08/12/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – Indian Chief Justice Nuthalapati Ramana said that the country’s police stations are the country’s most dangerous places for threats to human rights. “The threat to human rights and bodily integrity are the highest in police stations,” said Ramana. “Custodial torture and other police atrocities are problems which will prevail in our society.”
The statements have grabbed international headlines and highlight the systemic issues embedded within a system that propagates discrimination and suppresses people, including religious minorities.
As the world watches the decline of India’s civil society under the leadership of the BJP and the Hindutva extremists, voices around the world are calling for action on behalf of their victims in India. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended India to be designated as a Country of Particular (CPC) for the first time in in 16 years in 2020 and repeated this recommendation in 2021. The Trump administration did not follow the recommendation and the Biden Administration has yet to make their final decisions.
Advocates and civil society actors with a focus on India are, by and large, supportive of the CPC designation and feel that it is the right first step in calling on India to repair its broken religious freedom record.
India systematically uses anti-conversion laws to oppress and persecute Christians and other religious minorities throughout the country. Conversions out of Hinduism are viewed as suspect by state administrators in states with anti-conversion laws. These laws allow some state governments to serve as the final authority in determining the legitimacy of a conversion experience.
Hindutva radicals are empowered and emboldened through these legal frameworks to persecute Christians with violence, intimidation, and various other forms of social pressure.
“The Chief Justice’s comments are welcomed and much needed,” said Matias Perttula, Director of Advocacy for International Christian Concern. “The public condemnation of institutions, actors, and entities that abuse their power to persecute Christians and commit various human rights violations is much needed from Indian leaders. They must do more, but the first step is to publicly condemn these vile actions.”
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