The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not just a political party. It is an ideology and a social force that is begging out the worst that India has to offer. In the most recent face-off between secularism and Hinduvta, a Hindu priest and Member of Parliament Yogi Adityanath, from the ruling BJP, said a ceremony to convert Muslims would be held in Aligarh; however, it would be an entirely voluntary affair. The US, on the other hand, has stated its concern over forced conversions. India’s opposition politicians have protested inside parliament against the alleged mass conversion of about 200 Muslims to Hinduism in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. There are reports that the slum areas around the Taj Mahal were also targeted and Muslims were promised ration cards, ID cards and protection from the police.

This is a bigger problem than is realised. Once conservative Muslims get a hold of this issue, there will be calls for retribution. Sadly, what happens in India always draws a response from us, and this just gives fodder to organisations like Jamat-ud-Dawa to lash out at India. For India, this poses many questions. Are such forced conversions something that are religiously motivated? Or is it for political purposes, a grand scheme to create a Hindu state? The BJP, as usual, has said it does not interfere with communities, but when India devolves into communal warfare, it will be the BJPs fault. But let’s not be the pot calling the kettle black. We can only criticise others so far when we have been tormenting our minorities with forced conversions too. Religious persecution is a problem we have never really addressed in our country. We are more alike than we want to admit.