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article imageOp-Ed: Religious intolerance grips Indian psyche

By Abdul Kuddus     Feb 18, 2015 in World
New Delhi - The rise of right wing BJP at the center coincided with the rise of religious intolerance in India. PM Modi finally broke his nine-month long silence on religious intolerance. Will there be action on the ground?
Routing the entrenched rule of the Indian National Congress and coalition politics, the right wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stormed to power in 2014 with absolute majority.
Angered by nonperformance, rampant corruption and stagnant economic growth,a majority of Indians voted for change and development. Voters reposed their faith on one man, Narendra Modi, as the nation looked toward positive change.
Some of the leaders from the BJP reportedly attacked the very idea of India that leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru propagated and strengthened. Naturam Godse, the man who shot Gandhi, apparently became a patriot for the party in power.
Hate speech and parochial actions of right-wing Hindu fanatic leaders threatens to destabilize the secular fabric of the multi-faith nation.
The prime minister remained a silent spectator to rancorous hate speech and attacks on religious establishments until his party faced a humiliating defeat during the assembly elections in New Delhi.
The Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party under the leadership of anti-graft campaigner Arvind Kejriwal routed the BJP in New Delhi clinching 67 out of 70 seats. The humiliating defeat of the BJP, according to media outlets, reportedly reflected the unhappiness of Indians on religious intolerance and propagation of hatred by the extremist fringe groups.
World leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, made it a point to reinforce the importance of religious tolerance in India. While addressing a gathering after the Republic Day Celebrations where he was the chief guest, Obama reiterated that religious tolerance and harmony could work for the betterment of India.
Judging the causes of defeat in Delhi elections and the swaying public opinion on the performance of BJP at the Centre, Narendra Modi broke his silence on religious intolerance, declaring that his government will ensure undeniable right to everyone to practice their faith in India.
Reportedly Modi stressed that he will not allow any entity in India to incite hatred and will not accept violence against any religion.
While a section of the media welcomed the declaration, there are still lingering questions on what exactly the party in power can do to ensure religious tolerance and stability in India.
Above all the rhetoric, Modi undoubtedly is the child of the right-wing group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that has no qualms to remodel India into a Hindu nation and protect the interests of majority Hindus above others.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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