Racial prejudice toward minority groups in India | By Tofeeque Ahmed

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Racial prejudice toward minority groups in India

DEROGATORY remarks about the Last Prophet (M-PBUH) made by two officials from India’s ruling BJP sparked a mix of deadly protests and diplomatic spats in India.

Complaints had been lodged with India’s ambassadors by countries such as Oman, Qatar, Malaysia and Indonesia.

This time, 15 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar, have protested India’s violation of the limit.

Making disparaging remarks about the Last Prophet (M-PBUH) was clearly “over the line.”

Since the BJP came to power in 2014, religious polarisation has increased, as has hate speech and attacks on Muslims.

And the last few weeks have been especially tense after some Hindu groups went to a local court in Varanasi to seek permission to pray at a centuries-old mosque that they claimed was built on the ruins of a demolished temple.

The 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and Pakistan have also condemned India for BJP party members denigrating remarks about the Last Prophet (M-PBUH).

Furthermore, the remarks sparked outrage around the world and within India, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Party facing condemnation in Muslim countries as well as other countries.

Muslims protested in cities across Asia, including Pakistan and India. Indian authorities cracked down on protesters last week, but the Modi regime continues to demolish Muslim activists’ homes in order to pursue its ideology of Hindu supremacy.

This is not how Mr Modi or the BJP has governed. India, founded as a secular nation despite its 79% Hindu majority and 15% Muslim minority, has slid toward Hindu nationalism under BJP rule.

Under dubious pretences, bulldozers have razed houses in majority-Muslim neighbourhoods with local officials even boasting about the demolitions.

The BJP-led state government of Karnataka banned hijabs in schools, which the state court upheld in March.

The hijab controversy in India cannot be viewed in isolation. It is a component of the chauvinist BJP government’s anti-Muslim rhetoric.

And in Pakistan, two Hindus, Kelash Kumar and Aneel Kumar, were promoted to the rank of Lt Col in the Pakistani Army.

Monitories in Pakistan are equal citizens, and it is the responsibility of the State to protect them.

Every year, hundreds of hate crimes are committed against Indian Muslims and other religious minorities as local and state BJP officials engage in hate speech themselves.

Despite this, Mr Modi and the national BJP have remained silent until now. India is a country with deteriorating religious freedoms. But the international community has been silent over India’s ridiculous policy.

The hijab controversy in India, discriminatory citizenship laws, lynching of Muslims on suspicion of consuming or transporting beef and bans on communal prayers are all part of the BJP’s sinister anti-Muslim campaign.

Hindutva supremacists believe that their God is only there for them and others are untouchables and consider Muslims in India invaders who must be converted back to Hinduism. Because, they find Muslims an easy target.

—The writer is an Islamabad based freelance analyst.

 

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