The fear is that, if the economy falters, Mr Modi will try to maintain his popularity by stirring up communal tensions. That, after all, is how his Bharatiya Janata Party first propelled itself to government in the 1990s. Mr Modi himself was chief minister of Gujarat in 2002 when rioting there killed at least 1,000 people, most of them Muslims. To this day, he has never categorically condemned the massacre or apologised for failing to prevent it.
Under Mr Modi, debate about public policy, and especially about communal relations, has atrophied. Hindu nationalist thugs intimidate those who chide the government for straying from India’s secular tradition, or who advocate a less repressive approach to protests in Kashmir, India’s only state with a Muslim majority [πηγή]
Law-enforcement agencies have not shown similar zeal against friends of the government, or against Hindu-nationalist vigilantes who have, in recent months, shown increasing boldness in enforcing their agenda. Their victims usually happen to be from India’s 14% Muslim minority, whether these are cattle-traders beaten up—and in one recent case, killed—by self-appointed protectors of the sacred cow, or cricket enthusiasts cheering the wrong team. Following India’s loss to Pakistan in an international match on June 18th, 21 men were denounced by neighbours for celebrating. They have been charged under India’s colonial-sedition laws, and remanded in custody [πηγή]