Unchecked Hindu Extremism Threatens India’s Democracy, Says Arundhati Roy 

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Renowned writer and Booker Prize winner highlighted how the RSS ideology — which is followed by the ruling BJP — has from its early days "referred to the Muslims of India, like the Jews of Germany, you know, quite openly".

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — Renowned writer and Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy says India’s future as a democracy is at threat due to the unchecked and dangerous rise of Hindu radicalism rise of Hindu extremism.

In a far-reaching interview with Britain-based itvX, she said ahead of the general elections in India next year, we are all “braced for a campaign of blood” after a surge in shocking attacks on Muslims, including many fatal, across the country in recent weeks.

The incidents include:

* Three train passengers reportedly killed just for being Muslim by a Hindu policeman, who is caught on camera saying afterward “If you want to live in India then you need to support Modi”;

* A 19-year-old deputy imam was killed while sleeping, reportedly by right-wing Hindutva supporters who stabbed him 13 times and torched the mosque in Haryana’s Gurugram;

* Muslim homes and businesses burnt by vigilante Hindu groups, some while police were present, it’s claimed;

* Hundreds of Muslim homes being bulldozed to rubble by authorities in post-communal clashes Haryana state, leading the Punjab and Haryana High Court to question whether it amounts to state-sponsored “ethnic cleansing”;

* A Hindu militant telling an adulating crowd that if Hindus don’t get their way, then blood will be spilled.

These incidents left communities within the minority Muslim population grieving, fearing for their lives, and, in the areas impacted, fleeing their homes. 

As India heads towards its 2024 elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP is accused of fostering an environment in which religious extremism is thriving.

The government’s Hindu ‘rashtra’ agenda is associated with inflaming anti-Muslim sentiments across the country. 

Since Modi and his Hindu chauvinist party came to power almost a decade ago, India has seen a gradual rise in violence against the country’s minority, yet sizeable, Muslim population — around 200 million people, or 15% of its 1.4 billion residents.

When asked about India’s status as the world’s biggest democracy, Arundhati responded: “In my view, it’s been in doubt for a long time.” 

She highlighted how the RSS ideology — which is followed by the ruling BJP — has from its early days “referred to the Muslims of India, like the Jews of Germany, you know, quite openly”.

She added: “But now I’m not just talking about massacres, I’m talking about laws being changed, about people being killed for disagreeing.

“I’m talking about the dismantling of the state as we knew it, to a place where Muslims are being reduced to actually being second-class citizens for them, the laws that exist in.

“So, we are not just talking about debt and riots and killing and programs, we are talking about the systematic dismantling and repurposing of the Constitution.

“Hindu radical mobs come out with swords, with guns calling for rape, calling for annihilation. And you know, quite often they are watched by the police, who do not intervene.

“The courts don’t do very much. Muslims who protest are either killed, jailed, or their houses are demolished summarily.

“So, we can’t give up hope, but we are in a very, very precarious situation. We are on our own. No one’s going to help. No one can help. And Muslims are very seriously on their own… and vulnerable.

“So, we’re in an extremely dangerous position, which of course, the world is not paying much attention to because India is a great market.”

ITV News said it approached the Indian government for a response but did not receive a reply.

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