India ranked worst in the world for religious hostilities during Covid-hit 2020: report

India ranked worst in the world for religious hostilities during Covid-hit 2020: report
The US-based Pew Research Center said in a new report that India witnessed the highest level of religious hostility in the world during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
2 min read
03 December, 2022
Muslims were blamed for spreading Covid-19 in India in 2020 [Getty]

India saw the highest level of religious hostility of anywhere in the world in 2020, the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Pew Research Center. 

The report by the US-based think tank revealed that India fared the worst globally on its Social Hostility Index, worse than neighbours Afghanistan and Pakistan

The Social Hostility Index is calculated using 13 questions that measure hostilities between and within religious groups. These include mob violence and sectarian clashes, crimes motivated by religion, violence over religious conversions, harassment for religious attire, and other related intimidation or violence. 

The report mentions the discrimination against the Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim group whose congregation days before cases skyrocketed in India were falsely accused of spreading the disease around the country. 

Over 900 members of the group were forcibly quarantined by the Hindu-nationalist government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

The concerted media campaign against the group included falsehoods and misinformation, contributing to the heightened Islamophobia in India. 

The report also said that India was among just three countries - the others Indonesia and Yemen - where Covid-19-related killings of minorities took place in 2020. 

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The discrimination against Muslims is part of a larger widespread campaign against the country’s minorities that is either directly or subtly promoted by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power in the country. 

These include the pernicious 'love jihad' conspiracy theory which posits that Muslim men lure Hindu women into marrying them for the sole purpose of converting them to Islam. 

The BJP subscribes to a Hindu-nationalist ideology that says India is for Hindus first and foremost, effectively categorising Muslims and other non-Hindus as second-class citizens.