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Pushkar Singh Dhami is an Indian politician and a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, currently serving as the 10th Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. He has been a part of the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly since 2012. Despite losing his seat in the 2022 elections, he was reinstated as Chief Minister by BJP MLAs, becoming the only Chief Minister of the state to serve two consecutive terms since its establishment.
Dhami began his political career in 1990 with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student branch of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He also worked as an advisor to former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari in 2001.
Dhami has been criticized for his inaction against hate speech and anti-Muslim activities in his state, and has himself been involved in the propagation of anti-Muslim narratives and conspiracy theories. He has been associated with Hindu militant leaders such as Yati Narsinghanand, a Hindu militant monk who supported calls for a genocide of Indian Muslims during a Hindu extremist gathering in 2021. On one occasion, Dhami was photographed touching Narsinghanand’s feet in a show of respect.
Despite appeals from various human rights organizations regarding communal polarization in the state, Dhami has dismissed these concerns as “motivated.” In June 2022, forty-two lawyers and legal rights activists from across the country penned an open letter to Dhami, urging him to take action against those promoting hate speech and advocating for the genocide of the Muslim minority, but no action was taken.
In April 2023, Dhami perpetuated the anti-Muslim conspiracy theory called ‘Land Jihad’, alleging that Muslims “encroach” on land by “illegally” constructing shrines. He added that his government would “not let ‘land jihad’ prosper,” and declared that he would order the demolition of these shrines.
Under Dhami’s watch, numerous anti-Muslim events have been organized throughout Uttarakhand, including a Dharma Sansads (Hindu religious parliament) in 2021 that featured open calls for the genocide of Muslims. Ministers Dhami’s government have participated in such events, promoting anti-Muslim sentiments and conspiracy theories like ‘love jihad’ and ‘land jihad’, and accusing Muslims of attempting to alter the state’s religious demography by overpopulating.
In June 2023, Dhami ordered senior police officers to take strict action against Muslim men perceived to be in relationships with Hindu women, citing the ‘love jihad’ conspiracy theory.
During an event organized by the Bajrang Dal in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, in October 2023, Dhami promoted anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, including ‘Love Jihad’ and ‘Land Jihad’. He stated that his government had demolished a significant number of illegally built Muslim tombs and shrines and expressed his determination to implement a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the state, an idea championed by the Hindu right to restrict the religious freedom of minority communities.