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Chronology for Muslims in India

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Muslims in India, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f3898c.html [accessed 21 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

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Date(s) Item
May 1990 The President of the Ram Janambhoomi Samiti (Ram's birth place committee) M. Avaidhyanath has warned the country that construction work on a Ram temple at Ayodhya, the site of Lord Ram's birth place, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, will start after June 8. This is when the 4-month period sought by the government to settle the dispute expires (Xinhua News Service, 05/21/90). In November last year, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, World Hindu Council) held the foundation laying ceremony and indicated that construction of the temple would start on February 14, 1990. The VHP submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister to this effect (see the December 1992 entry for a brief background on the Ayodhya dispute).
Sep 1990 Police opened fire on Hindus during an attempt to demolish the Babri mosque. As a result, dozens of Hindu devotees were killed. The assault was led by the Hindu fundamentalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP, Indian Peoples Party) which has become a major party in recent years.
Oct 1990 The government of V.P. Singh was toppled by a no-confidence vote in Parliament, in which Ayodhya was a major issue. Chandra Shekhar of the Janata Dal (Peoples Party, with 54 of the 495 seats) has become the new Prime Minister. Several hundred people have died since he took office, many of them in continuing clashes over Ayodhya.
Dec 1990 At least 23 people died in some of the worst violence between Hindus and Muslims during the month.
Jan 1991 Iran's President Rafsanzani told visiting Indian Deputy Foreign Secretary M. Dubey that recent violence between Hindu extremists and Muslims was against Delhi's interests in its ties with Muslim states. "Once Indian Muslims feel safer, the Islamic world's co-operation with India will increase more than even before and this is useful to all" (BBC, 11/10/91). The Persian Gulf crisis has deepened religious and political divisions in India between Hindus, the overwhelming majority, and the Muslim minority. A riot broke out near New Delhi when Muslims held a pro-Iraq rally. At least 10 people were killed.
Feb 1991 The government has banned US military aircraft from re-fuelling in Bombay and Madras on their way from the Philippines to the Persian Gulf. The ban was apparently imposed after reports that Mr. Gandhi, who has opposed the re-fuelling on the grounds that it violates India's non-alignment, would withdraw his Congress (I) party's support for the government unless it was stopped. His move is actually aimed at pleasing 110 million Muslims who had abandoned their support for his party in recent elections. His party's traditional vote-bank of Brahmins (highest caste), Muslims and Harijans (Untouchables) is under siege from several quarters. The BJP has won over many Brahmins, who influence voting trends among many high-caste voters. Other parties are also wooing Muslims and Harijans.
Jun 1991 Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, India's largest state, expressed fear and concern over the new BJP state government. Uttar Pradesh has been a bellwether for the nation and has provided 7 of 9 Prime Ministers since independence. Muslims fear that in the event of new riots, the government and Hindu-dominated police forces would be partial to Hindus, who account for 83% of the state's 139 million people. As an example, the Muslims point to the Provincial Armed Constabulary, a special state police unit often accused of selectively killing Muslims and burning their homes when riots have occurred (The Associated Press, 06/30/91).
Aug 1991 A meeting of Muslim leaders, which might have been a show of unity against the BJP state government, ended with them outshouting each other and exposing rank disunity. The host was the Imam of Jama Masjid, Delhi's biggest mosque. But many from the Babri Mosque Action Committee saw the Imam's show as an exercise aimed at projecting himself as the sole leader of the Muslims -- a move that ran counter to a recent agreement among various Muslim leaders to put up a united front over issues like Ayodhya. It had also been resolved that differences should not be publicly aired and that any consultations with the government should be proceeded by talks among the community leadership (Saudi Gazette, 08/07/91).
Nov 1991 During his visit to Tehran, the Indian Foreign Minister M. Solanki explained that the Indian administration has adopted new policies to safeguard the rights of minorities within the framework of "secularism". His Iranian counterpart Akbar Velayati noted that Muslims constitute a big minority in India and that the Islamic Republic is interested in the fate of Muslims, no matter where they are in the world (BBC, 11/12/91).
Sep 1992 As part of a $30 million program of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank for the assistance of Muslims in India, the Board of Executive Directors agreed to provide a grant of $130,000 for the building of a vocational training center that will benefit male and female students in the state of Haryana. The state lacks any technical school that works under the supervision of the Islamic society.
Dec 1992 A mob of thousands of Hindu militants stormed the Babri Mosque on 12/06/92 and demolished it with sledgehammers and their bare hands. Four Hindus were killed and at least 100 were injured by falling debris. Addressing the country, Prime Minister N. Rao spoke of "the grave threat that has been posed to the institutions, principles and ideals on which the constitutional structure of our republic has been built...is a matter of great shame and concern for all Indians" (The New York Times,12/7/92). "This is similar to what happened in Germany in the 30's", said V.P. Singh, former Prime Minister. Singh asserted that "First they created an enemy and then they kept working on them and working on them". He was arrested near Ayodhya while trying to lead a protest march against the Hindus. Some 1,200 people were killed, according to official figures, in riots between Hindus and Muslims in a few days following the destruction of the mosque. Just the week before the demolition, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that a Hindu temple should not be constructed on the land occupied in part by the mosque, and that the mosque itself should remain undamaged. Several Hindu leaders and the state government of Uttar Pradesh run by the BJP said they would obey the court's injunction. The leader of the BJP, L.K. Advani, resigned after taking moral responsibility for the attack. In several cities in Bangladesh, thousands of protesters demonstrated against the destruction of the mosque. One person was killed by police fire, temples were attacked and Hindu businesses ransacked. Pakistan reacted strongly and called for a countrywide strike today. The Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed deep anguish over the attack and called on all Pakistanis to register their protest by closing all businesses and holding rallies (Times, 12/08/92). Some 40 people including 10 Hindus were killed in Pakistan during the protest. Sharif said Pakistan would seek assurances in the UN for the security of Muslims in India (UPI, 12/12/92). The Pakistani leader was in Dhaka where he met his Bangladeshi counterpart and Sri Lankan President R. Premadasa. The impromptu meeting was arranged after a summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) had to be postponed last week because India's Prime Minister could not attend. Premadasa is reported to have kept out of the controversy, but Bangladeshi leader Khaleda Zia is backing Sharif's plan to raise the issue in international meetings. The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) accused the Indian government of allowing Hindu extremists to demolish the Babri Mosque and demanded that it punish the culprits. "The entire Islamic World was shocked by the heinous and premeditated crime against an Islamic symbol of value, not to Muslims in India alone, but to Muslims everywhere", said Hamid al-Gabid, Secretary General of the OIC, which represents 50 nations with approximately a billion Muslims (The New York Times, 12/07/92). Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah A. Khomenei warned that Muslims should not tolerate such desecration. "The Muslims in Iran and elsewhere stand behind the Muslims in India and would never allow them to be subjected to such blatant oppression and insult", he said in a message read on Tehran radio (The Ethnic Newswatch, 12/11/92). Other Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Afghanistan sent protest notes to New Delhi. Japan expressed deep concern over the recent bloodshed in India stemming from animosity between Hindus and Muslims, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a news conference. The Japanese reaction coincided with reports that the number of people killed in 5 days of rioting across India exceeded 1,000 (Japan Economic Newswire, 12/11/91). Brief Background on the Babri Mosque Issue Hindus and the Muslims have been confronting each other over the issue of the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid (mosque) for many years. However, due to the government's mediation efforts, the dispute remained peaceful until December 1992. At the very site selected for construction of the Ram temple stands the Babri mosque, believed by Hindus to have been built after the demolition of a Hindu temple by Babar who came from Central Asia and founded the Muslim Mughal dynasty in India in the early 16th century. Muslims say the claim is spurious and lacks historical evidence. Historians are divided: some point to the stone used in building the mosque -- it has carvings of Hindu deities, suggesting the mosque was built from the remains of a temple. But there is no evidence that the spot is the exact birthplace of Ram, the Hindu god incarnation. A court threw out a lawsuit brought by a Hindu priest in 1885. In 1949, a statue of Ram was spirited into the mosque. A court ordered the mosque locked, thus preventing peoples of both religions from squabbling over it. In 1986 riots followed a court ruling that allowed Hindus to have access to the site for worship.
Jul 1993 The Saudi government recently issued instructions banning the employment of Hindus in the Kingdom. The move follows appeals by the Muslim community to prohibit the employment of Hindus in the wake of the destruction of the historical Babri Mosque and the massacre of Muslims in India. Henceforth, only Muslims and Christians from India would be employed. Big construction companies in Saudi Arabia have already started implementing the new instructions, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Nour reported. (07/17/93). An estimated 2 million Hindus are working in the Persian Gulf Arab states.
Sep 1993 Muslims in India are split over their divorce law. Reformers and women groups oppose traditional Islamic practice. The reformers' attempt to make it more difficult for a husband to divorce his wife suffered a blow early this month when the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board of prominent theologians upheld the old traditions. The practice of instant divorce among Muslims was enshrined in the judicial code by the British Privy Council in 1939. Now it can only be changed by the Supreme Court or the Parliament.
Oct 1993 Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei told visiting Indian leader N. Rao to curb Hindu fanaticism and find a solution to the conflict in Kashmir. The Iranian leader also urged that the government of India rebuild the Babri Mosque (The Ethnic Newswatch, 10/01/93).
Nov 1993 Muslims and lower caste Hindus set aside their religious differences in Uttar Pradesh to forge a political alliance to fight for their common advancement. They stunned the political establishment by winning the state elections this month, over the Hindu fundamentalist BJP.
Jun 1994 A circular issued by the Indian Army Headquarters barring defense personnel from offering regular Friday prayers during work has stirred a controversy, according to a report from the Press Trust of India (PTI). The All-India Muslim Forum has condemned the circular. The national convener of the Forum said that such a restriction is perhaps the first of its kind in any country and that it will badly shatter the faith of the Muslim community in the concept of secularism. He said the Friday prayers are one of the most essential Islamic practices and can be offered only in collective form. The Forum has already faxed a copy of the circular to the Prime Minister and parliamentary members (Xinhua News Agency, 06/14/94).
Aug 1994 On India's independence day (August 15), eight Hindu activists were killed by police in Karnataka as they sought to hoist the Indian national flag on the grounds of a Muslim mosque (UPI, 10/25/94).
Oct 1994 A dispute between Hindus and Muslims over language has led to riots, arson and the deaths of 17 people in Bangalore, the country's fast-growing capital of high technology in the south. The spark for two days of turmoil in Bangalore, India's version of the Silicon Valley and home to branch offices of many US computer and software companies, was a new 10-minute daily TV broadcast in Urdu, the idiom of the Mughal empire, which today is spoken by over 130 million Muslims in India and Pakistan. The BJP in the south-central Karnataka state accused the ruling Congress of launching the Urdu newscast to pander Muslim voters before the state election next month. Ten minutes a day might not seem objectionable, since 9% of Karnataka's 45 million people classify themselves as Urdu-speakers, but language has often been a source of divisive, violent politics in India. In fact, it was the reason Karnataka, known then as Mysore, was created in 1956 from the Kannada-speaking areas of five southern states. For years, activists in the state have forced the government to cut back on the use of English, the language of India's old colonial master, Britain. They also remain militantly opposed to the penetration of Hindi, the Indo-European language the Constitution enshrines as India's official lingua franca (Los Angeles Times, 10/09/94).
Oct 9, 1994 The Karnataka government has decided to withdraw the Urdu news bulletin from state television following the violence that has occurred in Banglore (see above) (Xinhua News Agency, 10/09/94).
Oct 24, 1994 India's Supreme Court has refused to advise the central government on a bitter religious dispute between Hindus and Muslims. The government had sought the court's advice on whether a Hindu temple had once existed at Ayodhya. However, the Supreme Court did uphold the government's takeover of the 67-acre site. In another ruling, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, a prominent BJP leader, was sentenced to one day in jail for building a platform at the disputed site in 1991 (Reuters, 10/24/94).
Feb 1995 The outlawed Vishwa Hindu Parishad has vowed to "liberate" three disputed religious sites including Ayodhya. The other two sites, at Varanasi and Mathura, also contain mosques that radical Hindus have threatened to destroy. The areas are currently under central government control (UPI, 02/25/95).
Mar 1995 The ruling Congress Party lost state elections in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat while winning in the eastern state of Orissa. In Maharashtra, India's third largest state, a partnership of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena will form the government. The Shiv Sena is reported to have targeted Muslims during the rioting after the Ayodhya mosque demolition; its leader, Bal Thackeray openly admires Adolf Hitler. Analysts indicate that the Congress losses confirm rising disenchantment among its traditional support base, (e.g. the Muslims). Polls reveal that many Muslims are angry at the Congress' limited response to rising Hindu-Muslim tensions (Washington Post, 03/14/95).
Mar 21, 1995 Two people were killed and dozens wounded as violence broke out between Hindus and Muslims in the southern Indian city of Hubli, in Karnataka state. The clash arose as Hindus celebrating the end of the festival of Holi stopped their musical procession in front of a mosque (UPI, 03/21/95).
Mar 31, 1995 The Indian government has indicated that it will take action against Bal Thackeray, the leader of Maharashtra's ruling Shiv Sena. Thackeray has made a series of comments directed against the state's minority Muslim population. He has stated that illegal Bangladeshi Muslims were plotting to assassinate him and thus he ordered his party workers to "wipe out" the immigrant Muslim community. Thackeray does not hold any official position in the Maharashtra government although he publicly flaunts his position as a "remote control chief minister" (UPI, 03/31/95).
Apr 1995 The screening of a controversial film about the Hindu-Muslim riots in India during December 1992 and January 1993 has been banned for a week in Bombay. The film, titled "Bombay" revolves around a Muslim woman and a Hindu man who fall in love and get married. The leader of the Indian Union Muslim League, G.M. Banatwalla, says that the film is anti-Muslim, as it shows Muslims as aggressive and hostile and the initiators of the riots. The film was withdrawn in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka following Muslim protests (Reuters, 04/07/95).
Apr 15, 1995 Leaders of the Muslim community urged fellow Muslims to boycott the film "Bombay" after a ban on the film's screening was lifted in Bombay. Police have deployed reserve units to prevent any communal violence (Reuters, 04/15/95).
Apr 15, 1995 Clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the southern state of Tamil Nadu have resulted in the deaths of two people. Eight others were injured while more than 60 people were arrested. The clashes were sparked by the bombing of a radical Hindu party's headquarters (UPI, 04/15/95).
Jun 1995 Members of the All India Muslim Unity Forum met with Indian President Shankar Dayal Sharma and urged him to unconditionally release all "innocent people" detained under the country's Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act. They also wanted cases against Muslims registered during the Ayodhya riots to be withdrawn (BBC, 06/26/95).
Jul 1995 The chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a fundamentalist Hindu group with close ties with the BJP, says that Muslims will not be subject to discrimination under the rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Professor Rajendra Singh also stated that the RSS did not support any special treatment for minorities. The BJP's election planks include the issues of a uniform civil code and polygamy -- matters that are of vital concern to the Muslim community (BBC, 07/19/95).
Jul 28, 1995 Tens of thousands of Muslims protested in New Delhi against the suffering of Muslims in Bosnia. They also burned an effigy of UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Diplomats indicate that Delhi's long-time ties with Moscow, a traditional ally of the Serbs, could have prevented it from taking a high-profile position in Bosnia (Reuters, 07/28/95).
Jul 28, 1995 Over 2000 demonstrators gathered in Bombay to protest the Maharashtra state government's proposal to ban the slaughter of bulls and buffaloes. All but two of India's states already have laws protecting cows which are sacred to the country's Hindu majority. The prohibition would severely affect Christians, Muslims, and some segments of the Dalits (untouchables) who consume beef (UPI, 07/28/95).
Aug 1995 Four Hindu women have won their Supreme Court case against their husbands who converted to Islam and then remarried. The court ruled that the husbands had converted "only for the purpose of escaping the consequences of bigamy". It also directed the federal government to establish a uniform civil code by August 1996. Currently, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and tribal groups are allowed to have their own laws to govern religion, marriage, and family life. Previous Indian leaders have backed down from establishing a uniform code in the face of protests from minority communities (Asiaweek, 08/18/95).
Aug 29, 1995 The city of Bombay has held back the release of Salman Rushdie's new novel, The Last Moor's Sigh, fearing that it could spark violence. A character in the book appears to be a thinly veiled parody of Bombay's right-wing Shiv Sena leader, Bal Thackeray. However, the book has been released in every other major Indian city (UPI, 08/29/95).
Dec 1995 On December 6, the third anniversary of the destruction of the Babri Masjid mosque, thousands of armed troops patrolled the city of Ayodhya. More than 400 Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists were rounded up as they headed to the ruins of the mosque to offer prayers. The government also imposed a ban on the assembly of more than five people in Ayodhya in order to avert a renewal of Hindu-Muslim violence. Over 1200 people were killed during riots in India after Hindus destroyed the mosque in 1992 (UPI, 12/06/95). In the southern city of Madurai, Muslim mobs set fire to a bus and threw stones at several shops owned by Hindus. Many opposition members of Parliament also staged a walkout to protest what they believe is the government's inability to resolve the Ayodhya dispute (UPI, 12/06/95).
Dec 7, 1995 More than 17 people were injured during clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the city of Aligarh, in Uttar Pradesh state (UPI, 12/07/95).
Jan 1996 The Islamic Development Bank(IDB) set up special assistance projects for Muslim communities in non-Muslim countries. Particular attention was given to Indian Muslims, the largest Muslim community in a non-member country. (New Straits Times (Malaysia) January 12, 1996).
Mar 1996 The Islamic Development Bank approved a grant of US$30 million for education and vocational training for Muslims in India (The Irish Times, March 12, 1996).
May 1996 India's general election during April and May 1996 yielded a result that mirrors a central feature of Indian political life since the late 1970s, that is the slow demise of the Congress Party. Momentarily piqued by a possible " Hindu fundamentalist" government in New Delhi following the 1996 elections, the watching world has paid scant heed to the slipping away of the Congress (I) Party's earlier electoral primacy (The Washington Quarterly 1996 Autumn). The Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as the largest party in Parliament for the first time, controlling 190 of the 543 elected seats.
May 12, 1996 BJP's party leaders call for "one nation, one people, one culture." That is a controversial platform in a nation that is home to 105 million Muslims. The powerful emergence of the BJP has raised fears that a wave of Hindu fundamentalism could sweep the country. The BJP has vowed to reverse special programs setting aside jobs and slots in colleges for Muslims, as they do for the lower castes of Hindu society. It also wants to eliminate the right of Muslim religious law, dictating personal issues like divorce and marriage, to supersede Indian common law (The Times-Picayune, May 12, 1996). Nothing remains of the old Muslim mosque the city of Ayodhya, holy to Hindus. In its place stands a large pink tent, a makeshift Hindu temple to the deity Lord Ram that is guarded like a maximum-security prison. Hundreds of special police with rifles surround the site where Hindus believe Ram was born, and it is fortified with security cameras, watchtowers, floodlights and 20-foot barbed wire fences. The high security is a guard against more of the explosive violence that has turned Ayodhya into a symbol of the religious tensions that smolder beneath the surface of Indian society (The Times-Picayune, May 12, 1996)
May 16, 1996 Atal Bihari Vajpayee was sworn-in as India's 10th prime minister, the first time in India's history a Hindu nationalist has been chosen to govern the diverse nation. The choice of Vajpayee, 71, leader of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party - which finished first in India's election- has left some of India's 120 million Muslims afraid for their future in a nation they share with 754 million Hindus.(USA TODAY May 16, 1996).
May 25, 1996 The first session of India's new Parliament erupted in tumult today over a proposed ban on the slaughter of cows, with governing Hindu nationalists chanting "Hail, mother cow" and opposition members loudly bewailing the death of secularism. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government said the ban on the slaughter of cows, worshiped by Hindus as a symbol of life, would be total. Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi of the opposition Congress party said the plan contravened India's secular constitution, which guarantees equal rights to all religions. The Washington Post, May 25, 1996).
May 30, 1996 Muslims- and police clashed in Calcutta after police tried to stop religious procession. Twenty people were injured, and the following day Muslims hurled small bombs at a police station (May 30 96, UPI).
Aug 1996 Naib Imam Syed Ahmad Bukhari, an influential Muslim leader, accused the country's ruling coalition of neglecting religious minorities and allying itself with the forces of Hindu chauvinism. He said Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda's administration reneged on a promise to prosecute those responsible for the destruction of the historic mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya (U.P.I.,August 23, 1996).
Nov 1996 The incidence of divorce among Muslims in India is below one percent, belying a misconception to the contrary, a survey conducted in Delhi and Aligarh has revealed. (Moneyclips, November 28, 1996).
Jan 1997 With the aim of upholding rights of Muslim women, the All India Muslim Women Education Conference called for the encouragement and cooperation of Muslim men in the educational upbringing of the girl-child. This is to check the early drop-out in education of Muslim females, who are lagging behind in terms of literacy and formal education compared to females of other religious groups. The conference also called for government policies to improve the educational standard of Muslim women, and for special attention to be focused on the various discriminatory practices against women in general and Muslim women in particular.(New Straits Times (Malaysia) January 13, 1997).
Feb 1997 Midterm polling violence. Preliminary reports said at least 17 people were killed Monday and voter turnout dipped below the historical average of 60 percent during the election's first phase, with 40 percent of Parliament at stake. International Herald Tribune, February 17, 1997)
Mar 1997 Community involvement can tame communal violence and violence against women. This is the message from a national consultation on "Gender and Development" organized in New Delhi this week by U.N. development agencies. After the worst carnage in Bhivandi, in the western state of Maharashtra in 1984, neighborhood peace committees have been set up and not a single incident of communal violence has been reported since. The committees include moderate voices from both communities and are made up of equal numbers of men and women. (Inter Press Service, March 20, 1997)
Aug 1997 Indian authorities have refused to allow the BBC to film a version of Midnight's Children, an early novel by Salman Rushdie. A BBC spokesman announced the veto but declined to give the stated reason. The Daily Telegraph said Indian authorities feared the filming of a Rushdie book would anger Muslims in India and Pakistan, with which New Delhi is attempting to improve relations. (The Canberra Times, August 1, 1997).
Aug 9, 1997 After the 1992-93 riots in Bombay - in which more than 500 were killed and 40,000 Muslims fled -, the Muslim community has still not recovered. Tensions are strained, exacerbated by the partisanship of the militantly Hindu Shiv Sena government and the predominantly Hindi police. The situation is volatile, and the middle classes are becoming fearful. Politics has become more polarized and corruption remains unchecked. (The Independent (London), August 9, 1997).
Aug 29, 1997 The government of Andhra Pradesh withdrew books from a missionary school following Muslim protest over their contents. (BBB. August 29, 97)
Nov 1997 Rioting between Hindus and Muslims in Coimbatore left 14 people dead.
Dec 1997 Three bombs exploded on trains in Tamil Nadu and Kerala leaving eight dead. (December 6,97, Japan Economist Newswire). Four radical Muslim groups active in Tamil Nadu were blamed for the bombing. (December 6, 97 CNN).
Dec 7, 1997 Muslim organizations held a strike in Hiderabad. Police countered the demonstration and two were killed. (December 7,97 Statesman).
Dec 9, 1997 Pakistan's Government expressed its concern over the detention of Muslims in India. The Pakistan foreign minister, Mr Gohar Ayub Khan, has said the detention of 5,000 Muslims in India on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the destruction of the historic Babri mosque is a matter of concern to the Islamic community. The foreign minister said the mass detentions have revived the images of systematic persecution of the Indian Muslim minority who are at the mercy of the tyranny of the majority. (Text of report by Radio Pakistan on 9th December, BBC December 10, 1997).
Dec 29, 1997 In an interview, the BJP leader, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, spoke about the repeal of Article 370, the promulgation of a Uniform Civil Code and the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, all central to the BJP's agenda. "Article 370 was meant to be a temporary feature. And to us, the Uniform Civil Code does not mean the substitution of personal law of the minorities with that of the majority but the availability of equal rights for everyone. However, both these are emotional issues and opinion building would be essential before any progress is possible. Regarding Ayodhya, our efforts will be directed at settling the dispute through dialogue and the legal process." (India Today December 29, 1997).
Jan 1998 A Hindu nationalist government's order that school children in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh start the day by praying to an image of "Mother India" has angered Muslims. Critics accuse the BJP of fanning religious tension in India. (January 02, 98,Western Australian Regional; Overseas News).
Jan 25, 1998 The BJP formed a government in New Delhi for the first time after the 1996 elections but resigned within 13 days after failing to muster majority support. This time it has lined up an impressive number of regional allies so as not to lose the numbers game. The Hindu nationalists argue they are not sectarian but want Muslims to put India before Islam and fit in with the Hindu majority. Although the BJP is desperately wooing Muslims, an allied hardline Hindu group has threatened to forcibly take over two mosques in northern India and build temples at the sites (AAP NEWSFEED January 25, 1998).
Feb 1, 1998 BJP President Advani asked the Muslims not to look at the BJP through the eyes of their political opponents, but to make a realistic assessment. He said the states ruled by the BJP and its partners had remained free from communal violence with minorities living together peacefully (1998 THE HINDU February 1, 1998).
Feb 15, 1998 Muslim militants were suspected in a series of bombings Saturday that killed at least 40 people and wounded more than 200 in the southern Indian city of Coimbatore. The thirteen bombs, were apparently timed to coincide with a visit by L. K. Advani, the president of the. The BJP has risen to prominence on an avowedly anti-Muslim agenda that threatens to exacerbate tensions between the country's two largest religious groups. The bombings sparked clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs, and police were ordered to shoot rioters in Coimbatore. Six people suspected of involvement in the blasts blew themselves up during a dawn raid by police. Three police officers were injured, eight people were arrested, and police seized three bags of pipe bombs. The blasts were the latest in a series of explosions that have jarred India in the days leading up to elections. Some of the violence has been attributed to Muslim groups wary of the ascension of the BJP. (Los Angeles Times, February 15, 1998).
Feb 20, 1998 The anxiety over the rise of Hindu nationalism has prompted widespread appeals from Muslim clerics, who have traditionally been circumspect about intervening in politics. The country's most senior Muslim cleric, Syed Abdullah Bukhari, issued a bitter statement last week, saying that all parties had betrayed Muslims, but none more so than the BJP. Two rounds of balloting among the 600-million voters are scheduled for Feb. 22 and Feb. 28. Hindu nationalist leaders have repeatedly promised that Muslims would have nothing to fear from a government they would lead. (The New York Times, February 20, 1998).
Feb 24, 1998 The Congress party -in power in 1992 -has apologized for the demolition of the Babri. By issuing an apology during this period, the party is again wooing Muslim voters. Although they make up only 12 per cent of the population, Muslim votes are crucial in closely-contested constituencies (The Straits Times (Singapore) February 24, 1998)
Feb 26, 1998 In Indian occupied Kashmir, a complete strike was observed to register protest against the arrival in the territory of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Dukhtaran-i-Millet staged a protest demonstration at Lal Chowk, Srinagar today to mark the sixth anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Mosque by extremist Hindus. Black flags were hoisted at various places in the city. A report of Human Rights Association in Srinagar says 42 Indian troops were killed in clashes with mujaheddin during the last month. Troops killed 299 innocent people, 32 in custody during the same period. Mujaheddin opened fire on a military vehicle in Doda, killing four Indian soldiers and injuring 40.
Mar 2, 1998 Voting began today for protracted Indian parliamentary elections. But because of India's vast electorate of 600 million, and polling violence which last week claimed 76 lives, voting is staggered in different areas over two weeks to allow security forces to move around the country. (Micromedia Limited March 2, 1998).
Mar 8, 1998 Hindu nationalist leader Atal Behari Vajpayee, expected to become the next prime minister, today denied charges that his government would threaten India's secular traditions with "an agenda of hate". Vajpayee, said: "Secularism is in our blood." India, plagued by political instability, is electing its fifth government in two years. The Congress and the Front claim the BJP will discriminate against minorities, including 125 million Muslims. Vajpayee, touted as a moderate, promised: "There shall never be any discrimination on the basis of religion." (AAP NEWSFEED, March 8, 1998).
Mar 16, 1998 For the second time in less than two years, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, leader of the BJP will be sworn in as India's new prime minister, on Mar. 19. The 72-year-old Hindu leader, has been toning down his party's anti-Islamic stand. He was also underplaying the BJP's demands to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution which grants special status to Kashmir state to ensure its Muslim -majority and "alter" Islamic laws which apply to over 130 million Muslims. In reality, however, some said Vajpayee has strayed little from the aim of 'Hindutva' pursued by the Jana Sangh, the precursor to the BJP (Inter Press Service, March 16, 1998).
Mar 19, 1998 The Bharatiya Janata Party, due to form India's next government Thursday, has launched an energetic campaign to refashion its image. There was nothing in the eight-page document about rebuilding Hindu temples on the disputed sites of mosques as compensation for the destruction that Muslim conquerors wreaked centuries ago. Nor was there one word about compelling minority Muslims to cease following Islamic laws on divorce and inheritance. Only with a strained reading of a pledge to review the constitution could any reference be found to revoking special autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir, India's only Muslim -majority state. Instead, they offered a commitment to genuinely uphold and practice the concept of secularism (The Washington Post March 19, 1998).
Jun 1998 Thirty were injured yesterday when Muslims rioted to protest a pamphlet they felt degraded Islam (June 7, 98 AAP Newsfeed)
Dec 1998 Muslims in India today observed the sixth anniversary of the demolition of the historic Babri Mosque in Ayodhya by Hindu extremists. Strict security measures have been taken throughout India and paramilitary troops were deployed at various sensitive points. Thousands of people have been rounded up on the eve of sixth anniversary of the destruction of the historic mosque. Over 2,000 people were also arrested in the southern state of Tamil Nadu and the northern state of Uttar Pradesh to preempt Muslim protests. (Text of report by Pakistan TV on 6th December, BBC)
Feb 1999 Muslims in India were enraged at New Delhi's decision to grant a visa to Salman Rushdie, the author of the controversial book, ''The Satanic Verses". Criticizing India's ruling coalition led by the Hindu fundamentalist BJP for granting a visa to Rushdie, Bukhari Syed Ahmad Bukhari, a top Islamic cleric, said, ''No one can tolerate a man who has attacked Islam and blasphemed the prophet.'' (February 5, 1999, UPI)
Feb 6, 1999 India says it will provide foolproof security to controversial writer Salman Rushdie during his proposed visit to the country. Muslims in India have threatened violence against the author. India was the first country to ban ''The Satanic Verses'' after the book provoked angry protests in 1989 (UPI February 6, 1999).
Sep 1999 Indian parliamentary elections began on September 5th. Indians went to the poll for the third time in three years. The resignation of the BJP-led coalition government last April caused the President to dissolve the Parliament and call for new elections.
Sep 3, 1999 "There has been a rise in nationalistic feelings among Hindus," declares Environment Minister Suresh Prabhu, who is also a senior leader of the rabidly right-wing Shiv Sena party. "And we in Shiv Sena believe that all those who live in Hindustan [India] are Hindus". The Muslims resent this attitude. But they can do little as their traditional links to other social groups and castes, which have added to their political influence, are coming under communal pressure. In the new atmosphere, secular and left-leaning parties, traditionally friendly toward the Muslim vote, have been forced to adopt a more nationalist posture that means jettisoning the cause of minorities.(Asiaweek, September 3, 1999) One of the major differences bedeviling the Hindu-Muslim relations in recent times is the issue of the Uniform Civil Code. Muslims believe in an all-embracing, unambiguous and strict moral code, "exactly as it was revealed in the Quran and taught and practiced by the Holy Prophet.(THE HINDU September 7, 1999).
Sep 8, 1999 More killings in the State of Orissa. The Rev. Arul Doss, a Roman Catholic priest, was murdered on a day of a Catholic celebration. Minority leaders laid the blame on the Hindu-nationalist BJP. They pointed to a surge in attacks on Christians and Muslims since the party took power in March 1998,warning that anti-minority violence would only grow worse if the party won a majority in the new Parliament. The party has condemned the violence, in which several nuns were raped, three priests were killed and dozens of rural churches burned. With the latest killings, the standoff erupted into a major campaign issue with both major parties accusing the other of failing to protect minorities. The BJP is the political wing of an increasingly powerful network of Hindu groups in India. The umbrella Sangh Parivar organization is the driving force behind a massive Hindu revivalist movement, whose more radical elements openly spew hate against minorities (The Houston Chronicle September 08, 1999).
Dec 1999 Parliament was paralyzed for second day over the Ayodhya mosque issue, with agitated opposition members demanding removal of federal Home Minister L.K. Advani and two other BJP ministers. (December 08, 1999, BBC)
Dec 6, 1999 Police arrested 300 Hindus, Moslems and communists on Monday, the seventh anniversary of the destruction by Hindu fanatics of a mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, December 6, 1999).
Dec 8, 1999 Protests marked the anniversary of the Ayodhya mosque demolition. In the national capital [New Delhi], utter confusion prevailed as pro and anti Babri Masjid groups converged about 200 meters away from Parliament House. (BBC, December 08, 1999).

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