White House condemns harassment of journalist - IAMC
White House

White House condemns online harassment of journalist who asked Modi about minorities

The White House condemned the online harassment of a journalist who had asked Hindu supremacist Prime Minister Narendra Modi about ‘democratic backsliding’ in India during a press event at the White House following his meeting with US President Joe Biden.

Wall Street Journal reporter Sabrina Siddiqui specifically asked Modi what the government had done to improve the rights of Muslims and other minorities in India.

The White House termed the online harassment of the journalist by Hindu supremacists as “completely unacceptable” and “antithetical to the very principles of democracy.”

The Wall Street Journal also slammed the wave of hate, saying, “This harassment of our reporter is unacceptable, and we strongly condemn it.”

During a press briefing, journalist Kelly O’Donnell said that Siddiqui had been “subjected to some intense online harassment from people inside India”, adding that “some of them are politicians.”

Accounts of Hindu supremacists and supporters of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) posted vitriol about Siddiqui, dubbing her a ‘Pakistani Islamist’ and raised conspiracy theories regarding her motivations behind the question. 

“Hate is in the DNA of Pakistanis (sic),” one such Twitter handle stated.

Siddiqui’s father is an Indian Muslim. 

Modi calls for implementing Uniform Civil Code, trampling minorities’ religious laws

During a speech in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh state,   Prime Minister Modi called for implementing an anti-minority policy known as the Uniform Civil Code (UCC)

The UCC mandates the formulation of one common law that all religious communities would be forced to adhere to in personal matters such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance, regardless of their religious practice.

Currently, there are different laws for different faiths, including the Hindu Marriage Act, Indian Christian Marriages Act, and the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act. Muslim personal laws are based on religious texts and are not codified.

Implementing the UCC is a violation of freedom of religion and an invasion in the private lives of citizens, particularly Muslims and Christians, who are already severely marginalized in India. Far from being a step towards progressiveness, the UCC is another avenue for Hindu supremacists to attack and prosecute Muslims and Christians for practicing their faith in their private lives.

Karnataka BJP leader says Mughal-era mosques will be razed to build temples

Prominent BJP leader and a former deputy chief minister of Karnataka state, K.S. Eshwarappa, declared that mosques would be demolished to make way for the construction of temples. 

He further claimed that all temples believed to have been destroyed by the Mughals would be reconstructed on the existing sites of mosques.

Recently, a lawmaker of the BJP in Assam state urged Modi to demolish the nation’s most iconic historical site, the Taj Mahal, and other monuments of the Mughal era, including the Qutub Minar and Red Fort. He also called for temples to be built in places where these monuments currently stand.

Hindu supremacists across India have sought to take historic mosques away from Muslims by claiming that all Muslim structures were built on the remains of Hindu temples. Utter Prash state’s Shahi Idgah mosque and Gyanvapi mosque, both of which are centuries old, have been subject to the slow takeover by Hindu supremacists.