Indian journalist Karan Thapar hit out at the anti-Muslim sentiment currently prevalent in India as targeted attacks on the religious minority steadily rise.
Muslims in India have been increasingly at risk since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was first elected to government in 2014.
In a column published in hindustan times, he terms the hatred against Muslims as the 'other virus' - a spin on the coronavirus - that is spreading like a wildfire in India.
Reflecting on the darker side of India he said,"I’m deeply dismayed, actually disturbed and demoralised, by the shameless exhibition of anti-Muslim sentiment we’ve seen in India.
BJP’s second stint in power and Muslims
"We targeted and demonised Muslim vegetable vendors and milk sellers, vented our rage on Muslim patients in hospitals in Meerut and Ahmedabad, and even ranted at the majority population in the Gulf, forgetting we are guests in their countries," he added.
Pointing towards the elites of the country he said, "I don’t want to name names or point fingers because we all know who are among the guilty. It includes many who are powerful, several who are rich, a large number whose values or intelligence I once admired and, yes, a few who are dear to me."
He further added, "I blame the media for fanning this fire and I accuse the government of letting the flames burn, a few of our television anchors even made us feel our prejudice was justified. As far as I’m concerned, they can never redeem themselves."
Pakistan concerned over anti-Muslim policies of BJP govt: FO
Comparing Islamophobia and coronavirus he said, "It’s a bit like the virus in that respect. It infected many of us and we did not resist. While we fought the coronavirus disease valiantly, we allowed vile prejudice to vanquish us."
The journalist concluded by bringing to fore the treatment meted out to doctors and nurses in India. "The way we’ve treated doctors, nurses, and health workers. Frankly, this is inexplicable. They are the only people who can keep us safe and well, and yet, we turned on them like ungrateful curs because we feared they might infect us."