Historically, various religious groups have had a difficult time — especially as they warred with one another in struggles for land or recognition. These days, Muslims have fared poorly after events like 9/11 or the election of Donald J. Trump. But sometimes it’s important to look outside of just the United States and ask ourselves how groups of people are faring elsewhere in the world. Turns out, Muslims are having a rough time right now.
For example, the Los Angeles Times recently reported a story “For Muslims in India, ‘entire neighborhoods have gone empty in fear.’”
The worst examples show Muslim students pretending to be Hindu in order to escape Indian police — a tactic that rarely works. One student, Banka, was present at Jamia Millia Islamia, a university in New Delhi where at least 100 others were injured when police resorted to extreme violence. The question is why.
Banka himself incurred a fractured nose and bruised eye. “I was broken,” he said. “I was telling them, ‘I may die. Please leave me here.’”
A new law regarding Indian citizenship has provoked the widespread unrest because opponents of the law believe it unfairly targets Muslims. Human rights groups have organized protests against the law — and against police, who have been specifically targeting libraries and universities like the aforementioned.
At the head of these allegations is none other than Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi, who has attempted to crack down on large public gatherings and protests, and even gone so far as to block internet access to impede the efforts of protesters. Worse than that, the reduced resources mean that it’s more difficult for protesters to report unlawful acts committed by the police.
Muslim citizens account for 14 percent of the population in India — or 182 million people, more than half that of America’s 330 million citizens. That’s a pretty big segment of the population to discriminate against.
Banka had only been present at the library for an interview, but was caught in the chaos of a nearby skirmish between protesters and police, who raided the library instead.
“They broke everything and started beating us inhumanely,” Banka said. “It was unexpected. I have never seen people entering like this inside the campus — inside the library — and beating students.”
He saw a fellow student lying prostrate on the ground of the bathroom. “I thought he was dead,” Banka said. “It was a helpless situation. I couldn’t help him because I was also bleeding.”
These crackdowns are ongoing and show no signs of slowing down. Which means they could get much worse before they get any better.