A single comment has sparked mass unrest in which people have been killed, hundreds injured and entire houses demolished in retaliation.
There is a growing call for millions of Hindus to be expelled from the Gulf States in response to the ongoing brutality against India’s Muslim minority.
Tensions mounted last month after Nupur Sharma, a member of India’s Hindu nationalist ruling party, made derogatory comments about the prophet Mohammed.
Sharma, spokeswoman for Prime Minister Narendra, made televised comments about the youngest wife of the prophet of Islam on May 26, sparking demonstrations across the Islamic world.
The comments sparked diplomatic protests not only in rival Pakistan, but also in wealthy Arab states that typically have close ties with India.
More than 20 countries publicly condemned the comments and quickly sent India’s Bharatiya Janata party into harm reduction mode.
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The party apologized and suspended Sharma as well as Naveen Kumar Jindal, another figure accused of inflammatory tweets about the Prophet Muhammad.
But many Muslim countries have seen this move by the Indian government as lame, especially given the brutal retaliation against members of India’s 200-million-strong Muslim minority who took to the streets in protest.
Several protesters were killed, hundreds were arrested and images have surfaced online of protesters’ homes being demolished in connection with this.
In response to the brutality, an Arabic hashtag became popular on Twitter, demanding that all Hindus be expelled from the Gulf states, that is, more than eight million people.
The hashtag, which roughly translates to “Kick the Hindus out of the Gulf,” has been shared thousands of times on Twitter.
One user described the situation as ‘genocide’ against Muslims living in India.
“Gulf countries can do more than condemnation, Indian Muslims suffering under a fascist regime, we must stop the anti-Muslim genocide,” they wrote.
Another called for Gulf Hindus to be replaced by Syrian, Iraqi and Yemeni refugees, with an attached picture of the number of Indians currently living in each Gulf state.
According to the tweet, there are 3,400,000 Indians in the UAE, 2,500,000 in Saudi Arabia, 1,029,000 in Kuwait, 779,000 in Oman, 756,000 in Qatar and 332,000 in Bahrain.
Social media users are also calling for a boycott of all Indian products and the cessation of trade with the Gulf countries.
This would be a devastating blow to India, which sources nearly 40 percent of its fuel needs from the Gulf States and Iran.
“Don’t give your money to the Hindus because they will kill your Muslim brothers in India with it,” wrote one Twitter user.
Houses demolished, prisoners beaten in ‘cruel’ crackdown
Amnesty International has called on India to immediately end the “cruel” crackdown on Muslims who took to the streets to protest derogatory comments about the Prophet Mohammed.
Footage has recently surfaced showing Indian police beating up a group of Muslim men in custody in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
The video went viral after it was shared online by an elected official of the BJP, Shalabh Tripathi, who posted it with the caption “a gift to the rebels”.
The disturbing footage shows police beating the group of men with long metal bars.
“It hurts, it hurts… NO!” members of the group can be heard screaming.
Zeba, the sister of one of the men in the video, burst into tears when she saw the video of her younger brother Saif being beaten.
“I can’t even watch this, he’s getting hit so hard,” she told the… BBC†
When Zeba finally saw her brother, she said he was “blue from all the beating, he couldn’t even sit”.
No action has been taken against the police involved and no government official has condemned the images.
The horrifying video came after protests raged in several Indian cities last Friday, police opened fire in eastern Ranchi and killed two people after protesters threw rocks and bottles.
Since then, the homes of several people arrested or identified as protesters have been bulldozed in the state of Uttar Pradesh, controlled for the BJP by hard-hitting Hindu monk Yogi Adityanath.
Authorities have been “selective and cruel against Muslims who dare to stand up to the discrimination they face,” Amnesty’s Aakar Patel said in a statement.
“Tackling protesters with disproportionate use of force, arbitrary detention and punitive house demolitions… is a complete violation of India’s obligations under international human rights law.”
Adityanath, one of India’s most prominent Hindu nationalist politicians, is known for his sectarian rhetoric against India’s 200 million strong Muslim minority.
He has repeatedly called on authorities to demolish the homes of people accused of crimes, an incitement that critics say violates the constitution and bans collective punishment for human rights.
Amnesty has demanded an “immediate and unconditional release” of detained protesters, and Patel said the arrests and vandalism were “part of an alarming escalation of the state’s measures against Muslims”.
Originally published as Call for Hindus to be Deported from the Gulf for Violence Against Muslims in India