Salman Khurshid, former Indian foreign minister, recently sparked controversy with his book in which he compared Hindu nationalism under President Modi to extremist groups like Daesh.

Khurshid served as India's foreign minister from 2012 to 2014.
Khurshid served as India's foreign minister from 2012 to 2014. (Erkan Avci / AA)

Hindu hardliners have attacked and set fire to the home of a former Indian foreign minister in the latest incident of religious violence that critics say has been inflamed under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Police said a mob of around 20 people from a hardline local Hindu group massed outside Khurshid's house near the northern city of Nainital on Monday.

"They shouted slogans, threw stones, broke several windows, ransacked (the entry) and set fire (to a door)," local police chief Jagdish Chandra told AFP news agency.

The Times of India reported that the group had set fire to an effigy of Khurshid, fired shots and threatened the daughter-in-law of the caretaker with a gun.

Salman Khurshid, a Muslim from the main opposition Congress party, published a book last month in which he compared the kind of Hindu nationalism that has flourished under Modi to extremist groups like Daesh.

Increasing discrimination and violence

Khurshid, who served as foreign minister from 2012-14, was away with his family at the time of the incident but posted images of the aftermath of the attack on social media.

"Shame is too ineffective a word," Khurshid, 68, said.

"I hoped to open these doors to my friends who have left this calling card. Am I still wrong to say this cannot be Hinduism," he added.

Activists say that religious minorities in Hindu-majority India have faced increased levels of discrimination and violence since Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014.

Last month, a mob of around 200 people reportedly attacked a Christian church in the state. The local head of the BJP said the building was used for "suspicious gatherings".

Modi's government rejects having a radical "Hindutva" (Hindu hegemony) agenda and insists that people of all religions have equal rights.

Shashi Tharoor, a prominent lawmaker from Congress, said that the attack on Khurshid's home was "disgraceful."

Khurshid "is a statesman who has... always articulated a moderate, centrist, inclusive vision of the country domestically. The mounting levels of intolerance in our politics should be denounced by those in power," Tharoor said on Twitter.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies