One year of Delhi violence, anti-Muslim bias affecting investigation
The BJP-led government has deliberately discriminated against Muslims, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
In addition to discriminating against Muslims, the government has adopted laws and policies to harass critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said.
The report also said that the ruling BJP was infiltrating independent institutions such as the police and courts, enabling nationalist groups to intimidate, harass and attack religious minorities.
HRW South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly said in the report that the government had not only failed to protect Muslims and other minorities from violence, but also provided political support and protection to communalism.
“The BJP’s embrace of the Hindu majority at the expense of minorities has seeped into government institutions, undermining equal protection of the law without discrimination,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government has not only failed to protect Muslims and other minorities from attacks but is providing political patronage and cover for bigotry.”
The report makes it very clear that the policies and actions of the Government of India are aimed at the minorities. The report by Human Rights Watch was released on the first anniversary of the Delhi riots.
The report by Human Rights Watch further said that the February 2020 attacks in Delhi had followed months of peaceful protests by Indians of all faiths against the government’s discriminatory citizenship law and proposed policies. BJP leaders and supporters attempted to discredit protesters, particularly Muslims, by accusing them of conspiring against national interests.
Similarly, after hundreds of thousands of farmers of various faiths began protesting against the government’s new farm laws in November 2020, senior BJP leaders, their supporters on social media, and pro-government media, began blaming the Sikhs, another religious minority. They accuse Sikhs of having a “Khalistani” agenda, a reference to a Sikh separatist insurgency in Punjab in the 1980s and 90s.
On February 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke in parliament, describing people participating in various peaceful protests as “parasites,” and calling international criticism of increasing authoritarianism in India a “foreign destructive ideology.”
Human Rights Watch said that since Modi took over the BJP in 2014, it has done many legislative and other acts that have legalized discrimination against religious minorities and strengthened the roots of militant Hindu nationalism.
Report further reads “In August 2019, the government revoked the constitutional autonomy granted to Jammu and Kashmir , the only Muslim-majority state, and imposed several restrictions in violation of the basic rights of the people”.
“Since October 2018, the Indian government has been threatening to deport Myanmar to Rohingya Muslim refugees despite the risk to their lives and security , and has so far repatriated over a dozen Rohingyas to their homeland. State governments laws prohibiting cow slaughter on Muslim cattle traders While the BJP-affiliated groups attack Muslims and Dalits on the basis of rumours that they have slaughtered or traded beef for beef”.
Report further said “Recently, three BJP-ruled states have passed anti-conversion laws , in practice, which are used against Muslim men who marry Hindu wome”.