Indian police have launched an investigation after repeated calls for a massacre against the Muslim minority at a public gathering of radical Hindus. A video clip, verified by AFP, shows a woman addressing a crowd in the Hindu holy city of Haridwar in early December, calling for Muslims to be killed.
“Even if only a hundred of us become soldiers, and we kill two million of them, we will still be victorious… Only by continuing on this path will you be able to protect the Sanatana Dharma,” says the woman. This is the term many Hindus use to refer to their religion. The woman also called to “pray for Nathuram Godse”, the extremist Hindu who murdered Mahatma Gandhi, the father of Indian independence, in 1948.
“Incitement to Genocide”
At least one member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party attended the meeting. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (“Indian People’s Party”) has been accused since taking power in 2014 of encouraging the persecution of Muslims and other minorities. The party itself denies this.
Muslim MP Asaad Al-Din Al-Owaisi said on Twitter that the statements made in the video were a “clear case of incitement to genocide”. The Indian government has not commented.
Another speaker at the rally, Prabudhanand Giri, a Hindu group leader who often photographed himself with prominent BJP members, called for a “cleanup”. He called on his fans to “prepare to die or be killed.” “Just as in Myanmar, the police, politicians, army and every Hindu in India must take up arms and carry them out. We have no choice,” he said.
A third speaker in the video said he regretted not killing the former prime minister, Manmohan Singh, of the currently opposition Congress party. Singh was the first Sikh to lead an Indian government.
The BJP denies it wants to formally transform secular and pluralistic India into a purely Hindu state. But many Muslims and Christians in India say the number of attacks and threats has increased since Modi came to power.
The Uttarakhand State Police, where the meeting took place, said it was “investigating the matter”. “Strict action will be taken against the guilty.”
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