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The Role of Far-Right Media Houses and Organisations in Disseminating Hindu Nationalist ‘Love Jihad’ Narratives on X

The Role of Far-Right Media Houses and Organisations in Disseminating Hindu Nationalist ‘Love Jihad’ Narratives on X
5th January 2024 Mohammad Amaan Siddiqui
In Insights


The fear of ‘love jihad’ has spread among the Hindutva nationalist community in recent years. Love jihad, the accusation that Muslims are on a global mission to forcefully convert Hindu women to Islam with false promises of love, originated over a century ago in the form of a perceived demographic war. In 1909, a publication called ‘Hindus: A Dying Race’ argued that Muslim families would overtake Hindu families in population percentage and turn India into a Muslim state. An ethnographic study in the last few years also shows that these ideas persist. However, why do Hindutva nationalists harbour these fears if arguments of demographic shifts and love jihad have been debunked by legal experts, scholars, courts, law students, and activists? 

Contextualising love jihad narratives as a function of Hindutva nationalists’ broader agenda answers that question. Love jihad discourse is constructed with the intent to spread Islamophobic narratives, mobilise Hindus and Hindutva nationalists toward populist collective action, and maintain a patriarchal social order conducive to Hindutva’s idealised social fabric. These narratives have assisted the ultranationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in garnering public support. Thus, it is necessary to understand their ideological base and the role played by political actors. This Insight is the second piece in a two-part series exploring the construction of online love jihad discourse. While the previous Insight picked out the rhetorical strands within love jihad narratives, this piece investigates those who spread those narratives and what can be done to mitigate their harmful effects.  

Hindutva and the Government

Political Hindutva theorised India as a Hindu state, claiming that only Hindus can be true Indians. It asserted that Muslims and Christians must either adopt Hinduism as their core culture or give up all rights and privileges of Indian citizenship. Subsequently, the ideology led to the founding of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)—a centralised non-governmental Hindutva ultranationalist organisation. Over time, many other organisations with the same mission formed, collectively known as the Sangh Parivar (Sangh family). 

While much research investigates the BJP, less focus has been given to the role of the Sangh Parivar. It is crucial to understand both elected political actors and other organisations distinctly as they differ. Sangh Parivar organisations often envision radical goals and oppose the BJP, which is already heavily criticised for creating issues of democratic backsliding and human rights violations. Nevertheless, a common intersection between both is their adept and early incorporation of digital technologies in furthering their cause. 

The Use of Social Media in Disseminating Hindutva Narratives 

Prominent right-wing populists who rose to power over the last decade effectively leveraged digital media for political communication and electoral campaigning, particularly enabling much of Donald Trump and Narendra Modi’s electoral victories. The BJP’s digital communications strategy has involved the creation of a vast network of WhatsApp groups where post-truth politics can be effectively carried out in a relatively unsupervised and seemingly comfortable environment. Moreover, their direct and indirect control of media houses is also crucial in controlling the information economy. These controls have been identified through more rigorous research and even cursory background checks

However, nationalist organisations adopted digital technologies even before the 2014 elections. The political polarisation and post-truth political aspects of populism further catalysed the creation of more right-wing alternative media houses, such as OpIndia, that collectively engage in spreading Islamophobic, extremist majoritarian, and patriarchal narratives, often through misinformation and disinformation. In many Hindutva narratives, including love jihad, digital discursions cause offline activities, such as lynchings, murders, honour-based violence, leaking interfaith couples’ private information publicly, and the development of legislation that intervenes in people’s private lives. Nationalist organisations teach their followers to use the ‘weapon’ of messaging apps, gain ‘training’, and ‘defend’ Hindu women. 

How Right-Wing Actors Create Public Opinion 

The dynamics created by political actors, pro-government media houses and nationalist organisations create an intriguing dynamic. Issues raised and demands made by the public are made to appear organic, yet are, in reality, injected by political actors. Previous research has focused on the role of political actors, traditional media houses, and WhatsApp groups in encouraging Hindutva narratives among the public. However, dozens of other organisations and pages also disseminate love jihad narratives and issue calls to action. It is important to identify and understand these organisations’ role in these political dynamics to devise more effective actionable recommendations to mitigate and reverse political polarisation and radicalism

This Insight investigates and identifies which actors disseminate love jihad discourse online. First, 1001 tweets, each with at least 100 likes, were mined, querying the term ‘love jihad’. The results contained Hindi and English tweets from February to October 2023. 

I tabulated the top tweeters. Four right-wing media houses known for playing a key role in manufacturing opinions and virality collectively authored 19.48% of the tweets. Particularly, Sudarshan News, OpIndia, HinduPost, and other nationalist organisations all have a history of spreading hate speech and disinformation

Account Handle Account Description Number of TweetsAccount’s Follower Count
OpIndia (Hindi)Far-right media house, Hindi version. 85 (8.49%)286.4k  
OpIndia (English)Far-right media house, English version. 63 (6.29%)670k 
Sudarshan NewsRight-wing media house.24 (2.40%)641.3k 
Hindu PostFar-right media house.23 (2.30%) 48.6k 
Asian News InternationalCentre-right media house.   9 (0.90%) 8M
Hindu Janajagruti SamitiFar-right organisation.7 (0.70%)68.4k 
Republic TV (Hindi)Right-wing media house. 6 (0.60%) 2M
India TVRight-wing media house.  5 (0.50%) 2.3M
Total from accounts listed above  222 (22.18%) 
Total1001 (100%) 


A set of 9127 tweets with a minimum like requirement of 10 (to prevent weeding out ordinary social media users) were mined, querying the hashtags #LoveJihad and #लवजिहाद (‘love jihad’ in Hindi script), and the search term ‘love jihad’. Top authors—right-wing media houses and organisations—also collectively reached 19.33% of the 9127 tweets. 

EntityDescription Number of TweetsFollower Count on Twitter
OpIndia (Hindi)Far-right media house, Hindi version.314 (3.44%)286.4k  
Sudarshan NewsRight-wing media house.267 (2.93%)641.3k
OpIndia (English)Far-right media house, English version. 134 (1.47%)670k
Organiser Weekly Far-right newspaper issued by RSS. 130 (1.42%)84.4k 
Times NowRight-wing media house. 120 (1.31%)130.1k 
Hindu PostFar-right media house.90 (0.99%)48.6k
India TVRight-wing media house.  80 (0.88%)2.3M
Zee NewsRight-wing media house.  80 (0.88%)6.6M
Panchjanya Far-right magazine issued by RSS. 78 (0.85%)430.4k 
Sanatana Prabhat Media GroupFar-right media group.64 (0.70%)13.8k 
Legal Rights Observatory Far-right organization affiliated with RSS.61 (0.67%)69.1k 
Republic TV (Hindi)Right-wing media house.  49 (0.54%)2M
ABP NewsRight-wing media house. 49 (0.54%)13.6M
Hindu Janajagruti SamitiFar-right organisation. 42 (0.46%)68.4k
Kreately MediaFar-right blogging and media house. 40 (0.44%)199.4k 
TV9 Bharatvarsh (Hindi)Right-wing media house. 36 (0.39%)296.3k 
Aaj TakRight-wing media house.26 (0.28%)21.4M
Hindu Voice Media NetworkFar-right organisation. 22 (0.24%)15.7k 
The Jat AssociationFar-right organisation. 21 (0.23%)56.8k 
News18 IndiaRight-wing media house.21 (0.23%)3.2M
News18 India (Uttar Pradesh)Right-wing media house in Uttar Pradesh.20 (0.22%)1.8M
BJP’s Chattisgarh Official AccountContext note: Chhattisgarh faced state elections in November 2023. 20 (0.22%)169.4k 
Total from accounts listed above 1764 (19.33%) 
Total9127 (100%) 


These organisations have been explained as right-wing or far-right based on easily identifiable factors. In most cases, the page’s description self-identified itself as the voice of Hindus. Far-right organisations claimed to want a Hindu state (Hindu Rashtra). The media houses have been labelled as right-wing based on either their self-proclamations (e.g., the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti describes itself as working toward establishing a Hindu Nation), media bias reviews, background checks of affiliations and funding, and scholarly analyses. These media houses are commonly understood as ‘Godi Media’ (‘Government’s Lapdog’) because of their pro-BJP reporting bias or formal affiliations with the BJP in the form of ownership, shareholding, or elected government positions. 

Unsurprisingly, right-leaning and pro-government media houses and organisations dominate this chart. Their role aligns with the BJP’s mission to dominate the nation’s information economy. Freedom House notes that the government shuns dissent and opposing views by dubbing it as ‘ultranationalist.’ Simultaneously, the state acquiesces to the activities of those who express anti-Muslim views. The Freedom House 2023 report also explicitly identifies that the government legally and extrajudicially harasses Muslims and inter-faith couples concerning the “baseless conspiracy theory” of love jihad. 

It is problematic that such content and organisations continue to prosper online. They are sowing the seeds for long-term discord by redirecting their social media followers to more private channels of communication and action. Many organisations have links to WhatsApp or Telegram groups in their bios or pinned posts, and one even demands that followers file a police report against a Muslim and share proof to be allowed membership. Such actions have and will continue to deepen issues of unregulated hate speech, disinformation, and polarisation. 

Suggested Next Steps

Effective and efficient changes are needed to prevent and undo these harms. However, handling the case is tricky because of the aggravating environment of post-truth politics. This leads ultranationalists to render any opposing content, no matter its background and reputation, biased and incorrect. Thus, policymakers, activists, and ordinary social media users are encouraged to advance cultures of healthy scepticism and critical thinking and back bottom-up corrective and deradicalisation campaigns. While I leave my findings open to interpreting possible solutions, I suggest the following steps: 

For Researchers

This research has identified many organisations and media houses that play a part in anti-Muslim disinformation and hate campaigns. Further research is encouraged, focusing on one or a few of these to document their discursive processes over time to advance scholarly understanding and activist commentary to encourage distancing from them. 

For Social Media Platforms

Meta, X/Twitter, and other social media platforms have previously been accused of deliberate or incompetent ignorance of Islamophobic content and fake news in India. Social media platforms must strengthen the implementation of their community guidelines more uniformly and enhance coverage of Hindi content. The platforms can also improve their warning or context labels about such organisations, or other independent actors can document the funding, background, and trends in particular organisations to aid in easier background checking

For Private Communication Channels

The BJP and other ultranationalist actors often redirect individuals to WhatsApp and Telegram. It would be beneficial if these companies implemented their community guidelines on group chats that are otherwise used as spaces for disinformation campaigns and radicalisation. 

For Policymakers

In conjunction with more literature around the themes and strategies used by the organisations and media houses identified in this analysis, policymakers are encouraged to uniformly improve media regulation and accountability. Law experts can also collate studies to push court cases against unconstitutional and divisive government actions. 

For Activists

Activists are encouraged to speed up the above processes by advocating for further research on specific organisations; disseminating findings; leading, participating in, and backing counter-narrative campaigns; and calling upon social media platforms to make fast and resolute changes. Other actors, such as policymakers and media houses, can also enhance counter-narrative campaigns by promoting such narratives or accompanying them with digital and critical literacy interventions. Previously, this has been proven successful in protecting and encouraging minorities’ human rights advocacy digitally. 

For Education Practitioners

Including digital literacy programs in schools is encouraged, as early teaching can help contribute to the necessary bottom-up approaches to prevent ultranationalist radicalisation. These measures can complement, encourage, and protect the democracy-promoting activities of minority groups, counter-narrative campaigns, and dissenters. 

For Opposition Politicians

Notably, no left-wing or dissenting organisation or individual appeared on the list of top posters. Given that the chosen generic scrape queries do not in themselves imply support for love jihad narratives, the analysed dataset would be expected to include tweets that oppose love jihad narratives, too. However, the fact that none of the top posters were critical of love jihad narratives indicates that there is a need for a more targeted and strong counter-narrative campaign. Opposition politicians are encouraged to devise targeted, organised, and well-strategised plans to present effective counterevidence and persuasion. 

Disclaimer: the discussion of ‘Hindutva’ refers to the supremacist political construct that some sections of society have gone astray with and not the Hindu religion. The author espouses peaceful coexistence among all religious groups in India. 

Mohammad Amaan Siddiqui is a final-year undergraduate student at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, majoring in International Studies and minoring in Economics and Environmental Policy. He is a blogger (, author, and researcher. His interests and experiences span many fields, including volunteering to lead a scope for COY18, helping a firm calculate carbon emissions, writing for think tanks, conducting research funded through research grants, and training students and faculty in dozens of schools on various fields. His research interests include Indian politics (domestic and foreign), international relations, critical terrorism studies, (online) social movements, and migration. Twitter: @amaanpie