Muslims are the largest minority of India, with 14.2% of the country’s population or roughly 172 million people identifying as adherents. Over the centuries, the Muslims have played a prominent role in India’s economic rise &cultural influence. Out of the 12 Presidents of India three of them were Muslims–Zakir Hussain, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The only two South Asian Muslim billionaires named by Forbes magazine, Yusuf Hamied and Azim Premji, are from India.

There is a complex history of Hindu-Muslim riots in India. The aftermath of the Partition of India in 1947 saw large scale sectarian strife and bloodshed throughout the nation. Since then, India has witnessed sporadic large-scale violence sparked by underlying tensions between sections of the Hindu and Muslim communities. One of the most violent events in recent times took place during the Gujarat riots in 2002. Tens of thousands of people were left homeless as the rioters set fire to Muslim homes and businesses. Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, was widely accused of turning a blind eye to the violence.

The Muslims of India have been living under fear, horror, panic and dread despite there being more Muslims in India than in Pakistan. They live in fear and have been threatened by extremist Hindus nowadays. The ruling party BJP & RSS activists have started a concerted campaign against Muslims. The main features of this campaign include protests against the so-called ‘love jihad’ – Muslim men allegedly converting Hindu women to Islam by trapping them in love affairs – and ‘ghar wapsi’ (homecoming) initiatives which convert Muslims and Christians ‘back’ to Hinduism. I would urge Indians to stop living under the guise of secularism and admit their faults fully.

ENGR. MANSOOR AHMED,

Faisalabad, October 9.