth and introducing a House resolution urging India to “end the restrictions on communications and mass detentions.” That resolution has been co-sponsored by 61 Democrats but only 4 Republicans, signalling its partisan nature. Rep. Rashida Tlaib went even further, introducing a resolution supporting Kashmiri independence.

Tulsi Gabbard, the only Hindu in Congress, has been repeatedly accused of supporting a fascist for expressing her admiration of Modi, particularly by Sanders’s supporters. This is ironic because Gabbard is a Sanders fan and endorsed him in 2016. Last month, she tweeted about facing Hindu phobia throughout the campaign and was trolled for her tweet. At about the same time, Muslim groups were attacking Joe Biden for hiring staffer Amit Jani, whose father is acquainted with Modi, accusing the staffer of harbouring a Hindu nationalist agenda and launching a campaign to have him fired.

This barrage of ill-founded criticism by Democrats against Modi and his supporters, of which only a few examples have been presented here, often in collaboration with Islamic pressure groups, has left many Hindu Americans disillusioned. The community has historically voted for Democrats, but it might be time for a reset.

Hari Ravindran is a software engineer living in Seattle