Country Profile

India

Summary

India has a long history of religious pluralism and inter-communal harmony, in which conflict was rarely drawn sectarian lines. However, a current of Hindu nationalism in the political sphere has left minorities feeling isolated, and world leaders have expressed concern about the country "splitting along religious lines."

1The landslide election victory of the BJP in 2014 has emboldened a rising current of Hindu nationalism, based on an ideology that characterises India as a nation with a fundamentally Hindu character.

2India’s religious minorities, in particular Muslim and Christian communities, feel threatened by this ‘majoritarian’ trend, which has manifested itself in major ‘reconversion’ campaigns by Hindu nationalist groups and attacks on places of worship.

3The BJP’s domestic agenda is reflected in India’s now-revitalised foreign and regional policy, which is focused on presenting India as a major civilisation on the world stage.

Situation Report

India's sixteenth general election, held in April and May 2014, represented a tectonic shift in Indian politics. For the first time since independence, India elected a right-wing, Hindu nationalist, party to power with an absolute majority. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) became the dominant force of Indian politics, backed by a decisive and unprecedented, 'majoritarian' mandate, as Narendra Modi led the BJP to a sensational win. Its victory was so complete that it captured all or most of the seats in some states and reduced the Indian National Congress Party to 44 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament, a shocking comedown for a party whose history is integral to India's founding narrative. Coupled with the near obliteration suffered by parties on the left, it is easy to conclude that for now the centrist, secular and progressive voices have lost out. In immediate terms, the Indian polity stands redefined. With a BJP-led government in power, the Indian right now occupies centre stage and commands the national government.

One important feature of this election is the BJP's successful consolidation of the Hindu vote in a whole range of constituencies, especially northern and northwestern India. The other side to Hindu consolidation is the political marginalisation and eclipse of Muslims. No political party has previously come to power by excluding Muslims so completely. The BJP does not have a single MP from the Muslim community; the representation of Muslims has fallen to an all time low, only four per cent of the members of the new Lok Sabha are Muslim, the lowest representation in the history of any Indian Parliament. The fact that India's largest minority community does not have an effective voice in its elected assemblies does not augur well for India's pluralism.

  • Global Overview
  • 1. Violent Religious Extremism Incidents: September 2016 2
  • 4. Violent Religious Extremism Incidents: June 2016 5
  • 5. Violent Religious Extremism Incidents: May 2016 2
  • 7. Violent Religious Extremism Incidents: March 2016 2
  • 9. Violent Religious Extremism Incidents: January 2016 1
  • Extremism
  • Fatalities: Security Forces: September 2016 18
  • Counter-Extremism
  • Counter-Extremism Incidents: September 2016 34
  • State Counter-Extremism: Arrests: September 2016 4
  • State Counter-Extremism: Statements: September 2016 17
  • State Counter-Extremism: Use of Force: September 2016 7