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10/27/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to the Times of India, Facebook India has refused to classify the Bajrang Dal, a radical Hindu nationalist organization, a “dangerous organization” on the platform. The social media company claimed the designation, although justified given the Bajrang Dal’s use of social media in its persecution of religious minorities, could spark physical attacks against the company’s staff and harm their business prospects.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, confirmed the Bajrang Dal was in danger of being designated a dangerous organization on the platform. The issue was flagged after a Pentecostal church was attacked outside New Delhi in June. The attackers punched the pastor and claimed the church was built on a Hindu temple. The attackers then forcefully installed an idol in the church.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s report, “Members of the Bajrang Dal claimed responsibility in a video describing the incursion that has been viewed almost 250,000 times on Facebook. The social-media company’s safety team earlier this year concluded that Bajrang Dal supported violence against minorities across India and likely qualified as a dangerous organization that should be banned from the platform.

Facebook India reportedly “balked” at the suggestion of designating the Bajrang Dal a dangerous organization, citing a report by the company’s internal security team. This report warned any action against the Bajrang Dal might endanger the company’s staff and harm its business prospects in India.

Further confirmation that BJP-RSS control Facebook in India,” Congress MP Rahul Gandhi shared, posting a video clip of the news channel that aired the Wall Street Journal report.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), another Hindu nationalist organization, told the Times of India that it would initiative legal proceedings against the Wall Street Journal.

This is a conspiracy primarily to defame and insult India under the garb of attacking Bajrang Dal,” VHP Joint Secretary Surendra Jain told the Times of India. “We will not accept this insult and will take legal action against WSJ.

Across India, attacks on religious minorities and their places of worship have increased both in number and severity. A recently released report by the United Christian Forum documented more than 300 attacks on Christians in India in just the first nine months of 2021.

Social media platforms, such as Facebook and WhatsApp, have been regularly used by radical Hindu nationalists to help perpetrate a terror campaign against minorities. Hate speeches, misinformation, and videos of attacks on minorities have been regularly used to normalize religious intolerance in India.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].