The death of secularism in India: ‘Homecoming’ in the name of the Hindu rashtra

In 2014, months after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came into power, Praveen Togadia, the former President of the Visha Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council [VHP]), said that his organisation will work towards making India a 100% Hindu nation.

This vision of a Hindu rashtra (nation) has continued to intensify over the past six years, with rhetoric promoting old narratives that all Indians are Hindus despite their religion or belief, as well as suggestions that Muslims in the country are perpetrating a “love jihad” campaign to strengthen Islamic influence, and that Western governments are providing support for the proselytisation of Christianity.

Misinformation and disinformation have been rife in India for decades. In 1999, false assertions about foreign missionaries preceded the horrific killing of the Australian Graham Staines and his two sons in Orissa (now Odisha). This marked a rise in suspicion towards and violence against Christians, which has continued to date.

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