Modi’s critics say his Hindu ultra-nationalist ruling party has fostered religious polarisation since coming to power in 2014. He denies the charges.
Since Modi came to power, far-right Hindu groups have launched attacks on minorities claiming they are trying to prevent religious conversions. Several Indian states have passed or are considering anti-conversion laws that challenge the constitutionally protected right to freedom of belief.
In 2019, the government passed a citizenship law that critics said undermined India’s secular constitution by excluding Muslim migrants from neighboring countries. The law was meant to grant Indian nationality to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Parsis, and Sikhs who fled Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan before 2015.
In the same year, soon after his 2019 re-election win, Modi’s government annexed part of disputed Kashmir to fully integrate the Muslim-majority region with the rest of the country.
To keep a lid on protests, the administration detained many Kashmir political leaders and sent many more paramilitary police and soldiers to the Himalayan region, also claimed by Pakistan.
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) recently banned wearing the hijab in classrooms in Karnataka state. Hardline Hindu groups later demanded such restrictions in more Indian states. Muslim mutton sellers and fruit vendors have become the latest victims of the far-right Hindu groups.