ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday regretted that India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was committing brazen acts of anti-Islamic hatred.

Reacting to a recent interview by BJP legislator Dr Subramanian Swamy, the prime minister said: “The RSS-inspired BJP leadership in the 21st century [is] openly speaking about the 200 million Muslims just as the Nazis spoke about the Jews.”

Anti-Muslim hate crimes in India spiked to the highest levels after the BJP won a second term in office in last year’s election. This has happened because of the government’s policies and actions that encourage anti-Muslim acts. Delhi riots at the end of February this year in which 53 people, mostly Muslims, were killed by Hindu mobs aided by the local police were a reminder of surging Hindu nationalism in India.

Last year, the Indian government completed the National Register of Citizens, which stripped nearly two million of their citizenship, and enacted the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Both acts faced severe criticism for being anti-Muslim and unconstitutional.

The ruling BJP is the political wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a militant Hindu nationalist paramilitary organisation, which has carried out violent attacks on Muslims. BJP leader Dr Subrama­nian Swamy said in the interview that Muslims were not equal citizens and that they posed a threat to the world peace. He claimed that BJP’s extremist policy on Muslims enjoyed broad-based support in India.

Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari also denounced the Indian politician’s statement. “BJP’s Dr Swami making his fascist Party’s hatred for Muslims very public. This is now India’s official hate-filled ideology!,” she tweeted.

Another member of the federal cabinet Ali Zaidi, who holds the portfolio of the maritime affairs, in a comment posted on Twitter said: “A perfect fascist & racist ideologue. BJP leader & MP Subrama­nian Swamy clearly expresses his venom for Indian Muslims as he considers them non-citizens not deserving equal rights & believes Muslims are ‘trouble’. Hitler would have loved this guy.”

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2020