India Study Centre at Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organised a webinar titled “Contemporary India: Violence and Discrimination against Religious Minorities” in collaboration with the Centre for South Asian Studies, Punjab University on May 21, 2020. Ambassador Aisha Farrqui, spokesperson of Pakistan Foreign Office delivered keynote address on the occasion. Eminent scholars including Dr. Riffat Hussain, Head of Department of Government and Public Policy at NUST, Prof. Dr. Umbreen Javaid, Dean Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Punjab University, and also Director Centre for South Asian Studies and Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmad, Vice Chancellor , University of Sargodha were present to express their views on the subject. Prof. Dr. Saadat Gulden Ayman, professor of International Relations at Faculty of Political Science at Istanbul University also joined the webinar from Istanbul as a guest of honour. Apart from academicians, Ambassador Shahid Kiani was also present on the occasion to share his views in the light of his experience as a distinguished diplomat.
While welcoming the guests, Director India Study Centre, Dr. Saif Malik said that Islamophobia has taken deep roots in India under the RSS-BJP government. Not only state failed to protect its own people but it has also introduced laws that are only discriminatory towards Muslims. Presently, while the world is busy combating Covid 19, India on the other hand preferred to divert its attention and malign its own people because they belong to a different religion. Such was the severity of the hate that even the international community could not turn a blind eye. He went on to appraise audience regarding the reactions of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and World Health Organization in response to the discriminatory treatment of Indian government towards its own minorities particularly Muslims . The prevailing situation also led the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to suggest the State Department that India should be declared a ‘country of concern’ and put on a religious freedom blacklist.