Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Son Attends Violently Anti-Muslim Rally
Shrikant Shinde, a Shiv Sena politician and son of Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde, attended a rally where state politicians urged Hindu-extremists to assault Muslims. A number of RSS-affiliated groups spearheaded the event, with speakers disseminating the Islamophobic conspiracy theories of “Love Jihad”, “Land Jihad”, “Language Jihad” and “thook jihad” – the Hindutva theory that Muslims spit on food items given to Hindus. During one speech, Hindu extremist Sadhvi Saraswati urged Hindu women to prepare themselves to kill to defend their religion.
Hindu extremist rallies inflame violent attacks and killings of Muslims, and have been enabled by the inaction of state police. Raqib Hameed Naik, founder of Hindutva Watch, stated, “It is very clear that these Hindutva groups, emboldened by the backing of the state government, are spreading their venomous hate speech and propaganda with impunity. Not even a single arrest has been made in the FIRs filed by police in these cases.”
Muslim Educational Attainment Suffers in BJP-led states
The newly released All India Survey on Higher Education 2020–21 demonstrates that while all other castes, including Dalits and Adivasis, have seen higher educational attainment improvements, Muslims are being left behind. The 8% decline in Muslim higher educational enrollment, amounting to nearly 200,000 students, is a result of the BJP’s recent educational budget cuts, which target programs and scholarships which have primarily benefited Muslims. The level of absolute decline Muslims have experienced has never happened in the recent past for any group.
The decline is particularly pronounced in BJP-led Uttar Pradesh, where Muslims suffered a 36% drop in enrollment. Muslims living in the more politically friendly state of Kerala on the other hand saw increased enrollment in universities, demonstrating how much educational attainment suffers or improves depending on which party is in power.
Karnataka Dalits Continue to Experience Atrocities
Dalits in Karnataka have experienced vicious violent attacks from upper caste Hindus and devastating social exclusion despite having filed police reports after the attacks. One 14-year-old boy was recently dragged to a pole in the center of his village and beaten for an hour by upper caste men. A 15-year-old in another village was thrashed for touching a pole that had fallen from a palanquin, and for entering a temple during a procession. The boy’s family was asked to pay Rs 60,000 by upper caste groups, and subsequently socially ostracized after they filed police reports against their attackers. In September of last year, a lower-caste boy in Karnataka was tied to a pole and beaten while his mother was slashed with knives. One Dalit activist asked: “What can be done if the law and order structure favors the dominant castes?”