Senior journalist and political analyst Nawal Kishore Singh discussed the issue of rising Hindu nationalism in the country and its effect on Indian politics.
Sputnik: What is the reason for the growing trust deficit between Hindus and Muslims in the country?
N.K. Singh: Hindus in general are a liberal community, but the resentment in the society was brought about due to years of constant Muslim community appeasement by the Congress Party when they were in power. For their electoral vote-bank gains, Congress over the years followed the policy of Muslim appeasement. This irked the Hindus, leading them to consolidate in favour of the BJP.
Sputnik: Do you believe there is substance to international media's claims of Prime Minister Modi pitting India's majority Hindus against the minority Muslim community?
N.K. Singh: There have been positive reports in international media about Narendra Modi as well, but those have not been highlighted as much. So a bias against him is clearly visible in certain sections of the media. For instance, there was a huge furore in the Indian media recently over a Time magazine article which was critical of Modi. However the same magazine published another article showing Modi in a better light, but it did not receive an equal amount of attention.
Sputnik: Voices in Indian media have claimed that journalists received threats for their reporting from aggressive Hindu nationalist elements under PM Modi. What's your view?
N.K. Singh: Journalists certainly are under some kind of threat by aggressive Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) ideology. The unruly elements that we have in the Hindu community need to be dealt with in a serious manner by the government. If Modi comes back to power, he needs to take cognisance of these radical Hindu unruly elements associated with the BJP or its parent Hindutva body Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and punish them according to the law.
Sputnik: But would you not agree that a huge chunk of BJP voters are those who want to propagate the idea of Hindu nationalism in the nation? What was BJP's strategy behind giving candidature to radical Hindu elements like Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in a terror bombing case?
N.K. Singh: Yes it is true that a majority of BJP and Modi supporters are ardent followers of the aggressive Hindu ideology. Pragya Singh Thakur contesting the elections would also be an example of the same ideology. Under PM Modi's rule, aggressive Hindutva-motivated elements have been involved in several cases of cow lynchings against the Muslim community. The government, it seems, hasn't managed to stop them. Today, 20 out of 29 states in India are ruled by BJP. This government's greatest blot would be that they never effectively stopped these mob attacks against Muslims in various parts of the country.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.