Indian Americans condemn State Complicity in Hindu extremist violence across India following Ram Mandir Consecration
Washington, DC (Jan 25, 2023) – The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) today strongly condemned Hindu extremist violence against Muslims and Christians in the wake of Ram Temple ceremonies this Monday. Following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s consecration of the controversial Ram Temple — itself built on the ruins of the mob-destroyed Babri Mosque — extremist groups have weaponized ensuing celebrations, convening massive processions to attack Muslims and destroy Muslim-owned businesses, homes, and mosques.
State officials have been complicit in enabling these violent processions, with BJP lawmaker Nitesh Rane threatening to “find and kill” those who had put up defensive barricades to protect a Muslim neighborhood in Mumbai. Rane later ordered state bulldozers to advance into the neighborhood, destroying structures belonging to 55 Muslim merchants. Amnesty International has already condemned this latest instance of BJP-led violence as a “major blow to the rule of law.”
“We have seen this horrific crime time and time again,” said Rasheed Ahmed, IAMC Executive Director. “Hindu nationalist groups weaponize religious processions in order to terrorize, intimidate, and destroy Muslim lives while the state stands idly by, refuses to stop or charge perpetrators, and even collaborates with extremists in launching violent attacks. The international community must swiftly condemn this latest bout of state-endorsed, state-led, state-enabled violence in various Indian states .”
Attacks and religious desecration took place throughout India, with Hindu nationalists planting the Hindu saffron flag atop a mosque in Uttar Pradesh, installing a Lord Ram symbol atop a Christian church in Madhya Pradesh, burning down a Muslim fruit seller shop in Telangana, and ordering police to bulldoze numerous Muslim businesses in Mumbai. Videos circulated on social media show saffron-flag-wielding mobs stoning shops that sell meat, attacking clothing stores with apparently Muslim business names, and in some areas, attempting to destroy all shops that do not bear a saffron flag.
Near Mumbai, Muslim student Tariq Chaudhary was attacked by a 200-strong Hindu nationalist mob wielding planks and wooden rods. Chanting the Hindu nationalist slogan of “Hail Lord Ram!” the mob dragged Chaudhary and his co-worker out of the truck, severely beat them, and destroyed their truck. Chaudhary’s coworker required stitches to the head and Chaudhary also sustained serious injuries.
In an interview, Chaudhary asked, “In Ayodhya, they said Lord Ram belongs to us all. Does Lord Ram teach them to drag Muslims out, beat them with sticks and force them to say, ‘Hail, Lord Ram’?”
Hindutva mobs also attacked three Muslim men on Mumbai’s Mira road, destroying their truck, beating them with flag sticks, and threatening to set them on fire. Police watching on refused to intervene, effectively enabling an attack that left three men with severe injuries requiring hospital care. As in years past, the thousands of violent assailants who have participated in attacks have not been booked or charged with crimes.
In two cities, Hindu nationalist groups assaulted students attempting to screen the Anand Patwardhaan documentary “Ram ke Naam,” or “In the Name of God,” a film that explains how extremist groups destroyed the Babri Masjid and killed thousands of predominantly Muslim victims in fighting after its destruction. Police detained the student screeners and then filed a complaint against six of the organizers of the screening for “outraging religious feelings” and acting against “national integration.”
In Chattisgarh, Hindu nationalist groups beat Christians with sticks and dragged female church members out into the street. Christians in the state have reported that at least five pastors were beaten as part of the recent processions, with mobs abusing one, planting saffron flags in his home, and threatening dire consequences should he not convert to Hinduism.
“The last four days of mob attacks are a direct result of the continuous hate campaign waged by Narendra Modi, the BJP, and other Hindu nationalists over the past two decades. The horrific rioting and destruction we have seen in recent days show the same blend of blatant disregard for life, police complicity, BJP participation, and horrific violence seen in 1992 when Hindu nationalist mobs tore down the Babri Masjid and killed thousands,” said IAMC President Mohammad Jawad.
IAMC urges international human rights organizations & civil society groups to take note of the deteriorating situation in India, which has the potential to turn into a full-blown Muslim and Christian genocide.
IAMC also calls on the US State Department to ask the Indian government to stop stoking the anti-Muslim sentiment, punish the Hindu extremists involved in anti-Muslim violence, and accept the recommendation of the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to designate India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC).