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07/27/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, India’s Minister for Minority Affairs and a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), recently claimed that the majority of mob lynchings reported in India were “concocted and fake.” Religious minority leaders were quick to condemn this claim, accusing the Minister of hiding the truth behind growing religious violence.

Religious intolerance and attacks on religious minorities in India have skyrocketed in recent years. Many activists claim the intolerance and violence started to increase in 2014 when the BJP first took power.

According to UCA News, surveys carried out by international rights organizations show that mob lynching incidents have also risen since the BJP came to power. Most victims have been Muslims accused of cow slaughter or cow smuggling, but Christians from low caste communities have also been affected.

According to Zafarul Islam Khan, the head of the Delhi Minority Commission, there have been over 400 crimes linked with cow protection, a significant plank in the BJP’s pro-Hindu political platform, since 2014. This has included the outright murder of individuals suspected of consuming or possessing beef.

Cow protection is an issue often used by Hindu nationalists to drum up political support from fundamentalist Hindus. High profile politicians within the BJP have called for nationwide cow protection laws to be passed. Some BJP politicians have even endorsed individuals who have lynched religious minorities accused of slaughtering cows by inviting them as special guests to political rallies or following them on social media.

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