India tops list of Covid-related religious hostilities in 2020: Pew Research Center

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published Published on Dec 2, 2022   modified Modified on Dec 2, 2022

-The Telegraph

Study records targeting of minorities during pandemic, including use of social media handles like ‘#CoronaJihad’

New Delhi: The Washington-based think tank Pew Research Centre has come out with a study that puts India at the top of its index of social hostilities involving religion in 2020 in the context of the impact of Covid restrictions.

The study has recorded the targeting of minorities in India during the pandemic, including the use of social media handles like “#CoronaJihad”.

Of the 198 countries listed in the Social Hostilities Index (SHI), 11 have been clubbed together as “very high” with scores of 7.2 or higher. While India is right on top, the other countries in this category in descending order are Nigeria, Afghanistan, Israel, Mali, Somalia, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Iraq.

Pew attributes the rise in India’s SHI score — which was already in the “very high” category — “in part to increased violence around protests of the Citizenship Amendment Act (a 2019 law that excludes Muslims from expedited citizenship offered to non-Muslim migrants)”. 

The report, released on Tuesday, focuses entirely on “How Covid-19 restrictions affected religious groups around the world in 2020”. It notes the controversy around the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi in the early days of Covid and the subsequent use of “Islamophobic hashtags like #CoronaJihad” that “circulated widely on social media, seeking to blame Muslims for the virus”. 

India figures on Pew’s list of four countries that saw private actors use force against religious groups for Covid-related reasons.

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The Telegraph, 2 December, 2022,

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