Narottam Mishra is a hard-core Hindu far-right politician. He is a Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator and the incumbent Minister for Home Affairs, Law and Legislative Affairs, Prisons, and Parliamentary Affairs in the Government of Madhya Pradesh. Since taking up the office, hate crimes and hate speeches against minorities have skyrocketed in the state.
He is unapologetically anti-Muslim and Islamophobic. He has objected to TV commercials that show the Muslim way of life or inter-community affection between Hindus and Muslims. Tanishq, a jewelry brand, had to take down an advertisement that depicted a Hindu girl being married and welcomed into a Muslim family.
In another instance, Mishra requested (warned) actor Amir Khan to avoid doing ads that could potentially hurt the ‘Hindu sentiments.’
Mishra threatened legal action against the film Adipurush accusing the makers of the ‘wrong’ depiction of Hindu deities. Saif Ali Khan plays the character of Lankesh/Ravana in the film, which is based on the epic Ramayana .
Mishra is a staunch devotee of controversial Self-styled Godman, Dhirendra Shastri alias Bageshwar Baba who claims to possess miraculous powers. Dhirendra Shastri has called him Hindu Babbar Sher (Lion). Baba has time and again praised him for his Hindu far-right stance. Baba profoundly says, ‘politics should be like this, which consolidates the nation in the name of Lord Ram.’
At the instance of Mishra, the Madhya Pradesh legislature brought an amendment to the 1968 Anti conversation law, making inter-religious conversion punishable with imprisonment up to five years, cognizable and non-bailable. This amendment was brought in response to the conspiracy theory of ‘Love Jihad.’ The amendment seeks to legitimize the false propaganda of love jihad and adds to the long list of anti-love jihad laws enacted in BJP-ruled states.
In the aftermath of the April 2022 Khargone, Madhya Pradesh anti-Muslim violence, Mishra blamed victims (Muslims) for the disruption of peace.The state police, which is under the control of the ministry headed by Mishra, registered cases against dozens of Muslims, including minors, who were subjected to extreme torture. Narottam said, ‘Jin gharon se pathar aae hain unhe pathar me badal denge’(will make those houses a heap of stones, from where stones were pelted). Following his directions, the authorities bulldozed dozens of buildings belonging to Muslims.
Aligning with the Hindutva meta-narrative, Mishra has been continuously targeting Madrasas (Traditional Islamic Institutes of religious learning) in the state and ordered the scrutiny of syllabi being taught there by respective District Magistrates.
He has shamelessly demeaned and vilified ex-Vice-President of India, Mr. Hamid Ansari when the latter registered concern about rising intolerance in India. Mishra accused him of ‘petty mentality’ and “supporting” the breaking India gang.
Mishra’s political life has been tainted. In June 2017, Mishra was restricted from contesting elections for three years by the Election Commission on charges of paid news and misinformation, but as happens, he obtained relief from the Delhi High Court. The commission moved the Supreme Court, but the court did not stay the high court order, and Mishra contested and won the election.
In 2013, the local magazine Jagat Vision carried a cover story on Mishra titled ‘Narottam ya naradham,’ which loosely translates to “excellent man or despicable human.” It detailed allegations of corruption, extortion, forceful possession, exploitation, kidnapping, ransom, and murder against Mishra.