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Islamabad News
July 29,2018

The plight of Indian minorities

Zahoor Khan Marwat

According to Human Rights Watch World Report 2018, the Indian government failed to stop or credibly investigate vigilante attacks against minority religious communities during 2017. It says “Vigilante violence aimed at religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the government—often carried out by groups claiming to support the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—became an increasing threat in India in 2017. The government failed to promptly or credibly investigate the attacks, while many senior BJP leaders publicly promoted Hindu supremacy and ultra-nationalism, which encouraged further violence. Dissent was labeled anti-national, and activists, journalists, and academics were targeted for their views, chilling free expression. Foreign funding regulations were used to target nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) critical of government actions or policies. Lack of accountability for past abuses committed by security forces persisted even as there were new allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings, including in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, and Jammu and Kashmir.”

The HRW added: “Mob attacks by extremist Hindu groups affiliated with the ruling BJP against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumors that they sold, bought, or killed cows for beef. Instead of taking prompt legal action against the attackers, police frequently filed complaints against the victims under laws banning cow slaughter. As of November, there had been 38 such attacks, and 10 people killed during the year. In July, even after Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally condemned such violence, an affiliate organization of the BJP, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), announced plans to recruit 5,000 religious soldiers to control cow smuggling and love jihad. So-called love jihad, according to Hindu groups, is a conspiracy among Muslim men to marry Hindu women and convert them to Islam."

Earlier, an alliance of India-American groups declared that human rights abuses against social and religious minorities in India have been on the rise under the current BJP-led government in the last three years.

The report ‘Minority Rights Violations in India by Alliance for Justice and Accountability’ was prepared by the alliance, which represented several Indian American groups. It revealed the unprecedented success of the BJP post 2014 has provided a “tremendous fillip to Hindu supremacist forces” who form a significant portion of its base. “The latter’s attacks on religious minorities have amplified. State agencies, including law enforcement and the bureaucracy are constitutionally mandated to act against such bigotry and supremacism. Alarmingly, these institutions are now under the control of the very Hindu ultranationalist forces who have run anti-minority campaigns.

“Impunity has also extended to BJP politicians, including those in elected offices, and supremacist groups that have been carrying out campaigns of vigilantism against the minorities."

A US government report by USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese says: “India is a religiously diverse and democratic society with a constitution that provides legal equality for its citizens irrespective of their religion and prohibits religion-based discrimination. However, the reality is far different. In fact, India’s pluralistic tradition faces serious challenges … (and) during the past few years, religious tolerance has deteriorated and religious freedom violations have increased in some areas of India.

"During the past few years, religious tolerance has deteriorated and religious freedom violations have increased in some areas of India. To reverse this negative trajectory, the Indian and state governments must align their laws with both the country's constitutional commitments and international human rights standards," Reese said.

Not only the minorities, a social scientist Deepa Naryan admitted in The Guardian, UK: “India is at war with its girls and women….India can arguably be accused of the largest-scale human rights violation on Earth: the persistent degradation of the vast majority of its 650 million girls and women. And this includes the middle classes.”

So much for the world’s largest democracy!


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