Hindu supremacist RSS claims Muslim population rising from conversion, “infiltration” - IAMC

Hindu supremacist RSS claims Muslim population rising from conversion, “infiltration”

A top leader of the Hindu supremacist organization, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has demanded a “population policy” claiming without evidence that religious conversions to Islam and “infiltration” from across the border with Muslim-majority Bangaldesh were causing a “population imbalance.”

“The population of Hindus has gone down owing to conversions in some parts of our country,” RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said at a press conference on Wednesday at Prayagraj city in Uttar Pradesh state. “There is a need for this subject to be considered holistically so that a uniform national population policy can be framed and made applicable to all.”

Hosbole provided no data for his claim, which is commonly repeated among right-wing Hindu groups that seek to erode India’s traditional secular character.

The population imbalance bogey based on false allegations of forced religious conversion has been raked time and again by Hindu supremacist groups in an attempt to disenfranchise Muslims on the pretext of checking illegal immigration. 

In 2021, a study by the Pew Research Forum found that religious conversion has a negligible impact on the overall population composition of India, with 98% of Indians still identifying with the religion they were born in.

Hosbole’s inflammatory comments come ahead of elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat states over the next weeks.

Hindus constitute nearly 80% of India’s 1.4 billion population, while Muslims account for a little over 14%. India’s population growth is slowing, driven by a decline in fertility rates. Muslims have a slightly higher fertility rate than Hindus but it’s also falling at a faster rate than the Hindus’, according to the National Family Health Survey.

But that hasn’t deterred several BJP-ruled states – including Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, and Gujarat – to consider population control legislation.

Amnesty slams travel ban on Pulitzer Prize awarded Kashmiri journalist Sanna Mattoo

Amnesty International India has condemned the travel ban on Pulitzer Prize-winning Kashmiri photojournalist Sanna Irshad Mattoo, and called on the Indian government to lift all arbitrary travel bans and live up to the country’s human rights obligations.

Mattoo was stopped from traveling to the US a day earlier despite having a valid visa and ticket. She was leaving to receive the award, given to her for her coverage of the pandemic in India, in New York City.

Noting that India routinely uses travel bans as a tool in the wider crackdown on dissent, Aakar Patel, chair of the board of Amnesty International India, said this was a blatant violation of human rights and must end.

“These arbitrary executive actions are not backed by any court order, warrant, or even a written explanation, making it difficult for the activists and journalists to challenge these in the courts,” he added.  

Since 2019, Amnesty International has documented the case of at least six Kashmiri journalists, human rights activists, academics and politicians including Gowhar Geelani, Shah Faesal, Bilal Bhat, Zahid Rafiq, Sanna Irshad Matto, and Aakash Hassan who have been barred from traveling outside India without any lawful justification.

Officials restore to Muslims mosque in Telangana Hindu mob had vandalized

A historic mosque vandalized by Hindu extremists on Sunday was returned to Muslims on Wednesday after officials confirmed its ownership lay with the Muslims.

On October 16, a Hindu extremist mob of about 150 people had broken the outer wall of the Qutb Shahi mosque in Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana state, and forcibly installed a Hindu god’s idol there.

Authorities shortly convened with Musilm leaders and determined after studying the documents that the land had indeed belonged to the mosque.

Officials also sanctioned Indian Rupees 500,000 (USD 6,025) to rebuild the wall.

Delhi Court discharges Muslim politician accused of anti-Muslim violence

A Delhi Court on Wednesday discharged ten Muslim men in a case in which they were accused of “causing mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy a building” during a pogrom of Muslims in 2020 in Delhi.

In a damning indictment of the Delhi Police, which is under the control of India’s Hindu supremacist federal government, judge Pulastya Pramachala said the Muslim men had been accused of the offense “without due application of mind.”

The offense is punishable with life imprisonment or with imprisonment of a term that may extend to ten years and with a fine.

The accused included Tahir Hussain, a leader of the opposition Aam Aadmi Party, who is facing multiple false charges under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Hindu extremist mobs carried out days of mass violence against Muslims in February 2020, killing at least 35 Muslims, wounding hundreds, and rendering thousands homeless after burning down their properties.

Earlier this month, a civil society-led fact-finding team, headed by a former Supreme Court judge, concluded that the police and Hindu mobs had collaborated to carry out that violence.