New Delhi: While hate crimes and attacks on Muslims and minorities today have become a regular occurrence, the past year perhaps will be a landmark in India’s modern history for the numerous incidents that were reported all year round. From Islamophobic slurs to the demolition of Muslim homes by state governments, religious bigotry today is in fact exhorted by Hindutva groups.
More importantly, these everyday incidents have also shown us how the mainstream media’s coverage of religious hate crimes is looked at when it comes to Muslims especially. To make sure that there is documentation of the ongoing epoch of Indian society, Siasat.com has been publishing a monthly hate report over the past year.
A major event that reverberated across India was when a flurry of anti-Muslim attacks was reported during the Ram Navami processions across the country. It was something unseen in the country in recent times, given that Ram Navami had never been marked with such violence or incidents of aggression (in Hyderabad now suspended BJP MLA Raja Singh passed derogatory statements at a rally).
Given all that has happened, opposition leaders and activists alike have voiced their concerns over what is happening. Many feel that such attacks on minorities have now mainstreamed hate, and are also an attack on the country’s secular democratic roots post-independence.
To provide a better understanding of what happened over the past year, Siasat.com also compiled a list of the most blatant hate crimes committed in 2022 by right-wing groups and alike.
January 2022 : The first month of 2022 witnessed an Islamophobic, misogynist incident wherein a bunch of depraved men decided to ‘auction’ Muslim women online. The whole attack was done on the infamous Bulli Bai app where Muslim women including prominent journalists, activists, and lawyers found themselves being ‘auctioned’.
The app was created on the GitHub platform. Soon after its expose, the Narendra Modi-led central government faced backlash which prompted Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to launch a probe. Four persons – 21-year-old Vishal Jha, 19-year-old Shweta Singh, 21-year-old Mayank Rawat, and key conspirator Neeraj Bishnoi were arrested.
In a separate incident, a group of people on Clubhouse hosted a chat under the topic ‘Muslim gals are more beautiful than Hindu gals’. The conversation soon went viral for its obscene, sexist remarks about Muslim women and their bodies.
One of the users was heard as saying, “See when people like me, RSS bhakts marry Mullis (a derogatory term for Muslim women), then they will ultimately be Hindus.” This was applauded by others, including women.
The two-minute shocking and odious chat even compared sexual intercourse with Muslim women with the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
The Mumbai police arrested three people – Akash, Jeshnav Kakkar, and Yash Parashar.
Another horrendous hate crime was reported in Ranchi, wherein a Muslim man was allegedly thrashed, forced to lick his own spit, and chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ by BJP workers. The victim had allegedly abused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party’s Jharkhand president.
In another incident, a Muslim man was attacked by right-wing Hindu organisations for travelling with a Hindu woman in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. They took him to the police station and upon investigation, it came to light that they were a married couple.
February 2022: February was a melting pot for Karnataka with Hijab row and the murder of 28-year-old Bajrang Dal activist Harsha taking centerstage.
On February 21, Harsha was stabbed to death at Shivamogga following which massive protests broke out. Shops were damaged and vehicles were torched, forcing police to enforce Section 144. “#JusticeForHarsha” trended on Twitter.
Bajrang Dal activist Harsha who was stabbed to death : Six people – Mohammed Kashif, Syed Nadeem, Ashifullah Khan, Rehan Khan, Nehal, and Abdul Afnan – were arrested in connection with the case.
The Hijab ban issue started in December 2021 when six female students were disallowed to enter the classroom wearing hijabs in Karnataka. Soon it snowballed to other states. Incidents from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar were reported where young hijab-clad Muslim students were not allowed to enter educational institutions.
BJP MP Dharmapuri Arvind from Telangana, in a blatant Islamophobic speech, said that Indian Muslims rely on Sharia law to get married four times but also rely on the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for offences like stealing. He then advocated that as per the Sharia law, the hands of robbers should be cut off.
March 2022 : March was dominated by several anti-Muslim incidents (including the Karnataka state’s decision to ban the Hijab in religious institutions). Hijab-clad students also fought for their right to wear headscarf in educational institutions. It eventually reached the Karnataka high court, which ruled that it was not an essential religious practice.
The judgement on the hijab row was also marked by other incidents like in Dakshina Kannada district where Muslim shopkeepers were not allowed to do business during temple festivals.
Calls were also made for the boycott of Halal food in Karnataka. There were sudden demands for non-halal meat. #SayNoToHalal started to trend on Twitter. Incidents of Muslim meat shop owners being assaulted were reported, mostly in Karnataka. The state government remained a mute spectator.
Eighteen-year-old Hiba Sheik, who was at the forefront of the hijab row was booked by Karnataka police alongside six other Muslim students over allegations of harassment. She took to Twitter to express that such threats will not intimidate her.
On March 11, Hindutva filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri released The Kashmir Files, based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits during the 90s. Its biggest supporter was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, while addressing a meeting of BJP MPs said, “Jo log hamesha freedom of expression ki jhande lekar ke ghoomte hain, woh poori jamaat bokhala gayi hai pichale paanch-chheh din se (Those who always carry the flag of freedom of expression, this entire group has been rattled these past 5-6 days).”
Soon after, the film was released tax-free in many Indian states, including Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Tripura, Haryana, and Uttarakhand. Many incidents of Hindus declaring open threats to the Muslim community were reported in theatres across the country.
The month also saw a boycott of Muslim traders and halal food. Vendors, who had been doing business during various temple festivals for years were suddenly stopped and assaulted by right-wing workers, mostly in Karnataka.
April 2022: Karnataka was once again in the spotlight as calls to ban Muslim traders and businesspersons gained momentum in April. Right-wing organisations including Bajrang Dal, Sri Ram Sene, and Hindu Vedike Jagran rallied stating that no Hindu should do business, buy products or use transportation from Muslims. A 72-year-old Muslim woman was forced to shut down her shop in Karnataka. BJP minister J C Maduswamy justified it by stating the Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Department (HRICED), 2002.
Right-wing leader Bajrang Muni, a mahant of Maharshi Shri Lakshman Das Udasin Ashram in Khairabad town, UP, created an uproar when he gave an open rape threat to Muslim women in the presence of police personnel.
Bajrang Muni : On April 10, videos emerged of Hindutva supporters passing through mosques during a religious procession, who used provocative language. Incidents of arson, vandalism, and destruction of mosques in various Indian states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, West Bengal, Telangana, and Bihar were reported.
In Telangana, the Hyderabad police took cognizance and filed two cases at Shahinayathgunj and Afzalgunj police stations with regard to the Ram Navami procession, wherein BJP Goshamahal MLA T Raja Singh sang an offensive song.
Rajasthan’s Karauli district witnessed high-scale riots after a bike rally organised on the occasion of the Hindu New Year, reported stone pelting.
A Muslim victim of Rajasthan’s Karauli violence : The incident occurred when a Shoba Yatra (bike rally) was going through a Muslim-dominated area and people raised anti-Islam slogans. Things went out of control when young Hindu men climbed atop a mosque and waved saffron flags as well as dancing on the roof of the structure.
Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone district reported stone pelting incidents after provocative songs were played by a Hindutva rally. It soon engulfed into a full-fledged riot forcing police to use lathi charges and tear gas. However, Muslims bore the brunt when the state government, accusing them of inciting riots, ordered the demolition of their houses.
A similar situation was witnessed in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area where clashes and stone pelting between Hindus and Muslims erupted during a Hanuman Jayanti procession. It soon escalated to arson and damage to public property and Section 144 was imposed to bring law and order under control.
The local administration ordered razing down of Muslim houses and shops, stunning the entire nation. The drive was ordered by Delhi’s BJP chief Adesh Gupta who wrote to the mayor asking him to identify and demolish houses of “rioters”.
As the demolition was going on, Aaj Tak anchor Anjana Om Kashyap climbed onto a bulldozer and said, “You are now watching live images from the crane that is going to demolish an illegal construction.” Her reporting was condemned by many fellow journalists on Twitter.
Amnesty International India. also demanded that Indian authorities stop “apparent unlawful demolitions” of largely Muslim-owned properties in riot-hit cities. Terming it a “violation of human rights laws”, their statement said, “Such punitive demolition of family homes of suspects could also amount to collective punishment, violation of International human rights laws.”
However, India also got to witness incidents of kindness and brotherhood in cities where Muslims and Hindus were seen helping each other.
May 2022: In May, senior politician and leader of Kerala Janapaksham (Secular) party P C George made a bizarre claim that Muslims were deliberately mixing infertility drugs in others’ drinks so that they can increase its population.
Bihar’s BJP MLA Haribhushan Thakur Bachaul in a hate speech also said Muslims should be burnt, just like Ravana (a Hindu mythological demon).
Hate towards Muslims in the country reached different heights level when a video emerged showing the husband of a former BJP MLA councillor from Madhya Pradesh repeatedly slapping a senior citizen and asking if the latter’s name was Muhammad.
Similarly, a college professor was sent on compulsory leave after a video showing him performing ‘namaz’ in the college lawns went viral and Hindutva leaders demanded immediate action against him. Even the act of praying was
Nupur Sharma, the now suspended BJP spokesperson, during a primetime news channel debate, passed derogatory comments on Prophet Muhammad. Alt News co-founder and editor Mohammad Zubair called out Navika Kumar and Times Group Editor Vineet Jain to allow hate to be spilled on prime-time news television shows.
Here is the detailed report of hate crimes committed in May 2022: June 2022: Suspended BJP leaders Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal who publicly insulted Prophet Muhammad faced the ire of the Muslim community internationally, especially after the Arab world expressed distress over the matter. As damage control, the BJP-run Indian government released a statement calling Sharma and Jindal as ‘fringe elements’ and assured the country is secular at heart.
Many cities saw violence leading to state governments, mostly BJP-run, ordering the demolition of Muslim households. As per the governments, they were accused to be key conspirators of the riots. On June 10, the Uttar Pradesh police arrested over 300 Muslims after violence broke out after Friday prayers.
The UP police also arrested Welfare Party of India activist Javed Mohammad accusing him as the key conspirator for violence. To make matter worse, Javed’s house was bulldozed without prior notice on June 13.
Here is the detailed report of hate crimes committed in June 2022:
Alt News co-founder and editor Mohammad Zubair was booked by the UP police for using the word “hatemonger” while addressing Hindutva leaders – Narasinghanand, Mahant Bajrang Muni and Anand Swaroop – in a tweet.
On June 27, Delhi police arrested Zubair alleging he had tweeted a questionable image with the purpose of deliberately hurting religious sentiments. Additionally, a journalist from Sudarshan TV lodged another complaint against him over Zubair’s fact-checking.
An Aligarh college professor was sent on a one-month compulsory leave after a video showing him offering Namaz on the college lawns went viral. The incident was reported at Sri Varshney College.
Hindutva priest Swamy Jitendranand Saraswati gave a derogative speech relating to Muslim women and children saying, “Raise loud slogans in such a way that it tears apart the womb of an anti-national woman bearing an anti-national baby.”
‘Economic jihad’ calls also continued as Muslim shopkeepers, auto drivers, etc were continuously targeted by right-wing organisations. In Kanpur, an elderly man selling garments at a nearby roadside was told to leave the premises by Yuva Morcha President of the Hindu Coordination Committee, Tushar Shukla.
In Mangaluru and Belthangady, Hindus were asked to seek services from only Hindu auto and taxi drivers.
In Bengaluru’s famous Lalbagh Botanical Garden, a Muslim popcorn vendor was assaulted and accused of spitting into the oil used for making popcorn.
Here is the detailed report of hate crimes committed in July.
July 2022 : Hate crimes against Muslims showed no signs of slowing down as July bore witness to a series of incidents. Aside from the resurgence of the debate on the hijab ban, communally charged murders also took place.
The boycott of Muslim goods, vendors, and traders continued in July with many Hindu outfits asking not to encourage their (Muslims) business.
During NEET examinations conducted in July, Muslim women claimed they were made to remove their burkha and hijab when they reached the examination centre in Maharashtra’s Washim district.
Seventeen-year-old Mohammad Ashfaq was allegedly accused of posting inflammatory comments against Kodagu goddesses and women. Ashfaq received death threats on social media and calls for his arrest.
On July 19, a teenager named Mahood Mashood was killed after he was attacked with glass bottles by Bajrang Dal workers in an altercation in Sullia taluk, Karnataka. On July 27, BJP Yuva Morcha worker Praveen Nettaru was hacked to death by unidentified people on a bike in Bellare, Dakshina Kannada. Two days later, 28-year-old Fazil was also hacked to death in Mangaluru in front of a garment shop. This had created suspicion about the killings being murder for vengeance and were communally linked, and tension persisted.
The three back-to-back murders created communal tension resulting in chief minister Basavaraj Bommai visiting Nettaru’s family. He was criticized heavily by the Muslim community for ignoring the bereaved families of Fazil and Mashood.
Following the murder of Fazil, Hindutva leader Rishikumar Swami of the Kali Mutt in Karnataka’s Chikkamagalur made a speech saying, “If that was (murder of Fazil in Mangalore) done by our people, then I’m happy. Nine heads will be pending. There must be 10 heads against 1 head,” reiterated the seer who had called for the beheading of ten Muslims, to avenge the death of one Hindu.
Here is the detailed report of hate crimes committed in August.
August 2022; s India celebrated her 76th year of Independence, the Muslims of India felt otherwise. In a surprise announcement that shook the nation, 11 convicts of the Bilkis Bano rape case and murder of Gujarat 2002 riots, were released. The state government backed the decision by stating the convicts were released on ‘good behaviour’ and had already spent 15 years in prison. Moreover, they said it was part of the BJP-led Gujarat government’s remission policy.
Many were aghast and taken aback when a video of the 11 convicts in front of the jail being welcomed with garlands and sweets surfaced. They were also facilitated by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a right-wing Hindutva organisation.
After the convicts’ release, many politicians condemned the decision and wide-scale nationwide protests were reported.
A mob thrashed a 35-year-old man to death at Chakhabi in Bihar’s Samastipur district for allegedly trying to steal cattle. Similarly, a 50-year-old was beaten to death on suspicion of cattle smuggling in the Narmadapuram district of Madhya Pradesh.
In Hyderabad, Masjid Khwaja Mahmood in Shamsabad was demolished by the local municipal corporation in the presence of a heavy police force, following which local Muslim leaders along with common people protested. In a similar incident, Madrasa Jamiul-Huda in Assam was demolished following the arrest of a madrasa operator on alleged terror charges.
On August 20, Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district reported the kidnap and rape of two minor Muslim girls, aged five and nine, by a 25-year-old Hindu man. He took the children on a bicycle on the pretext of buying ice cream and raped them. The elder sibling died while the younger one survived.
On August 29, a Muslim family in Uttarakhand was allegedly attacked by a mob of 10-14 persons over a dispute with their Hindu neighbours. Though FIR was registered, no arrests were made.
Speaking to The Wire, Parvez Ahmad said, “My younger brother has a gym, which was attacked by a mob of people wearing saffron clothes. While some had their faces covered, we could recognise some members of the mob from their clothes.”
Here is the detailed report of hate crimes committed in September 2022
September 2022: September welcomed Lord Ganesha, a Hindu god known as the ‘the remover of obstacles’. From throwing a chappal towards a mosque to playing songs with provocative words such as, “Khoon Se Iss Dharthi Ko Ham Nehlayenge, Hum Tujhko Teri Awkat Batayenge (We will bathe this earth with blood, will show you your social standing.)” and damaging vehicles, the festival was marred with unfortunate incidents.
On September 1, the food delivery app Swiggy received a request from a Hyderabadi customer asking them not to send a ‘Muslim delivery executive‘. The screenshot went viral giving rise to outrage.
In a separate incident, editor-in-chief of Sudarshan TV, Suresh Chavhanke who is known for his extreme right-wing views, told at an event that Muslim girls should marry Hindu boys in order to avoid divorce.
In Bihar’s Siwan district, an eight-year-old boy named Rizwan Qureshi was arrested by the UP police allegedly for inciting communal violence. Rizwan’s brother Azhar told Maktoob Media, “My younger brother was kept in a private ward and my family was initially not allowed to meet him. When my mother saw him, he was handcuffed and scared. He was so terrified that he was unable to recognise his own mother. The child was just crying to go back home.”
Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, chief of Dasna Devi temple, said at an event organised by the Hindu Mahasabha, that all madrassas should be blown up in the country.
Karnataka was back in the news after a call was made to ban the Karnataka Waqf Board by Hindutva leader and Sri Rama Sene founder Pramod Muthalik. He demanded that after visiting slain BJP worker Praveen Nettaru’s house.
In a heartbreaking incident, a jailer forcefully shaved off the beard of a Muslim inmate calling him a ‘Pakistani’. The incident happened in Madhya Pradesh’s Rajgarh district. It soon gained significance with many Muslim local leaders appealing for the suspension of the police official.
International news channel Al Jazeera came out with a special report on how Muslim domestic workers are changing their names to Hindu for employment. According to them, many people, especially Hindus and Jain communities, are afraid to employ a Muslim.
October 2022: As the Dussera-Diwali festival season began in October, many states such as Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Karnataka reported incidents of clashes between the two communities. Garba grounds became another place where right-wing outfits targeted Muslims. Many right-wing organisations declared that no non-Hindu community people should be allowed to participate as they feared the emergence of ‘love jihad’.
in Karnataka’s Udupi district, a massive rally of 10,000 workers was carried out by the right-wing organisation Hindu Jagarana Vedike. Calls for a “Hindu Rashtra” were made and some workers were spotted carrying swords even as the state police walked alongside them. Udupi’s BJP MLA Raghupathi Bhat was also spotted at the rally.
In the Kawardha district of Chattisgarh, clashes broke out on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi (the birth anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad) over the hoisting of green crescent flags.
Gujarat police publicly assaulted a few Muslim men who were allegedly accused of pelting stones at a Garba event. The men were tied to a pole and beaten in full public view. The police constantly asked the alleged accused to apologise.
Here is the detailed report of hate crimes committed in October 2022
On October 5, miscreants hoisted a saffron flag and carved Hindu religious inscriptions at an ancient mosque at Byathole village, Kandi Mandal, in Telangana’s Sangareddy district. The village elders including the sarpanch and other leaders of the ruling party hoisted a saffron flag on the mosque and inscribed the ‘Om’ symbol.
A saffron flag atop a mosque in Telangana’s Sangareddy district
In Kolkata’s Mominpur area, on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi, clashes between two communities were reported after Muslim religious flags were allegedly vandalised. Around 40 people were detained.
November 2022: Election fever gripped Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh with the Modi-Shah-led BJP wrestling with Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party (AAP) and Congress. While a major chunk of the media reported on the assembly elections and the Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD) elections which the BJP had held the fort for 15 years before losing to AAP, hate crimes went unnoticed.
A 20-year-old Muslim man was lynched to death in broad daylight in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur. The deceased, whose name the police were reluctant to divulge, was in a relationship with a Hindu girl and had gone to meet her when the girl’s family caught him and assaulted him with bricks and stones.
The Jamia mosque in Srirangapatna town of Mandya district Karnataka came under scanner as Bajrang Dal workers submitted a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) to the Karnataka High Court demanding permission for Hindu devotees to take bath in the kalyani (traditional water body) located on the premises of the mosque.
Jamia Masjid at Srirangapatna in Karnataka : A pediatric doctor working at Silchar Medical College and Hospital allegedly hurled insults at a Muslim couple, whose child was admitted with pneumonia symptoms. A video shows the father of the child accusing the doctor of how could he use words such as ‘topiwala‘ and ‘burkhawali‘.
Karnataka Congress MLA Tanveer Sait was threatened by Bajrang Dal worker Raghu Sakaleshpura over the latter’s announcement of installing the tallest statue of Tipu Sultan in historical towns Mysuru or Srirangapatna.
Raghu, in a video, had said, “I am issuing a warning to Tanveer Sait over his statement of installing the statue of Tipu Sultan. We will not allow the installation of even a one-foot-tall statue of Tipu Sultan. If that happens, it will be your anthima yatra (final yatra).”
A distraught Muslim student of the Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) questioned his professor when the latter addressed him as Ajmal Kasab, the terrorist behind the 26/1 1 Mumbai attacks.
“These jokes are not acceptable. No! You can’t joke about my religion..that too in such a terrible manner,” the student stressed. The video, which was recorded by a classmate, went viral on Twitter. The professor was soon suspended by MIT. However, Karnataka state education minister B C Nagesh remarked that the incident was blown out of proportion.
Here is the detailed report of hate crimes committed in November.
December 2022 : A government school principal was arrested for letting his students sing a popular poem called Lab Pe Aati Hai Dua. A middle-aged man was beaten up black and blue for giving a helping hand to a Hindu woman. A young man was beaten because he ‘dared’ to have a coffee with a Hindu friend, December witnessed it all.
A first-year Muslim student accused her history teacher of using Islamophobic slurs during the class. According to her, while teaching a lesson on Gautam Buddha, the teacher mentioned Muslims are ruthless and they have no remorse.
The Jamia Masjid in Srirangapatna in the Mandya district of Karnataka witnessed a huge crowd of Hanuman devotees who tried to forcefully enter the mosque, turning out to be a hurricane task for the police force.
Further, a young Hindu devotee climbed atop a Muslim household where he replaced the green flag with the saffron one amidst chants of “Jai Shri Ram“.
The Kalaburagi railway station, formerly known as Gulbarga railway station, was repainted to white from green after pressure from the right-wing Hindu organisation Hindu Jagaran Vedike. According to them, the dome shape with green walls gave an impression of a ‘mosque.’
Bajrang Dal members interfered with Friday’s namaz in Gurugram’s Sector 69. In a video posted by Live Hindustan, Amit Hindu, a member of the Bajrang Dal, is heard saying, “It doesn’t matter if they have the authorization to pray at six spots or not. If prayers continue in the upcoming weeks, we will step up the protests.” This issue has been a recurring one in the city for several months in the past.
In Uttar Pradesh’s Nutan Hardo village of Kushinagar district, 44 Muslim families received eviction notices from the local administration claiming their houses were built on “encroached lands”. A report from India Tomorrow states that these families have been living there for generations.
Madhya Pradesh BJP MLA Pragya Thakur called on the community to keep sharp objects such as knives in their homes to protect themselves from ‘enemies’.
Shah Rukh Khan-Deepika Padukone starrer movie Pathaan also made headlines in 2022 with the release of its first sone called “Besharam Rang” where the saffron coloured clothes worn by the actors were condemned by right-wing organisations and BJP politicians such as Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Singh and MP Sadhvi Pragya Thakur.
The worst hit came when the Central Government decided to scrap the Maulana Azad Fellowship (MANU) fellowship, mainly for minority students, explaining that the scheme overlaps with various other fellowship schemes for higher education.
The decision was described as discriminatory, unjust and an attack on an individual’s proper access to higher education.
Here is the detailed report of hate crimes committed in December.
It is right to say that by the end of the year, religious intolerance has solidified its presence in the country.