Today, as the world battles coronavirus (COVID-19),… India is also battling another threat to life – Muslim hate. …social media and WhatsApp groups have been flooded by calls for social and economic boycotts of Muslims and there have been numerous physical attacks on Muslims, including volunteers distributing relief material, amid falsehoods accusing them of spreading the virus deliberately.
However, coronavirus has simply highlighted what Muslims have been increasingly facing in India since Modi’s BJP government was first elected in 2014. BJP leaders have repeatedly made Hindu nationalist and anti-Muslim remarks in their speeches and interviews. These have, at times, encouraged and even incited violent attacks by party supporters who believe they have political protection and approval.… Mobs affiliated with the BJP have, since 2015, killed and injured scores of members of religious minorities amid rumors that they traded or killed cows for beef.
Government policy has also reflected bias against Muslims. In December 2019, the Modi administration achieved passage of the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which for the first time in India makes religion a basis for granting citizenship.… What was reassuring is that hundreds of thousands of Indians protested against these plans.… But it was deeply troubling that the police and other officials repeatedly failed to intervene when government supporters attacked Muslims and others protesting against the government’s proposed citizenship policies.… Several BJP officials mocked and threatened protesters, while some even called for the protesters, whom they described as “traitors,” to be shot, fueling further violence against Muslims.