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ICC Note: The rise of the BJP under the leadership of Narendra Modi has led India farther down the path of tying up their national and religious identity as one. The ideology promulgated by the party and by many others in India is that to be an Indian is to be a Hindu. This is dangerous because it creates a justification for the exclusion of religious minorities and has started to inspire the targeting of religious dissenters including Christians and Muslims.

05/27/18 India (Pakistan Observer) – BJP is fast losing its luster under leadership of Modi. The BJP policies originate from RSS ideology of Hindutva or Hindu nationalism with an idea to form Akhand Bharat, or undivided Indian state, which is true representative of Hindu culture and religion. The BJP’s extremist actions and discriminatory policies are not new as the world witnessed India’s nuclear explosions, violence against Christians, Gujarat carnage and strengthening of Indo-Israel ties during their first tenure in government. Currently, as their second term in office, the BJP government since its election campaign has used anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim sentiments as a tool to gain the vote bank. After Prime Minister Modi’s coming to power, discriminatory policies of BJP towards minorities particularly Indian Muslims have alarmed the international community, which due to their own vested interests conveniently turned a blind eye to human rights violations committed against Muslims in India and in occupied Kashmir as well. Since then, India is witnessing darkening episodes of rise of Hindutva or Bhagva.

On 30 April 2018 in Gurugram, Haryana, several Hindu outfits under aegis of “Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti” staged a demonstration demanding that the case registered against six men for disrupting Namaz be withdrawn and a city-wide ban implemented on offering Namaz in the open. Earlier, on 27 April, six Hindu extremists had disrupted a Namaz congregation while chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Radhe Radhe’ slogans in Sector 53, Gurugram, Haryana. Reportedly, the protesters also submitted a letter addressed to Hindu extremists CM of Haryana namely Manohar Lal Khattar and deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh alleging that under the false pretext of prayers, the worshippers were chanting anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans and they also intended to occupy the land illegally.
Similarly, BJP MP from Aligarh namely Satish Gautam in a letter to Vice Chancellor Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Tariq Mansoor asked to explain why it displays a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the walls of the AMU student union office. AMU spokesperson Shafey Kidwai defended the portrait that has apparently been hanging there for decades, saying that Jinnah was a founder member of the University Court and granted life membership of the student union. It was also mentioned that no Indian national leader had raised any objection to the photo even after Independence. In the same milieu, Hindu extremists students manhandled Muslim students in Aligarh Muslim University as well.

In another incident of Hindu highhandedness against minorities, a Dalit marriage procession was attacked by upper caste Hindus in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district as the groom was riding a horse. Last year, upper caste Hindus from Rajput community in Haryana had pushed a Dalit groom from his horse and beaten him up. In Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain, stones were pelted at a Dalit groom who chose to ride a horse during his wedding procession.
Likewise, Love Jihad, Ghar Wapsi, Bahu Lao Beti Bachao programmes, compulsory education of Geeta, Maha Bharat and Hindu literature in educational institutes, ban on cow slaughter and beef in Maharashtra and killing many Muslims in the name of religion or false allegations of eating beef are the actions intended to promote cultural violence in the all segments of Indian society. Some other brutal actions intended to stimulate communal violence and religious extremism in Indian society includes ban on Pakistani movies, demand for resignation of Hamid Ansari (Vice President of India), attack on seventy year old Christian Pope in Bengal, ban on Christian missionaries, giving Indian nationality to all non-Muslim Bengalis, demand for abrogation of article 370 from the constitution and fuelling Hindu-Muslim riots in Kashmir etc.

Not only this, Modi is ardent follower of VD Savarkar who was crucial in giving ideological direction to the Mahasabha and today also venerated by the RSS and BJP. Savarkar is referred by PM Modi as ‘a true patriot’ and his portrait was placed in Indian parliament by BJP leadership. At the end of his life Savarkar wrote a book in Marathi, “Six Glorious Epochs of Hindu History wherein he argued that Muslim women were to be treated as enemies for they ‘too played their devilish part in the harassment and molestation of Hindu women.’ Throughout the text of the book, Savarkar wonders what would have happened if Hindu rulers had not been ‘chivalrous’ towards Muslim women. He then writes on behalf of dead Hindu women, ‘let those Sultans and their peers take a fright that in the event of a Hindu victory, our molestation and detestable lot shall be avenged on the Muslim women.’

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For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]