Muslims are the largest religious minority group in India. India is a religiously diverse country with a predominantly Hindu population, but it is also home to various religious communities, including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and others. Muslims make up a significant minority in India, comprising around 14-15% of the total population. This makes them the largest religious minority group in the country. Muslim communities in India are diverse, with variations in language, culture, and religious practices. They have contributed significantly to India’s history, culture, and society.

There have been concerns and reports about discriminatory policies affecting Muslims in India. These concerns have garnered attention both within the country and internationally. The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed in 2019 led to concerns about the exclusion of Muslims from its provisions. The CAA fast-tracks citizenship for certain religious minorities from neighboring countries but excludes Muslims, leading to allegations of discrimination based on religion. The proposed implementation of NRC National Register of Citizens (NRC), a process aimed at identifying undocumented immigrants, has raised concerns about potential discrimination against Muslims, particularly those who might struggle to produce necessary documents to prove their citizenship.

Likewise, there have been instances of mob violence and lynchings targeting Muslims, often linked to allegations of cow slaughter or beef consumption. These incidents raise concerns about communal violence and the safety of minority communities. There have been reports of Muslims facing discrimination in employment and housing sectors. This can include difficulty in finding housing in certain areas and facing biases when seeking job opportunities.

There have been concerns about surveillance and profiling of Muslims, both through government policies and societal prejudices. This can lead to a sense of alienation and violation of privacy.

Some politicians and individuals have been accused of using hate speech that targets Muslims. Such rhetoric can contribute to an environment of hostility and discrimination.

 Negative media portrayals can perpetuate stereotypes and contribute to the stigmatization of Muslims. The ultra-nationalist Hindu organizations such as RSS, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parshad (VHP) are adding fuel to the fire by targeting Muslims across the country. The goons of these organizations are vandalizing their properties. UN human rights watchdogs and US have time and again raised serious concerns regarding the rise in hate crimes across India.

These organizations have been involved in controversial activities against minority population particularly against Muslims in India. Had a leading role in demolition of Babri Mosque in Ayodhiya and subsequent riots that killed more than 2,000 Muslims. Also orchestrated violence during 2002 anti-Muslim pogroms in Gujarat State in which over 1,000 Muslims were killed. These organizations gained notoriety being involved in supporting Bajrang Dal for lynching Muslims (to death) over suspected beef trade/cow transportation. From 1982 to 1985, VHP converted over 66,000 people (mainly Christians) to Hinduism. Outfits claimed to have converted 5,000 people to Hinduism in 2002. In 2004, it converted 12,857 people to Hinduism. 3,727 of these were Muslims and 9,130 were Christians.

A UK government inquiry into Gujarat pogroms says: “Violence was planned, possibly months in advance by VHP. Attack (27 February 2002) on train at Godhra provided pretext. If it had not occurred another one would have been found”. US CIA listed VHP as “Militant Religious Organizations” in World Factbook. Also archived version (2018) of CIA World Factbook site notes VHP as “Militant Religious Organizations”.

Combating discrimination against any community is essential for fostering a just and inclusive society. Discrimination based on factors such as religion, ethnicity, race, gender, or any other characteristic is harmful and goes against the principles of equality and human rights. Enact and enforce laws that explicitly prohibit discrimination and hate crimes. Ensure that these laws are comprehensive and cover all aspects of life, including employment, education, housing, and public services. To cater growing anti-Muslims sentiments, Indian government must develop policies that promote inclusivity and equal opportunities for all citizens. This could involve affirmative action, outreach programs, and policies that address historical injustices. Political leaders should promote unity and denounce hate speech or divisive actions. Their influence can shape public sentiment and policy direction.


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