India claims to be the biggest democracy, a secular and pluralistic society, which aspires to be a global player on the strength of its huge population and market. However, underneath this glittering and shining Indian image is a cancer of extremism in the form of Hindu supremacy, which does not leave a breathing space for its persecuted minorities. As things stand, Modi-led Indian Hindu chauvinist government desires to build a gigantic structure of Indian neo liberal capitalist democracy upon the graveyard of minorities.
Muslims in India are increasingly becoming victim of Hindutva terrorism as they are incorrectly portrayed as “children of invaders” whose ancestors exploited Hindus for centuries. On this pretext, their fundamental human rights, including life, liberty and freedom of expression, are denied and they’re regularly targeted for their beliefs.
In December 2019, Modi government introduced discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which excludes Muslims and allows Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Parsi immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to get Indian nationality.
Cow vigilantes came to prominence as part of India’s violent polity during Modi’s first term as prime minister. Since then, from 2014 onwards and during the seven years of his first and now second term, violence over the ownership and eating of cows has become such a norm that it is barely reported anymore.
Muslims are not the only victim of Hindutva terrorism, right-wing Hindu nationalist attacks against Christians are becoming increasingly frequent and are emboldened by a lack of accountability.
Christians are blamed for converting Hindus into Christians. The pattern of Christian persecution is often the same. First, incite fears that these conversions are forceful, that Christians are seeking to change the character of India or that places of worship are illegal. A mob is then brought to bear on the targeted group.
According to a report by human rights group, more than 300 attacks on Christians took place in the first nine months of this year, including at least 32 in Karnataka.
The report found that of the total 305 incidents of anti- Christian violence, four north Indian states registered as many as 169 of them: 66 in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, 47 in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh, 30 in tribal-dominated Jharkhand, and 30 in BJP- ruled Madhya Pradesh.ii
At least nine Indian states have planned anti-conversion laws, including Chhattisgarh, which, activists say, has emerged as a “new laboratory” for anti-Christian hatred in India.
On November 28, 2021, a newly inaugurated church in Delhi faced disruption and vandalism in its first Sunday service when members of a militant Hindu nationalist group called the Bajrang Dal stormed the meeting.
According to local observers, the acts of violence facing Christian communities far from being random occurrences are part of a concerted campaign to inflame tensions in a bid to justify new laws restricting their worshiping activities.
Since the Hindu nationalist BJP took power in 2014, persecution against Christian and Muslim minorities has been on the increase across the country, and today, it’s one of the worst countries in the world to be a Christian.
Similarly, religious persecution in India is currently at an all-time high, with the Sikh minority being attacked at home by its own government — which continues to perpetuate and ignore anti-Sikh violence — and abroad.
The Hindu majority has been at odds with the Sikh minority since the British colonial era. Operation Blue Star in 1984, when the Indian government ordered the army to attack the Golden Temple, led to the assassination of Indira Gandhi. The assassination was a turning point in Indian history, as it led to the 1984 anti- Sikh riots, which were conveniently labeled “riots” to take accountability away from the government’s involvement in inciting anti-Sikhrhetoric.
India’s anti-Sikh policies and religious bias have inculcated in the Sikh minority to strive for their separate homeland, Khalistan. Recently, an overwhelming majority of Indian Sikh diaspora in the UK voted in favor of Khalistan in the wake of referendum. The Khalistan referendum has sent a strong message to the Indian establishment to end discrimination against Sikhs and for India to be prepared to give Sikhs their birthright of freedom.
Apart from that, Hindu Dalits, who are considered low caste in Hindu Dharam, also face persecution at the hands of “superior” Hindus. They are denied of access to education, health, inter-marriage and often pushed to seek low-grade jobs.
A telling example of the social exclusion that Dalits suffer even in the face of a large-scale natural disaster was witnessed in the immediate aftermath of the 26 December 2004 Tsunami.
The Tsunami brought a substantial amount of devastation for the Dalits of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is estimated that well over 10,000 died while 650,000 were displaced.vi
In the aftermath of the Tsunami, the Dalits of Tamil Nadu were made to suffer from worst forms of discrimination and humiliation. Dalits were excluded from making use of (and in some cases even entering into) makeshift relief camps; the ‘untouchability’ syndrome dominated Hindu upper–caste mentality even at this time of natural
Unfortunately, India has become a land of Hindus, where minorities seems to have been completely cornered and ghettoized. Intellectuals around the globe would be guilty of letting Indian minorities suffer in the BJP’s created hell, if they continue to buy Indian nationalist media’s narrative of a rising and shining India.
From genocide in Kashmir to suppression of religious minorities, India has become an apartheid state where human rights and “equality” have become a far-flung idea. Gandhi’s India has morphed into Hindu’s Hindustan where Muslims, Christian, Sikhs and Dalit are considered inferior and thus persecuted on regular basis. The deafening silence in the West, especially in the policymaking circles, questions the conscience and moral compass of the big powers. Humanity must not be subservient to material gains. The world must rise up and call for minority rights protection in India.