The effect of religious polarization in India : India has turned into a defacto Hindu state

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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By Justice Markandey Katju

The effect of religious polarisation and hatred spread in India can be seen in these recent videos, which have gone viral, showing a Hindu police inspector kicking a Muslim saying namaz on Friday, 8th March 2024 in Delhi.
Ever since the BJP came to power in 2014 state and media sponsored venomous propaganda and atrocities against the Muslim minority have spiralled, and has become a continuous and regular feature in many parts of India. The coming parliamentary elections have further escalated it.

One is reminded of the massive state sponsored propaganda against Jews in Germany after Hitler came to power in January 1933, which ultimately led to the Holocaust. Just as the Nazis painted all Jews as devils, so also Muslims are often depicted as fanatics, anti-nationals and terrorists in India.

Many Hindus have supported the police inspector on the social media, saying that Muslims have no right to block a public road.

However, two questions arise (1) does a policeman have the right to kick a namazi when other non violent means were available (2) many 'kaavariyas' take out 200 km yatras annually blocking roads at several places, often for several hours ( whereas namaz takes only about 45 minutes ).They are not stopped,and instead the authorities drop petals on them by helicopters. Similarly, 'shobha yatras' are taken out by Hindu organisations often blocking roads, but they are not stopped. Is this not discrimination against Muslims ?

In Gurgaon also Muslims were harrassed for saying Friday namaz in public places, but RSS shakhas are often held in public parks and other public places, and no one intervenes.

Muslims like to offer Friday namaz in a mosque. But in view of the manifold growth in population since 1947 there is a great shortage of mosques, and the authorities usually prevent building new ones, although they have no right to do so, as I held when I was a judge of the Allahabad High Mohd Sharif Saifi vs State of UP, writ petition 43403 of 1998 decided on 28.1.1999
It seems that from a dejure secular state, India has turned into a defacto Hindu state, with minorities, particularly Muslims, at the receiving end.

(Justice Katju is a former Judge, of the Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

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