The effect of religious polarization in India

By Justice Markandey Katju-

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman of, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

The effect of religious polarization and hatred spread in India can be seen in these recent videos, which have gone viral, showing a Hindu police inspector kicking a Muslim saying namaz on Friday, March 8, 2024, in Delhi.

Ever since the BJP came to power in 2014 state and media-sponsored venomous propaganda and atrocities against the Muslim minority have spiraled, and have become a continuous and regular feature in many parts of India. The coming parliamentary elections have further escalated it.

Modern propaganda is such a powerful thing that if applied systematically for long can convert good people into devils.

In Nazi Germany the Holocaust could not have happened in 1933 when the Nazis came to power. The Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed, was preceded by years of propaganda by Goebbels, Streicher and others against the Jews day in and day out by various means, which converted ordinary men and women, who were otherwise perfectly normal and decent, into beasts who murdered millions of people.

For instance, Rudolf Hoess, the commandant of Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp where 1-2 million people  ( mostly Jews ) were sent to gas chambers, when asked during his interrogation at Nuremburg whether he was normal, replied ” I am entirely normal. Even during this extermination work, I led a normal family life .”

Similarly, in India after the BJP came to power in 2014 virulent propaganda against Muslims has been carried on throughout thereafter, painting them as terrorists, fanatics, rapacious invaders, jihadists, and anti-nationals. Consequently, much of Indian society, which is 80% Hindu and only 15-16% Muslim, has been polarised on religious lines, and various forms of atrocities on Muslims have been continuously going on. They have been lynched, beaten up for not saying ‘ Jai Shri Ram ‘, marginalized in politics, their mosques as in Varanasi and Mathura under attack, and they are discriminated against in getting jobs etc.

A video went viral some time back of a Hindu lady teacher in a school in Muzaffarnagar, UP, telling the Hindu boys in her class to slap a Muslim 8-year-old boy.

Countless such incidents can be narrated. Venom against Muslims has been spouted by people like Yati Narsinghanand etc who incited Hindus to take up arms against Muslims.

So the act of a police inspector in Delhi kicking a Muslim saying namaz is not an act in isolation. It shows how much the minds of tens of millions of Hindus have been poisoned by virulent, continuous propaganda against Muslims in India.


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