Re-elected in 2019,
the BJP is a right wing Hindu nationalist political party that believes that Hinduism and Indian national identity are more or less synonymous.
The BJP’s commitment to Hindutva – Hindu nationalism - is reflected in many of its policies, in contract to most Indian political parties that are avowedly secular.
The BJP’s Hindutva ideology threatens India’s founding ideals of pluralism and secularism:
many Indians are uncomfortable with this threat to the country’s seven-decade endeavour.
Policies introduced by BJP to support their Hindutva vision vary from local decisions to policies with significant life-long effects on millions of people. Local decisions include overlooking the violence carried out by bands of self-proclaimed cow protectors who roved mostly northern India, targeting Muslim or lower-caste butchers and livestock traders and beating dozens to death.
Policy support led to the banning of beef slaughter and curtailing the employment of many Muslims.
The BJP has implemented many policies which have served to disenfranchise Muslim citizens of their rights. Immediately after the 2019 re-election the BJP stripped Kashmir, the country’s only Muslim-majority state, of its special status as an autonomous region. Thousands of Kashmiris – including politicians who were former BJP allies – were imprisoned
and the internet shut off to hinder communication.
The Shari’a-based family law that had been permitted by Nehru to continue for Muslims in Northern India, (whilst Hindus were subject to reformed family law) were outlawed. These arcane practices had included a man’s right to divorce his wife by repudiating her three times and he was not compelled to provide ongoing financial support.
The hugely controversial implementation of a National Register of Citizens (NRC) that started in the state of Assam, aims to identify any illegal immigrants who arrived in India from Bangladesh after its civil war in the 1970s. Already almost two million people have become stateless, and this may rise to 4 million.
These people were mostly poor, illiterate and/or Muslim. Any non-Muslims were fast-tracked to citizenship
but for the Muslims who lost citizenship, called “infiltrators,”
the government is building detention centres prior to returning them to Bangladesh.
The NRC is likely to be extended across India and is seen by many as a way of removing Muslims from India.