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Muslims attacked, ‘nearly lynched’ amid coronavirus rumors in India

The coronavirus outbreak has sparked a spree of anti-Muslim attacks across India, with the Health Ministry of the Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi claiming that Muslims are spreading the virus.

According to The New York Times, Muslim youth who were distributing food to the poor have been assaulted with cricket bats.

“Other Muslims have been beaten up, nearly lynched, run out of their neighborhoods or attacked in mosques, branded as virus spreaders,” the paper reported.

Sikh temples in Punjab State, it said, are urging people not to purchase milk from Muslim dairy farmers because it is allegedly infected with the coronavirus.

Hateful messages have also grown online. According to the Times, fake videos have popped up calling on Muslims not to take protective measures, including wearing masks and practicing social distancing, and urging them not to worry about the virus at all as if they aimed to let Muslims get infected with the virus.

The paper said the rising anti-Muslim attacks came after the government claimed that more than a third of the country’s 8,000-plus coronavirus cases were connected to Muslims.