Report Finds That Highest Number Of Anti-Christan Attacks Occur In UP
A fact-finding report has found that the highest number of attacks against Christians this year occured in Uttar Pradesh state. At least 305 anti-Christian incidents, including physical assault, harassment, and church destruction, were reported between January and September as a byproduct of the increasingly hostile climate towards Indian Christians. Of those 305 attacks, 66 were reported from Uttar Pradesh, making it the most dangerous state for Christians in India.
According to the report, 288 of the overall cases involved mob attacks, 28 cases involved church desecration, and 85 instances saw police shutting down congregations. According to the Indian Express, at least 1,331 women, 588 members of tribal communities, and 513 Dalits were injured in these attacks. As many as 1,362 calls were received on the United Christian Forum’s helpline.
While the highest number of attacks occurred in Uttar Pradesh overall, Karnataka topped the list for the most hostile South Indian state against Christians, with 32 attacks in the reported time period.
“Certain behaviour or certain utterances from the [Karnataka] government, certain attitude from the government is the reason that this [attacks] is allowed and tolerated,” said Bengaluru Archbishop Peter Machado, referring to the state’s proposed anti-conversion law. “This can go on and is sad for us.”
As the BJP and Hindu extremists grow in influence, Christians are forced to live their daily lives in fear. Strict anti-conversion laws place Christians at risk of being arrested for “forced conversions,” even if there is no evidence for such an incident. Law enforcement is often on the side of the Hindu extremists carrying out such attacks. As such, the rates of violence are often underreported.
The report was a collaboration by three NGOs, including Association for Protection of Civil Rights, the United Christian Forum and United Against Hate.
Muslim Man Tortured By Bengaluru Police
A Muslim man was brutally tortured by Bengaluru police for approximately three hours on December 4. The man, Tausif, states that the police detained him at 2 a.m. over a withdrawn complaint from a friend. During the interrogation, four policemen tied him up, brutally beat him with a bat, shaved his beard, forced him to sleep near the toilets, and made anti-Muslim remarks.
“They forcefully cut my long beard and when I asked for water they gave me a bottle of Urine instead. They kicked, trampled me, and also injured my private parts,” said Tausif. “They kicked me to wake me up and made me sweep the police station. When I denied complying with their demands, they slapped me and even hit me on my head.”
This is the second case of police brutality against Muslims in recent months. In October, 22-year-old Salman was tortured so severely in police custody that he was forced to have his arm amputated.
Karnataka has grown increasingly hostile towards religious minorities after the BJP government proposed an anti-conversion bill for the state. This bill would have dire consequences for Christians and Muslims, giving Hindu extremists a shortcut to land more minorities in the brutal conditions of police custody.
BJP MP Says Places Of Worship Act Can Be Repealed For Construction Of Mathura Temple
On December 5, BJP MP Ravindra Kushwaha stated that a government act put in place to protect places of worship can be repealed in order to make way for the construction of a grand temple in Mathura to replace Shahi Idgah Masjid.
“Four-five hundred years ago, why did [Muslims] have to construct their religious place in front of our temple? Did they not have any other place?” said Kushwaha, referring to the Shahi Idgah Masjid in Mathura. He added that Mathura will be “freed.”
His insensitive and inflammatory remarks were made a day before the 29-year anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya. In 1992, the mosque was demolished by a mob of 150,000 Hindu extremists, who claimed that the Mughal-era mosque had been constructed on land holy to Hindus. The mob was led by right-wing Hindu nationalists belonging to the RSS, BJP, and the VHP, all of which have links to fascist ideologies. Following the mosque’s destruction, Hindu extremists began attacking Muslims, demolishing their homes, torching their shops, and murdering innocents. Riots broke out across India for several months, leaving 2,000 people dead, mostly Muslims.
According to the Indian Express, the Places of Worship Act “prohibits conversion of any place of worship and to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947.” Kushwaha, however, claimed that the act could be repealed, implying that Muslims should lose their rights to their places of worship if they dissent against the Modi Government.
“While taking note of farmers’ protests, agri laws were withdrawn. Similarly, the Modi government can withdraw this Act also,” he said. “Like Ayodhya, a start has been made on Mathura and someday it will also be taken care of.”
In Mathura, security has been amped up around the Shahi Idgah Masjid after Hindu extremist groups threatened to call for the mosque’s destruction, install an idol in it, and “purify” it with a Hindu ritual. 3,000 security personnel have been deployed and travel curbs are in place to prevent any outbreaks of violence.