Indian Political activist, Arundhati Roy, called out the Indian government for using the coronavirus outbreak as a portal to fuel tensions between Hindus and Muslims. Roy shared these views on the 17th of April while talking to Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster.
She predicted that the strategy used by the Hindu nationalist government will ‘dovetail with this illness to create something which the world should really keep its eyes on.’ Arundhati believes that ‘the situation is approaching genocidal.’
“I think what has happened is COVID-19 has exposed things about India that all of us knew,” said Roy. “We are suffering, not just from COVID-19, but from a crisis of hatred, from a crisis of hunger.”
The population of 1.3 billion people, in India, is currently practising a six-week nationwide lockdown. This highly populous country has in accordance with the figures from the Johns Hopkins Institute has now 13,835 confirmed cases of coronavirus thus far; resulting in 452 deaths. However, India has often shown a high discrepancy between official and actual case numbers; hence, no one knows the correct prevalent numbers.
“This crisis of hatred against Muslims,” she continued, “comes on the back of a massacre in Delhi, which was the result of people protesting against the anti-Muslim citizenship law. Under the cover of COVID-19, the government is moving to arrest young students; to fight cases against lawyers, senior editors, activists and intellectuals. As of recent, some of them are currently in jail.”
Is history repeating itself?
Arundhati accused the Indian government exploiting COVID-19 similar to how the Nazis drove the Holocaust. “The whole of the organization, the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a Hindu nationalist group — Editor’s note] to which Modi belongs, which is the mother ship of the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party], has long said that India should be a Hindu nation. Its ideologies have likened the Muslims of India to the Jews of Germany. And if you look at the way in which they are using COVID, it was very much like typhus the used against the Jews to ghettoize them and stigmatize them.”
About Arundhati Roy
58-year-old, Suzanna Arundhati Roy is a best-selling Indian author and political activist involved in human rights and environmental causes. She is best known for her novel ‘The God of Small Things,’ which won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997 and became the best-selling book by a non-expatriate Indian author. Since then, Roy has spent most of her time on political activism and nonfiction; such as collections of essays about social causes.
In 2017, Arundhati released her second novel, ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.’ This also gained enormous fame and was nominated as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in January 2018.