By Muslim Mirror Staff
In a recent report released by the Washington-based organization Hindutva Watch, alarming statistics reveal a significant surge in hate speech against Muslims during the first half of 2023 in India. The report indicates that, on average, more than one hate speech incident against Muslims occurred daily during this period, with a particularly pronounced increase in states where assembly elections are set to take place in the coming months.
The organization, which closely monitors incidents of violence against minorities in India, reported a total of 255 instances of hate speech targeting Muslims during various meetings and events. Disturbingly, there is no comparable historical data available for reference in this regard.
The definition of hate speech adopted by nations worldwide, encompassing communication based on religion, race, nationality, color, sex, or other identifying factors, underscores the gravity of the situation. “Hate speech is commonplace now,” warns the report, with nearly 70 percent of these incidents concentrated in states scheduled for elections in 2023 and 2024.
The Hindutva Watch report highlights that Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan witnessed the highest incidence of hate speech. Maharashtra, where the BJP holds power, recorded a staggering 29 such incidents alone.
The report sheds light on the alarming prevalence of conspiracy theories during these hate speech incidents, often without a solid factual basis. Speakers have reportedly called on Hindus to avoid violence against Muslims and to socially and economically boycott them. Significantly, approximately 80 percent of these incidents unfolded in states governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, the BJP, raising concerns about a potential alignment of Hindu voters through hate speech tactics in pursuit of electoral success.
Hindutva Watch’s methodology included tracking online activities of Hindu nationalist groups, verifying videos of hate speech posted on social media, and compiling their report based on incidents reported in the media.
While the Modi government has yet to respond to the Hindutva Watch report, analysts have noted an increase in incidents of violence and hatred against minorities, particularly Muslims, since Narendra Modi assumed office as prime minister in 2014. The report underscores the urgent need for action to address and mitigate the rise in hate speech and its potential consequences for social cohesion and minority rights in India.