Government officials complicit as egregious human rights abuses toward faith minorities escalate, say researchers
SANTA ANA, Calif., July 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- According to new research from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Christians and Muslims living in India are facing "imminent existential threat;" and Open Doors USA is calling on the Biden administration and the international community to hold India's government accountable for the violence and discrimination against religious minorities.
"We urge the Biden administration to immediately convene an international fact-finding commission to investigate these acts of violence and other human rights violations against religious minorities in India," said Open Doors USA President & CEO, David Curry.
Commissioned by persecution watchdog organization Open Doors, the report features eight case studies of violence and discrimination against Christians or Muslims in India, which ranks #10 on Open Doors' 2021 World Watch List. Data shows vigilante mob lynchings and attacks, state harassment, attempts to drive Muslims and Christians from their land and their homes, and censorship are metamorphizing in new and disturbing ways, and – most disturbingly – these attacks are undergirded by support from unjust government officials who look the other way or refuse to acknowledge the atrocities.
Researchers found that various officials such as district administrators, lower court judges, police and local government bureaucrats are using loopholes and misusing procedural provisions to harass religious minority groups.
The report cites dozens of specific examples of bullying, harassment, violence and perversion of justice against Christians and Muslims, including:
Collusion of local law enforcement with lynch-mobs from the Hindu community
Use of legal means to threaten or arrest Christian and Muslim victims/survivors of Hindu mob attacks
Demands that evidence of attacks be provided by the victims/ survivors even when the attackers have filmed the entire sequence and/or uploaded it to social media
Refusal by police and law enforcement to arrest or deter mobs from physically intimidating and violating the property and persons of Christians and Muslims
Arson against places of worship for Christians; arson against the possessions – for instance books and religious texts – of Christians and Muslims
Intimidation and death threats against Christian and Muslim victims of Hindutva violence in order to prevent them from seeking justice
And many others…
Researchers conclude the report with recommendations for the international community, international financial organizations and social media corporations in ways to help combat the violence and discrimination, and aid victims.
A press kit including the full report, "Destructive Lies – Disinformation speech that incites violence and discrimination against religious minorities in India," is available for download at OpenDoorsUSA.org/Newsroom.
For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Open Doors USA
For more than 60 years, Open Doors USA has worked in the world's most oppressive and restrictive countries for Christians. Open Doors works to equip and encourage Christians living in dangerous circumstances with the threat of persecution and to mobilize the Western church to pray and advocate for the persecuted. Christians are one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. For more information, visit OpenDoorsUSA.org.
About the Report:
The research presented in this report was conducted during February and March 2021 by a research team trained in ethnographic data collection, trauma- informed interviewing and visual analysis in line with full Covid regulations and ethical frameworks of the British Sociological Association. Data was generated and collected through: observations in localities where there had been reported incidents of anti- Christian or anti-Muslim violence; in-depth interviews with ordinary Indian citizens who have been victims of discrimination and violence linked to their faith in India; interviews with local rights activists and experts on Christian and Muslim faith-based communities in India and visual evidence provided by them. All accounts which reference numbers of Christians or Muslims in particular regions in the data have been further triangulated via analysis of statistical data from the Indian Census (2011) as well as secondary data such as media and human rights reports. Names have been changed in order to protect our informants' identities. Our fieldwork documents multiple examples of exclusion, harassment, discrimination and violence against Christians and Muslims in India with a particular focus on the states of Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. While we concentrated on examples of anti-Christian harassment and violence (which comprise six of the eight case studies in the report), we also followed up on several cases of anti-Muslim harassment, discrimination and violence (which comprise the two remaining case studies).
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