“Worldwide Day to Combat Islamophobia” has been established by the UN General Assembly to combat worldwide hate crimes and state-sanctioned discrimination against Muslims on March 15, 2022. Hijab bans in India’s Karnataka High Court were also upheld that day. Indian Permanent Representative to the United Nations TS Tirumurti said that India was not convinced that it was appropriate to escalate animosity towards one faith to the level of an International Day. With the Karnataka High Court’s ruling on the subject of the Hijab and a statement by an Indian official, the present Bharatiya Janta Party clearly shows the state’s institutionalized bias towards Islam and Muslims.
Important elections were being held in five Indian states, including Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state and its political nerve centre, at this time. Anti-Muslim violence in the country is fuelled by a majoritarian nationalism seen in this election. Demands for mass violence from Hindu nationalist leaders were energising their supporters. The rights of Muslims and other minorities are threatened by anti-Muslim campaigns and new legislation based on the conspiracy theory that Muslim men marry Hindu women in order to undermine and pervert Hindu culture.
Read more: Analyzing UN resolution on Islamophobia
How India has declared its opposition against Muslims?
During the “Dharma Sansad,” or “religious parliament,” on December 22, 2021, a group of Hindus vowed to turn India into a Hindu Rashtra (state), including the destruction of Muslims, in a video that went viral. Activists and spiritual leaders gathered at Haridwar, Uttarakhand, a historic Hindu city in northern India, to denounce murderous violence and Muslim ethnocide. As in Myanmar, they encouraged Hindus to “take up weapons and participate in this “cleaning movement,” just as they did there.”
Hindu Yuva Vahini (literally, Hindu Youth Armed Force or HYV) organised an event in Delhi at the same time as Dharma Sansad in Haridwar, when members pushed for violence and committed to build a Hindu kingdom by “fighting, dying and murdering” if necessary. HYV was instigated by Yogi Adityanath. Hindutva [nationalism’s ideology of Hinduism] and nationalism are the focus of the group’s cultural and social activism, according to its mission statement.
In Chhattisgarh, a conflict hotspot in central India where police and Hindu nationalists have targeted local social justice organisations, a woman leader reportedly asked Hindu youth to beat Hindu women who were in relationships with Muslim men on December 26. Uttar Pradesh has had similar events. As of January 30, the city’s Sansad was advocating for an Indian Hindu Rashtra.
Adityanath, despite several incidents of hate-mongering and provocation, has taken no action
Many of Adityanath’s policies have been designed to deprive Muslims and other underrepresented groups of their civil rights. Some right-wing activists from India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh have achieved significant gains in state government because of Adityanath’s rise to power and disregard for democracy. When Adityanath became the heir apparent to Modi’s position as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, he seemed to be poised to carry out the same atrocities against Muslims that occurred in Gujarat in 2002, when Modi was the state’s chief minister. This onslaught helped Modi rise to popularity with the Hindu Right.
When Adityanath became state minister in March 2017, he met with local BJP officials for the first time. More than 50 people were killed and 50,000 were forced to flee their homes in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, in 2013, when Hindu-led mob violence against Muslims led to 52 deaths and the displacement of more than 50,000 people. Individuals of Hindu descent were engaged in all of these occurrences. Between 2018 and August 2021, the Adityanath government authorised the formal withdrawal of 79 cases. A total of 566 lawsuits were filed, with this group making about 14% of the total.
Half of the 41 Muzaffarnagar cases were dismissed, including four gang rape charges
At least 146 people were killed and more than 3,300 were injured by police in Uttar Pradesh between March 2017 and August 2021, when the BJP came to power. Approximately 37% of all deaths will be attributed to Muslims by the end of the year 2020. The body of a young Dalit girl who was raped and murdered by four upper-caste males in September 2020 was allegedly burned by Uttar Pradesh police and local officials very swiftly.
Both Adityanath and the BJP’s electoral prospects in the 2024 national elections would be affected by the outcome of the poll. To put it another way, Adityanath believes that about 80% of the state’s Hindu population would back his BJP in the next elections. Throughout the campaign, Hindu nationalists have used hate speech to mobilize grassroots followers and indecisive voters. ‘Hate speech’ Popular culture, government, and social media are all rife with anti-Muslim rhetoric. In light of the incident, minority groups and those who support them are concerned about the outcome’s impact. Muslims and other minorities face a serious threat if the BJP is elected. In the event that the BJP loses Uttar Pradesh, would Hindu nationalists turn their fury on Muslims?
In addition to attacks against Muslims at work and in schools, Islamophobia may sometimes present itself in more violent forms, such as mosque attacks or states of reprisal. Islamophobia was widespread in the West before 9/11, and Muslims have begged the international community for years to do something about it.
Anti-Islamic policies have been promoted by both the West and Modi’s Hindutva-inspired bigoted government. Indian laws and practices says Human Rights Watch, “disparage Muslims and stigmatise government opponents.” Controversial citizenship laws, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 A, and the lynching of Muslims on suspicion of trafficking, meat eating, or cow slaughter were some of the most well-known fascist government policies and deeds. A proposed anti-conversion law nicknamed “Love Jihad” has been presented by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in three Indian states. The BJP government accused Tablighi Jamaat of propagating COVID Islamophobia even before the outbreak of COVID-19.
Due to Pakistan accepting the resolution on behalf of the OIC and China co-sponsoring, the UN Day to Remember Islamophobia was hailed as a success by Pakistan. It has become a “fact” that anti-Muslim animosity is “proliferating in various locations throughout the world,” according to Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram. Infringing on the rights of Muslims to freedom of religion and belief are acts of discrimination, bigotry, and violence against them, he said.
Unfavorable perceptions about Muslims must be countered by the OIC, in particular, in order to unite the Muslim world. After this historic decision, Pakistan’s Prime Minister said that the next issue is to ensure that our voice against Islamophobia is heard. It is imperative that world leaders learn about Islamophobia on March 15th as part of the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. Tolerance and the protection of the rights of minorities must be actively promoted.
The author holds an M.Phil from National Defence University and is an Islamabad-based freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.