- 1 India’s Muslims: An Increasingly Marginalized Population
- 2 How many Muslims live in India?
- 3 How did India’s partition influence Hindu-Muslim relations?
- 4 How did religion factor into India’s constitution?
- 5 How did Hindu nationalists come to power?
- 6 What types of discrimination do India’s Muslims face?
- 7 What controversial actions has the Modi government taken with regard to Muslims?
- 8 What have been the largest outbursts of violence?
- 9 Who wants to preserve India’s secularism?
- 10 How is the world responding to the rising discrimination in India?
India’s Muslims: An Increasingly Marginalized Population
India is home to around two hundred million Muslims, making it one of the world’s largest Muslim populations. However, Muslims constitute a minority in the mostly Hindu country. Despite constitutional safeguards, Muslims in India have been subjected to systematic discrimination, bigotry, and violence since the country’s independence. More From Our Subject Matter Experts As a result of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has pursued an anti-Muslim agenda since coming to office in 2014, experts claim anti-Muslim sentiments have risen significantly.
Protests in India have erupted in response to the decisions, which have drew international censure.
How many Muslims live in India?
More information on India Islam and Human RightsReligion Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of India. India is a diverse country in terms of religious, ethnic, and linguistic traditions. Its estimated two hundred million Muslims, the vast majority of whom identify as Sunni, constitute around 15 percent of the population, making them the country’s largest minority group by far. Hindus account for around 80 percent of the population. The Muslim communities in the nation are varied, with variances in language, caste, ethnicity, and access to political and economic power among those who practice Islam.
How did India’s partition influence Hindu-Muslim relations?
According to academics, some of the animosity that exists between Hindus and Muslims in India may be traced back to the catastrophic partition of British India in 1947. Following World War II, the British were unable to preserve their empire due to a lack of resources, and they decided to withdraw from the Indian subcontinent. In the years leading up to partition, the Indian National Congress party, led by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, campaigned for independence by organizing civil disobedience and huge demonstrations against British authority.
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Survivors describe blood-stained trains transporting refugees from one nation to another, cities that were completely destroyed, and bodies that were tossed into the streets.
More From Our Subject Matter Experts It is still unknown why groups who had coexisted peacefully for hundreds of years turned on one another.
Another source of contention is the conflict between Hindu and Muslim political groups, each of which sought to unite their voters along religious lines.
A large number of people were opposed to the establishment of a separate state for Muslims in the first place. More information on India Human Rights and Religious Beliefs Islam Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of India.
How did religion factor into India’s constitution?
The country’s constitution, which has been in effect for seventy years, enshrines egalitarian values such as social equality and nondiscrimination. Since 1976, the word “secular” has been included in the preamble of the constitution; but, unlike several national charters, the constitution does not expressly demand the separation of religion and government. While fighting for Independence, leaders of the Congress party argued for an India that acknowledged all citizens and religions as equal in their rights.
He died in the process.
How did Hindu nationalists come to power?
Indian author and politician V. D. Savarkar published his book Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu? in the 1920s, which was the first to explain the concept of Hindu nationalism. Hindu nationalists think that Hindus are the “real sons of the soil” since their sacred lands are located within India, whereas the holy regions of Christians and Muslims are located outside the country’s borders. They typically advocate for measures that will transform India into a Hindu state. Although most Indian Muslims are descended from Hindus who converted to Islam, many consider them to be aliens to be avoided at all costs.
In the 1980s, political conflicts began to put a strain on India’s secular type of government.
Gandhi’s son, Rajiv, replaced her when she was killed by Sikh bodyguards in 1984.
According to Kanchan Chandra’s article in Foreign Affairs, “Congress’s steady drive toward Hindu majoritarianism over several decades prepared fertile ground for the more radical ideology of the BJP.” Since its inception in 1980, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has traced its roots to the political branch of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist paramilitary volunteer organization.
In 1998, the BJP won elections, but it had to abandon its more radical objectives in order to keep the coalition government it headed together until 2004, when the Congress party retook control of the government.
To address concerns such as marriage and inheritance, a distinct Muslim personal law system is now in place.
After a volatile campaign laced with anti-Muslim rhetoric, the party won a resounding victory in the 2019 elections, and Modi’s administration is anticipated to remain in power for the remainder of its five-year term, which ends in 2024.
In Ghazala Jamil’s opinion, the exclusion was “very apparent,” according to the assistant professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. A significant surge in anti-Muslim hatred has been observed in all types of institutions, according to the report.
What types of discrimination do India’s Muslims face?
Discrimination against Muslims has occurred in a variety of settings, including work, education, and housing. Many people face obstacles in their pursuit of political power and riches, as well as a lack of access to health care and other fundamental necessities. Furthermore, despite constitutional safeguards, people frequently face difficulties in obtaining justice after being subjected to prejudice. The nongovernmental group Common Cause published a research in 2019 that concluded that half of the police officers questioned had anti-Muslim prejudice, making them less likely to act to prevent crimes against Muslims.
The previous Congress-led government commissioned a historic study of India’s Muslim community in 2006, known as the Sachar Committee Report, which highlighted several disparities.
What controversial actions has the Modi government taken with regard to Muslims?
The Citizenship Amendment Act, which was enacted by the Indian parliament and signed by Prime Minister Modi in December, provides for the expedited processing of citizenship applications for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Critics claim that the law is discriminatory since it excludes Muslims and, for the first time, applies religious factors to the question of citizenship in the country. The Modi government maintains that the law is intended to give security for religious minority who have been subjected to persecution in these three Muslim-majority nations.
- While this was going on, the BJP pledged in its 2019 election campaign to finish the creation of a National Register of Citizens (NRC).
- After over two million persons were barred from the state’s registration, the government of Assam revised its list in 2019.
- Many Muslims, according to critics, might become stateless as a result of this process since they lack the proper documents and are not eligible for fast-track citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Act.
- Modi has, in the meantime, weakened the political position of Jammu and Kashmir, which until recently was India’s sole Muslim-majority state.
- For months, the government shut down internet and cellphone communications in the region, and hundreds of individuals, including important mainstream political leaders and pro-separatist activists, were jailed or placed under house arrest.
“The longer Hindu nationalists stay in power, the more significant the shift in Muslims’ standing would be, and the more difficult it will be to reverse such changes,” says Ashutosh Varshney, a Brown University specialist on Indian intercommunal conflict who studies intercommunal violence in India.
What have been the largest outbursts of violence?
The Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992. In recent decades, disputes over the construction of a mosque in the northern city of Ayodhya have become fatal. As to Hindu tradition, a Muslim commander from the Muslim Mughal empire constructed the mosque on the site of the Hindu god Ram’s birthplace in the sixteenth century. The mosque was demolished by Hindu extremists in 1992. The riots that followed claimed the lives of an estimated three thousand persons, the most of them were Muslims. It was the bloodiest religious confrontations in India since partition.
- Gujarat riots took place in 2002.
- Hindu mobs throughout Gujarat slaughtered hundreds of Muslims, raped Muslim women, and destroyed Muslim businesses and places of worship, all while blaming Muslims for igniting the blaze in the first place.
- According to an Indian official inquiry, the train fire was caused by an accident, however contradicting sources have suggested that it was deliberately set on fire.
- More than sixty people were murdered in conflicts between Hindus and Muslims in towns surrounding the city of Muzaffarnagar after two Hindu males were killed in an incident with Muslim men in a town near the city of Muzaffarnagar.
- Anti-Muslim gangs are on the rise.
As Hindu mob violence have become more regular in India, the country’s Supreme Court has expressed concern that they may become the “new normal.” One of the most prevalent kinds of anti-Muslim violence is vigilante groups targeting those who are suspected to be involved in the trading or slaughter of cows, which many Hindus consider to be sacred animals.
- The Hindu community has accused Muslim males of “love jihad,” which refers to the act of seducing and marrying Hindu women in order to convert them.
- During a rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act in New Delhi in March, violence erupted between Muslims and others.
- Some BJP politicians apparently had a role in inciting the violence, and police were reportedly powerless to prevent Hindu mobs from assaulting Muslims.
- Ghazala Jamil, Assistant Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University The attacks on Muslim persons continued during Modi’s first five-year administration, creating a sense of besiegement within the Muslim population, according to Jamil.
In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, demands to boycott Muslim companies exploded on the internet, with users accusing Muslims of being responsible for the virus’ spread.
Who wants to preserve India’s secularism?
Experts, such as Varshney, point out that, while anti-Muslim sentiment is on the rise among Hindus, not all Hindus and not all individuals who voted for the BJP are anti-Muslim in their stance toward Muslims. In response to the BJP’s efforts to undermine India’s secularism, both Muslims and Hindus, including activists, legal professors, and students, have taken to the streets. Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, in particular, have been quite prevalent. Following the approval of the bill, student activists, including many Muslims, staged demonstrations that lasted until the beginning of the new year.
A declaration signed by almost 2,000 academics and professionals condemned the bill for breaking the spirit of the constitution.
Members of the Indian diaspora also took to the streets to express their opposition.
How is the world responding to the rising discrimination in India?
Foreign nations and international organizations have expressed worry about the BJP’s discrimination towards Muslims, noting the party’s activities in Kashmir and the Citizenship Amendment Act as significant sources of concern. It was regarded as “fundamentally discriminatory” by the United Nations Human Rights Office, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced worry that it may result in individuals losing their nationality. Islamophobia is on the rise in India, and a number of Muslim-majority countries and Muslim Arab activists have spoken out against it.
Trump has been largely mute on the matter, preferring to maintain good relations with Modi rather than criticizing his government’s discriminatory tactics.
In contrast, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent government organization, rated India as a “country of special concern” in its 2020 report, the agency’s lowest possible classification grade.
Members of Congress have also expressed their dissatisfaction.