Attacks against Muslims in India
India Islamophobia

Why Is Indian PM Modi’s Silent About Attacks Against Muslims?

Muslims in India have come under attack, however, Prime Minister Modi has remained silent. The current BJP lead government, with Narendra Modi at the helm, has been in power for almost 8 years. Muslims in India have been targeted by this government. Whether it be the denial of human rights or the demolition of their houses.

India for Hindus and Muslims

The present government ostensibly operates under the slogan “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas.” It roughly translates to “A government that is with everyone, ensures everyone’s development, and earns everyone’s trust.” Let’s see if there is any truth to this sentiment.

We have to remember that the present Prime Minister and many influential politicians have strong links to the saffron outfit called Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS. The RSS is like a parent organization that provides ideological support for many right-wing outfits in the country.

Now RSS believes in the idea of a Hindu India. The founders of India created a pluralistic democracy. This idea is diametrically opposed to their vision. Further, it is exclusionary in nature.

In India Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism have been practiced for over a thousand years. A look at Indian history tells us that India is not solely a Hindu country. It may be a country where a major chunk of the population is Hindu, but that doesn’t make it a Hindu nation.

If we looked at the situation 20-30 years ago, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that India was a secular country. It may have had struggles with finding a form of secularism that worked, given its diversity. But, secularism was the de-facto governing principle.

Hindu nationalist parties like the BJP pushed the idea of India as a Hindu country. However, it remained a fringe idea. Over the past 8 years, it has slowly become a part of the mainstream. The present government operates under the belief that India is a Hindu country. 

Spread of communal violence

Now it is common for politicians and influential people to issue polarizing statements. Last December, during an event statement people made statements like “Even if just a hundred of us become soldiers and kill two million of them, we will be victorious.” This was in relation to an alleged discussion that urged the mass killings of Muslims. Similarly, an influential figure in the BJP, Prabodhanand Giri, declared that “like Myanmar, the police, politicians, the army and every Hindu in India must pick up weapons and do this cleansing.” These kinds of anti-muslim statements have become common in Modi’s India.

Earlier this year, Hindutva activists were seen attempting to hoist a saffron flag atop a mosque. Similarly, the houses of poor Muslims were demolished. The government used bulldozers to crackdown on Muslims who resisted saffron mobs. 

The issue is that saffron-clad mobs wielding swords and sticks marching through Muslim neighbourhoods or threatening the genocide of Muslims; wasn’t a practice in India until recently. Though the country has historically had difficulties managing religious tensions, riots have broken out in multiple instances. The situation has never been this dire.

Now, members of social organizations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or the Bajrang Dal usually carry out these instances of communal violence and hate speech. The modus operandi is to use the garb of a political event or a festival to instigate anti-Muslim violence.

Another issue is the fact that the civil administration has, in many cases, been complicit with these mobs. Or they are afraid to act against the interests of the mob? In states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh the civil administration targeted Muslims.

Also Read: Will the second most horrible Holocaust in history take place against the Muslims of India?

Indian PM Modi silent about Muslims

The silence of the Prime Minister and influential politicians means that these mobs don’t feel challenged. It, in fact, emboldens them. Though Prime Minister Modi may not be a member of these Hindutva outfits, his voice holds sway over them. One can definitely understand that the Prime Minister is a busy constitutional functionary who may not be able to address every issue in the nooks and crannies of the country. Shouldn’t PM Modi notice the rising anti-Muslim sentiments in India? Shouldn’t PM Modi address violence against Indian Muslims? Isn’t it time to address this issue? 

Also Read: Islamophobia in India: The Hostile Treatment Against Muslims

The leaders of 13 opposition parties in India came out and condemned the communal polarization and instances of hate speech. They then requested the Prime Minister to address the nation on this issue.

Similarly, former civil servants also issued a statement condemning the instances of communal violence against the Muslim community. They stated that it stood against the principles set in the Indian constitution and that the present showed that there was a breakdown in the rule of law. They also stated that the government was complicit in the violence.

PM Modi to show support to Indian Muslim

Despite strong statements from opposition politicians, former bureaucrats, and members of civil society, there has been absolute silence from the Indian Prime Minister Modi. Now it is not like the Prime Minister is afraid of public speaking. He is known for his rousing oratory and incendiary speeches. These skills would definitely have come to his aid so he could make a simple statement.

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, recently visited India just a few days after communal violence broke out across the country. There was no word from him on this issue for which he was criticised by UK MPs. Of course, the intent behind his visit was to strike a trade deal and hold negotiations. But he did visit Gujarat, a state that has a history of violence against Muslims, that too when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of that state a few decades ago. The silence does become deafening at some point in time.

At this stage, one can only hope that this cycle of bigotry and violence comes to an end in the future. We hope Prime Minister Modi considers the plight of Indian Muslims. And that the government and civil administration return to adhering to the constitution and upholding the principle of secularism. Without such a change, it is hard to be optimistic about a pluralistic society in the country.