With 486 attacks, 2021 was “most violent year” for Indian Christians

New Delhi, Jan 27 (KMS): The Christians in India faced 486 incidents of violence and harassment during 2021 which has been declared the “most violent year” for the community.

The United Christian Forum (UCF), a rights body that maintains a database of incidents of violence and intimidation in India, said 2021 saw an increase of 74% from 2020, when 279 such cases were reported on the UFC’s helpline.

The Forum said more than 104 violent incidents against Christians were recorded in the last two months of the year.

The report says Uttar Pradesh saw the most hate crimes against the minority group with 102 instances, followed by Chhattisgarh with 90. Four states including Jharkhand (44) and Madhya Pradesh (38) recorded 274 incidents of violence making 56% of the total incidents against Christians.

In all the cases, vigilante mobs of religious extremists were observed barging into prayer gatherings or rounding up individuals.

“With impunity, such mobs criminally threaten, physically assault people in prayer, before handing them over to the police on allegations of forcible conversions. Often communal sloganeering is witnessed outside police stations, where the police stand as mute spectators,” the report said.

With 486 attacks, 2021 was “most violent year” for Indian Christians

It said the marginalised Dalits have converted to Christianity as well as Islam and Buddhism in the past to escape a rigorous Hindu caste hierarchy.

The Hindu nationalist outfits linked to Modi’s BJP have long targeted Christian missionaries and activists for allegedly trying to convert Dalits and impoverished Hindus to Christianity.

Nine out of 29 Indian states have formulated anti-conversion laws, which are often used to target religious minorities.

Since 2017, five states run by the BJP have approved new anti-conversion laws or modified existing legislation. The updated laws impose harsher penalties and establish additional reasons for banning conversions.

The state assembly in BJP-ruled Karnataka passed the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021.

The anti-conversion law has been dubbed draconian, anti-poor and blatantly unconstitutional by opposition parties and critics.

“I’ve said from the beginning that this anti-conversion bill is anti-Christian. This does target the Christians specifically. Will you be as strict and stringent if there are Catholics who want to convert to Hinduism?” asked Peter Machado, the archbishop of Karnataka state’s capital city of Bengaluru.

With 486 attacks, 2021 was “most violent year” for Indian Christians

In December, the Indian government barred Mother Teresa’s organisation, Missionaries of Charity, from receiving funding from overseas.

Right-wing Hindu outfits have often targeted Christian charity over conversion motives.

Just like Christians, Muslims also continue to face systemic discrimination across India including Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Despite pledges by the United Nations Security Council, Kashmir remains the core issue between two nuclear states and archrivals in South Asia.

“Ironically, global powers have remained divorced from the issue, predominantly due to vested interests related to power contestation. Even India’s unilateral revocation of two constitutional Articles 370 and 35 A has not been able to awaken the sleepy conscience of world powers,” said Yusuf Zaman, in an article published on January 26.

He said whatever may be the case, Kashmiris are facing cleansing and war crimes in IIOJK by RSS, the ideological parent of the BJP.

There are a series of attempts changing IIOJK which are absolutely on a tangent from UNSC resolutions, international laws and moral ethics. Any further delay means the night gets further darker for Kashmiris engaged in fighting for the pledged rights given by the UNSC.