India: BJP lawmakers, Hindu leaders call for 'Muslim boycott'
Multiple Indian lawmakers from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Hindu religious leaders dehumanised Indian Muslims at a New Delhi rally on Sunday, including calls for taking up arms.
The rally was organised by a local branch of a Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a right-wing Hindu nationalist group.
Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, a BJP Member of Parliament from Delhi, urged Hindus at the rally economically boycott Muslims.
Calling them "these people", Verma urged the gathering to chant with him that they would stop purchasing goods from Muslim-owned shops.
"Wherever you see them, I say that if you want to set their minds straight, then there is only one remedy - that is complete boycott. Do you agree with this? Raise your hand if you agree. And say with me, we will completely boycott them, we will not buy any goods from their shops, we will not employ them," he said in a video widely shared on social media, in which the crowd repeated his chants.
BJP MP Parvesh Verma orders the people of Delhi to financial boycott Muslims. Will @DelhiPolice act against this man for inciting hatred amongst communities? Does PM Modi condone this speech? Is this what BJP meant by Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas! Speak up @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/L8XtjlxbQB— Dr. Shama Mohamed (@drshamamohd) October 9, 2022
A second BJP regional legislator Nand Kishore Gujjar, speaking at the same event, called Muhammad Akhlaq - a Muslim who was lynched by a Hindu mob on suspicion of slaughtering a cow in 2015 - a "pig". Gujjar also boasted that he had brought 2,500 people into Delhi to "kill jihadis".
Another BJP legislator in presence of cops ‘Dadri mein ek suar, Akhlaq kaata jaata hai toh..’— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) October 9, 2022
Refers to the Indian Muslim lynched by the mob as a pig . This is everyday India for the world that looks away
Cc @DrSJaishankar pic.twitter.com/kRQetJTd6O
Other speakers openly called for violence against Muslims. Jagat Guru Yogeshwar Acharya, a Hindu religious leader, urged people to behead those who attack their temples, according to India Today.
Another religious leader, Mahant Nawal Kishore Das, urged Hindus to arm themselves.
"Get guns. Get licenses. If you don't get licences, don't worry. Those who come to kill you, do they have licences? So why do you need a licence?" he said.
"If we all come together, even the Delhi Police Commissioner will offer us tea and let us do what we want," he added, according to the publication.
VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal defended the speakers, saying that their messages were directed at "jihadi elements" and not at any community, according to India Today.
Abuse and violence against Muslims, who make up around 15 percent of India's population, have become almost routine in India with many fearing for the future of the country.
Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a senior member of the BJP, the country has seen a sharp rise in militant Hindu nationalism where discrimination, hatred and violence against Muslims have greatly increased since he was elected as premier in 2014.