India saw highest level of religious hostilities during COVID-19: Pew Research Center - IAMC

India saw highest level of religious hostilities during COVID-19: Pew Research Center

India saw the highest level of religious hostilities during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, said renowned think tank Pew Research Center in a report published on Tuesday.

At a score of 9.4 out of 10, India fared the worst in the Social Hostilities Index in 2020.

The hostilities measured included mob or sectarian violence, crimes motivated by religious bias, physical conflict over conversions, harassment for attire for religious reasons, and other religion-related intimidation and violence.

The report mentioned the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) move to place 900 members of the Islamic group Tablighi Jamaat under quarantine after it held a religious congregation in Delhi in early 2020.

The event renewed stigma against Muslims, triggering a wave of business boycotts and hate speech. Several cases were also filed against those who attended the congregation. 

The report also said that India was among the countries where pandemic-related killings of religious minorities took place in 2020.

Modi government stops scholarships for students of Islamic seminaries in classes 1-8

Three months after BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh state ordered a survey of Islamic seminaries in the state, the Modi government has ordered the state to stop providing scholarships to students of Islamic seminaries enrolled in classes one to eight.

Around 500,000 students of 16,558 seminaries in the state received scholarships last year. 

Teachers of the seminaries believe the move was triggered by the Hindu supremacist government’s disdain over scholarship benefits being offered only to students from minority communities. 

According to the government, students of classes one to eight are provided education free of cost, and, therefore, there is no point in continuing the scholarships. 

However, this provision is only for government-aided seminaries.There are 16,513 recognised Islamic seminaries in Uttar Pradesh, out of which only 560 get financial assistance from the state government. 

Civil rights activists have termed the government’s sequence of actions against Islamic seminaries as a direct attack on the Muslim community to deprive Muslim students of education.

Court quashes petition questioning widely-condemned ban on Muslim outfit PFI

Siding with Modi’s Hindu nationalist government’s widely-condemned decision to ban the Muslim outfit Popular Front of India (PFI), the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday quashed a petition questioning the ban on the organization.

The petition was submitted by the president of PFI in Karnataka, Nasir Pasha. Pasha questioned the move and stated that the government imposed a ban on the PFI without giving valid reasons. 

Modi’s Hindu supremacist government on September 27 banned the PFI, a prominent Muslim organization. Over 350 people have been arrested in dozens of raids by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) since then.

“The ban had been imposed without giving any time to place its arguments against the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA),” Pasha’s counsel submitted. 

The crackdown on the PFI has been widely condemned by civil rights groups. Hundreds of Muslim men have been arrested under the draconian UAPA, which allows the government to label individuals as terrorists, in connection with cases related to the banned Muslim group.