Despite hate mongering, BJP defeated in Karnataka elections - IAMC

Despite hate mongering campaign, BJP defeated in Karnataka elections

The Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has lost its only state government in South India after the opposition Congress Party won the majority of seats in the Karnataka state elections this past weekend. 

This striking loss for the BJP comes despite its aggressive hate-mongering to appeal to the Hindu vote in the leadup to the election, including by having Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself lead about 20 rallies in Karnataka. 

Prominent Karnataka BJP leaders have been forced to resign or have lost their seats, including former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who previously threatened “stern action” against Muslim girls protesting the state’s unconstitutional hijab ban. Another BJP leader who played a key role in enforcing the hijab ban and pushed the Hinduization of school textbooks, Education Minister B.C. Nagesh, has also lost his seat. 

During its rule over Karnataka, the BJP had supported a number of laws and policies targeting Muslims, including anti-conversion laws criminalizing interfaith relationships, banning the hijab in schools, and banning Muslim vendors from setting up shop in “Hindu areas.” Under the BJP, Hindu militant groups like the Bajrang Dal were also emboldened to commit mob lynchings and other hate crimes against Muslims.  

Student attacked with sharp object, iron rod for protesting circulation of anti-Muslim film

A medical student in Jammu state was attacked and injured with a sharp object and iron rod by Hindu supremacists after he objected to another student sharing a link to watch the anti-Muslim propaganda film “The Kerala Story” in a school groupchat. 

After the student told his Hindu supremacist peer not to share the film link in a chat meant for academic purposes only, he was confronted and assaulted in a hostel by non-student Hindu extremists as well as his peers. 

Witnesses reported that the individuals who did not attend the school attacked the victim while shouting Hindu extremist slogans, injuring him so badly that he needed stitches in the head. The outsiders fled after the attack. 

Students have vehemently protested the attack by boycotting classes and staging a sit-in on a main road to demand accountability for the attackers. So far, only a police report has been filed. 

“It was a deliberate attempt to disturb the peaceful atmosphere,” one student said. “‘The Kerala Story’ movie is not some holy sculpture – people have different opinions with regard to the controversial film and everyone is free whether to watch or not to watch the movie.”

Manipur violence survivors describe mob attacks, army camp conditions

Survivors of an outbreak of ethnic and religious violence in BJP-ruled Manipur state are sharing horrifying stories of mob attacks and desperate army camp conditions. 

The violence, which is largely being driven by Manipur’s Hindu-majority Meitei people against the Christian Kuki tribals, is the worst Manipur has seen in decades. 

Gina, a survivor who fled the violence and is now staying in an army camp, reported that mob attacks have continued against camps of Kuki refugees. 

“We were terrified when some locals in the surrounding areas belonging to another community tried to attack the camp. When they were prevented, they banged on electric poles and shouted insults to intimidate us,” she said, adding that food is limited in the already-overcrowded army camps. 

Another person from the Kuki tribe, Kan, stated that he and his family had lost their home and their belongings to a violent mob. 

“My Meitei friends who live in the neighborhood informed me that my house was first looted and then set on fire… They were helpless as they would have been targeted had they tried to intervene in any way,” he said. 

At least 60 people have been killed and  23,000 people have fled to surrounding states. 230 were injured, mainly wounded by bullets and clubs. 1,700 houses have been torched and destroyed, along with vehicles, several Kuki churches, schools, businesses, and other establishments. 

Survivors of the violence have blamed the BJP government for stoking tensions between the Meitei and the Kuki and encouraging divides along ethnicity and religion.