A man at a protest in Delhi in June 2017 against a spate of lynchings of Muslim men and mob violence. Photo:  IMAGO/Hindustan Times
A man at a protest in Delhi in June 2017 against a spate of lynchings of Muslim men and mob violence. Photo: IMAGO/Hindustan Times

State of Southasia #06: Harsh Mander on fighting the Hindu right’s project of hate in India

The peace activist Harsh Mander says that hate crimes against Muslims that the Modi regime allowed and incentivised in its first two terms will not abate only because of the BJP’s recent electoral setback

On 28 September 2015, a mob of Hindu men in a village in Dadri district in Uttar Pradesh dragged 52-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq from his house and beat him to death. Earlier that day a local Hindu temple had announced that a cow had been slaughtered in the village and a rumour had spread that it was Akhlaq’s family that had killed the cow. The case sparked outrage across the country. Al Jazeera called it “The lynching that changed India”. Particularly shocking was the fact that instead of looking for the killers, the police were focussed on the contents of Akhlaq’s fridge and testing whether the meat found inside was from a cow.

Since Akhlaq’s death, hate-driven violence against Muslims has risen with incidents of vigilantism, mob lynchings as well as attacks by individuals being reported by different parts of the country. Since 2014, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power, its right-wing politics has gained widespread traction and acceptance. The Hindutva agenda of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of the BJP has also gained greater legitimacy through the BJP’s repeated electoral success. In these ten years, so many incidents of hate-driven violence, particularly against Muslims, have been reported that they no longer make headlines or primetime news.

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