India, which is home to 10.9% of the world’s Muslim population, has been witnessing a growing wave of islamophobia.
An Indian expat working in Qatar was sacked after making derogatory comments about nurses from his native country. While speaking at an event organised by a Hindu organisation, Sisupalan Durgadas claimed that women from Kerala who go to the Gulf as nurses work as “sex slaves for terrorists.”
Durgadas was fired from his position as regional coordinator of the Malayalam Mission’s Qatar chapter when a video of him making those remarks went viral. On May 5, the Malyalam Mission in Qatar sent a letter dismissing him from his role.
The Malayalam Mission is a Kerala government initiative that promotes Malayalam and maintains language learning centres around the world.
“Many from across the world, including Malayalam Mission members, teachers and parents, have informed us of their protest against the statements by Durgadas. Malayalam Mission’s aim is to transfer the integrity and the rich culture of Kerala to the younger generation. But in the circulating video, there are statements creating communal polarisation. “The statement also hurt the dignity of women who migrate in search of jobs,” the mission’s statement said.
He was also fired from his job as a senior accountant at Doha-based Narang Projects.
He made the remarks while taking part in the annual Hindu Maha Samelan, which was held in Thiruvananthapuram, in Kerala.
Durgadas talked about the matter on Facebook Live on Friday. He claimed to have been a “proud Sangh Swayamsevak for nearly 30 years” and an expat in the gulf for almost 20 years.
UNIQ (United Nurses of India Qatar) announced on Wednesday that it has filed a complaint with Qatar’s ‘higher authorities’ seeking action against Durgadas.
Additionally, Women India Movement, a political organisation, issued a statement asking the police to file a complaint against him under Section 153 A of the Indian Penal Code. Several other Qatar-based organisations have also called on the Malayalam Mission and government to take action against him.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that he is a part of is an Indian right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary volunteer organisation.
Islamophobic speeches at Hindu Maha Sammelan
The aggressive Hindutva hate campaign pushed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and following rise in public and institutional Islamophobia have combined to create terror among India’s 204 million Muslims, the country’s largest minority community.
The mood was encapsulated by India’s opposition, along with France and the EU, to a UN General Assembly resolution sponsored by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and eight other countries to designate 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia in commemoration of the 2019 attacks on two mosques in New Zealand. The mosque attacks claimed the lives of 51 Muslims.
The Sangh Parivar, a coalition of Hindu nationalist organisations motivated by RSS philosophy, controls India’s government.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan inaugurated the 10th Ananthapuri Hindu Maha Sammelan, ‘Kerala Hindu conclave’ on April 28. Hate statements against Muslims are increasingly on the rise in India.
The conclave’s speakers urged Hindus to boycott Muslims. The Hindu Dharma Parishad organised the gathering, which was also attended by members of the Christian Association and the Alliance for Social Action, both of which are known for their anti-Muslim stances.