Increase in hate speech, propaganda against Bahais in Iran: Indian Bahai body

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New Delhi, Jul 17 (PTI) An Indian Bahai body on Saturday flagged concerns over an increase in hate speech and propaganda targeted against its community members in Iran and asked the government of that country to stop the spread of misinformation.

It said the 'unfolding strategy to demonise' the Bahai community is reflected in a growing and coordinated network of hundreds of websites, Instagram accounts, Telegram channels and Clubhouse Rooms.

The websites and social media channels are compounded by videos, newspaper articles and other written media, books, seminars, exhibitions, graffiti and fatwas from both official outlets and others sponsored by the government but purporting to be independent, claimed a statement by the Office of Public Affairs of the Bahais of India.

'Bahais in Iran have faced 40 years of hate speech, hundreds of deaths, thousands of imprisonments and countless abuses of human rights. And it's getting worse,' said Nilakshi Rajkhowa, Director, Office of Public Affairs of the Bahais of India.

The Iranian government does not recognize Bahai as a religious minority, she said.

Civil society actors, religious leaders and human rights activists in India raised their voices of support to stop hate propaganda and disinformation against the Bahai community of Iran.

In a statement issued in support of the Bahais of Iran, Dr Irfan Engineer, Director of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai said, 'It is the duty of the government of Iran to stop hate propaganda and punish anybody who is spreading misinformation against Bahais or any other religions'.

Dr M D Thomas of Institute of Harmony and Peace Studies, Padma Shri Dr Janak Palta McGilligan of Jimmy McGilligan Centre for Sustainable Development, Geshe Dorji Damdul of Tibet House among others have also joined the global campaign calling Iran to stop hate speech and disinformation against the Bahais. PTI AKV NSD

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