Delegate Name: Isabella Feenstra
The Definition of Genocide
The Republic of India
Forest Hills Eastern
Genocide equates to the institutionalized systematic extermination of a particular group based upon their race, gender, or ethnicity. The term, introduced by Raphael Lémkin in his book Axis Power in Occupied Europe during the 1940s, stems from Greek (prefix Genos – birth and race) and Latin (suffix Cide – kill or act of killing) roots. The world experienced this first-hand with the Holocaust during World War II and the surveillance, subjugation, and, finally, assassination of six million Europeans of Jewish descent. In the 1984 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention), 153 states recognized the crime of genocide as independent and mandatory under international law.
The convoluted relation of genocide within India’s borders originates from its foreign-occupied past. India ratified the 1948 Genocide Convention, pledging to take preventative and disciplinary measures against any actions of genocide with no governmental figure or tier exempt from prosecution. However, in recent years, the disruptive effects of the British Raj – British rule of India during a period of 89 years – fostered India’s firm stance on protecting its cultural heritage and identity. India’s detrimental era under British despotismic rule included the widespread angst of forced conversions, economic poverty, and political exploitation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the majority party leader of the Lok Sabha, the Bharatiya Janata Party, seek to establish national unity through the vessel of “Hindutva” (Hindu Nationalism). Encompassing all Hindus and tribal members within India, the Hindutva movement desires to install Hinduism as the national religion of India, which currently claims to be a secular country. The threats Kalistan (an inimical Sikh movement) and Muslim conversions pose to the establishment of Hinduism and the welfare of Indian society gravely concern India’s authorities. The Indian Penal Code constitutes genocide under section 153A, which prosecutes individuals on the basis of inciting any actions, words, or writings that promote enmity between two groups based on religion, gender, race, place of birth, language, or caste. This includes provisions against prejudice. Additionally, in section 295A, India prohibits any use of malicious acts, words, or actions with the intent to disrupt or upset a religious group’s beliefs or feelings. With these statutes in place, India believes they are adequate to prevent and contain the threat of genocide.
As such growing minorities seek to undermine the traditional Hindu values of India’s foundations. India promotes taking proactive measures to ensure the continuation of its heritage and Hindutva missions. The ambiguities within the definition of genocide under the UN provide nations with a means to protect their national identity and people from foreign degradation and manipulation.