India is a home of 180 million population including the third largest Muslim population in the world, but they are increasingly threatened, beaten, lynched, attacked, intimidated, and even marginalized in the country. In past few years, Hindus in India became more anti-Muslim and rise of Hindu nationalism (Hindutva) led by RSS ideology in politics has seen a major shift in Indian society. On the other hand, the poisonous behavior and role of Indian media has played pivotal role in polarization between Hindus and Muslims.
Whenever elections held in India the world has witnessed that inflammatory speeches, inciting violence is used as a tool to get Hindu sympathy and Hindu votes against Muslims. In the recent past we have seen these tactics in Utter Pradesh and Uttara Khand, where BJP’s ruling states, were holding state elections. Violence against Muslims, including mob attacks and closure of business owned by Muslims have also been reported during election season in these states. Year 2021 has ended with the hate speeches in Haridwar, calling genocide against Muslims. The Hindu monks called other Hindus to arm themselves and kill Muslims.
Indian state of Karnataka is considered a home of controversies against Muslims. Year 2022 started with the hijab controversy in Karnataka where Muslim girls students were not allowed to wear hijab and later they barred from entering college wearing hijab. This thing created communal division among Indian, Hindu students with Safron shawls came face to face with Muslim girls wearing hijab. Schools and colleges were closed in Karnataka amid communal violence. Then the matter reached in Indian High Court where High court also support the Karnataka’s gov’t decision to ban hijab.
After the hijab faceoff, the halal controversy raged in Karnataka when a Fringe group has demanded a halal ban in the state. BJP Gen Secretary CT Ravi called halal “Economic Jihad”. The demand to ban Hala meat rose when Muslim traders stopped from being a part of Hindu fare. Then there is a controversy over Azan with the demand to ban Azan. This is common threat here in Karnataka, which is endless polarization in politics with year to go to elections in the state of Karnataka.
The Hindu right-wing organizations led by Bajrang Dal and Sri Ram Sena are seeking a ban on loudspeakers in mosques. Some Hindu groups are planning to broadcast ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, ‘Jai Shri Ram’, ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ recitals and other devotional prayers during Azan. Muslims are long been following the using loudspeakers to call for prayer. The Hindus have the argument that it is disturbing students, children and patients.
Karnataka DGP issued a notice to all police stations inside the state to check noise level at all religious institutions if found violating they have been asked to take action. It comes the backdrop of various right-wing organization demanding a ban on loudspeakers at mosque.
Communal politics continues to take a central stage in Karnataka after the Hijab row and controversies over Halal meat and Azan. Now a fringe Hindu outfit is demanding a ban on Muslim mango traders for conducting business in the state. This fringe outfit said that Muslim traders have been dominating mango market in the state which has hindered the growth of Hindu mangoes traders. The outfit has also made a number of other accusations. The AIMIM Chief, Asad Uddin Owaisi has responded and said “Karnataka is now under the rule of mob and that mobs are taking decisions”. He accused the state of targeting “Muslims by bringing back un-touch-ability in the name of a Muslim minority”.
Meat shops in several parts of New Delhi shut down due to NAVRATRI festival after orders by two mayors of BJP. Muslim vendors witnessed major loses. Gujarat Animal Welfare Department officially written a letter to Aviation Minister and asked him for a complete ban on NON-VEG food on flights.
First Halal meat ban then ban on meat during Navratri festival and then a complete ban on non-Veg food in flights. These things raised question that is it a vegetarian terrorism in India? Is it acceptable for a country where 70% of people are non-vegetarian?
The Executive Director of an Indian company called ‘BIOCON Ltd’ Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw urged Chief Minister of Karnataka to resolve the growing religious divide in Karnataka. She tweeted that “Karnataka has always forged its inclusive economic development and we must not allow such communal exclusions. She said, If Information and bio technology of India (ITBT) became communal it will destroy our global leadership.
The political parties in the state also dived into full-fledged political fight. BJP Gen Secretary CT Ravi calling halal “Economic Jihad”. After Karnataka, Bihar’s Chief Minister demanded a ban on loudspeakers using for Azan at Masjids. Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Malik Arjun Kherge hit out over the loudspeakers ban and said the move is just to polarize and to get vote. He said if the government will do anything regarding this will create divisions amongst people.
In addition to this, Muslims are being attacked openly in public places. Muslims were force to chant Jai Sheri Ram (Hindu religious slogan). Sometime, they are beaten and attacked in the name of cow slaughter, love Jihad, economic Jihad and religious conversion. It shows the reality of so-called secular cover of India, where only Hinduism is considered Holy religion and only Islam is placed lower footing than any other religion. India considered itself world largest democracy but there is no freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of basic fundamental rights. Everything is out of reached particularly for Muslim minority.
*The writer is Islamabad based Researcher and Freelancer