Anti-Muslim rhetoric soaring in India ahead of state elections

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Munawar Zaman
Press TV, New Delhi

Muslims in India have been marred by decades of history of communal violence and hatred, but everything has swelled since the ruling Hindu nationalist BJP took power in 2014.

It is the second largest minority community in the world’s largest democracy, representing 200 million or more of the population. Apparently their existence is going through difficult times in Modi’s New India.

In India, the last decade has seen growing fear and panic among minorities, especially Muslims. There is growing mistrust of Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP. Critics accuse the ruling party of polarizing the country along religious lines; therefore playing a divide and conquer policy for another possible vote. Many argue that it could damage the diverse fabric of the country and cause social discord.

The last few months have seen dramatic violence against the Muslim community. Street vendors, industrialists, corporations, advertising agencies and now even Bollywood stars are being targeted in vicious anti-Muslim rhetoric using social media. Experts say efforts are underway to transform secular India into a theocratic supremacist Hindu state.

Hindu extremists are also accused of using social media to spread hatred and harm India’s diverse fabric. Based on reports from rights groups, the ruling BJP has passed various laws that legitimize discrimination against religious minorities. This sparked criticism against the government.

Violence against Muslims and other minorities has prevailed since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, but the past decade has been much worse after the rise of right-wing Hindu supremacy. Muslims have suffered repression in India in various forms. The ruling party denies any bias against minorities. Critics call this claim vague.

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