India cracks down on Muslims under cover of coronavirus- Financial Times


Since the anti-government protests and riots that happened this year, a number of Muslim activists and people who show dissatisfaction with the government have been arrested. With the coronavirus, controls on movement are limiting detainees’ access to legal assistance.

The FT report mentions Criminal lawyer Nitika Khaitan statement that, “at least 50 people had been questioned, detained or arrested in connection with the riots in February, which killed more than 50 people. We have been receiving daily calls from people for help”.

These arrests are a culmination of boiling religious tensions that mushroomed when the Bharatiya Janata party-led government of Narendra Modi introduced a citizenship law that discriminates against Muslims. Indian Muslims are incessantly being demonized with the recent spike in coronavirus cases due to the Tablighi Jamaat gathering.

On top of that, Muslims are facing discrimination unceasingly. “Rightwing groups have distributed saffron-coloured flags, the colour of the ruling party, to identify Hindu food vendors after rumours spread over social media that Muslims were spitting on fruits to deliberately spread coronavirus”, highlights the report.

Religious prejudice has increased after Mr Modi’s second term in office. Protests had exposed Modi’s government susceptibility. However, with the coronavirus, people can’t come out of their homes to protest against these arrests. Aysha Renna, a member of the Jamia Co-ordination Committee said, “At this moment . . . we aren’t able to resist, we aren’t able to hold a protest against this.”

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