IAMC Weekly News Digest, 5th November 2021
Facebook Let an Islamophobic Conspiracy Theory Flourish in India Despite Employees’ Warnings – By Billy Perrogo
In a video posted to Facebook in November 2020, an extremist priest called for Hindus to rise up and begin killing Muslims in India. “People need to learn that this is not the time to protest, but the time to go to war,” said Narsinghanand Saraswati, who has been named by at least one international watchdog as an extremist hate preacher. “This is a global war where Islam’s jihadis are fully prepared. It’s our choice if Hindus should fight or not. But Muslims will not spare Hindus.”… With 1.4 million views as of late October this year, the video was one of the top posts on Facebook about “Love Jihad,” a popular Islamophobic conspiracy theory that suggests Muslim men are attempting to wage a holy war against Hinduism by marrying and converting Hindu women to Islam. Facebook banned the QAnon conspiracy theory in October 2020, designating it a “militarized social movement.” But the company has not applied the same definition to Love Jihad, which began as a fringe conspiracy theory but began to enter the Indian political mainstream around 2016 after being taken up as a narrative by Hindu nationalist groups….
A new report by civil society organisations has highlighted how a culture of impunity is allegedly being pushed at all levels after ‘extrajudicial killings’ in Uttar Pradesh, with the police regularly being let off the hook for their ‘illegal’ actions without proper investigation. While extrajudicial killings are not a new phenomenon in India, and have been witnessed across the country and over decades, the current Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh has been blatant in its support for the police violence against those seen to be breaking the law. In fact, the chief minister himself has touted this as a win for the state government, showing how it is tough on law and order. In this situation, it is perhaps unsurprising that the police officers responsible for alleged extrajudicial killings are not held to account. Since March 2017, news reports suggest 8,472 instances of police firings have taken place, leading to the deaths of 146 men and bullet injuries to 3,302 more….
The Jammu and Kashmir Police have booked Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vikram Randhawa for hate speech after he asked his supporters to beat up Kashmiri Muslims and “skin them alive” for celebrating the Pakistan cricket team’s victory against India in the T20 World Cup match on October 24, The Wire reported on Tuesday. The police booked Randhawa under Indian Penal Code Section 295-A for hurting religious sentiments and under Section 505(2) for promoting enmity between religious groups. However, he is yet to be arrested. In a video posted on Twitter by Peoples Democratic Party leader Naeem Akhtar, Randhawa also demanded that the Indian citizenship of those who had cheered for Pakistan should be revoked….