Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ World https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ In secular India, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be Muslim

In secular India, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be Muslim

Now, over 70 years later, there are indications that Nehru's hopes for the nation are facing perhaps their greatest threat.

The Hindus consider the place to be the birthplace of Lord Ram, one of the most revered deities in Hinduism. However, Muslims have also been praying there for centuries.

The decision on the Ayodhya site is seen as a blow to Muslims. It came at a time when Muslims were increasingly perceived as second-class citizens in a predominantly Hindu country.

India has a long history of sectarian violence, but over the last few years there has been an increase in suspected hatred of Muslims, which makes up approximately 200 million of the country's 1
.3 billion population.
In August, the Indian government deprived the majority of the Muslim state of Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomous status, essentially giving New Delhi more control over the affairs of the region. That same month, nearly two million people in the northeastern state of Assam in India were left behind a controversial new National Register of Citizens, which critics feared could be used to justify religious discrimination against Muslims in the state.
All this comes under the shadow of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist who has repeatedly spoken out against Indian secularism.

The Modi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has its roots in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing organization established in 1925 that promotes the vision of a Hindu nation.

So, when the BJP was re-elected in May, Indian Muslims worried that the fabric of society could change. Modi dismissed his fears as "imaginary" – but less than six months into his second term, there are signs that things may be getting worse for Muslims in India.
  A Kashmiri Muslim woman lifted her veil in the air to pray in Srinagar, India, on November 10, 2019.

Secular Nation

Although Hindu nationalism has been known by Modi for decades, it has been around for decades.

When India gained independence from Britain in 1947, Nehru, the architect of contemporary India, helped to establish a constitution that protected "freedom of thought, expression, faith, religion and worship" – and "equality of status".

  Modi says that minorities in India live in a world of imaginary fear.

"Nehru was very aware of the fact that India is a diverse society and the only thing that can work is secularism," Sanjay Kapoor, a political commentator and editor of the independent political magazine Hardnews, told CNN.

In the coming years, the concept of secularism became more abstract. Political parties – including the Indian National Congress (INC) own party – Nehru began giving out to voters during religious differences.

In the 1980s, Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi, and eldest grandson, Rajiv Gandhi, were both Prime Ministers and continue to promote their vision of secular India. Indira Gandhi, however, imposed authoritarian policies that provoked voter feedback and ignited growing support for the Hindu nationalist BJP.

The issue with Ayodhya first helped the BJP gain considerable electoral weight.

The controversial religious site is an old issue of controversy that has only ever received local attention, but the BJP has used it to secure more than half the seats in the 1991 Uttar Pradesh state elections.

  Men pay tribute to former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in Amritsar on October 30, 2019.

The Rise of Nationalism

At that time political observers bviniha BJP in inflaming religious divisions and empowerment of Hindu nationalists. These criticisms are still leveled at Modi's party today.

In 1992, just one year after the BJP election victory, right-wing Hindu mafia demolished a 16th-century Babri mosque in Ayodh, causing national unrest that left more than 2,000 dead. It was one of the worst communal violence since India's independence.

For some, it was a moment that changed Indian politics. Kapoor, the editor, remembers how some of his fellow journalists saw the destruction of the mosque and the ensuing riots as the end of secular India.

After the murder of corruption scandals in the 2000s, INC lost support, opening the BJP's gates to power.

In 2014, Modi and the BJP crept to victory in national polls, becoming the first party to win a parliamentary majority in 30 years. It was a move toward nationalism, even before right-wing politics took place in the United Kingdom with Brexit and Donald Trump's "First America" ​​campaign in the United States.

For those who are tired of what they consider to be cronyism and political dynasties, Modi's promise of economic reform in restoring traditional Indian values ​​is promising.

But India's new leader also promotes religious nationalism.

In Modi's first term in office, Hindu vigilante groups killed dozens – many Muslims – who were said to have slaughtered or transported cows, considered sacred by many Hindus. Critics said the presence of a Hindu nationalist government in Delhi encouraged hard-line supporters to commit violent acts against Muslims and other minority groups. An accusation the BJP flatly denied.

A bleak future

When Modi came to power, he had three key promises to choose from. It would abolish the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, build a temple for the Hindu god Ram in Ayodhia and impose a unified civil code that would create a law for everyone, regardless of their religion.

  Modi announces victory in Indian elections after opposition congress party recognizes

having been re-elected in his second term, Modi has already set out to achieve two of his goals.

In August, he withdrew Article 370, a constitutional provision that gives Jammu and Kashmir relative autonomy and protects employment rights, property ownership and state aid for its permanent residents. The government also called for interruption of communication in the area.

People in Jammu and Kashmir – who are reduced to Union territory – fear that Modi's move will encourage migration to the predominantly Muslim area, which may change its demographic characteristics.

The Supreme Court's decision that the Aries Temple could be built in Ayodhya also provoked a reaction from Muslim communities.

  Activists organize candlelight vigil, calling on people belonging to all religious communities to maintain peace and harmony before the Supreme Court judgment in Ayodhya, Bangalore on November 7, 2019.