Rising Islamophobia, Leaders Silent: How Foreign Media Covered Haridwar Event

A three-day hate speech conclave was organised by Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand in Haridwar.

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Rising Islamophobia, Leaders Silent: How Foreign Media Covered Haridwar Event
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A three-day hate speech conclave was organised by Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand in Uttarakhand's pilgrimage city of Haridwar from 17 to 19 December.

The event – where communal calls were made to kill minorities and attack their religious spaces – has prompted outrage among activists, students and lawyers among others. Most recently, at least 100 people staged a protest against the event in the national capital, demanding the immediate arrest of Yati Narsinghanand and other leaders.

Across the globe, international media houses also took notice of the hate-spewing event.

While some defined it as a blatant example of rising anti-Muslim sentiment in India, others raised questions on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government espousing a hardline Hindu ideology.


'India's Leaders Keep Silent': NYT

The New York Times opined that even amid the rise of religious intolerance in the country, the Haridwar event 'produced the most blatant and alarming call for violence in recent years and yet, the topmost leaders, including Prime Minster Narendra Modi, have not broken their silence.

In a piece for the daily, Sameer Yasir wrote:

"Videos of the event have spread widely on social media in India this week. Yet Mr Modi has maintained a characteristic silence that analysts say can be interpreted by his most extreme supporters as a tacit signal of protection."
Sameer Yasir

'Islamophobic Speeches & Violence Regularly Go Viral in India': BBC

A report by the BBC followed the action initiated against the various speakers at the event, noting the delay in filing a case.

The report added:

"Activists say the frequency of hate crimes against Muslims and other minorities has increased since 2014, when the BJP first came to power. Videos of hate speech or violence against Muslims regularly go viral in India. Critics allege this is because of the support, both open and tacit, that the perpetrators receive from ruling party leaders."


Aljazeera too, reiterated the silence of the leadership, especially Prime Minister Modi, in the face of blatant calls for communally charged violence in the country.

The report, which was published nearly a week after all the events were held added:

"Al Jazeera’s Pavni Mittal, reporting from New Delhi, said none of the other leaders in attendance, despite the evidence, have so far had any cases registered against them. “All of this is on tape, the speeches went viral, so the police have evidence but nothing else has actually been done,” she added."

'Hate Speeches & Violence to Rise Amid Upcoming Polls': Bloomberg

In an article for Bloomberg, Sudhi Ranjan Sen also took note of the Haridwar event and said that such events are likely to see an uptick in view of the upcoming Assembly elections in UP and Haridwar.

The author also stated:

"Modi and the BJP have fast-tracked a Hindu nationalist agenda after winning a sweeping mandate for a second term in 2019. His administration has revoked Article 370 of the Constitution that granted special autonomous status to India’s only Muslim-majority state, Jammu and Kashmir, and approved a citizenship law that discriminates based on religion. He has laid the foundation stone for the construction of a Hindu temple at a site where a 16th century mosque was razed."
Sudhi Ranjan Sen

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