Home Muslim religion Hindu extremists in India step up rhetoric calling to kill Muslims

Hindu extremists in India step up rhetoric calling to kill Muslims

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India’s Supreme Court has said it will investigate after complaints that Hindu nationalist leaders called on their supporters to take up arms against the country’s Muslim minority.

The notice of inquiry was sent last week to the northern state of Uttarakhand, where a Hindu nationalist conference in the town of Haridwar brought together hundreds of right-wing activists.

“We must prepare to kill or be killed,” said one of the speakers, Swami Prabodhananda Giri, at the three-day conference, held from December 17-19.

Anti-Muslim sentiment has grown in Hindu-majority India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist. But recent calls for violence are shocking in their extremity, experts say, going beyond hate speech to advocate ethnic cleansing.

A motion filed with the court said the speeches in Haridwar and at a similar event in the territory of Delhi, which includes the national capital, “represent an open call for the murder of an entire community”.

The speeches “pose a serious threat not only to the unity and integrity of our country, but also endanger the lives of millions of Muslim citizens”, he said, adding that the organizers had announced to other events.

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No arrests have been made in either Haridwar or Delhi, and the Modi government has not commented. The official silence, critics say, could be interpreted by Hindu nationalists as tacit approval.

“Take speeches against us and say you want to drive out a whole population on the basis of their religion, I don’t understand how they can ignore this,” said Maulana Mahmood Madani, president of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, who describes itself as the largest Muslim organization in India.

Since Modi consolidated power with his re-election in 2014, Muslims in India, who make up around 14% of the population, have faced increased violence, discrimination and government persecution. Attacks by Hindu nationalists range from destroying property and disrupting religious services to deadly lynchings.

Muslim worshipers at Friday prayers in Gurgaon, India in December. Some religious services have been interrupted by right-wing Hindu groups.Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

People with ties to Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party were present at both events. The Delhi event was organized on Dec. 19 by Hindu Yuva Vahini, a right-wing youth group founded by Yogi Adityanath, a BJP member and close ally of Modi who is the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state. In Haridwar, attendees included Ashwini Upadhyay, a former Delhi BJP spokesman and current party member.

In a video share On Twitter, Upadhyay said he was at the event for half an hour on the last day and spoke for 10 minutes. Adityanath could not be reached for comment.

“The fact that the Prime Minister has not spoken out against this is a form of denial, a form of license to continue this kind of religious extremism,” said Gregory H. Stanton, president of Genocide Watch, an organization based in the United States. non-profit group.

BJP leader Shant Prakash Jatav told NBC News that the ruling party will ensure respect for people of all religions.

“If and when anyone speaks against a religion, then there is proper law and order against that, and legal action will be taken,” he said.

Rakendra Singh, a police officer in Haridwar, said on January 6 that two people who spoke at the event there, Annapurna Maa and Jitendra Narayan Singh Tyagi, had been summoned to provide statements suspected of caused riots. Maa and Tyagi, a recent convert to Hinduism, formerly known as Wasim Rizvi, did not respond to requests for comment.

Delhi Police did not respond to a request for comment.

Members of the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh march in Ahmedabad, India on October 17.Sam Panthaky/AFP via Getty Images

The term Hindutva, which traditionally simply refers to Hindu identity or living according to Hindu values, has also become associated with an extreme form of Hindu nationalism.

“He says that India should not be a secular nation as required by its Constitution and that other religions – Muslims, Christians – are alien and should be driven out,” Stanton said.

This attitude was evident in the two events of the past month. In Haridwar, Giri, chairman of the right-wing group Hindu Raksha Sena (“Hindu Defense Army”), spoke approvingly of atrocities in neighboring Myanmar, where government persecution of Rohingya Muslims has been described by the United Nations as a ” typical example of ethnic violence”. cleaning.”

“Just like in Myanmar, the police in this country, the army, the politicians and all Hindus must join hands, take up their arms and carry out this cleanliness campaign,” he said.

Speaking in Delhi, Suresh Chavhanke, editor of the right-wing Sudarshan News newspaper, pledged to attendees that “until our last breath, to make India a Hindu nation, to keep it an exclusively Hindu nation, we will fight and die, and if necessary, we will also kill.

He then shared a video of the oath on Twitter, where he has almost half a million followers.

Protesters in New Delhi demonstrate on December 27 against what they say is hate speech against Muslims by Hindu leaders. Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Speeches given at Hindu nationalist events have been harshly criticized, including by members of the opposition Indian National Congress.

“Hindutva always spreads hatred and violence,” Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter.

Giri, who made the comments on Myanmar, sent a request for comment to Swami Anand Swaroop, founder of the Hindu nationalist group Kali Sena and organizer of the Haridwar event. In a phone interview, Swaroop defended the event, saying its purpose was to “save Hindus from Islam“.

“We have no problem with Muslims. We have a problem with Islamic jihadists killing us,” he said.

Stanton said Swaroop’s comment “goes against what was actually said at the meeting.”

In a speech at the event referring to Muslims, Maa, one of the militants later summoned to Haridwar, said: “If even 100 of us become soldiers and we kill 20 lakh of those people , then we are victorious and we are ready to go to jail.” Twenty lakh, an Indian unit of measurement that equals 100,000, represents 2 million people.

“If that’s not incitement to genocide, then I don’t know what is,” Stanton said.