New Delhi: A senior US State Department diplomat dealing with Central and South Asia, Alice G Wells, has called "targeting of ethnic and religious minorities" over covid-19 unacceptable.
In a tweet she said, "Stigmatizing ethnic or religious minorities is unacceptable, at any time & at any place. Let’s not let anxiety & fear of #COVID19 divide us..."
This comes after the US Ambassador at Large for International religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, said on Friday that hashtag 'CoronaJihad' trending in India was "unfortunate".
"This is wrong by governments to do this. It is — the governments really should put this down and state very clearly that this is not the source of the coronavirus. It’s not the religious minority communities," he said.
While putting the onus on the government, he said, “We hope it gets pushed back aggressively by those host governments.” But he also added that he had not had any specific conversation with Indian officials yet, on the matter.
After a cluster spread of covid-19 was reported from Delhi’s Nizamuddin where a religious congregation had taken place in the first half of March, a backlash was reported not just against the Tablighi Jamaat members who participated in the event but reports of Muslims being harassed over it started surfacing.
Social media saw a surge in fake news related to how the minority community in India was deliberately spreading covid-19, so much so, that police had to start debunking these reports officially on social media too. Hashtag 'CoronaJihad' started trending on micro-blogging site Twitter.
There were also cases of discrimination against people from the North East of the country. In one case, a girl posted pictures of herself on social media having been spat on for “spreading the infection”.
News18 had reported of how students from the north east were not allowed to buy grocery from a store in Mysuru lest they “infect others”. The owner of the store was taken into custody over this racially discriminatory behaviour towards the students.