Indian Americans call on Indian government to investigate sale of illegal firearms to Hindu militant groups
Washington, D.C. (February 9, 2023) – The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) today expressed its alarm that Hindu supremacists associated with the militant Hindu extremist group Bajrang Dal have been caught offering illegal firearms – including handguns, rifles, shotguns, and bullets – for sale on Facebook forums.
Bajrang Dal is one of India’s largest Hindu militant groups, and its members have an extensive history of orchestrating and participating in violence against minorities, including mob lynchings and riots.
As such, the open attempts between Bajrang Dal members to buy and sell weapons pose a direct threat to the safety and security of religious minorities, specifically Muslims, who have been the main target of Hindu extremist violence, since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed power in 2014.
IAMC further calls upon the Indian government to fully immediately investigate these attempts to sell firearms for the explicit purpose of threatening and killing minorities and hold all parties involved accountable to the full extent of the law.
According to The Wall Street Journal report, multiple posts by Hindu supremacists offering the sale of deadly weapons to Bajrang Dal members had been on the platform since April of 2022. However, after an independent journalist reported them, Facebook refused to take the posts down, claiming that these attempts to sell weapons did not violate community policy.
It was not until The Wall Street Journal began investigating the posts and asked Meta for comment that the posts were taken down, highlighting Facebook’s glaring indifference towards the promotion of hatred, violence, and extremism in India. Unsurprisingly, the Indian government has maintained silence on the issue.
“We are outraged that Facebook took so long to remove posts that encourage and facilitate the killing of minorities,” said Syed Afzal Ali, IAMC President. “Facebook should take immediate steps to improve their monitoring of hateful content, and the Indian government should both strongly condemn and thoroughly investigate the amassing of firearms by Hindu militant groups.”
In recent years, militant groups such as the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have amplified calls for Hindus to stock up on weapons for the explicit purpose of killing Muslims and Christians. Calls for the genocide of 200 million Muslims have also been made repeatedly since the end of 2021, prompting the US-based rights watchdog, Genocide Watch to issue a genocide alert for Muslims in India.