Rising Islamophobia In India: Exploiting The Pandemic? – By Nazneen Mohsina and Joseph Franco
The aspersion of Muslims in light of the COVID-19 pandemic plays into the majoritarian politics and anti-Muslim narrative that has been on the rise since the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) accession to power in 2014 and re-election in 2019.
The ‘othering’ of Muslims – portraying them as different – is an integral part of the BJP’s strategy to stay in power and push its agenda of creating a unitarian nation based on a religio-cultural identity. The current hate-campaign against Muslims could also be a tactic to deflect public anger from the government’s failings in managing the COVID-19 crisis.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pursued Hindu primacy and ultra-nationalism, shifting the country away from its founding ideals of secularism and equality. Since the re-emergence of Hindu nationalism, right-wing hardliners have become increasingly emboldened in promoting Hindu dominance and the marginalisation of Indian Muslims.