In an explosive revelation, a report from an independent research body has brought the rapidly surging hate-speech propaganda of the BJP and Hindutva bodies across the country to light. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party has been strongly sowing its principles of bigotry and polarization against the religious minorities, particularly the Muslims. The scale of hate-speech is as high as the sky in the BJP-ruling states.
Shockingly, these hate-speech agents have largely been given with impunity as little did they are monitored or apprehended by the law enforcement forces in these BJP-ruling states. The report about BJP and Hindutva's hate speech has been published by Hindutva Watch, an independent research project that documents hate crimes and hate speeches against religious minorities in India. The project focuses on tracking hate crimes and human rights abuses committed by radicalized Hindus and Hindutva militia groups in the country.
Titled '2023 Half-yearly report: Anti-Muslim Hate Speech Events in India', the report has clearly captured the spread of hate speech events in what remains a polarized India. The report was released on Monday and it said that Narendra Modi's ruling party, the BJP and its affiliated groups were behind most hate speech events against Muslims during the first half of the year. It revealed that some 80 per cent of the 255 documented incidents of hate speech gatherings targeting Muslims occurred in BJP-ruling states and union territories.
Bloomberg has quoted the report saying that the researchers of the report have penned that India has seen an escalating trend of anti-Muslim speech since Modi rose to power in 2014. The report found that more than half of the documented incidents this year were orchestrated by the ruling BJP and affiliates including Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and Sakal Hindu Samaj and these groups fall under the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is the ideological parent of the BJP.
As per the report, the state of Maharashtra, where the BJP shares the power, has reported the highest number of hate speech events this year so far with 74, followed by the then BJP ruled state of Karnataka with 26, BJP ruling Madhya Pradesh with 25, BJP ruling Gujarat with 20, BJP ruling Uttar Pradesh with 13, BJP ruling Haryana with 13, BJP ruling Uttarakhand with 11, BJP ruling Goa with six, and the BJP ruling Assam with three hate speech events.
On the other hand, some opposition ruling states have also reported hate speech events - Congress ruling state of Rajasthan has reported 25 hate speech events so far this year followed by Congress ruling states of Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh with three events each, Chandrasekhar Rao-ruling Telangana with seven events, Hemant Soren-ruling Jharkhand with six events while Nitish Kumar-ruling Bihar has reported five hate speech events.
The report has highlighted that the hate speech events were concentrated largely in the BJP-ruled states. In total of 255 hate speech events recorded this year so far, the BJP/ BJP-coalition ruled states accounted for 190 events and non-BJP ruled states accounted for 50 events, while the National Capital Territory of Delhi, where the central BJP regime is responsible for the law enforcement, has reported eleven hate speech events.
The report has vividly noted, "We monitored anti-Muslim hate speech events in 15 states and two territories where the police and law enforcement fall under the direct jurisdiction of the BJP-led central government. The states with limited or no such events were predominantly located in the southern and eastern regions of the country, where the BJP's electoral influence is relatively lower. Conversely, hate speech incidents were predominantly concentrated in India's northern, western, and central regions, where the BJP wields significant electoral and ideological influence."
On the front of the chief agents of these hate speech events, the report has revealed that these events are primarily organized by the RSS affiliated groups - Vishwa Hindu Parichad and Bajrang Dal accounted for 62 hate speech events, followed by Hindu Janajagruti Samiti with 30, Sakal Hindu Samaj with 26, Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad with 22, and the BJP with 19 events.
The Hindutva Watch report has also revealed that besides hate speech events, the events of spreading conspiracy theories and inciting violence have also been increasing in the BJP ruled states. "While approximately 80% of hate speech events took place in BJP-ruled states and territories, roughly 75% of events involving calls to violence occurred in these regions. Similarly, about 60% of events involving calls to arms took place in BJP-ruled states. Around 81% of the events involving conspiracy theories and 78% of the events including a call to boycott Muslims also took place in the BJP-ruled states and territories", the report added.
"As this report documents, some of the purveyors of hate speech include chief ministers, legislators, and senior leaders from the ruling BJP. Rather than combating hate speech, government officials have frequently engaged in it themselves", the report underlined. Though India doesn't have an official definition for hate speech, the research group used language from the United Nations framework, which characterizes hate speech as any form of communication, whether oral, written, or behavioral, that employs 'prejudiced or discriminatory language towards an individual or group based on attributes such as religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, color, descent, gender, or other identity factors.
Though this report has primarily focused on hate speeches against Muslims delivered during meetings and gatherings, it also had pictured the forms of hate speech from the BJP and Hinduvta bodies that include direct calls to violence and calls for a social and economic boycott of religious minorities. "Hate speech can also often come in the form of encouragment, support and justification for violent cow vigilantism, where religious minorities, particularly Muslims, are targeted. It can include calls to exclude religious minorities from state institutions, such as the bureaucracy or the judiciary. It can encompass the propagation of various conspiracy theories like Love Jihad, a bigoted conspiracy theory that Muslim men target Hindu women for conversion to Islam."
According to Bloomberg, the report is the first of its kind to document hate speech against Muslims after India's crime bureau stopped collecting data on hate crimes in 2017. Hindutva Watch had relied on social media and news outlets in gathering data and it also had conducted an in-depth investigation of incidents through journalists and researchers. On the other hand, reacting to the report, a BJP functionary in Delhi, Abhay Verma called the report 'totally baseless' and claimed, "We don't divide the country and people based on their religions. There is no support from the BJP in favor of hate speech."
Read the complete report: https://hindutvawatch.org/hate-speech-events-india/