Islamophobia as an issue is being witnessed everywhere in the west but in India it has reached to its epidemic level especially after new Hindutva extremists BJP backed government RSS Government led by PM modi came into power. PM Modi himself has a tracked record of anti-Muslimism sentiments, was refused the US visa for his alleged role in the Gujarat Massacre in 2002 when he was Chief Minister of the state Gujarat. He was banned from entering Europe on the same charges. Since BJP came into power, the Muslims have been the main target. The Muslims who have ruled India for almost 800 years, lived in India for almost 1000 years and had led in front in the freedom struggle of India against the occupation of British are forced to leave their homes. The extremist RSS youth armed with sticks, swords, guns, knives or other weapons can freely capture and target any Muslims by blaming him in either way of eating beef or the recent one, spreading Coronavirus. The Muslims are forced to chant Slogans, tied and beaten up; one case witnessed in Delhi riots recently. The Muslims are neither able to easily get rooms on rent nor are they able to get some proper work easily. Muslims are being boycotted socially and cut-off from business activities.
Stereotypes about Muslims are adding to the whole issue. Muslim men mostly with cap and beard get stereotyped as terrorists, violent and criminals. For Muslim women the main stereotype is that they lack control over their own lives. The reality is that some of Muslim women view it as quite the opposite. They are proud of their gender, do have a voice and choose to celebrate their traditional and religious roles.
Not only RSS but wasn’t that Indian media that had openly attacked Muslims by claiming that Corona Virus (COVID-19) was Born in China, was well looked after and became a teenager in Iraq, attained his Younger age in Italy and eventually after reaching India it became Muslim, Screamed “Corona Jihad” and the hashtags went Viral On Social Media for several days.
The independent, an international news agency, had recently reported that those terror attacks in which the perpetrator is Muslims is receiving five times more media coverage. Indian medias has been accused of attributing wrong acts toward Muslims and leaving no stone unturned while inducing the concept of Muslim hate in people. The Islamic terrorism is being hyped more by Indian media.
As the world is seen battling Corona Virus that has already claimed thousands of precious lives in India, India is being witnessed battling another threat- The Muslim hate (Islamophobia). The outbreak of Coronavirus has contributed one other reason to extremist Hindu governments in India to blame Muslims and target them openly.
In recent weeks, social media platforms mainly whatsapp, facebook and Instagram have been flooded by the call for boycotting Indian Muslims socially and economically making their lives turn into hell. A large number of attacks whether it be physical or mental have been witnessed in recent weeks on Muslims of India including those volunteers who were just distributing relief material among the needy and were accused of spreading the virus deliberately.
It all started after Indian authorities announced a large number of Muslims who attended a mass religious congregation in Delhi, organized by the International Islamic Missionary Movement Tablighi Jamaat were exposed to virus and tested positive. As the Medical authorities were trying to trace those affected, many leaders of the ruling Hindu Nationalist Party BJP had already called the Jamaat meeting a “Taliban Crime”, “Corona terrorism”. Hashtag such as #Corona Jihad trended for several days on twitter and panelists in TV debates called them “Human Bomb” while many called for a permanent ban on Jamaat.
The Indian Media exaggerated it to the extent that the World Health Organization came forward and issued a statement mentioning that no one is supposed to profile the cases on basis of racial, religious and ethical lines. Medical experts got worried and supposed that the stigmatization of only Muslim Community would do a great harm during a pandemic, making people fearful and eventually leading to concealment of cases & delays in detection.
On 19th of April 2020, the OIC (Organization of Islamic co-operation), the Royal princess of UAE and the Majority of Muslims around the world backlasher the unrelenting vicious Islamophobic campaign in India maligning Muslims for spread of COVID-19. Less than an hour after their concern Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke up for the first time about the issue, tweeting, “COVID-19 does not see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or borders before striking. Our response and conduct thereafter should attach primacy to unity and brotherhood. We are in this together.”
In an annual report released on 28th April 2020 by The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Indian has been moved to its category of greatest concerns.
Blaming Muslims for the spread of pandemic, the rising of Anti-Islamic rhetoric, hate crimes; violation of Muslim rights and recent action of police against the students and activists who had participated in peaceful demonstration against CAA & NRC has raised serious question on the government and the democracy of the country.
While other countries worldwide are releasing prisoners to curb the spread of Virus, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government has been detaining the Muslims journalists, students and activists mostly under UAPA(Unlawful activities prevention act). Students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have been on the hit-list.
Furthermore Kashmiri Journalists Masrat Zehra, Gowhar Geelani, Peerzada Aashiq and activists like Khalid saifi and Delhi Minorities comission Chairman Zararul Islam have been booked under the stringent laws which was later described as an attack on freedom of speech by the Global Watchdog.
The time has reached that India is facing the consequences. It might cost India a lot, as Indian government has been alleged against the religious crimes and the International community is highly worried about the ground situation in India. Injustice may not prevail!