Leading American newspaper urges US to increase pressure on India amid rising Islamophobia

“Religious intolerance under Mr. Modi has gone unchallenged long enough,” it said, noting that action was taken against the offending BJP leaders.

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UNITED NATIONS: A leading US newspaper Wednesday called on the Biden administration to ramp up pressure on India where religious intolerance under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “gone unchallenged long enough.”
“The United States should increase the pressure,” The Washington Post’s Editorial Board said, pointing out that India’s relations with Muslim countries have been strained this month after two leaders in Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made “demeaning” comments about holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUM).
The Post’s Editorial Board especially highlighted that stores in countries such as Kuwait pulled Indian products off their shelves, and protesters continue to call for boycotts of Indian-made goods; more than a dozen governments Muslim countries and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemned the comments.
“Good,” the editorial remarked.
“Religious intolerance under Mr. Modi has gone unchallenged long enough,” it said, noting that action was taken against the offending BJP leaders.
“India, founded as a secular nation despite its 79 percent Hindu majority and 15 percent Muslim minority, has slid toward Hindu nationalism under BJP rule, the editorial said, referring to bulldozers having razed houses in majority-Muslim neighborhoods under dubious pretenses, with local officials even boasting of the demolitions. The BJP-run state government of Karnataka banned hijabs in schools, a motion the state court upheld in March, it pointed out. Hate crimes against Indian Muslims and other religious minorities number in the hundreds each year, as local and state BJP officials engage in hate speech themselves.
“Amid all this, Mr. Modi and the national BJP have been quiet — until now,” the editorial said.
“That India’s ruling party did anything to condemn religious intolerance probably reflects concern about alienating Middle Eastern states, on which India depends heavily for natural gas, economic cooperation, infrastructure projects, counter terrorism and intelligence,” it said, noting that millions of Indians work and live in the Persian Gulf region, sending home remittances.
The editorial said:
“Mr. Modi wants to make India a leader on the global stage; the recent backlash shows that he and his party might respond when other countries object to rife anti-Muslim sentiment in India, tolerated or encouraged by his party.
Urging more pressure on India, the Post noted, “Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in April that the Biden administration is monitoring human rights abuses in India; this month, he named India as a country with deteriorating religious freedoms.”
“But”, it added, “the White House has been silent as this most recent controversy has unfolded. India could be a pluralistic democracy or a country defined by a dark, intolerant nationalism. The United States should work actively in favour of the former.”

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