Religion-based hate crimes challenge Modi government

Religion-based hate crimes challenge Modi government

New figures show number of hate crimes are soaring since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister in 2014 plunging the country into crisis.

Hate crimes based on religion have increased since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power four years ago and it could be major challenge for his party in the general elections due next year., according to IndiaSpend.

The study – which looked at religious hate crime cases reported in the media between January 2009 and October 2018 – revealed that 90 percent of the 254 incidents took place after Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party was elected.

But because many religious hate crimes are not reported, the true number of incidents is thought to be much higher. The research found the majority of the victims were Muslims, while most of the perpetrators were Hindus, it said.

The most common reason for religious hate crimes was cow protection, as the animals are seen as sacred by Hindus who make up about 80 percent of India’s population compared to Muslims at 13 percent and Christians at 2 percent.

And the slaughtering of cows is banned in many states with groups of vigilantes operating across the country targeting people suspected of smuggling beef. Interfaith relationships and alleged religious conversions were other motivations for religious hate crimes.

India does not record religious hate crime as a separate offence but government data for communal violence shows a 28 percent increase in the number of incidents between 2014 and 2017.

India’s Prime Minister has said that state governments should punish vigilantes but critics have accused his government of boosting extremists and supporting violence against Muslims.

BJP spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi said to the Washington Post that the government takes action if there are clashes between groups. He said that India has only seen “minor incidents” in the last four years, with no major religious riots. Trivedi said: “Our objection is that the political class and a certain section of media want to highlight the [religious] angle in order to malign the image of government. This is not happening for the first time. It has been happening for years.”

Dr. Matthew Rees of anti-persecution charity Open Doors warned the situation in India has “worsened dramatically. According to our research, last year 23,793 Christians in India were physically or mentally abused – more than the numbers abused in all the other countries of our Open Doors World watch list put together. Some 635 Indian Christians were detained without trial for faith related reasons. The situation for minorities in India has worsened dramatically due to the rise of Hindu extremism in India.”

Source: Sunday Express

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