Modi targeting Muslims to divert backlash over pandemic policy: PM

ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said the deliberate and violent targeting of Muslims in India by Modi government to divert the backlash over its COVID-19 policy is akin to what Nazis did to Jews in Germany.

In a tweet from his official Twitter handle, he said this has left thousands stranded and hungry and is yet more proof of the racist Hindutva supremacist ideology of Modi government.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown in late March to contain the spread of the Covid-19. The lockdown was extended till May 3 at least. The Indian authorities blamed the Muslims for the spread of coronavirus cases in the country.

Earlier this week, the New York Times had reported that the outbreak of coronavirus in India had triggered a series of attacks against Muslims across the country, with the health ministry of Modi’s Hindu nationalist government claiming that Muslims were spreading the virus.

“Young Muslim men who were passing out food to the poor were assaulted with cricket bats. ... Other Muslims have been beaten up, nearly lynched, run out of their neighborhoods or attacked in mosques, branded as virus spreaders,” the paper said. It highlighted that Hindu extremists were targeting country’s entire Muslim population for deliberately spreading the virus through “corona jihad”.

Earlier, Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy had told Deutsche Welle (DW) the New Delhi government was trying to instigate communal rifts as it was exploiting the coronavirus issue against its minority Muslim community. The author had said “the situation is approaching genocidal”, telling the foreign publication that the coronavirus pandemic had laid bare the facet of India that “all of us knew.”

“We are suffering, not just from COVID, but from a crisis of hatred, from a crisis of hunger,” she stated, adding the world needs to keep its eyes on the matter of anti-Muslim hatred in India. Linking the fresh wave of singling out Muslims during the pandemic to the recent Delhi riots, she had said it began with people protesting against the anti-Muslim citizenship law. Under the guise of COVID-19, the Hindu nationalist government was arresting young students and fighting cases against lawyers, media personnel, activists, and intellectuals. Roy had termed the current wave of vitriol against Muslims tantamount to the one by Nazis during the Holocaust.

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