Cases of anti-Islam hate speech have occurred more than once a day in India on average in the first half of this year, focusing mainly on states where elections are pending.
That's according to a report by Hindutwa Watch, a Washington-based organization to monitor aggression against minorities.
The report documented 255 cases of group acts of hate speech directed against Muslims in the first half of 2023.
As of today, there is no longer a country called India, will it be Bharat anymore?
The report is based on the UN definition of hate speech - "any form of communication /.../ that uses language expressing prejudice or discrimination against an individual or group of people on the basis of characteristics such as religion, ethnicity or nationality, race, color, origin, gender or other distinctive features".
A total of 70 percent of cases were reported in states where elections are planned in 2023 and 2024, according to the report. In the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, hate speech during group gatherings has the highest, with 29 percent reported in Maharashtra. In most cases, the speech inclines to conspiracy and calls for violence and a socio-economic boycott of Muslims.
About 80 percent of these events are in areas ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People's Party). She is expected to win national elections next year.
Hindutva Watch said it had tracked the activity of Hindu nationalist organizations live on social networks, found videos of hate speech posted there and collected data from the media on individual incidents.
Modi's government denies the presence of violence against minorities, and the Indian embassy in Washington did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Human rights groups say Muslims in India have been abused since Modi became prime minister in 2014, citing a 2019 citizenship law deemed by the UN Human Rights Council to be "fundamentally discriminatory" due to the exclusion of citizenship for Muslim migrants. of legislation against change of faith which challenges the constitutionally protected right to freedom of belief; as well as the revocation of the special status of Muslim-majority Kashmir in 2019.
There have also been cases of Muslim properties being demolished under the pretext of removing illegal buildings, and a ban on wearing the hijab (a Muslim women's head covering) in schools in the state of Karnataka, when the Bharatiya Janata Party was in power.