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India's Modi under fire for silence over religious incidents

Published on Jul 27, 2014 2:07 AM

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing criticism for remaining silent about incidents deemed anti-Muslim in the past week, underscoring fears that his Hindu nationalist followers will upset religious relations in the multi-faith nation.

MR Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power in May after an election campaign that mainly focused on promises to revive the economy but that also made reference to India's majority Hindu identity.

Footage emerged this week of a radical Hindu party lawmaker trying to force food into the mouth of a Muslim caterer. Separately, a BJP politician questioned the national identity of an Indian Muslim tennis star, while an ally of the prime minister said India could become a Hindu nation under Mr Modi.

Several commentators said Mr Modi's failure to speak out about the incidents risked encouraging aggressive behaviour by fringe elements of his party and related organisations.

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