“The Situation [for Muslims in India] is Approaching Genocidal”

Modi’s government was exploiting coronavirus in a tactic reminiscent of one used by the Nazis during the Holocaust, says renowned human rights and political activist

DESPARDES (Updated) — Novelist and political activist Arundhati Roy says the BJP-led Indian government is exploiting COVID-19 to ramp up its suppression of Muslims. She said that this is something “the world should keep its eyes on.”

“The treatment of Muslims amid coronavirus is almost ‘genocidal'”, said Roy in a recent interview to DW.

When asked to comment, Saudi political and Media Analyst Khaled Almaeena — a close observer of India also, says “in the case of the Muslim genocide, it is worse than any in the modern world. An openly murderous government has incited an illiterate horde to attack and kill Muslims and Dalits. Inferiority complex of the politicians who want to challenge history by their imagination adds to the confusion. Renaming streets, cities and revamping history has become a daily feature. They have created a psychosis of fear.”

The country has a huge Muslim population (201m) — about the world’s second-largest and the world’s largest Muslim-minority population. “It’s been put under the spotlight by Hindu nationalist government for various reasons”, several Indian Americans told DesPardes, and concur with Roy’s and Almaeena’s observations.

ALSO WATCH: India: When Hindu nationalism meets Covid-19

According to Roy, Modi’s government is exploiting COVID-19 to ramp up its suppression of Muslims. This crisis of hatred against Muslims,” she continued, “comes on the back of a massacre in Delhi, which was the result of people protesting against the anti-Muslim citizenship law.

The February 2020 riots saw multiple waves of bloodshed, property destruction, and rioting in North East Delhi, caused chiefly by Hindu mobs attacking Muslims. 51 people died, mostly Muslims.

Roy accused the government of exploiting the coronavirus outbreak to inflame tensions between Hindus and Muslims.

The activist told DW that this alleged strategy on the part of the Hindu nationalist government would “dovetail with this illness to create something which the world should really keep its eyes on.” She even said: “The situation is approaching genocidal.”

“I think what has happened is COVID-19 has exposed things about India that all of us knew,” Roy said. “We are suffering, not just from COVID, but from a crisis of hatred, from a crisis of hunger.”

Roy accuses Modi’s government of exploiting the virus in a tactic reminiscent of one used by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

“The whole of the organization, the RSS to which Modi belongs, which is the mother ship of the BJP, has long said that India should be a Hindu nation. Its ideologues have likened the Muslims of India to the Jews of Germany. And if you look at the way in which they are using COVID, it was very much like typhus was used against the Jews to ghettoize them, to stigmatize them.”

India observer Almaeena says, when he reads statements by ministers, state governors and officials open encouraging the Muslim elimination “I fear for not only the minorities but for the soul of what was once a beautiful country”. “India will lag behind as China and other Asian countries move forward”, he adds.

“The global media focuses on China whereas actually India risks collapse in reality,” says Syed Hasan Javed, a scholar, author and linguist, when asked to comment on India situation.