#IndianMuslimsUnderAttack: Muslims in India targeted during Hindu celebrations

#IndianMuslimsUnderAttack: Muslims in India targeted during Hindu celebrations
Muslims across India have been targeted by Hindu extremists amid celebrations of the Ram Navami festival.
3 min read
13 April, 2022
Hindu mobs have attacked several Muslim establishments across the country in the past few days [Getty]

Muslims in India have been targeted in a series of attacks over the past two weeks by right-wing Hindu groups celebrating the Ram Navami festival, which marks the birth of Lord Ram, one of the chief Hindu deities.

The hashtag #IndianMuslimsUnderAttack has attracted around 150,000 tweets so far with videos and images showing Muslims and their property being attacked by Hindu mobs.

Police have been accused of working with the mobs targeting Muslims.

During the lead-up to the festival, Hindu processions marched through Muslim-majority areas chanting Islamophobic slogans, in some cases sparking Muslim retaliation.

Many organisers, including those affiliated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing BJP, chose to hold the rallies in the evenings to coincide with sunset - when Muslims break their fasts during Ramadan.

At one rally in Khargone in the central state of Madhya Pradesh on Sunday, a rally turned violent as Hindus and Muslims threw stones at each other. Hindu extremists then attacked Muslims and burned down a mosque while police reportedly stood by.

At least 24 people, including six police officers were injured in the violence.

The state government later demolished dozens of Muslim homes in the town. According to the Indian Express, 16 houses and 29 shops in five localities were levelled on Monday.

The state’s home minister Narottam Mishra, who is from the right-wing BJP, said that "we will turn the houses from where the stones were pelted to a heap of rubble".

In Muzaffarpur in the eastern state of Bihar, Hindus chanted slogans and cheered outside a mosque as one man planted a saffron flag - associated with Hinduism - on the mosque's gate. Three men were reportedly arrested in this incident.

Similar incidents took place in other Indian states including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, and West Bengal, with gangs taunting Muslims and attacking their property.

Attacks against Muslims have ramped up recently in India as dozens of Islamophobic or communal incidents are being reported each month.

The Indian American Muslim Council has urged the US to designate India as a ‘country of concern’ in light of these attacks.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) warned last year that "religious freedom conditions in India are taking a drastic turn downward, with national and various state governments tolerating widespread harassment and violence against religious minorities."