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Dr. Farah Naz

The writer is serving as Assistant Professor at the Department of government and Public Policy, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, NUST. E-mail: [email protected]

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Hilal English

Elections in India: A New Phase of False Flag Operations and Muslim Bashing

April 2024

The 2024 elections in India are occurring against a backdrop of deep-seated societal divisions and political tensions. Modi's leadership, rooted in Hindutva ideology, faces scrutiny amid concerns over minority rights and democratic principles.



Perhaps 2024 marks the ultimate election year around the world. People from 64 states, representing a combined population of about 49 percent of the world, will vote and elect their leaders. This makes it an unprecedented year. In the race to elect leaders, South Asia is not lagging behind. After Bangladesh and Pakistan, India is all set to contest elections in April-May 2024. It is commonly believed that in India, the twenty-first century belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under Narendra Modi's leadership as Prime Minister.1 Well, it is worth exploring how Modi became so popular in India that he is consistently leading the country as Prime Minister and is expected to be re-elected in 2024. Alongside studying Modi’s popularity, it is crucial to investigate whether this election will differ from previous ones or if it will once again be orchestrated by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or Hindutva followers to perpetuate extreme narratives in India and violate human rights, particularly those of its minority groups. Another crucial question that arises is whether India will resort to another false flag operation, as it has done in the past, to capitalize on public sympathy or votes.
Articles 324 to 329 in Part XV of the Indian Constitution deal with the electoral system of India. Article 324 of the Constitution provides for an independent Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections in the country.2 There are various types of elections held in India, such as Parliamentary General Elections (Lok Sabha), in which a total of 543 members are chosen to form the government for five years; Rajya Sabha Elections, which involve an indirect election process where the State assemblies select members according to the proportion of available seats–the Rajya Sabha can never be dissolved, and its members are elected for six years; State Assembly Elections (Vidhan Sabha), in which each state is divided into territorial constituencies for the purpose of electing candidates for five years; Zila Panchayat Elections, constituting the third tier of the Panchayati Raj system headed by a President who is directly elected from among the elected members of Zila Panchayats across various districts; Urban Municipal Elections, conducted to elect municipal councillors and ward representatives for Municipal Corporations in urban regions; and by-elections or by-polls, used to fill an office that has become vacant between general elections.
In total, India had seventeen general elections and is fully tuned to hold its eighteenth general elections this year in 2024.3 The history of Indian General Elections dates to 1952 when Jawaharlal Nehru became the first elected Prime Minister of the country. Since then, India had elections in 1957, 1962, 1971, 1977, 1980, 1984-85, 1989, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019. Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee served as the Prime Minister of India from March 19, 1998-May 22, 2004.4 The Congress and its United Progressive Alliance (UPA) won the general elections in 2004 and 2009. Manmohan Singh served as Prime Minister from May 22, 2004 to May 26, 2014.5 Shri Narendra Modi was sworn in as India’s Prime Minister from April 7, 2014 to May 12, 2019 and re-elected on May 30, 2019 to date. Modi also served as the longest Chief Minister of Gujarat from October 2001 to May 2014. 


The BJP-led government takes refuge in false flag operations and conducts media hype, stirring up anti-Pakistan sentiments. Satya Pal Malik, former Governor of occupied Kashmir, and Ravish Kumar, a journalist, revealed that the Pulwama attack was a false flag operation, criticizing the Modi government for it.


Every election in India brings a sad story where minority rights are violated, or they are publicly butchered. The story dates to February 27, 2002, when Sabarmati Express, a train carrying Hindu kar sevaks (pilgrims) returning from the site of the demolished Babri Masjid, was attacked and more than 1000 people (majority Muslims) were burnt alive. According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW), unofficial estimates put the death toll as high as 2,000.6 Genocide Watch declared it as genocide in Gujarat. Since then, riots have broken out in Gujarat, leading to at least 250 women and girls being gang-raped before being burned to death. A mob of 5,000 people set fire to houses of Muslims in Ahmedabad's Naroda Patia neighborhood, resulting in the death of at least 65 people. Before being burned and hacked to death, women and girls were gang-raped in public, while their male family members were forced to watch the rapes and were then killed. HRW's findings, along with those of numerous Indian human rights and civil liberties organizations, as well as most of the Indian press, indicate that the attacks on Muslims throughout the state were planned well in advance of the Godhra incident and were organized with extensive police participation and in close cooperation with officials of the BJP state government.7 The groups most directly responsible for violence against Muslims in Gujarat include the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Bajrang Dal, the ruling BJP, and the umbrella organization RSS (National Volunteer Corps), all of whom collectively form the Sangh Parivar or "family" of Hindu nationalist groups. These organizations, although different in many respects, have all promoted the argument that because Hindus constitute most Indians, India should be a Hindu state.8 According to this mindset, Muslims and other minorities have no place in India!
Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat at that time. He was accused of initiating and condoning the violence, along with police and government officials who allegedly directed the rioters and provided them with lists of Muslim-owned properties.9 Modi's failure to stop anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat led to a de facto travel ban imposed by the United Kingdom (UK), the United States, and several European nations, as well as the boycott of his provincial government by all but the most junior officials.10 
India has used false flag operations on different occasions, which triggered the situation leading to far-reaching consequences between both countries. Tracing back the recent history, the Ganga hijacking in 1971, the Indian parliament attack in 2001 leading to the Twin Peak Crisis, the Godhra train burning in 2002, the 2007 Samjhauta Express (Friendship Express) bombing terrorist attack occurred around midnight on February 18, 2007 on the Samjhauta Express, a twice-weekly train service connecting Delhi, India, and Lahore, Pakistan.11 Bombs were set off in two carriages, both filled with passengers, just after the train passed Diwana near the Indian city of Panipat, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of New Delhi. 70 people were killed in the ensuing fire and dozens more were injured. It has been linked to Abhinav Bharat, a Hindu fundamentalist group in India. In a disclosure that should have made it more difficult for the Modi government to turn around12 the case, the lead investigator of the 2007 bombing of the Delhi-Lahore Samjhauta Express said there was ample evidence implicating Indore-based Hindutva extremists. The terror attack killed 68 people, mostly Pakistani citizens.13 Vikash Narain Rai, a former Haryana police officer who headed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) from 2007 to early 2010, said the police recovered an unexploded bomb from the train. He further disclosed that during investigations, it was found that all the parts of that ‘incendiary device’ were purchased by people linked to the RSS and its associate groups.14
The Pathankot airbase attack in 2016, the Uri attack in 2016 and the Pulwama suicide attack in 2019, all led to serious consequences.15 On August 5, 2019, the Government of India issued a Presidential Order superseding the 1954 order, and making all the provisions of the Indian constitution applicable to Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The order was based on the resolution passed in both houses of India's parliament with a two-thirds majority led towards revocation of articles 370 and 35A. With the revocation, Kashmiri people lost their special right status and now they can be governed by Indian governments the way they want to. 


Modi's failure to stop anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat led to a de facto travel ban imposed by the United Kingdom (UK), the United States, and several European nations, as well as the boycott of his provincial government by all but the most junior officials.  


A false flag operation was attempted in April 2023, just days ahead of the G20 summit. Furthermore, on May 21, 2023, the Modi regime conducted another false flag operation in Poonch district, followed by incidents in Islamabad district on September 14, 2023, and in Neelam on October 28, 2023. These incidents were all attributed to Pakistan. Additionally, on October 5, 2023, Indian media accused Pakistan of supporting an attack in Rajouri, where an Indian Major killed 5 Indian soldiers. Similarly, in December 2023, when Indian troops were attacked in Surankote in the Poonch district, the Modi regime promptly blamed Pakistan, despite the area being 15 to 20 km away from the Line of Control (LoC). Following the incident, RAW's fabricated "X" accounts and biased media outlets began accusing Pakistan without evidence.16
India faces serious allegations regarding overseas killing plots revealed by Canada and the U.S., in addition to Pakistan. The BJP-led government takes refuge in false flag operations and conducts media hype, stirring up anti-Pakistan sentiments. Satya Pal Malik, former Governor of occupied Kashmir, and Ravish Kumar, a journalist, revealed that the Pulwama attack was a false flag operation, criticizing the Modi government for it. The current fears appear genuine because of the upcoming elections, a significant event in the country's history where the BJP aims to retain power for another term, which might tempt them to orchestrate yet another false flag operation.
The recent Ram Mandir controversy on January 22, 2024, has sparked a new debate among scholars. To some, Modi's new temple embodies the revival of a Hindu golden age, while others believe it symbolizes the decline of a pluralist nation. Despite India's claim as the largest and strongest democracy, questions arise about whether it fulfills all the requirements of a democratic state. Let's consider the inauguration of the Ram Mandir–under Modi's command, Hindutva followers expected Muslims, Christians, and other minorities to celebrate the Ram Mandir, and those who refused to comply faced heavy consequences. Modi should cease projecting minorities as an issue in Kashmir and India, and instead, consider sharing political space with all, regardless of their religious background, while conducting political campaigns without resorting to false flag operations. India should adhere to all democratic norms and refrain from maligning Pakistan, Muslims, and other minorities. However, under Modi's Hindutva ideology, is India ready to have such a big heart? The simple answer is no!


The writer is serving as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Government and Public Policy, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, NUST.
E-mail: [email protected]


1.      “Election-Winner Narendra Modi: 21st Century Belongs to India.” The Guardian, May 17, 2014. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/17/narendra-modi-india-election-hindu. 
2.      BYJU’S Exam Prep. “Election Process in India-Electoral System, Types of Elections.” BYJU’S Exam Prep, November 14, 2023. https://byjusexamprep.com/upsc-exam/types-of-elections-in-india#toc-2. 
3.      History of Lok Sabha elections. Accessed March 9, 2024. http://www.smetimes.in/smetimes/general-elections-2009/miscellaneous/2009/Mar/23/history-of-lok-sabha-elections5584.html/. 
4.      Former prime ministers | prime minister of India. Accessed March 9, 2024. https://www.pmindia.gov.in/en/former-prime-ministers/. 
5.      Ibid.
6.      “I. Summary.” “We Have No Orders to Save You.” Accessed March 9, 2024. https://www.hrw.org/reports/2002/india/India0402.htm. 
7.       Ibid.
8.       Ibid.
9.     Apr 24, 2023. “2002 Gujarat Riots-Times of India.” The Times of India. Accessed March 9, 2024. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/miscellaneous/2002-gujarat-riots/articleshow/60732493.cms#. 
10.    Mann, James. Why Narendra Modi was banned from the U.S.-WSJ. Accessed March 9, 2024. https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-narendra-modi-was-banned-from-the-u-s-1399062010. 
11.    “UXO-Samjhauta Express Bombings 2007.” CAT. Accessed March 9, 2024. https://cat-uxo.com/explosive-hazards/incidents/samjhauta-express-bombings-2007. 
12.    Bureau. “Upa Govt, Let Worked in Tandem in Ishrat Jahan Case: Mos Kiren Rijiju.” Zee News, May 27, 2016. https://zeenews.india.com/news/india/upa-govt-let-worked-in-tandem-in-ishrat-jahan-case-mos-kiren-rijiju_1889483.html. 
13.    Mahaprashasta, Ajoy Ashirwad. “Here’s Why Investigators Saw Clear Hindutva Link to Samjhauta Bombing.” The Wire. Accessed March 9, 2024. https://thewire.in/communalism/2007-samjhauta-express-blast-case-vikash-narain-rai. 
14.    Ibid.
15.    Shaukat, Reema. “India’s False Flag Operations.” The Nation, February 27, 2024. https://www.nation.com.pk/27-Feb-2024/india-s-false-flag-operations. 
16.    Ibid.

 

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Dr. Farah Naz

The writer is serving as Assistant Professor at the Department of government and Public Policy, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, NUST. E-mail: [email protected]

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