Far-right Hindu groups in India have been openly calling for violence against Indian Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, with many demanding a “repeat” of the 1984 genocide of Sikhs.
Nationalist populism: A Hindutva event in Haridwar last December and the cancellation of a visit to Punjab by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week have become widely discussed recently. These incidents have sparked calls for Muslim genocide and the spread of anti-Sikh hate speech, respectively.
- An event hosted by conservative Hindu groups last month caused uproar across India when clips from the event showed community leaders calling for open violence against Muslims.
- “Be ready to kill and go to jail,” one of them declared.
- According to Al Jazeera, at least one member of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was present at the event.
- Meanwhile, several churches were vandalized on Christmas by Hindu nationalists who claimed to be stopping other Hindus from supporting “religious conversion under the garb of celebrating Christmas” and from “brainwashing children.”
- A Hindu vigilante group interrupted one of the many Christmas gatherings while yelling, “Death to missionaries.” Several statues of Jesus Christ were also smashed across the country.
- On Jan. 5, Modi’s planned visit to the state of Punjab was cancelled after a security breach left him temporarily trapped on a highway overpass. The incident soon sparked a wave of violent threats against Sikhs, the religious minority which makes up more than 50% of Punjab’s population.
- Many of these threats harkened back to the 1984 Sikh Massacre, which occurred after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.
- Several Twitter users discussed the recent incident involving Modi. One even wrote that the massacre of 1984 “would be dwarfed in all memories” had “even a scratch” come to Modi. The death toll of the 1984 Sikh Massacre is disputed, but independent sources allege that up to 8,000 Sikhs were killed.
- Other pro-Modi netizens called for the hanging of Punjab’s chief minister.