As attacks on Muslim individuals in India increase, Indian democracy crumbles. India’s 2019 general elections foretold this trouble. The race saw Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party win 303 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s parliament. With the victory, Modi found himself with full reign to implement a variety of discriminatory laws and systems.
As of March 16, the Economist Intelligence Unit lowered the democracy ranking of India. The demotion comes as India’s increasingly unstable nationalist government and dwindling religious, political, and cultural freedom has only grown following under Modi’s reign. Now, the country is more divided than ever. Chief among such divisions are the country’s continued mistreatment of Muslim populations.
Indeed, in past years the Modi administration has systematically targeted Muslims in attempts at decreasing nation-wide religious freedom. In a 2019 NPR interview, Lauren Frayer described Hindu nationalism as “the idea that the Hindu faith and culture should shape the state and its policies.” Modi’s attempts at religious persecution thus engage in systematic attempts at limiting the nation’s ethnic and cultural diversity.
On October 17, The New York Times reported that police in Dholpur, India violently beat and evicted individuals participating in a non-violent protest after they resisted brutal attacks by the police. Officials claimed that those participating were largely undocumented immigrants. However, evidence shows otherwise. The victims of this horrific attack were legally living in India and Muslim-identifying. Just weeks before, Moinul Haque, a member of a Muslim family was brutally beaten and murdered. Such attempts at Muslim persecution extend to government seazures of Muslims’ agricultural land under the pretense of reallocation to indigenous populations.
India’s current dictatorial government under Modi has frequently committed acts of religious discrimination against its Muslim citizens. In a nation that describes itself as a democracy, Modi’s wanton discrimination only sullies India’s international image and domestic wellbeing. As India’s humanitarian injustices continue to rise, Modi’s political momentum shows no signs of stopping.
By: Arjun Shah