India’s democracy is under pressure like never before as dreams of an ethnic Hindu nation leave its minority Muslims sleepless.
As India celebrates 75 years of independence, the country’s Muslims and other minorities say they find themselves in a state of siege.
Ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2014, the South Asian nation has lunged rightwards under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with an overt and organized state patronage to a Hindu majoritarian agenda worrying its Muslims.
Hindu majoritarianism has become a de facto state policy under Modi, with Hindu supremacist groups ratcheting up their demand to turn the country into a “Hindu Rashtra” or an exclusive Hindu state.
Across the country, Muslims are facing blatant and subtle discrimination from state and private institutions as well as Hindu right-wing groups backed by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Whether it is what Muslims wear, eat, their places of worship and their constitutional rights to practice and preach their religion – all have been systematically attacked, banned, demolished or diminished since Modi came to power in 2014.
For the first time in India’s history, its governing party does not have a single Muslim parliamentarian.
Triple Talaq, Love Jihad, Citizenship Amendment Act, Cow Protection Act, last week's 32-page draft of constitution of “Hindu Rashtra” which aims to deny Muslims and Christians the right to vote.
In Modi’s India, the accusation of Muslims having extraterritorial loyalties has been revived into a terrifying and daily test for the community and has led to calls for their economic and social boycott.
An Engineer from Bihar, who seek Canadian citizenship said: Being Muslim in India was always complicated, he said, but now it was just plain scary. “We all have listened to that odd barb all our lives, but today, violence is implicit in that barb.”
Aamir isn’t the only one wanting to get out of India. Troubled by the present and anxious about the future, many Indian Muslims are now starting to give up hope in the country they call home.
The insecurity stems from what critics of the government call an institutionalized persecution of Muslims since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister in 2014 – from a steady onslaught of violence by vigilante groups backed by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to the legal hounding of Muslim voices critical of the regime. Endorsed by top leaders, there has been an explosion of anti-Muslim prejudice in everyday life. Earlier this year, Gregory Stanton, an expert on genocidal violence, said the situation was so alarming that “genocide could very well happen in India”.
There are over 200 million Muslims in India, the highest in the world after Indonesia and Pakistan. Only a minuscule number can afford to leave – years of deprivation has meant the community’s socio-economic indicators are among the worst in the country.
But among those who can, many are actively seeking to build lives elsewhere.
Indeed, more Indian Muslims seem to be looking for an escape than possibly ever before in the country’s history. There may not be official numbers to quantify the exodus, but the signs are unmistakable.
Rising majoritarianism has sparked a quiet exodus of young, educated, affluent Muslims.
It is time for international community to interfere into the matter with top priority. Otherwise more and more Muslims may migrate out of India and then it is easy for Hindutva to crush the remaining to declare India a Hindu Rashtra then take away the rights of those who remain in India.
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Source: Al Jazeera | Scroll