chapter  6
28 Pages

The Fear Factor: Muslims, the Gujarat Riots, and the Purge from Within

In Sonowal’s case, Bangladeshi Muslim migrants are addressed in and through the discourse of security, given the threat they ostensibly pose to law and order, as well as the fear factor their presence produces. Fear is reiterated and reproduced ideologically through the discourse of the religious right, as well as the global war on terror that has targeted Muslims in the contemporary period. The construction of the Muslim as a subject to be feared and who poses a threat from which the sovereign subject requires protection erodes the legitimacy of the Indian Muslim, who is increasingly cast as a foreigner, alien, and outsider. This claim is used to recast the insider as an outsider, regardless of her formal legal status. Normative boundaries solidify to place this subject squarely outside the realm of juridical entitlements, legibility, and belongingness. And the Hindu Right, through its ideology of Hindutva, aggressively pursues this normative purging of the Muslim, even after the waning of their political power subsequent to the 2009 national elections. While law can offer redress at the level of reparations and recognition of the harms infl icted on legitimate subjects, such redress does not address the normative processes that have rendered these subjects illegitimate.