News: Muslim businesses marked and owners threatened ahead of Hindu supremacist gathering

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Unknown persons have reportedly put signs on Muslim shops telling them to leave, marked Muslim shops with crosses, and threatened violence in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. News coverage of the incident by the Times Group notes the parallels to Nazi Germany, where Jewish homes were branded with a yellow star, and note that an economic boycott of businesses of minority groups is to be taken with utmost seriousness. Genocide scholars have identified “signs and processes” of an approaching genocide in India by Hindu supremacists.

At least 30 shops owned by Muslims in the area had posters outside, printed on a white A4-size paper. The poster read: “The love jihadis are informed that they need to vacate their shops before June 15, Mahapanchayat. If you do not do this, then it (the outcome) will depend on the time.” The Times Group reports that shops by Muslims were also “marked with black cross marks”. These posters and marks appear to have been put up on the night between June 4-5.

This is coming ahead of a “mahapanchayat” – a Hindu religious congregation – that is announced by a Hindu supremacist group for June 15. Several similar events have been held in the past years in the state, which reportedly involved calls to violence, ethnic cleansing and genocide. For instance, in December 2021, one such event in the state involved a Hindu supremacist leader calling for Hindus to copy the atrocities against the Rohingya in Myanmar. These events are even publicly supported by BJP leaders, such as Uttar Pradesh MLA Anil Parashar.

Simultaneously, Hindu supremacist groups have been organising several weapons trainings across India throughout May, among them one organised for minor girls by the “Durga” in Madhya Pradesh. The Rashtriya Bajrang Dal, a group led by Hindu supremacist Pravin Tagodia, reportedly organised a firearms training camp for youth in Ahmedabad. In several places, the Hindu supremacist Bajrang Dal (“God Hanuman’s army”) reportedly held camps in which they also practiced using firearms. Additionally, Bajrang Dal and other Hindu supremacist groups are increasingly holding street marches with weapons.

These threats lead to violence: In the over 1369 verified instances of communal violence, physical assaults and lynching since 2017 (status: 20 May 2022), the majority of victims are Muslims. Violence against Christians rose by 81% between 2020 and 2021.

India is witnessing a steep marginalisation and curtailment of rights of its religious minorities through laws, while political leaders actively incite further violence against minorities by engaging in hate speech. Therefore, the European Parliament Recommendation (2021/2023(INI)) drew the Commission’s attention towards the crumbling rule of law and human rights situation in India, and recommended the Commission act on these concerns by “integrat[ing] human rights considerations across the wider EU-India partnership”.