Director-General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar on Friday said that “India’s attempt to link coronavirus with Muslims and Pakistanis has failed badly.” The DG ISPR clarified how is the Indian government committing violence against the Muslims under the cover of COVID-19 and promoting Hindutva.
Addressing a press conference, the DG ISPR said: “At a time when the entire world is battling the coronavirus pandemic, extremists in India have proved that the country is promoting Hindutva and saffron terrorism” He added that the Indian army’s leadership used the country’s media to unsuccessfully propagate a ‘false’ narrative.
Recently, Indian army chief General MM Naravane had alleged that Pakistan was ‘exporting terror’ during the coronavirus crisis while India was helping others and its own people. The Hindustan Times had quoted Navarane as saying, “It is very unfortunate that at a time when the whole world and India is fighting the menace of this pandemic, our neighbour continues to foment trouble for us.”
Addressing those remarks, DG ISPR said that the allegations were a “Reflection of India’s internal failures and increasing frustrations and demoralisation”. He added that the “Fire of oppression, hatred and race that India had lit in Kashmir has now spread to the rest of the country.”
The DG ISPR pointed out that there has been an increase in ceasefire violations by India. “Since the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in Pakistan, India has committed some 456 violations, resulting in the death of a minor child and injuries to 31 others.”
Indian intellectuals and civil society have not only condemned such acts of violence but also demanded the authorities to protect religious minorities in order to save the secular face of the country. Indian civil society maintains that the rise and spread of RSS ideology thorough promoting Hindutva must be stopped to save the country.
The rise of Islamophobia in India
The COVID-19 outbreak has exacerbated Islamophobic attacks and the country’s largest minority, Muslims — who account for over 14% of the country’s 1.3 billion population — have been attacked and accused of spreading the disease.
BJP, inspired by fascist ideas of RSS, believes that the Muslims are responsible for the spread of the virus. Notably, not only mainstream media or social media sites are encouraging violence against Muslims, even the government of India is adding to this campaign in a very subtle manner. It recently sent a memo to the government of West Bengal state expressing concern that it was failing to implement the lockdown strictly in certain areas. It mentioned seven localities in the state, of which six are distinctly Muslim dominated.
It is important to note that Indian politics is being shaped by the extremist politicians and strategists who intend to wipe out the Muslim minority from India.
Dr Moeed Pirzada, a prominent political commentator and columnist, recently noted that “Ram Rath Yatra, Mandal Commission, Ram Janma Bhoni movement, Attack on Babri Mosque, Demolition of Babri Mosque, Bombay riots, Nuclear Explosions of 1997, Kargil Conflict, attack on Indian Parliament, Mobilization against Pakistan, Gujrat Pogroms, Mumbai terrorism everything in one or the other was skillfully utilized in redefining Indian narrative and politics moving it ever closer to the realization of a Hindu Rashtra which now exists in reality though it still needs a legal and constitutional cover”.