In February 2020, a wave of anti-Muslim attacks hit India's capital, Delhi. The violence lasted several days and left at least 46 Muslims dead. During the ordeal, houses were razed to the ground, families were brutalised, and yet Indian Premier Narendra Modi remained silent on this bloody rampage for several days. Those critical of the Prime Minister point to his controversial political record, which includes a long history of anti-Muslim legislation and activity.
Relations between Muslim and Hindu populations were tense prior to the disease. This is a protracted situation with roots long before the March riots. In 2019, the Modi government was criticised for its actions in Jammu and Kashmir. India's only Muslim-majority state was put under lockdown and had its semi-autonomous status removed. This was considered racially motivated, not least because Modi's Hindu nationalist political party - the BJP - had been complicit in several violent attacks on Muslim populations in the preceding years. The virus has only worsened these tensions. Hindus wrongly claim that Muslims are weaponising the virus to infiltrate and destroy their communities. The newly circulated term 'corona jihad' is fast gaining traction, riffing off other forms of vile Islamophobic abuse that has existed for years. As Time journalist Billy Perrigo explains, this idea is just the latest slur of its kind: "Population jihad, for example, is a common trope in Hindu nationalist messaging, claiming that Muslims are trying to turn India into a Muslim nation by reproducing at a faster rate than Hindus. Love jihad is the idea that Muslim men are tricking Hindu women into romantic relationships in order to convert them to Islam. "
Rather than fuel Islamophobia, stringent laws against social interactions have cooled down the animosity between Hindus and Muslims. Without a physical outlet, violence and attacks have reduced significantly, with priorities and concerns shifting towards survival, not identity politics.
[P1] Muslim and Hindu groups have a tense relationship [P2] Hindus are blaming the coronavirus on Muslims [P3] Tensions between Muslim and Hindu groups are growing
Rejecting the premises
[Rejecting P2] A Hindu minority is blaming Muslims for the coronavirus