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‘Violations against Hindus are often not tracked’

Author: Navtan Kumar
Publication: Sunday Guardian Live
Date: February 10, 2018
URL:      http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/12713-violations-against-hindus-are-often-not-tracked

Areport on human rights against the Hindus has brought to light the discrimination against the community in India and abroad.

According to a report, there were 231 incidents of violation of religious freedom of Hindus in 2015 and this number increased to 244 in 2016. West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka are states of particular concern, says the report, adding, “in the last two years, these states have witnessed a high level of physical attack on Hindus”.

The report has been prepared by Mayank Patel for “IndiaFacts”, an organisation working on India-centric social and religious issues, and edited by Nithin Sridhar and Sankrant Sanu. The report, published by Garuda Prakashan, focuses largely on incidents from 2015 to 2017 with some other selected incidents added in certain cases for historical context.

As per the latest monthly report for November and December 2017, as many as 25 cases of Hindu persecution were reported, which included the killing of a dalit leader in Kerala, vandalisation of temple and desecration of a Hindu idol in Bangladesh and forced conversion of a Hindu girl in Pakistan.

“There is a legalised discrimination of Hindu community and their interests by different branches of the government in the states and at the Centre. Confiscation of temple assets and government control over temple administration, Right To Education (RTE), discriminatory government schemes targeting particular religious communities are some of the examples,” says the report.

In 2015, for example, the report says, confiscation and looting of temples was among the largest violations of religious freedom in the world, yet not a single report on religious freedom tracked this violation. “Successive Karnataka governments have tried to take over administration of Hindu mutts and temples like Sri Kshethra Dharmasthala temple. Similarly, successive Rajasthan governments have tried to confiscate and auction farms owned by Hindu temples,” it mentions.

“There is no dearth of human rights reports being produced about India. But most of these exclude a large percentage of the human rights violations in India on the mistaken premise that rights violations here can only take place against the ‘minorities’,” said Sridhar, while speaking to this newspaper. “The idea behind preparing the report, he said, is to rectify this key omission—that of discrimination against and persecution of Hindus in India and to provide a corrective to the one-sided reporting by international organisations,” he added.

According to Sridhar, the international norm is to cover human rights violations of all without making any assumptions, but national and international agencies involved in monitoring human rights often fail to track violations against diverse communities across India, simply because they are classified as “Hindu”.

The report mentions that in the last three years, budgeted percentage increase for minorities was far higher compared to other groups like the tribals, Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Other Backward Class (OBCs). Benchmark comparison shows that Ministry of Minority Affairs got Rs 524.94 crore more, Ministry of Social Justice received Rs 465.34 crore less, it says.

“Hindus have been consistently persecuted by various hostile ideologies like Dravidian extremism, Left-wing extremism, Islamist terrorism, and Christian extremism. In Tamil Nadu, there were 30 incidents of Hindu persecution involving 80 victims during 2015 and 2016. In Kerala, six Hindu activists were murdered in 2016 as against four murdered in 2015,” says the report.

The report mentions that, in 2015, Uttar Pradesh state government’s action forced 800 Hindu dalits to convert to Islam and, in June 2016, there was a mass exodus of Hindu families from Kairana. According to the report, in the last 35 years, about 1,00,053 Indians died due to terrorism and 99.87% of these terror deaths happened due to attacks by terrorist groups with non-Hindu affiliation. The report recommends plugging constitutional loopholes, repealing or amending laws like RTEs, freeing Hindu temples, ending majority-minority discrimination in government policies.
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