Human Rights 761 acts of violence committed against Indian Christians in 2021, new report finds

761 acts of violence committed against Indian Christians in 2021, new report finds

A federation of Indian American Christian groups says it documented at least 761 incidents of violence against Christians, including lynching and armed assaults last year. It is recommended that the U.S. and European governments impose sanctions on officials who promote violence and exclusion of religious minorities.

“The year 2021 has proven to be the most violent year for Christians in India,” said John Prabhudoss, the chairman of the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America, at a press conference in Washington, D.C., this week.

Prabhudoss said FIACONA documented and analyzed all the 761 incidents, adding that the number of anti-Christian attacks is likely to be much higher because most of the incidents are not reported.

Christians and other minorities, he explained, do not trust the police, especially in rural areas. “The current hostile environment in India amplifies that distrust.”

Prabhudoss added that a survey by FIACONA in states where the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is governing showed that 72% of Christians believe that the police will not protect their lives, liberty, property or their way of life.

The report by FIACONA said India’s judiciary is also not viewed as being independent and impartial.

“The higher courts in India have been passing judgments favoring views of the political establishments rather than based on legal merits of the cases,” it stated. “Many recent judgments have made some wonder if the integrity of the high courts is compromised.”

It adds, “Common citizens of India, especially the religious minorities, observe and feel that the governments led by BJP are implementing the majoritarian ideology, namely ‘Hindutva.’”

The government, it continued, “is subservient to” the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an umbrella Hindu nationalist group, and its “multiple associates specializing in radical and violent means to exclude and demean the Christians.”

FIACONA also accused some media outlets and social media giants of being aligned with Hindu nationalists that are inciting attacks on religious minorities and calling for genocide.

“Most major media houses both in print and TV are either controlled or owned by tycoons who are in league with the Hindu nationalist ecosystem,” it said. “And it is more visible in Hindi and some other vernacular media. It has been confirmed that even social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter in India are manipulated by the radical Hindu sympathizers.”

A Hindu nationalist-leaning religious conclave, called Dharma Sansad, held in the city of Haridwar in the northern state of Uttarakhand from Dec. 17–19, 2021, called for genocide of religious minorities, the report noted, adding that another call for genocide was made by a different Hindu nationalist group in the southern state of Karnataka on Feb. 25.

The FIACONA report also noted that India’s “anti-conversion” laws are used as a tool to arrest religious minorities, including Christians, on false charges of forced conversions.

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