Indian Americans condemn Hindu extremist violence against Muslims across India during the holy month of Ramadan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC (April 19, 2022) – The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s constitutional values of pluralism and tolerance, today unequivocally condemned the large-scale day’s long Hindu extremist violence against Muslims across several Indian states during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
Starting the first week of April, the violence has spread far and wide with targeted street violence against Muslims and their places of worship as well as their homes, stores and businesses especially during the Hindu festivals of Ram Navami on April 10 and Hanuman Jayanti on April 16.
Viral videos that have flooded social media show Hindu extremist mobs armed with swords, guns and rods, taking out processions through Muslim areas, blasting Islamophobic songs, chanting Hindu religious slogans, attacking mosques, shrines, Muslim families, homes and their businesses.
The news reports and videos circulating on different social media platforms clearly suggest that the violence was orchestrated by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Hindu supremacist paramilitary organization and its militant affiliates like Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal. The RSS is the ideological parent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Most incidents were reported in the Indian capital of New Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Goa, Bihar and West Bengal.
Muslim homes, businesses, mosques and shrines were attacked, vandalized and burnt in the BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. In Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone city, the epicenter of violence, the local administration demolished Muslim homes and shops, doubly victimizing them after Hindu extremist mobs had terrorized and targeted them. In Gujarat’s Himmatnagar, the Hindu extremists set fire to a Muslim shrine.
In Delhi’s Jahangirpuri, VHP and Bajrang Dal militants, armed with swords, tridents and guns, took out a rally on Hanuman Jayanti and tried to hoist saffron flag and pelted stones at a mosque. The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi has blamed the BJP for instigating the violence, stating that the AAP’s Hanuman Jayanti procession had been entirely peaceful.
In Roorkee, Uttarakhand, Muslims reported that Hindu extremist mobs stormed Muslim dominated areas of the city, petling stones at properties, attempting to break into homes, and chanting hateful slogans. Hindu extremists threatened to bulldoze Muslim-owned homes and forced several Muslim families to flee.
In Mulbagal, Karnataka, the police assaulted Muslim residents during a Hindu extremist rally. They police included a boy who was on his way home from offering prayers.
Raja Singh, a BJP leader from Telangana state, was booked by Hyderabad police for leading a Hindu extremist rally and delivering an anti-Muslim hate speech. Singh had claimed that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a close ally of Prime Minister Modi, would “use a bulldozer to clean the country” and “turn it into a Hindu Rashtra (nation) very soon.”
Instead of holding the Hindu extremists accountable, the police in the states ruled by the BJP have arrested Muslims on false and fabricated charges of violence.
Local state authorities have also ordered the demolition of Muslim-owned homes and shops, punishing poor Muslims for resisiting the violent Hindu mobs. It is noteworthy that no Hindus who set mosques on fire, pelted stones, beat Muslim, or robbed Muslim homes have had their homes bulldozed.
“Every religious group has a right to celebrate their festivals. However, it is shameful and despicable that Hindu extremists in India are using their festivals to terrorize Indian Muslims with physical assaults, vandalism, and arson. It is alarming that these acts of large-scale violence are being committed in the presence of the police,” said Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Director of IAMC.
Ahmed further termed the bulldozing of Muslim houses and shops as “complete injustice” and “grave breach of Indian and international law.”
IAMC urges the international human rights organizations & civil society groups to take note of the deteriorating situation in India, which has a potential to turn into a full-blown Muslim and Christian genocide in the coming months
IAMC also call on the US State Department to ask the Indian government to stop stoking the anti-Muslim sentiment, punish the Hindu extremists involved in the anti-Muslim violence, and accept the recommendation of the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to designate India as Country of Particular Concern (CPC).