Complaints by Indian Minorities Against Rights Violations See a Huge Surge
The latest data from the Narendra Modi Government’s own National Commission for Minorities (NCM) shows that minorities across the country have made more complaints regarding the deprivation of their rights in the past eight months than in the entire previous year.
According to the Wire, the data submitted in parliament shows that while the commission received 1,463 complaints in the 2020-21 fiscal year, it has received 1,234 complaints in less than eight months of the current fiscal year.
In these eight months, Sikhs have made 115 complaints (up from 99 last year), Buddhists have made 35 complaints (up from 28), and Parsis have made five complaints (up from 2). Muslims have already made 864 complaints in 8 months, as compared to 1,103 over the whole of last year. Christians have made 88 complaints in the same time period, as compared to 103 from the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Indian minorities are viewed as second-class citizens by Hindu extremists, who believe that non-Hindu groups are not as worthy of being Indian as the Hindu majority. This dangerous ideology, championed by Narendra Modi and his allies, has contributed to the spike in anti-minority sentiments and violence.
These numbers are almost certainly underreported, as not all cases of discrimination are brought to the attention of authorities.
Attacks Against Indian Christians Intensify In Karnataka & Delhi
Christians face a worsening situation throughout India. On November 28 in Delhi, extremists belonging to the Hindu extremist groups Bajrang Dal and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh vandalized a warehouse-turned-church. The attack occurred during the church’s first Sunday prayer, threatening the safety of the peaceful worshippers who had gathered inside. A sign outside the location had its letters torn off, property inside was damaged, and one person was injured.
“We were only trying to open a church here but members of the Bajrang Dal came and threatened people,” said Vivaan George, a member of the church. “We can’t fight with these people. People came today to show solidarity, but many are accusing us of trying forceful religious conversion.”
Karnataka is also becoming increasingly dangerous for Christians. On November 29 in Hassan district, Bajrang Dal extremists broke into a Christian prayer hall after falsely accusing them of forced conversions. A viral video of the incident shows a mob of people shouting at the worshippers who were forced outside, including women. In Udupi district, police reported that members of the Hindu Jagaran Vedike also disrupted a prayer meet in the town of Karkala.
These attacks were motivated by the actions of Karnataka’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government itself, which ordered a survey of churches and priests in the state by the intelligence wing, and ordered a probe on ordinary Christians of at least one district, according to the Siasat Daily.
These probes feed into the “forced conversion” hysteria overtaking India, which places religious minorities under suspicion for merely interacting with people of a different faith.
Indian Government Strips Land From Kashmiri Farmers To Build Base for Security Forces
Kashmiri farmers say that they have been “left with nothing” following the Modi Government’s decision to seize land in Oukhoo village in South Kashmir. Though the land has been farmed by villagers for generations, the government has seized it for the construction of a permanent base for the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
This move places the majority of the people of Oukhoo, who work as farmers, at risk of poverty and starvation. The land was officially marked as agricultural land till 2007, when the record was revised by the government and marked as “barren.” The change in nomenclature has allowed the Modi Government to claim that the villagers were occupying the land “illegally,” who due to high illiteracy rates did not realize that they had to get the land registered in order to keep the possession.
According to the Wire, “The matter attained urgency after the villagers were recently told by the local administration that a team of engineers has carried out soil testing in the area to optimise the feasibility of the land for building the CRPF base.”
“On one hand, officials claim that the agricultural land in J&K is being protected, but here they are uprooting the livelihood of two villages,” said Haji Mohammad Sultan Allie, a resident of Oukhoo. “Three generations of my family have drawn sustenance from here. Our children will be forced to beg.”
This is the latest in the Modi Government’s agenda to change the demography of the Muslim-majority Kashmir, whose residents face routine human rights abuses at the hands of Indian security forces.