Shock rise in hate crimes against Christians in India

Jul 16, 2020 by

Church of England Newspaper July 16

Shock rise in hate crimes against Christians in India

THE EVANGELICAL Fellowship of India Religious Liberty Commission reports135 instances of atrocities against Christians including a lynching, community ostracisation and concerted efforts to stop worship and gospel-sharing in the first half of 2020.

The sense of impunity created by the Corona pandemic lockdown, and the absence of civil society on the streets and in the courts, has aggravated targeted hate and violence against Christians.

The near collapse of the media, the absence of journalists in the field, and the inability of activists to go to distant villages because of restrictions on transport, has constrained the accurate collection of data. Communally motivated crime is either unreported, or under-reported. Victims have no recourse to report to the police, and restricted access to courts for relief.

Uttar Pradesh, ruled by the BJP,had 32 cases of hate crimes. The tribal states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhandsaw 24 and10 cases of persecution.

A 14-year-old Christian boy was lynched and dismembered in Kenduguda village in Odisha State on 4 June. He was allegedly crushed to death with a stone, chopped into pieces and buried in several places. He and his family had adopted Christianity three years ago. Christians in this village are being continually harassed by religious fanatics.

In Tamil Nadu, a custodial torture and murder of two Nadar Christians by policemen backing RSS elements in a rival community, is traced to caste supremacist attitudes and links with political elements. In most districts there,police are recruited from the dominant castes, inimical to the Christian community and its pastors, of whom many are from marginalised castes and economically poor sections of society.

A shopkeeper Jeyaraj (59), and his son Emmanuel Benicks (31)were arrested on 19 June after an alleged altercation with the Sathankulam town police in Tuticorin. They had been beaten, brutally tortured, and sodomised with rods. Magistrate P Saravanan supported the police who continued to torture them until the two collapsed. They were taken to hospital on 22 June.Benicks died the same day, Jeyaraj the next morning.

Jeyaraj was accused of keeping his shop open beyond Covid curfew hours. His son was arrested when he tried to protect his father from the blows of the police. Four police officers were arrested.

In Chhattisgarh, six cases of violence were targeted against Christians who were summoned to village meetings when they refused to participate in religious rituals that violate their conscience. They were assaulted when they refused to recant.In three incidents Christians were told that since they had not followed village religious rituals, they would not be allowed to bury their dead. In total, 15 such incidents have taken place here since 2019.

Jharkhandsaw four major assault cases in May. Women were molested. On 25 May, local authorities had banned Christians in Pundiguttu from getting rations from the government outlet. The village panchayat ordered Christian converts to convert to the majority faith at pain of being denied water from the community well.

Actual numbers may be much larger. Reasons for under reporting are fear among the Christian community, lack of legal literacy and the reluctance or refusal of police to register cases. Most cases never come to court.

Inan organised hate campaign against the Muslim population, from mid-December 2019 to mid-February2020 in New Delhi, at least 43 Muslims and 10 Hindus were killed. Nine mosques were burnt, academic institutions and the small shops that were the economic stay of the Muslims. Thousands were homeless.

The ruling BJP called on their followers to shoot them, a thinly veiled targeting of Muslims protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The Christian community are questioning how safe they are if Muslims are so brutally targeted by religious political fanatics. The charge-sheet presented in court by the Delhi police in Junerecords that young men in East Delhi were directed by their handlers to kill members of the minority community.

Other indications from the government of changes in laws will impact the Christian community and other marginalised groups. There is renewed demand for an all-India law against conversions from the Hindu faith.The Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission, in November 2019, recommended penalties of up to seven years in prison for violating a proposed new law against conversions.

EFIRLC has appealed to the Government of India and State Governments to ensure the rule of law and the security of religious minorities in India and to deal stringently with the right-wing organisations in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu whose agenda is to create fear among the Christian community and other religious minorities.

Read here

Read the full report here

Related Posts


Share This