Monday, April 6, 2015

Minorities in India - communal violence

In recent weeks, I have posted some articles and links to problematic developments within BJP-run India where minorities are targeted for persecution. The ruling BJP under Narendra Modi is a Hindu extremist political party which preaches and believes in Hindutva in which people of other faiths outside Hinduism has no place in India. The banning of beef consumption in some of the states, which adversely affects livelihood of millions of people of minority religions, including lower-caste Hindus, is a very calculated one to marginalize them and impose hardships that are directed to forced conversion to Hinduism. Yes, protecting the lives of cows is touted as the goal of these chauvinists, but life of a cow cannot be dearer and precious than saving lives of human beings. Rape has also been used by Hindu zealots of the Hindutva to terrorize minorities. 

Here below is an excerpt from a report prepared by Evangelical Fellowship of India and Alliance Defending Freedom, India on the Christian minorities in India :

The Christian community in India is concerned at the intensity of the targeted and communal violence directed against it almost on a pan India basis. Violence against Christians picked up in independent India in the early 1990s reaching its peak in 2008 – 2009 with more than 1000 incidents of violence and hate crimes reported against the Christian community. This continues today as vicious hate campaign, physical violence, police complicity, and State impunity contribute to the persecution of the Christian community in many states of India. Human Rights and Civil Society groups have documented the death of at least two persons in 2014, killed for their Christian faith. The Persecution data lists partially, 147 cases. The two cases of death in communal anti Christian violence were reported from Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. An analysis of the data shows Chhattisgarh topping the list with 28 incidents of crime, followed closely by neighbouring Madhya Pradesh with 26, Uttar Pradesh with 18 and Telengana, a newly carved out of Andhra Pradesh, with 15 incidents. Much of the violence has taken place after the new government of the National Democratic alliance headed by the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, came into power on 26 May, 2014.

The violence peaked between August and October with 56 cases, before zooming up to 25 cases during the Christmas season. The violence has continued well into the New Year 2015, with more Catholic churches in the capital city of Delhi targeted as incidents continue in other states. Much of the violence, 54 percent, is of threats, intimidation, coercion, often with the police looking on. Physical violence constituted a quarter of all cases, 24 per cent, and violence against Christian women, a trend that is increasingly being seen since the carnage in Kandhamal, Odisha, in 2007 and 2008, was 11 per cent. Breaking of statues and the Cross, and other acts of desecration were recorded in about 8 per cent of the cases, but many more were also consequent to other forms of violence against institutions. A disturbing trend was violence against Christians in West Bengal, where though one case was formally reported; there have been increasing incidents of hate speech and intimidation.

 Police inaction and its failure to arrest the guilty in most cases, its propensity to try to minimise the crime, and in rural areas especially, its open partisanship has almost become the norm. Police ineptitude in forensic investigations has been seen even in New Delhi where four of the five cases in the months of December 2014 and January 2015 have seen no progress in the investigations. In the one case where there were arrests, the Church and the community have cast doubts on the police version of the motives of the suspects whose images were recorded in the Close Circuit TV cameras installed in the church.

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