The Hindu extremists continue to commit grave crimes against Muslims amid Coronavirus outbreak. There have been several cases of mob lynching and public shaming in India. BJP, inspired by fascist ideas of RSS, believes that the Muslims are responsible for the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, the human rights body of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has urged India to halt violence against Muslims in the country during the ongoing pandemic.
In a statement, the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), an expert human rights body with the OIC, condemned a ‘vicious’ campaign in India against Muslims being accused of spreading the coronavirus.
1/2 #OIC-IPHRC condemns the unrelenting vicious #Islamophobic campaign in #India maligning Muslims for spread of #COVID-19 as well as their negative profiling in media subjecting them to discrimination & violence with impunity.
— OIC-IPHRC (@OIC_IPHRC) April 19, 2020
“#OIC-IPHRC condemns the unrelenting vicious #Islamophobic campaign in #India maligning Muslims for the spread of #COVID-19 as well as their negative profiling in media subjecting them to discrimination & violence with impunity,” it said on Twitter.
2/2 #OIC-IPHRC urges the #Indian Govt to take urgent steps to stop the growing tide of #Islamophobia in India and protect the rights of its persecuted #Muslim minority as per its obligations under int"l HR law.
— OIC-IPHRC (@OIC_IPHRC) April 19, 2020
In India, the coronavirus has killed 543 people while a total 17,615 have been infected by the virus. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has exacerbated Islamophobic attacks and country’s largest minority, Muslims — who account for over 14% of country’s 1.3 billion population — have been attacked and accused of spreading the disease.
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Notably, not only media or social 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.
"How the coronavirus outbreak in India was blamed on Muslims: The COVID-19 pandemic has been turned into yet another Islamophobic conspiracy theory.” https://t.co/1tpnLS4HSs
— Muslim Voices at IU (@muslimvoices) April 20, 2020
The OIC rights body called on New Delhi to protect the country’s nearly 200 million Muslims from Islamophobic campaigns.
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Anti-Muslim violence and condemnation have further mounted due to anti-Muslim media coverage rife in the country. “#OIC-IPHRC urges the #Indian Govt to take urgent steps to stop the growing tide of #Islamophobia in India and protect the rights of its persecuted #Muslim minority as per its obligations under int’l [international] HR law,” the IPHRC statement added.
Violence against Muslims
In Feb this year, as the violence in India continued to persist, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in a two-part tweet condemned the violence in Delhi, ‘expressing its sincere condolences to the families of the victims’ and describing the acts as ‘heinous’. “The OIC calls on Indian authorities to bring the instigators and perpetrators of these acts of anti-Muslim violence to justice and to ensure the safety and security of all its Muslim citizens and the protection of Islamic holy places across the country,” the tweet said.
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Similarly, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently hit out against ‘massacres’ of Muslims in India after communal riots in New Delhi left at least 33 dead.
“India right now has become a country where massacres are widespread. What massacres? Massacres of Muslims? By who? Hindus,” Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara after violence broke out this week between mobs of Hindus and Muslims over a citizenship law.
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”.
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The emerging trends in India offer us a sufficient amount of evidence that the rise of identity politics in India is to overshadow Modi’s dismaying economic performance. This is wrong with identitarian politics in the age of populism.
Similarly, while commenting on the state of the economy, Indian writer and human rights activist, Arundhati Roy notes that “While Modi has delivered on Hindu nationalism, he has stumbled badly on the free-market front. Through a series of blunders, he has brought India’s economy to its knees.”
Apoorvanand, who teaches Hindi at the University of Delhi, believes that the BJP is attempting to hegemonise the diverse India which is likely to backfire. He opines that “The BJP and the RSS are trying to hegemonise diverse, regional and cultural spaces and paint them with a broad Hindu brush. Slowly and gradually, they are trying to gain control over institutions – religious and cultural – by putting their people there”.
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He further notes that “They are trying to create a Hindu umbrella, which will shelter all these diverse traditions and give people a feeling of being part of a unified whole called Hinduism. They are also eyeing the tribal traditions. This entry into their holy and cultural spaces is now conspicuous.”