India continues to make news headlines around the world for targeting Muslims by the current Hindu nationalist government.

In its first term since winning the election in 2014, the leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party BJP) government kept themselves engaged in anti-Muslim rhetoric and created an atmosphere of fear among ordinary Muslims.

Vigilante groups targeted Muslims whom they accused of seducing and marrying young Hindu women to convert them, a phenomenon labelled as love jihad.

This campaign was followed by the ghar wapsi (or homecoming) movement, which aimed to (re)convert Muslims and Christians to the Hindu faith, arguing that their forefathers were Hindus and they were converted Islam or Christianity by force.

Then the issue of cow protection, an animal sacred to Hindus, has claimed many Muslim lives. The cow vigilantes regularly intercepted alleged cow traffickers and beef carriers and brutally killed Muslim truck drivers and couriers.

The police rarely arrest these vigilante mobs even when witnesses have provided testimony and if trials were commenced, they have often gone nowhere.

Though the BJP government has failed miserably on the economic front, Hindu nationalist slogans helped the re-election of the Modi government with an even bigger mandate in May 2019.

This outcome has boosted the morale of the hard-line chauvinist BJP party and within a span of few months since election victory, the Indian parliament passed bills which angered many Muslims and human right activists.

The blatant move by the Modi government has been the annexation of Kashmir by repealing Article 370 which had provided the Muslim majority state with a special status since Indian independence in 1947.

The situation in Kashmir continues to be a matter of concern as millions of people live under continued restrictions with the crackdown on fundamental rights and freedoms.

A couple of weeks earlier Indian Parliament had passed the controversial Triple Talaq Bill which had angered many Muslims due to a clause which would send the husband to jail for pronouncing the word Talaq three times, thus blocking any attempts of reconciliation between the alienated couple.

Only a few weeks later, on 31 August, India excluded nearly 2 million people, a great majority of them Muslims from a citizenship list in the northeastern state of Assam.

The action was prompted by a campaign over the years questioning the stay in the state of people of Bangladeshi origin.

Hundreds of thousands of people fled to India from Bangladesh during its war of independence from Pakistan in the early 1970s. Most of them settled in Assam, which has a border with Bangladesh stretching over 200 kilometres.

Activists have criticized the process of National Register of Citizens for anomalies and procedural flaws, aimed at deporting Muslims from the country.

In many cases, genuine Indian citizens, including former government officials, have been excluded from the list on the ground that their parents had come to India from neighbouring Bangladesh.

To be included, people had to somehow prove that they had come to Assam before 24 March 1971, the day before former East Pakistan became independent as Bangladesh.

Some leaders from BJP, including the home minister, Amit Shah, have demanded that National Register of Citizens (NRC), as the citizenship list is called, be implemented across the country to identify and deport undocumented immigrants.

This has created fear among Muslims nationally as many poor Muslims will find it hard to get the documents needed to prove their claim of Indian ancestry.

At the same time, a new Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists from the neighbouring countries.

Muslims in India continue to face extreme bias in the secular and democratic India since Hindu nationalists have come to power who are propagating a Hindu supremacist agenda.