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Acclaimed Novelist and Activist Arundhati Roy Calls India’s Treatement of Muslims ‘Genocidal’

“Under the cover of COVID-19 the government is moving to arrest young students, to fight cases against lawyers, against senior editors, against activists and intellectuals. Some of them have recently been put in jail.”

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“Under the cover of COVID-19 the government is moving to arrest young students, to fight cases against lawyers, against senior editors, against activists and intellectuals. Some of them have recently been put in jail.”

Acclaimed novelist and human rights activist Arundhati Roy, best known for her novel The God of Small Things, has called the current Modi-led government of India “genocidal” in the way it is treating its Muslim citizens.

Speaking to the German news-site DW, Roy accused the Indian government of fueling tensions between Hindus and Muslims, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This crisis of hatred against Muslims comes on the back of a massacre in Delhi, which was the result of people protesting against the anti-Muslim citizenship law. Under the cover of COVID-19 the government is moving to arrest young students, to fight cases against lawyers, against senior editors, against activists and intellectuals. Some of them have recently been put in jail.”

Roy further explains that Modi’s far-right and Hindu nationalist ruling party, the BJP, is chillingly similar to the Nazi regime that Germany had leading up to and during WWII – and accuses the current Indian government of moving towards becoming fully genocidal in the way it is treating Indian Muslims.

The whole of the organization, the RSS, to which Modi belongs, which is the mother ship of the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party], has long said that India should be a Hindu nation. Its ideologues have likened the Muslims of India to the Jews of Germany. And if you look at the way in which they are using COVID, it was very much like typhus was used against the Jews to ghettoize them, to stigmatize them…the situation is approaching genocidal.”

India’s growing abuses towards its Muslim citizens have exploded in recent months – from the situation in Kashmir to the CAA bill that excludes Muslims to the detention centers in Assam and to the horrifying Delhi riots that rocked the nation only a few months ago. Despite numerous human rights groups and activists from around the world condemning Modi’s growing nationalist government, the BJP continues to act with impunity.

India’s Islamophobia Continues During COVID-19 Pandemic

With the current COVID-19 pandemic as well, there has been growing fear-mongering from both the state level as well as from the media, which has in part blamed Muslims for the spread of the virus within India. India currently is in the middle of a six-week nationwide lockdown – and has seen some of the largest movements and migrations of people since the partition with many migrant workers attempting to go back to their homes in the countryside. Many who live on daily wages are suffering from a lack of food and basic necessities.

After Roy’s comments on the Indian government surfaced, many from the ruling BJP were quick to condemn her words. Nalin Kohli, a BJP spokesperson, told DW that her claims are “misleading, false, and completely racist. Not one decision or policy of Narendra Modi’s government distinguishes between Indians on the basis of religion, caste, or creed but under due process of law”.

Rakesh Sinha, a member of parliament for the BJP, also stated that “useless idiots, like Arundhati Roy, are trying to pour communal poison in public discourse”. Another BJP member stated that Roy “should be put on trial”, with her claims “amounting to sedition”.

Despite heavy criticism, Roy’s comments stand as a stark reminder, highlighting the ongoing abuses towards Indian Muslims that are continuing despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It remains to be seen how Modi’s Hindu nationalist government continues in the upcoming months ahead.

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