Covid-19 and the Demonisation of Muslims in India
Covid-19 and the Demonisation of Muslims in India
S. M. Aamir Ali
Darshi Sharma
Anuttama Ghose
Abstract: India went through an unprecedented lockdown from 25 March 2020 to combat the spread of Covid-19. Regrettably, a congregation of Tablighi Jamaat, a renowned Muslim missionary group, took place during the lockdown period in Nizamuddin Markaz of Delhi, one of the most densely populated places in the country’s capital. The congregation was heavily criticised as it furthered the Covid-19 outbreak, with more than 4000 confirmed cases among the attendees. The immediate aftermath was a sharp nationwide uprising of Islamophobia and the promotion of the ‘us versus them’ ideology. Indeed, India’s social and secular fabric was torn apart and crumbled catastrophically, inviting a series of discriminatory and inhumane perceptions and treatment towards Muslims. The recent hijab (head scarf) ban in educational institutes in the State of Karnataka is a part of the same series of Islamophobic events. The unfortunate Covid-19 incident of Tablighi Jamaat should be understood from social, political, legal, and human rights aspects. With a critical investigation of empirical data collected from various participants and stakeholders through an online questionnaire, this article examines the causes and consequences of violations of the rights of Muslims as a minority community in India in the aftermath of the Tablighi Jamaat incident. In particular, this article probes racial profiling and systematic discrimination violations and how they pierce the country’s secular fabric. Based on the foregoing analysis, a few suggestions are made for tackling the growing animosity towards Muslims in India.

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