Hate speech against Muslims, India’s only justification in recent COVID-19 crisis: CSCR Study

Many countries across the globe are revamping their health care system and security narrative amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, however, India is trying to cover-up the prevailing health crisis by glamourizing anti-Muslim conspiracy theories originated by Hindutva.

A research article published in the Centre for Strategic and Contemporary Research states that India’s COVID-19 response outlook is largely characterised by securitisation of the prevailing health crisis, turning it into an Indian Muslims-led conspiracy against the Indian Hindus.

Read full article: The Hindutva Aspect of COVID-19 Outbreak in India

The research article is written by Fahad Nabeel – a research associate in CSCR and Maryam Raashed – a research assistant in CSCR.

The novel coronavirus has vehemently brought to the fore, how Hindutva forces target Indian minorities, particularly Muslims.

While hate speech against non-Hindus has become a usual practice in India, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has given it a renewed vigour.

A review of trend campaigns by Hindu nationalists and supporters of various Hindutva groups reveals that four themes – propagating Islamophobia, targeting Tablighi Jamaat as the hub of COVID-19, Sinophobic rhetoric and highlighting alleged Hinduphobia in Arab countries – were pursued by these individuals or groups.

Another aspect of the practical manifestation of Hindutva ideology is the religiously-motivated discrimination of Indian Muslims.

 Following the outbreak, this discrimination has transcended into outright demonisation. This vilification of Muslims is mainly justified under the garb of a three-day religious congregation led by the Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic missionary organisation, in New Delhi in March. As the congregation convened shortly before an official ban on social gatherings by the Indian government, a large cluster of COVID-19 positive cases was discovered. This has triggered a fury of hate speech and false news against Muslims.

What is CSCR?

The Centre for Strategic and Contemporary Research (CSCR) is a policy institute in Islamabad that projects strategic foresight rooted in academia on issues of significance for the civil society stakeholders, the policymakers, and the state officials. Through the cardinal nodes of consultancy, advocacy, and lobbying, the CSCR has been instrumental in bringing a positive perceptual shift within the targeted segments to help them understand the policy choices facing Pakistan and other countries.

Established in 2014, the CSCR also provides customised intellectual assessments to the policy elites, backed by primary and secondary research, including the organisation of national seminars, and closed-door in-house sessions on contemporary matters of importance.