Watchdog Report Finds Police Colluding With Hindu Extremists To Target Christians In Karnataka
The police in Karnataka collude with Hindu extremist attacks on Christian worshippers, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), one of India’s most prominent rights watchdogs, said in a report on December 14. The PUCL examined 39 incidents of violence against Christians in Karnataka during January-November this year and recorded testimonies of pastors who faced such Hindu extremist violence.
The report also said Karnataka had seen a sharp increase in violent attacks Hindu extremist attacks on Christians during prayer meetings, as well as that many incidents of violence go unreported.
“While these attacks on the face of it appear to be geographically spread out, in reality, they arise out of a far sinister concerted political project of reducing Christians to second-class citizens who must not be allowed to exercise their constitutionally provided fundamental right of religion,” the report said.
In one such incident, which took place in Karnataka’s Mandya city this January, a group of Christians were attacked near their home, allegedly by members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a pastor, named Harish, said in his testimony. He claimed that, instead of the attackers, the police detained some of the Christians. After the incident, he went to the police station with some other people. “The mob was also present there, and they continued to verbally abuse and threaten some women who were trying to stand up for themselves,” he said.
The police refused to file Pastor Harish’s complaint against the attackers. Instead, they seized a laptop belonging to a Christian woman and threatened to plant evidence on it, the pastor alleged. “Even if there is no evidence, we know how to make the case against you very strong so the Christians will never come out of jail,” the pastor quoted a police inspector as saying.
In another incident that took place in Udupi in September, the police refused to give the complainants an acknowledgement that they had registered a complaint against a mob that had attacked them during a prayer meet.
Police Probe Finds Killing Of Protesting Farmers By Federal Minister’s Son Was Premeditated
The death of eight people, including four farmers, who were run over by a car on October 2 was premeditated, the police in Uttar Pradesh have found after an investigation. They have now moved a court to add charges of attempt to murder against Ajay Mishra, who is the son of India’s junior minster for home affairs, Ashish Mishra, who is a leader of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The killings had occurred in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of the state when a convoy of cars belonging to Mishra deliberately ran over a group of farmers who had been protesting against the Indian government’s year-old “farm laws.” While user videos clearly showed the killings were deliberate, the police dragged their feet as the accused’s father is a federal minister. Shockingly, Modi refused to sack the minister. His government has pressured the police and the state to not act against the accused.
It took an intervention from India’s Supreme Court to force the police to conduct an independent inquiry.
Hindu Extremists Attack Hindu-Owned Restaurant For Organizing Pakistan Food Festival
Hindu extremists forced a restaurant in Gujarat state to cancel a “Pakistani food festival” with threats of violence, tearing down a hoarding announcing the event and setting it on fire.
Sandeep Dawar, who is a Hindu and owns the restaurant chain named Taste of India, was forced to cancel the food festival, scheduled for December 12-22, following a visit by the members of the Bajrang Dal, a youth vigilante group affiliated to the Hindu nationalist RSS.
The members of the Bajrang Dal reached the restaurant on December 13, climbed atop the building, pulled down the hoarding and set it on fire. They also shouted “Jai Shree Ram,” a Hindu religious slogan. “We got to know about the hoarding from social media… We went to the spot and brought down the hoarding. We also called Dawer, the owner, and asked him why he has organised such a food festival. He apologized,” Surat city Bajrang Dal leader Deviprasad Dubey.
The members of the Bajrang Dal also threatened Dawar saying that secret volunteers would be sent during the festival to check if Pakistani food was being served. “If Pakistani food is served, then he would be responsible for the consequences,” warned Dubey.