Beijing: China’s media has drawn attention to the recent violence following the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda “godman” Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, which claimed 38 lives, saying it “exposes India’s woes” amid the on-going border stand-off at Doklam.
“It is India’s internal affairs to settle the riots, and China hopes the Indian government can quell the unrest soon. But, as Beijing and New Delhi have been locked in the Doklam standoff for some time, we have reason to worry that India may use the border disputes to divert public attention away from the domestic conflicts if the riots escalate,” said a Monday commentary in the hawkish Party-run Global Times.
While there is no evidence to suggest any likelihood of New Delhi doing so, that did not, however, stop the Global Times from seeking to draw a link to the border stand-off. Ironically, this is despite the fact that India has been largely silent over the June 16 Doklam stand-off barring one Ministry of External Affairs statement, and it is China’s State media and government ministries that have come out with a number of hard-hitting statements on the issue, drawing wide attention to the stand-off in China and fanning nationalist sentiment on social media.
The Global Times commentary was the latest to do so. Headlined “Riots over sect head conviction expose India’s woes”, the commentary by Liu Lulu said that the popularity of the Dera sect and the recent violence had “expose[d] the country’s serious political and societal problems.”
“India is perplexed by a number of ethnic and societal problems,” it said. “We hope India can withdraw its troops from Chinese territory as soon as possible, and focus its attention on domestic development. Utilising the border disputes to alleviate domestic conflicts will only lead to lose-lose results,” the commentary said.
It said the Dera sect leader’s popularity had “highlighted that India is like an elephant mired in the furious struggle between traditions and modernisation.” “Indians always regard their country as a bastion of purity in the world, but this superstitious and outdated traditional spirit has fettered India’s modernisation. Indians always worship gurus. God-men are business tycoons in India as well,” it added.
“The guru phenomenon also suggests the public’s disappointments toward the country’s traditional politics,” the commentary said. “Dissatisfied with reality, an increasing number of Indian citizens are turning to these non-traditional religious groups. It is quite ironic that modernisation in the means of communication by these so-called gurus has become the barrier that impedes the Indian public from spiritual modernisation. The phenomenon also exposes the country’s serious political and societal problems.”