Smear campaigns backed by Hindu nationalists are being waged against Muslims in India using misinformation and fake videos stigmatizing the minority as the cause of the coronavirus spread in a bid to purge the country of Muslims.
“Over the past weeks, they had burned a mosque for no reason whatsoever. Meanwhile, in New Delhi, they claimed that some members of the Tablighi Jamaat who arrived from Indonesia had tested positive for Covid-19,” a source who is of Arab origin exclusively told Yeni Şafak daily.
“They jailed everyone they interviewed and tortured them. They said that Muslims brought the coronavirus to the country. However, at the time, everyone, of all religions, including Muslims, were holding their annual meetings. The bans had not been put in place yet,” the New Delhi-based source continued.
Smear campaigns under the label of ‘Coronajihad’
Stating that the lives of all Muslims living in the country are in danger at all times, the source went on to say that a Hindu could report their Muslim neighbor to authorities falsely claiming they contracted the coronavirus.
“It’s over for you the moment a Hindu neighbor who does not like you goes to the authorities and says you are carrying coronavirus. You are jailed immediately without any testing. They don't even ask you anything. You are not even treated like a human being. You cannot find anyone to defend you against this.”
The source pointed that the campaign of hatred against Muslims are waged under the label of "coronajihad", which includes statements such as: "Cleanse India from Muslims" and "Carriers of the Covid-19 epidemic." These hashtags portrayed Muslims as the culprits behind the coronavirus pandemic overnight.
“Articles insulting Islam are shared by thousands of online accounts. The government does not take any measures against them. However, any Muslim account trying to reveal the truth is censored; they find and arrest them. They don't want the world to know what they’re doing,” the source continued.
‘They asked my sister to remove her headscarf’
The source also pointed that the goal of Hindu nationalists is to completely cleanse the country of Muslims.
“The dose of this hatred is increasing with every passing day. It has always been prevalent, but now impoverished Muslims in particular have almost zero chance to survive. My sister who had recently completed her education was asked to remove her headscarf during all of the job interviews she went to. That alone wasn’t enough; they say they want to force everyone to participate in their religious ceremonies,” he continued.
Fake videos spreading like wildfire
Another reason behind mounting tensions is pro-government channels broadcasting fake videos claiming Muslims are spitting on people in order to spread the disease.
Attempts to expose and discredit these reports failed to make any impact on the ground.
The fact that more than 25,000 people were quarantined following the Hindu ritual attended by 1,200 worshippers in northern Madhya Pradesh on March 20 was completely ignored.
Despite all these incidents, accusations on social media continue to circulate claiming that Muslims contribute to spreading the virus and are responsible for 60 percent of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Since the coronavirus emerged last December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, it has spread to at least 185 countries and regions.
There are nearly 1.98 million confirmed infections globally with over 126,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
More than 493,800 have recovered.