Muslim-Hindu religious intolerance in India
Examples of Hindu-Muslim violence:
1992: Some Hindus burned down a 16th century mosque
in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya. Their plan was to build a Hindu
temple on the site, which is sacred to followers of both religions. This
action has resulted in the occasional outburst of rioting:
1993: Hindu-Muslim riots in Mumbai (formerly Bombay)
caused the deaths of 800 people.
2002-FEB-26: 58 people died during a fire on board a train in
the western state of Gujarat. Most of the victims were Hindu pilgrims.
Initially, Muslims were blamed for attacking the train and setting it on fire.
However, subsequent evidence has shown that the fire was the result of an
Belief that Muslims were responsible for the carnage motivated some Hindus to
retaliate. Within five days, 499 people had been killed -- mostly Muslims. Many were
burned to death. According to the New York
Times, during the week of 2002-APR-22:
"... more than 40 people have perished in the continuing violence, in the western
state of Gujarat. The official death toll in the last two months has risen
to 900. More than 100,000 people, mostly Muslims, are estimated to have
fled to relief camps. On Tuesday, [2002-APR-30] Parliament will debate whether
the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party -- which has led a national
coalition government for most of the last four years and controls the
state of Gujarat, its last major state stronghold -- has been complicit in
the carnage. ..."
"Indian officials were particularly stung by the leak of a confidential
assessment by British diplomats who estimated the death toll at 2,000,
more than twice the official tally, and said the anti-Muslim violence had
been planned and carried out with the state government's support."
Many Muslim victims have testified:
"that the mobs were led by
people from the Bharatiya Janata Party and other organizations in its
Hindu nationalist family, particularly the World Hindu Congress and its
youth wing, the Bajrang Dal."1
2002-SEP-24: Radical fundamentalist Muslim extremists attacked the Swaminarayan temple.
This Hindu temple is located on a 23 acre complex in Gandhinagar, the
state capital of the Indian state of Gujarat. This temple is particularly
popular to Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Christians alike, because it houses
scriptures of all of the major world religions in its Hall of Harmony. It
is a well-known cultural center visited by over two million people each
year. By selecting this temple for attack, among all of the Hindu temples
in India, the radical Muslim terrorists might have been aiming a blow
against the concept of religious tolerance, rather than simply hoping to
kill Hindus at prayer. Two extremists invaded the temple and murdered
people indiscriminately. The total death toll was about 30, including the
two terrorists, one Indian commando who died in the counterattack, and
four chldren. Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, his deputy Lal
Krishnan Advani and opposition leader Sonia Gandhi quickly visited the
temple together stressing the need for religious harmony and the avoidance
of revenge attacks against Indian Muslims. The Hindu fundamentalist World Hindu Council has called for a state-wide strike.
- "Discord Over Killing of India Muslims Deepens," New York
Times, 2002-APR-29 at:
- Sanjeev Srivastava, "Eyewitness:
Gujarat's nightmare," 2002-SEP-26, at:
Copyright © 1998 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Latest update: 2008-SEP-14
Author: B.A. Robinson