BJP Leaders & Hindu Extremist Mob Hold Hindu Prayers Inside Muslim Religious Space; 167 Muslims Arrested, Extremists Walk Free
A mob of extremists from the Hindu supremacist group Shree Ram Sena attempted to barge into a 14th-century Muslim shrine (dargah) in Karnataka state and hold a Hindu prayer inside to “purify” it on March 1. The extremists were joined by five members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including BJP Union minister Bhagwanth Khuba and BJP State vice-president Malikayya Guttedar.
Despite a government order preventing members of all communities from entering the dargah, the BJP leaders and their Hindu extremist followers refused to turn back, claiming that there was a Hindu deity inside the Muslim shrine. Rather than arrest the extremists for violating the law and attempting to flare communal tensions, police offered to protect 10 extremists while they offered prayers inside the dargah, despite objections by Muslims.
Muslims questioned why the Hindu extremists were granted an exception from the prohibitory order, when Muslims who gathered to protect the dargah were turned away by police.
167 Muslims were arrested after stone-pelting broke out between the Hindu extremist mob and the protesting Muslims. Police also broke into Muslim residencies and arrested women as well as men. One Muslim woman was beaten all over her body in front of her daughter, after which police stripped off her scarf and used it to tie her hands behind her back. All of the Hindu extremists who incited the altercation walk free, facing no consequences for their fear-mongering and hateful attempt to harass the Muslim community.
100+ Instances Of Anti-Muslim Hate Speech And Hindutva Supremacy in Yogi Adityanath’s Speeches, Analysis Finds
An analysis conducted by the Wire, an Indian news publication, found that Uttar Pradesh state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a vitriolic Hindu supremacist and close ally of Modi, made over 100 hate speeches and references to Hindu supremacy within the span of three months during his election campaign.
While never mentioning Muslims directly, Adityanath used derogatory references to the Muslim community by referring to them as “rioters,” “supporters of the Taliban,” “terrorists,” and “those who pose a threat to women.”
“Before 2017, because of Uttar Pradesh’s miserable law and order situation, every third day there was a riot. Any festival could not be celebrated peacefully,” he said, referencing Hindu festivals. “But brothers and sisters, now the rioters have been taken to where they were meant to go.”
In another speech, he said, “Now these rioters and criminals walk around with a signboard begging for their lives,” in a clear reference to Uttar Pradesh’s Muslim minority, which has suffered discrimination, mob beatings, lynchings, and attacks on mosques at the hands of Adityanath’s Hindu supremacist supporters.
Californian Clergy Coalition Calls Hindu Supremacist Persecution Of Indian Christians A Great Moral Evil
Six clergy and one lay-leader representing seven different churches and ministries from five separate Christian traditions came together to raise awareness about the persecution of Christians in India and the dangers of Hindu nationalism in an event in California.
“The great moral evil that will be remembered in the year 2022 is the persecution of the millions of Christians in India,” said Father Steve Macias, a priest in the Reformed Episcopal Church.
“There’s a hurricane-level right now cultural storm that’s brewing in India, and it’s one that could potentially decimate the Indian Christian population,” said Father Joshua Lickter of the Anglican Church in North America. “Extreme religious leaders in India right now are advocating, they’re telling their people to go out and harm Christians, burn churches, degrade their religious icons, do all kinds of horrible, atrocious things.”
Pieter Friedrich, a freelance journalist and South Asian affairs analyst, described how the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a dangerous Hindu supremacist group, has been working for decades to popularize the idea that India should be a Hindu nation while non-Hindu Indians should be either killed or stripped of their rights.
“This is the ideology of the paramilitary whose political wing, the BJP, has been in complete control of India since 2014,” said Friedrich. “Every year since 2014, the total number of violent incidents reported against Indian Christians has increased, reaching an all-time high in 2021 of 505 attacks.”
Adding that while there are nine other countries that rank high in Christian persecution, Friedrich noted that India is distinct in several ways: “First, it is the only legitimate, officially secular democracy on the list; second, as the second-most populated country in the world, its population is more than twice that of all the other nine combined; third, it is the only country which is an ally of the United States.”