Foreign Affairs

Indian envoy to UN: Recognise ‘Hinduphobia’ and violence against Buddhists, Sikhs

Indian envoyPhoto Credit: The Hindu

T.S. Tirumurti, India’s UN representative, said the United Nations’ latest Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, passed last year, is full of errors and is biased, and could reverse advances made in the “war on terror” after 9/11. He also argued that words like “violent nationalism” and “right-wing extremism” should not be included in terrorism resolutions as they would “dilute” them, suggesting the government’s discomfort with additional terms being added to the definition of terrorism.

“Over the last two years, numerous member nations have attempted to categorize terrorism into categories such as racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism, violent nationalism, right-wing extremism, and so on, based on their political, religious, and other reasons.” This trend is dangerous for several reasons,” Mr. Tirumurti said during a keynote address at a virtual conference organized by the Delhi-based Global Counter-Terrorism Centre (GCTC), where he stated that he was speaking as Ambassador of India to the United Nations and not as Chair of the UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) for 2022.

Tirumurti’s strong remarks suggest that India will oppose any expansion of the terms that are included in the UNSC’s discussions on terrorism until it demits the UNSC seat in December this year. 

Mr. Tirumurti pointed out that only religious phobias against “Abrahamic religions”: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism had been named in the “Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy’s” 7th review passed by the U.N. General Assembly in June 2021. “The emergence of contemporary forms of religiophobia, especially anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist and anti-Sikh phobias is a matter of serious concern and needs the attention of the U.N. and all member states to address this threat,” Mr. Tirumurti said, without mentioning any examples.

The envoy claimed that putting “labels” on “so-called” dangers was “misleading and erroneous” in comments that appeared to challenge recent criticism of “right-wing” ideology in India in the western press.

“It is important to understand that in democracies right-wing and left-wing are part of the polity primarily because they come to power through the ballot reflecting the majority will of the people and also since democracy by definition contains a broad spectrum of ideologies and beliefs,” Mr. Tirumurti said, adding that national or regional narratives must not become part of global narratives.

Attempts to characterize the motivations of terror groups, according to Mr. Tirumurti, are another threat that might lead the globe “back to pre 9/11 era,” when groups were labeled as “your terrorists and by terrorists.” India also leads the UNSC’s 1988 Taliban Sanctions Committee and would be in charge of any requests for sanctions relief or waivers against Taliban officials.

“Terrorists are terrorists; there are no good and bad ones. Those who propagate this distinction have an agenda. And those who cover up for them are just as culpable,” he said, calling on the Security Council “to be on guard against new terminologies and false priorities that can dilute our focus”.

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By TIS Staffer
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