Have attacks on minorities been normalised in India?

‘We don’t have the capacity to control mobs once they are unleashed,’ says the chair of Amnesty International India.

“We’ve always had structural violence, and we’ve always had explicit violence on Dalits, on women, on tribal people, all of that. But earlier, I thought this operated on the margins of the state. These were feudal things that happened. I think that has changed now,” Shahrukh Alam, a lawyer for India’s Supreme Court, says of attacks on minorities, including Christians and Dalits.

“The violence against Muslims now, and even Dalits now, it’s unapologetic. And it’s unapologetic because the courts, the media, public discourse, all paint them as people who are outsiders, who are aberrations.”

“Do I feel that the fact that genocide might take place? I do,” says Aakar Patel, chair of Amnesty International India. “I think that what is happening in India is slow burn.”

When asked about how anti-Muslim hate has been allowed to spread, journalist and author Rana Ayyub says the rhetoric of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has played a major role.

Following the recording of this episode, UpFront put some of the statements from these guests to senior members of the BJP, the Prime Minister’s office, and the Ministry of Home Affairs, asking them for their perspective or a specific response. At the time of publishing, we have yet to receive any acknowledgment of our messages. Should we hear back from India’s government, we will post their response on this page.