torsdag 16. april 2020

Coronavirus conspiracy theories targeting Muslims spread in India

The men who beat Mehboob Ali did so without mercy. Dragging him to a field in the village of Harewali, on the fringes of north-west Delhi, the group hit him with sticks and shoes until he bled from his nose and ears. Ali was a Muslim, recently returned home from a religious gathering, and the Hindu mob was quite certain he was part of a so-called Islamic conspiracy to spread coronavirus to Hindus nationwide. His attackers believed the devout 22-year-old must be punished before he carried out “corona jihad”.

The allegations were entirely false, but according to video footage and his family, the men who beat Ali on 5 April were in little doubt of his guilt, demanding: “Tell us who else is behind this conspiracy.” Ali was then taken to a nearby Hindu temple and told to renounce Islam and convert to Hinduism before they would allow him to go to hospital.

Five days after the attack Ali’s family was still in fear of also being accused of spreading the virus. “If we file a police case, the Hindus will not let us live in the village,” said one family member, who asked not to be named. Police confirmed that due to his attendance at a Muslim convention in Bhopal a few weeks back, Ali was being held in the isolation ward of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan hospital in Delhi as a “corona suspect”, though he had no symptoms.