Muslim Businesses Suffer Attacks by Hindu Vigilantes

The economic marginalization of Muslims in India is becoming more apparent while their livelihood suffers frequent attacks from Hindu nationalists. The attacks encompass small-time ambulant vendors, shop owners, and even industrialized businesses.

Two Muslim men were beaten for carrying meat in Mathura, a city sacred to Hindus in Uttar Pradesh, on September 23rd. The assailants claimed that most areas of Mathura were declared free from meat and alcohol. 

Attacks against Muslim-owned businesses come in many forms; violence is usually reserved for Muslim men who conduct business in the streets. Big-scale businesses suffer severe online disinformation campaigns. At the same time, policymakers create a legal atmosphere that puts unnecessary pressure on Muslim-owned companies.

On September 8th, a Muslim-owned food processing company based in Bangalore, India, issued a public statement denying that its product contained animal extract. iD Fresh Food issued a statement to counter an online misinformation campaign circulated on WhatsApp, calling it “baseless and fake propaganda.”

Attacks against Muslims in India by Bajrang Dal or far-right groups remain unchecked by Modi’s government. “We have nowhere to complain. The police and the municipality officials side with such groups,” said Afzal. A Muslim businessman from Greater Noida, a suburb in Uttar Pradesh, Afzal sells meat, including mutton.

Since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a far-right political group, gained power in 2017, Hindu-nationalist became more empowered. They were rampaging across India with their Nazi-like narrative of an all-Hindu India. Members of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh had also become increasingly active in their attacks against minorities when Yogi Adityanath became Chief Minister.

Shalabh Mani Tripathy, a spokesman for BJP, claimed that the current prime minister is not anti-Muslim nor his government. “The state government is popular even among Muslims because of its various schemes,” he said. Tripathy also added that some have “vested interests” in an anti-Muslim government narrative.

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