Singling-out of minorities is new normal in Shah-Modis’ India

Chanchal Manohar Singh | May 10, 2020 09:10 PM
United Arab Emirates Her highness Shaikha Hend Faisal Al Qassemi visiting Sripuram Golden Temple, Vellore, Tamil Naidu on 22nd February 2019
Chanchal Manohar Singh

India is surely changing under the present regime Right Hindu Wing, Narendra Modi’s Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), wherein it has become quite a normal routine for Hindutva vigilantes to use threatening and unpleasant annotations against minorities in general and Muslims in particular, irrespective of temporal and spatial surroundings.

During the past over six years, demonising of the minorities has become a normal thing, where the police authorities hardly take any notice of the unlawful and criminal and communalised public statements. Once in a while, the bastion of opposition issues condemnations, but apparently for political benefits, without an iota of empathy for the intimidating lot. The worst sufferers of this paradigm shift are Muslims, who have been encountering inhuman act of lynching on the prompted charge of possession of ‘unlawful and prohibited’ cow meat. Scores of Muslims have been lynched to death but Home Minister or any other BJP ruling leaders did not mince a single word of condemnation.  What Congress did to Sikhs in 1984, the BJP is doing similar acts of killing Muslims by lynching or burning them alive and burning their properties. The killers have developed a high level of confidence to the extent that they do not fear the state’s law and order machinery. Rather, they click videos of the lynching incident and made them viral on social media.  These lynching videos further compound scare among the Muslims and other minorities across the country. Shockingly, the state police instead of launching any criminal proceeding against these Hindutva Vigilantes prefer to simply ignore the videos.

Muslims have been living in India for ages and their history goes back to at least 800 years. Muslims are born here and are part and parcel of Indian society and contributing to the development of the country from many generations. Of the 130 crores Indians, the Muslims constitute over 20 crores and their population reportedly come to 14 percent of the Indian total population.

Unfortunately, Central Ministers and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders’ openly make statements like “desh kai gadharon ko (What to be done with the anti-nationals)” to be responded by the religiously charged gathering “goli maro saalon ko” (Shoot them) by implicating Muslims. The Union minister of state for finance Anurag Thakur was among the four BJP leaders who have been instigating BJP party members (wearing saffron colour dresses), who responded with full vigour and showed marshal zeal to act according to ministers wishes (to attack Muslims). A few eminent human rights activists had approached the Delhi High Court demanding action against the communal violence instigators. The Court even invited to view the video of the criminally charged videos. The judge had ordered to the Delhi to initiate action them in three days. The same night the judge was transferred and packed to Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh. At midnight, the President of India signed the judge’s transfer warrant, which was served on the judge same night. The next new judged assumed the charge same day and when proceedings in the case were resumed after three days, the judge granted the state to initiate action in this case in 30 days. The 30-day period has lapsed/passed but Delhi Police has not taken any action against anyone in this case. The Delhi being a Union Territory, its police is under the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the right-hand man of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Muslims have been living in India since ages and their history goes back to at least 800 years. Muslims are born here and are part and parcel of Indian society and contributing to the development of the country from many generations. Of the 130 crores Indians, the Muslims constitute over 20 crores and their population reportedly come to 14 per cent of the Indian total population.

Only in the recent past, the PM Modi has cultivated many of the Petro-dollar rich Muslims countries like United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, a country from where Islam originated and spread to the world over. Saudi Arabia is also Chairman of the Islamic Countries Organisation (ICO). These two Islamic counties remained silent even when the Muslim dominate state -Jammu and Kashmir- was reduced to Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (UJ&K) and bifurcated into two separate UTs.   In August, the UAE honoured Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the state’s top award just weeks after India has changed the Muslim-majority state’s autonomous nature.

But recent development made the differences in the diplomatic politics of these Gulf countries. A snub plus threat from a United Arab Emirates (UAE) Princess over an anti-Muslim statement by an Indian expat in Dubai caused nervousness among the Indians. Princess Hend Al-Qassimi of the UAE has spoken out against Islamophobic on social media posts by an Indian expat working in the Emirates.

The Princess said: “the ruling family is friends with Indians, but as a royal, your rudeness is not welcome,” she wrote on Twitter. “All employees are paid to work, no one comes for free. You make your bread and butter from this land which you scorn and your ridicule will not go unnoticed.”

The princess also posted a section of Emirate law regarding hate speech which, she pointed out, applies to UAE citizens and non-citizens alike.

The Princess’ tweet came as a response to Islamophobic social media posts by an Indian-origin employee in the UAE. The Princess also expressed her dismay over changing social reality in India, where the Hindu-majority has been pitted against Muslims, who are in a minority, intensifying the climate of hatred.

Princess Qassimi who is member of the Royal family also shared the screenshots of his (Indian expats) tweets and warned that those engaging in racism and Islamophobia will have to pay penalty and will be made to leave UAE. Perhaps scared Upadhyay has apparently deactivated his Twitter handle now.

After this tweet of the Princess went worldwide viral on social media, India sensing some damage has been caused to its closeness to UAE. Because, the UAE government has been quite generous during PM Modi’s visit to UAE and on his request allotted a plot for construction of a Shiv Temple in Dubai in 2018. The temple construction has been in progress and is expected to be completed soon.


The BJP government prompted BJP’s National president Jagat Prakash Nadda following Princess Hend Al-Qassimi statement who (Nadda) urged his party leaders to refrain from giving any “communal colour” or create any “division or differences” with minorities over the Covid-19 outbreak. Nadda has told them that no party leader should make any provocative communal or divisive remarks but support the efforts of the Prime Minister as well as that of state governments irrespective of which party is in power there.

This statement came after more than 400 positive cases and 15 corona deaths of Tablighi Jamaat members have been reported across the country which, officials claimed, can be traced back to a Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Nizamuddin in Delhi in mid-March. In Gujarat, a government Hospital segregated the Muslims corona patients from the Hindu corona patients and put them in two different wards. This action came under severe criticism but hospital authorities did not budge.

In UAE, 3.42 million Indians work and are 26 per cent of the UAE’s population. In Saudi Arabia, the Indians are to the tune of 24 lakhs and similarly, Indian presence in Oman Indians presence is 2.3 million about 20 per cent of the population.

The Princess pointed out: “How would the Indians feel if I say publicly that that Indian Hindus should not be allowed in Emirates? Close to 14 billion dollars are being remitted back from the Emirates to India every year – during the past several years. Imagine if that were to be cut off? The Indians work very hard in this country and I don’t think they deserve people who misrepresent them like that,” Princess Hend added. Although Tablighi Jamaat committed an unpardonable mistake by gathering in Nazimuddin Markaz in New Delhi and many of them were affected by Coronavirus-19, but they are in no way responsible for spreading the deadly disease in India. But crony media projected them as ‘criminal’, who has brought Coronavirus to India. It is significant to mention here that many supporters of the BJP party, especially on social media, cited the outbreak to fuel campaigns like “CoronaJihad,” and “Markaz Conspiracy.”  The Tablighi members came from many countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Iran. The cases of Coronavirus was detected all over the country much before the organising in March of 5-day long meeting at the Nazimuddin Markaz, New Delhi.


During Corona, Lockdown Muslims vendors have been prohibited from entering colonies to sell vegetable, fruits, and other items. Two BJP MLAs went to the extent of saying on video-recording proudly that they did approach people not to allow Muslim vendors to enter their colonies, if they get in, don’t buy from them. Both the lawmakers who have been asking people not buy anything from Muslims, have also been issued notice by BJP as to explain why action not be taken against them for defaming the country with their anti-Muslim provocative statements. By indulging in all above-mentioned acts India has stained its reputation and image too has paled world over as a secular and democratic nation, for its anti-Muslim tirade. And the demonising the community on every available opportunity. After Muslims, the ever respected Sikh Community becomes another eyesore for the Modi led BJP government in India. After receiving strong bashing from Muslim countries for putting out communal look to COVID-19, government and BJP leaders shifted the basket of responsibilities on Sikhs, by blaming them of carrying the virus from Maharashtra to Punjab and other places during their religious pilgrimage. It would not be perhaps wrong to conclude that the right-wing Hindu organisations are all let loose to intimidate minorities in the name of nationalism.

The writer is a senior journalist and Indo-Pak peace activist

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