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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has addressed letters to the OIC secretary-general and his counterparts from the OIC-member states highlighting the rising wave of state-sanctioned hate crimes and Islamophobia in India and taking it up with the Human Rights Council (HRC).
In the letters, Qureshi has warned that the rising wave of state-sanctioned hate crimes and Islamophobia in India emerged not only as a threat to Indian Muslims but is also a matter of grave concern for the Muslim-majority countries at large.
Among other things, the foreign minister has sensitized them towards this hate-mongering as part of the RSS-BJP dispensation's anti-Muslim and anti-minority agenda, based on the extremist "Hindutva" ideology.
The foreign minister has inter alia apprised about the BJP government's systematic campaign to demonize Muslims by holding them responsible for the spread of the coronavirus.
Qureshi also referred to some of the most glaring examples that include: vilification of Muslims as "coronavirus spreaders" and "human bombs" by the senior Indian government officials, including cabinet ministers; flooding of social media with Islamophobia hashtags like "Corona Jihad", "Bio Jihad", "Covid-786", and "Islamic Insurrection" by dedicated trolls, backed by the ruling BJP's social media cell; circulating fake stories in social media falsely depicting Muslims spitting on people to spread the virus; and TV channels flashing headlines like "Save the country from Corona Jihad".
He said that the anti-Muslim campaign had been widespread, with both local and international media widely reporting cases of assaults against Muslims in streets, shops and mosques.
This campaign has also extended to Indian Diaspora, including in the Middle East, where millions of Indian nationals work, he added.
Qureshi pointed out that blaming Muslims for spreading coronavirus was not only dangerous in the immediate context but also consequential in the longer term given the RSS-BJP's "Hindutva" agenda to turn India into a Hindu nation, with Muslims relegated as second-class citizens.
He said that a series of discriminatory actions against Muslims taken by the BJP government [like National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)] and the rising incidents of lynching and recent targeted killing of Muslims in Delhi in February 2020 had palpably frightened Muslims.
The foreign minister underscored that Indian actions were in contravention of relevant international conventions and seriously undermine global efforts for religious harmony during these challenging times.
Qureshi also expressed the hope that the international community would take due cognizance and urged India to reverse this course, which was fraught with risks for the safety and security of India's minorities, particularly Muslims, and for their fundamental rights and freedoms.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020