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August 15, 2017
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Cruel treatment with minorities in India

National

August 15, 2017

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The so-called largest democracy in the world treats all minorities in the country poorly and cruelly. An alliance of Indian-American groups recently 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 represents several Indian-American groups, including the Indian-American Muslim Council, Dalit American Coalition, Organisation of Minorities from India, TwoCircles and South Asian Solidarity Initiative.

The report reveals 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.

“Legal challenges against police officials are rare; their prosecutions rarer and convictions next to nil. Trials are delayed. Threats of violence invariably force families and witnesses to withdraw complaints and reverse testimonies. The Indian state has made a mockery of provisions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for strict punishment for excesses by law enforcement officials,” the report stated.

Earlier another report, this time by the US government, revealed that in India, hate crimes against religious minorities, their social boycotts and forced conversions had escalated dramatically since 2014. 

The report titled as “Constitutional and Legal Challenges Faced by Religious Minorities in India, divulged that following the victory of BJP in May 2014 elections, concerns have been mounting about the fate of religious minorities in India. "As feared by many faith communities across India, threats, hate crimes, social boycotts, desecrations of places of worship, assaults, and forced conversions led by radical Hindu nationalist movements have escalated dramatically under the BJP-led government," it said. 

"India faces serious challenges to both its pluralistic traditions and its religious minorities. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and Jains generally are fearful of what the future portends. Moreover, Hindus classified as Schedule Castes or Tribes, commonly referred to as Dalits, also are increasingly being attacked and harassed," the report said. 

USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese said in the report: “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. The monstrous deformation of Indian secularism and constitution in recent times, as shown by the two reports, reveals the true face of democracy in India.

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