Intolerance is the unwillingness and refusal to tolerate others’ views and actions. India, the world’s largest democracy is home to 1.2 billion of people that boasts of diversity in culture, religions and languages. The nation has in its Constitution incorporated the important concepts of secularism, freedom of speech, rule of law etc but over the few years, everywhere intolerance in terms of religious beliefs and dissent has grown at an exponential level, events of mob lynching of Muslims, crushing of voices have occurred on a regular basis, the biggest tragedy as one would thought is that they enjoy support of the ruling class.
In 2014,when the BJP led NDA govt. came to power, the fears of intolerance grew even stronger as it has been the supporter of so called Hinduta agenda. As per a report by pew research Centre, India ranks as the worst country when it comes to religion freedom. While India has always been rich in terms of religious diversity, India has grown intolerant since BJP came to power. In it’s 2014 election manifesto, it pledged to increase “protection and promotion of cow and its progeny.”This promise encouraged a lot of Hindu fundamentalists to massacre several Muslims merely on suspicious Beef eating. Not even a single case has been registered against these mobs, in lieu, the minsters of modi led govt have on several times praised these Lynchers. In 2015,a mob of villagers attacked the home of 52 year old Mohammed Akhlaq, killing him, for suspicion of slaughtering a cow. The attack took place at night, on 28 September 2015 in Bisara village, near Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, India. The mob consisting of local villagers, attacked Akhlaq’s house with sticks, bricks and knives, saying that they suspected of him stealing and slaughtering a cow calf. The mob was never questioned instead one of the main accused in Dadri lynching case was nominated by one of the political party to fight elections.
In terms of freedom of speech, India in no ways has done better. The present ruling dispensation in Indian believes in crushing secular, liberal, voices which they see as a threat to their immediate implementation of an autocratic State. Even some judges of the country’s highest law interpreting body have protested over dissent being dubbed as anti- national. The most recent examples of peaceful voices being crushed are the protests over CAA and NRC which in technical terms is discriminatory. Govt has quelled the voices of peace loving people and dissent and right to protest have been labelled as Anti-Nation. The peaceful protests also known as Shaheen Bagh protests were the largest non-violent protests that India has witnessed after 1947. These protests couldn’t be borne by BJP as it used the slew of draconian measures to crush these voices. Students, writers and many intellectuals were booked under criminal laws like UAPA and NSA, ever voice that was raised against these draconian laws was muzzled.
There have been ample instances where journalists, activists, and students were booked literally for nothing. In April 2020,a Kashmir based female journalist was booked under the unlawful activities prevention act (UAPA)over her social media posts that police described as “Anti-national”. on 2 April, the Delhi Police had arrested Meeran Haider, a PhD student at the University of Jamia Millia Islamia and media coordinator of the Jamia Coordination Committee. Days later, Safoora Zargar, an MPhil student at the same University was arrested for allegedly obstructing the road near the Jaffrabad metro station. Both remain in detention
Both the students, Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar, have also been charged for the offences of sedition, murder, attempt to murder, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and rioting.
There is a growing chorus of stifling meaningful and peaceful voices in India, The ideology of ”hyper nationalism” has created a mess in all over the country, the ruling dispensation has left no stone unturned to support this absurd ideology and in the meantime India is burning.