India May See Communal Violence Before LS Polls As BJP Stresses Hindu Nationalist Themes: US National Intelligence Director
"BJP policies during Modi's first term have deepened communal tensions in some BJP-governed states.”
With the Lok Sabha elections only months away, a report prepared by Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence in the US, fears India will see a rise in communal violence. According to reports, America’s top spymaster told US lawmakers that this violence might become a possibility is “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stresses Hindu nationalist themes.”
Coats presented this report to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as part of an assessment of worldwide threats in the year 2019. Coats along with CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Robert Ashley, appeared before the Committee to present their worldwide threat assessment, reported News 18.
“BJP policies during Modi’s first term have deepened communal tensions in some BJP-governed states, and Hindu nationalist state leaders might view a Hindu-nationalist campaign as a signal to incite low-level violence to animate their supporters,” noted his report, adding, “Increasing communal clashes could alienate Indian Muslims and allow Islamist terrorist groups in India to expand their influence.”
The report presented by Coats also warns of a strained India-Pakistan relationship, adding, “We judge that cross-border terrorism, firing across the Line of Control (LoC), divisive national elections in India, and Islamabad’s perception of its position with the United States relative to India will contribute to strained India-Pakistan relations at least through May 2019, the deadline for the Indian election, and probably beyond.”
“Political manoeuvring resulting from the Indian national elections probably will further constrain near-term opportunities for improving ties,” it reportedly said.
In the four-and-half years of the BJP regime, communal clashes have seen a spike. According to an IndiaSpend report, despite 2008 still remaining the year with the highest instances of religious violence, sectarian violence rose by 28 per cent from 2014 to 2017.