Human Rights Watch Report Condemns India’s Treatment of Religious Minorities

ICC Note:

A report recently released by Human Rights Watch has condemned the escalating violence faced by religious minorities in India at the hands of right-wing Hindu groups. According to the report, Christians and Muslims in India have endured a stead increase in religiously motivated violence in recent years mainly perpetrated by ultra Hindu nationalist groups. The report went on to say that the current ruling political party, the BJP, has done little to curb this violence with some members of the party actively inciting religious intolerance. Will this report help the international community start to put pressure on India to confront this issue of rising religious violence? 

01/30/2018 India (UCAN) – Civil society groups in India have backed a Human Rights Watch report that condemns the unabated violence that religious minorities suffer at the hands of right-wing Hindu groups.

India’s federal government led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has failed to contain rights violations on several fronts, according to the New York-based group’s 2018 World Report.

“The government failed to promptly or credibly investigate the attacks, while many senior BJP leaders publicly promoted Hindu supremacy and ultra-nationalism, which encouraged further violence,” said the Human Rights Watch report.

An increasing threat in 2017 was “vigilante violence aimed at religious minorities, marginalized communities and critics of the government” by groups claiming to support the ruling party, it said.

The report listed several cases of violations including army excesses in the disputed Kashmir region and unequal treatment of India’s indigenous and Dalit people, who were formerly considered untouchable.

“Dissent was labeled anti-national, and activists, journalists and academics were targeted for their views, chilling free expression,” the report said.

Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, told reporters after the report’s release that Indian authorities have proved unwilling to protect minority religious communities and other vulnerable groups from frequent attacks.

Those responsible for such attacks need to be prosecuted to prevent future attacks, she said.

The report confirms what Indians have been witnessing in the past four years since the BJP government came to power, said Pravin Mishra of human rights organization Jan Sangharsh Manch (people’s resistance forum).

“India is passing through a very turbulent period. Such violence against minorities was never witnessed since the partition of the Subcontinent in 1947,” Mishra told ucanews.com.

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