By Hasan Akram
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for brotherhood and unity while dealing with Covid-19 pandemic. However, in his comment he made no reference to discrimination against Muslims over the pandemic, orchestrated by people, who appear to be his supporters.
The prime minister wrote a tweet on Sunday, which read, “COVID-19 does not see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or borders before striking. Our response and conduct thereafter should attach primacy to unity and brotherhood. We are in this together”.
It is astonishing that the prime minister had this much this to say after days of hate mongering against Muslims, which has killed many and caused a rise in cyber -bullying against them.
Since a large section of Indian media purportedly communalized the pandemic after organisation of a congregation by Islamic missionary group Tablighi Jamaat in March in New Delhi, which allegedly led to spread of Covid-19 among several of its members, many deaths have taken that are linked to anti-Muslim sentiments fuelled over the incident.
In Rajasthan, a Muslim woman was denied treatment in a hospital at a time when she was going through labour pain. This resulted in an unsafe delivery of a child, who could not survive.
Another man, Mehboob Ali, who returned from attending an event organised by the missionary group in Bhopal city, was denied entry to his village in New Delhi’s Bawana area and attacked by his neighbours leading to his death.
A man, Dilshad Mohammad, committed suicide in Himachal Pradesh’s Una district owing to the social boycott by locals for his alleged links with those who returned from the congregation in New Delhi.
The hatred was fuelled not only by the mainstream media but BJP politicians as well. BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya has been regular at targeting missionary group and Muslims in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the prime minister did not refer to them once or asked to stop hate-mongering.
The hatred against Muslims has attracted criticism from citizens, activists and intellectuals in gulf countries as Indian expats in those countries are also seen spreading anti-Muslims comments.
As Muslims are being blamed for the spread of Covid-19 in India, a Kuwaiti citizen, Abdul Rahman Al-Nassar, has pointed out that out of 1654 COVID-19 patients there, over 900 of them happen to be Indians. But while nobody was being discriminated there on the ground of religion and are being treated in the same hospital.
With rising criticism over the anti-Muslim hatred, the issue has attracted global attention and the prime minister needs to take effective decisions in order to stop his own supporters from spreading divide and hatred.