Watchful: Muslim residents walk along a street as security personnel stand guard following sectarian riots over India's new citizenship law. Picture: AFP/Xavier Galiana
Watchful: Muslim residents walk along a street as security personnel stand guard following sectarian riots over India's new citizenship law. Picture: AFP/Xavier Galiana

A man named Musharraf was beaten to death by a mob of Hindu supremacists outside his home in northeast Delhi. First they broke down the door, then dragged him out from under the bed where he was hiding and into the street. His 11-year-old daughter Kushi begged them not to kill her father, but they did anyway.

Of all the thousands of media reports coming from India in the past week, this story — reported in The Guardian — is the one that puts the insanity of the country’s latest convulsion of sectarian violence where it should be: out in the glare of the world.

India is no stranger to this sort of violence. In 1984, the government killed thousands of Sikhs after prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards, who in turn were exacting revenge for the army assault on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, where Sikh separatists had been holding out.

Round and round the violence goes.

The latest spark was the ruling party’s Citizenship Amendment Act, a nasty piece of legislation that allows non-Muslim refugees from Asian countries to acquire Indian citizenship.

Those neighbouring countries include Pakistan (Muslim majority 95%) and Bangladesh (Muslim majority 90%). Meanwhile, India’s Muslims account for about 11% of the population.

Muslims took to the streets to protest. The protests were broken up by Hindu supremacist thugs. The police stood by and did nothing; more than 40 people — almost all Muslims — were killed.

One wonders how Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party could think that the new law would be a good idea.

Could it be that they feel emboldened after Donald Trump so famously complained about immigrants from "shithole countries", and suggested he would prefer immigrants from places like Norway? Surely not?

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