The Rising Tides of Violence against Muslims in India
August 13, 2022 by Ashwin Telang
Recently, India’s Supreme Court warned that attacks against Muslims had become a “new normal.” Under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership, discrimination and violent episodes have sparked nationwide. More unnerving, both the Indian government and other major countries are complicit in such violence. Their inaction and support of violence reflect the deep religious divides and Islamophobia in India. For too long, Muslim communities have faced structural barriers in receiving employment, housing, and education. Discrimination is almost ubiquitous across India. This has plunged millions of Muslims into poverty and granted exclusive privilege to other religious groups. While the Indian constitution grants broad egalitarian protections, Muslims have been ignored in the eyes of the law. With inaccessible justice, they face an uphill battle when fighting inequality.
Making matters worse, India’s government had done little to come to the defense of Muslim communities. Due to unequal education opportunities and sharp islamophobia sentiments, Muslims lack representation in government. Although they make a large chunk of the population, only five seats in the legislature were held by Muslims. If anything, the government has provoked violence and proved biased against Muslims. The Citizenship Amendment Act granted exclusive citizenship for all but Muslim migrants. The amendment rejected suffering Muslims coming from countries such as Syria. The UN human rights office dubbed the Citizenship Amendment Act “fundamentally discriminatory.” Meanwhile, the government actively sponsors anti-muslim propaganda while also being supported by the country's media. They often craft conspiracies around Muslims, thus deepening India's religious divisions.
Most terrifying, violence has also heightened during Modi’s rule. Mob attacks have become one of the most common forms when vigilantes attack anyone suspected of being Muslim. Each year, violence kills tens of thousands of Muslims. A 2019 report even found that half the police have an “anti-Muslim bias making them less likely to intervene to stop crimes against Muslims.” Thus, Islamophobia has weakened the rule of law and the accountability of the police. Undoubtedly, the Indian police are complicit in such grotesque acts of anti-Muslim violence. Powerful democratic nations fashion themselves as the protectors of human rights. Nonetheless, very few have recognized these Muslim atrocities and India’s involvement. Influential nations should encourage the Indian government to fight against these crimes as opposed to causing them. Muslim communities cannot afford any more silence.
Regardless of where you live, you can help. If not India, urge your government to condemn this anti-muslim injustice. Consider donating to “Indian Muslim Relief and Charities,” which spreads awareness against violence, supports Muslim education, and relieves poverty. Inform your peers and family about this horrific yet untold violence. India is now one of the most dangerous countries for Muslims. Every day, they are persecuted psychologically, economically, and violently. Since the dawn of its democracy, India has been committed to equality — now, it seems, it has abandoned this commitment.