Hindutva (“Hinduness”) refers to Hindu nationalist ideology. Its followers, Hindutvavadis, use slogans such as “One Nation, One Religion, One Culture” and “India is Hindu only” and consider Christians and Muslims to be followers of foreign religions. Hindutva is used to justify violent attacks on Christians, burning of Bibles, destruction of meeting places and accusations of forced conversions.
There has been an upsurge in the persecution of non-Hindus since the 2014 landslide victory of Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It officially adopted Hindutva as its ideology in 1989 and is associated with a group of Hindu nationalist organisations that collectively refer to themselves as the Sangh Parivar (Family of Organisations) and include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Vishva Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal.
One of the Sangh Parivar’s principal organisations is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Organisation), a Hindu nationalist paramilitary volunteer organisation that is widely considered to be the parent of the BJP. Founded in 1925, the RSS was the first Hindutva organisation to be formed and has grown to encompass almost 85,000 shakhas (local branches) across India.
The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) is a right-wing Hindu nationalist organisation based on Hindutva ideology and founded in 1964 with the objective of protecting and promoting the Hindu religion. Its youth wing, the Bajrang Dal, is a militant Hindutva organisation founded in 1984 in Uttar Pradesh, which has spread throughout India.