Coronavirus conspiracy theories targeting Muslims spread in India

Coronavirus conspiracy theories targeting Muslims spread in India thumbnail

Attacks and boycotts escalate while experts say disproportionate number of Covid-19 tests on Islamic group skewed figures

The men who beat Mehboob Ali did so without mercy. Dragging him to a field in the village of Harewali, on the fringes of north-west Delhi, the group hit him with sticks and shoes until he bled from his nose and ears. After all, Ali was a Muslim, recently returned home from a religious gathering, and the Hindu mob was quite certain he was part of a so-called Islamic conspiracy to spread coronavirus to innocent Hindus nationwide. His attackers believed the devout 22-year-old must be punished before he carried out “corona jihad”.

The allegations were entirely false, but according to video footage and his family, the men who beat Ali on 5 April were in little doubt of his guilt, demanding: “Tell us who else is behind this conspiracy”. Ali was then taken to a nearby Hindu temple and told to renounce Islam and convert to Hinduism before they would allow him to go to hospital.

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