Violence against Muslims in India

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There have been several instances of religious religious violence against Muslims since the partition of India in 1947, frequently in the form of violent attacks on Muslims by Hindu nationalist mobs that form a pattern of sporadic sectarian violence between the Hindu and Muslim communities. Over 10,000 people have been killed in Hindu-Muslim communal violence since 1950 in 6,933 instances of communal violence between 1954 and 1982.



16th century

  • I then burnt the city and put everything to sword, and for days continuously the people shed blood. Wherever they were found and caught, no life was spared to any Musalman, and their mosques were filled up and set on fire. We counted 6,000 dead bodies. It was, my Lord, a great deed, well fought and well finished.
    • Afonso de Albuquerque, Portuguese Governor of Goa (1509-1515), describing the take-over of the port-city to King of Portugal Rao, R.P., Portuguese Rule In Goa, Asia Publishing House, 1963. 30 quoted from Jain, M. (editor) (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts. New Delhi: Ocean Books. Volume III Chapter 14
  • I leave no town or building of the Mussalmans. Those who are taken alive, I order them to be roasted…
    • Afonso de Albuquerque to King of Portugal on treatment of Muslims in conquered areas Rao, R.P., Portuguese Rule In Goa, Asia Publishing House, 1963. 44 quoted from Jain, M. (editor) (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts. New Delhi: Ocean Books. Volume III Chapter 14
  • There has always been much discussion regarding the question of Akbar’s persecution of the Muslims. ‘Akbar showed bitter hostility to the faith of his fathers and his own youth, and actually perpetrated a persecution of Islam’, says Dr. Smith ‘In the latter part of his life’, says Sir Wolsley Haig, ‘he persecuted its followers and destroyed its places of worship’. These are grave charges and, made by serious students of history, they compel examination...
    • Sharma Sri Ram. 1988. The Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors. 3rd ed. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.
  • Afonso Dalboquerque told the captains to reconnoitre the whole of the island and to put to the sword all the Moors, men, women and children, that should be found,. and to give no quarter to any one of them; for his determination was to leave no seed of this race throughout the whole of the: island. And he did this, not only because it was necessary for the security of the land that there should be none but Hindoos within it, but also as a punishment for the treachery of which the Moors had been guilty when he took the city for the first time. And for four days continuously they poured out the blood of the Moors who were found therein; and it was ascertained that of men, women, and children, the number exceeded six thousand.
    • The Commentaries of the Great Afonso Dalboquerque, vol. III in :Priolkar Anant Kakba and Gabriel Dellon. 2008. The Goa Inquisition : Being a Quatercentenary Commemoration Study of the Inquisition in India.
  • Towards the Mahommedans the attitude of the Portuguese was one of inveterate hostility. Their one idea was to root out the trade of the Moors and to destroy the Mahommedans as a race so far as possible. This was not only due to commercial rivalry, but to a hostility which the Iberian Powers had inherited from their long-drawn out fight with the Moors in Spain and Africa. Whenever a Moor was captured the most barbarous tortures were inflicted on him and he was either killed or made a slave. The whole history of the Portuguese in India is nothing but a commentary on the statement of Barroes that the Moors were the “Enemies of God”.
    • Panikkar K. M. (1929, republished 1997) Malabar and the Portuguese. New Delhi: Voice of India.

17th century

  • In March, 1671, it was reported that a Muslim officer who had been, sent to demolish the Hindu temples in and around Ujjain was killed with many of his followers in the riot that had followed his attempts at destroying the temples there. He had succeeded in destroying some of the temples, but in one place, a Rajput chief had opposed this wanton destruction of his religious places. He overpowered the Mughal forces and destroyed its leader and many of his men. In Gujarat somewhere near Ahmedabad, Kolis seem to have taken possession of a mosque probably built on the site of a temple and prevented reading of Friday prayers there. Imperial orders were thereupon issued to the provincial officers in Gujarat to secure the use of the mosque for Friday prayers.
    • 17th century India. Sharma Sri Ram. 1988. The Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors. 3rd ed. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal. page 173

20st century

  • That part of the “Muslim minority” which had voted for Pakistan but had chosen to stay in India, restarted the old game when India was proclaimed a secular state pledged to freedom of propagation for all religions. It revived its tried and tested trick of masquerading as a “poor and persecuted minority”. It cooked up any number of Pirpur Reports. The wail went up that the “lives, liberties and honour of the Muslims were not safe” in India, in spite of India’s “secular pretensions”. At the same time, street riots were staged on every possible pretext. The “communal situation” started becoming critical once again.
    • Sita Ram Goel, The Calcutta Quran Petition (1986)

21st century

  • In the fascist Hindutva imagination, the Indian Muslims are continuously reviled as Pakistani "fifth columnists," as "enemies of the nation" and so on, and their patriotism is said to be suspect. The Muslim as the menacing "other" occupies a central place in Hindutva discourse, and this has been used to legitimize large-scale anti-Muslim violence.
    • Yoginder Sikand (2006). Abu-Rabi', Ibrahim. ed. The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought. p. 88.