Hindu Extremism Needs to be Reined in

The dawn of 2016 has brought with it a hope of peace for the South Asian region.  Despite some setbacks, India-Pakistan relations once again seem to be on the right track. The Pathankot incident no doubt was unfortunate and had the potential to derail the peace process that began between India and Pakistan after a gap of seven years. The attack on a University in Charsadda is another example where Indian involvement was widely speculated in the media, though the government sources remained reticent. Both sides have however wisely decided that the Pathankot, as well as the Charsadda incidents will not be allowed to become another Mumbai or another pretext to suspend the dialogue. However, besides showing a commitment to move forward with the dialogue process, it is also important that a conducive environment is created to discuss all issues of mutual concern in a result-oriented manner.

Since Modi enjoyed a great deal of support from ‘Hindutva’ groups throughout his election campaign, therefore,  with his rise to power, Hindu hardliners of Sangh Parivar feel that they now have a free hand to unleash a reign of terror across India. Religious minorities became the prime victim of this growing extremism. All sorts of crimes, including arson and rape, were committed against the Christian community and churches were set on fire. Even the Sikh community was not spared and several incidents of desecration of their holy book took place in 2015. Similarly, the Muslim community which always had a sensitive relationship with the Hindu majority saw worst forms of violence. A particular incident where a fifty-year old Muslim man was beaten to death by a mob on a suspicion that he had consumed and stored cow meat in his house is one such example. Besides indulging in such violent acts, Hindu groups also embarked upon a “Ghar Wapsi” programme where members of religious minorities are lured to convert to Hinduism with a promise of better education, health facilities and jobs.

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