Hate Crimes against Christians at an All-Time High: Report

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“It’s not just year-on-year growth, but even month-on-month the violence perpetrators have bettered their own targeted objectives of harassing ordinary peace loving citizens,” said the report

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – The year 2022 has witnessed the highest number of hate crimes against the Christians recording 511 incidents of violence against members of the minority community, said a report putting the incidents at “all-time high”.

The annual report titled “Violence against Indian Christians at All-Time High 2022 Sees Highest Spike in Number of Incidents” by United Christian Forum (UCF) was released on 26 November.

“As the year approaches Christmas, Christians in India continue to bear the onslaught of targeted violence for their faith. As per the records of UCF toll-free helpline number 1800-208-4545, there is a higher growth in terms of year-on-year increase in violence as against 505 incidents of violence against Christians in 2021 to 511 in 2022 till 21st November,” noted the report.

In the last eight years, since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India, as per the reports recorded on UCF helpline, the incidents of violence against Christians have been reporting a sharp and continuous increase since 2014: 148 incidents in 2014, 183 in 2015, 216 in 2016, 248 in 2017, 292 in 2018, 328 in 2019, 279 in 2020 (perhaps the COVID pandemic gave some relief to Indian Christians), 505 in 2021 and 511 incidents as on 21st November 2022.

“It’s not just year-on-year growth, but even month-on-month the violence perpetrators have bettered their own targeted objectives of harassing ordinary peace loving citizens,” said the report.

Uttar Pradesh with 149 such incidents, Chhattisgarh 115 and Jharkhand 48 incidents of violence against the minority community have become the top three states where the highest number of violent incidents against Christians were reported in this year.

The report noted that in almost all the incidents reported across India, vigilante mobs comprising religious extremists have been seen either intruding into a prayer gathering or rounding up individuals who, they believed, were involved in forcible religious conversions. Such mobs criminally threaten and/or physically assault people during prayer with impunity before handing them over to the police on allegations of forcible conversion.

Often communal sloganeering is witnessed outside police stations as the police remain mute spectators.

Sadly, this violence against the Christian community is compounded by the failure of the police to investigate and prosecute mobs and perpetrators who indulge in such crimes. This is despite a slew of directions to the government from the Supreme Court of India led by then CJI Dipak Misra to stop such horrendous acts of mobocracy, it said.

Commenting on the growing crimes against Christians, Dr. Michael Williams, president of United Christian Forum, said, “The growing incidence of violence against religious minorities is an unhappy situation which defies our Prime Minister Modi’s electoral assurance in 2013-14 and subsequently of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’. Our Prime Minister gave this country a vision which gets eroded every time such an incident takes place. We earnestly pray for the peace and understanding that India is so proud of even as we celebrate our unity in our diversity.”

According to the report, a total of 79 FIRs lodged against pastors on false allegations of conversions under the Freedom of Religion Act in six states of India wherein such laws exist. Several members of the community are in jail and bail has been repeatedly denied. Those getting bail are still found incarcerated due to bureaucratic delays due to the prolonged process of release.

Talking about the performance of states, the report noted two North Indian states seem to be competing with each other for this dubious distinction of targeted violence against the Christian community. Uttar Pradesh has kept its year-on-year record intact with over 100 incidents per year from 105 incidents in 2018 to 149 incidents in 2022.

Surprisingly, under the rule of a so-called secular party, Chhattisgarh has seen a sharp rise from 25 incidents in 2018 to 115 incidents till 21st of November 2022.

“Clearly, these states are becoming more dangerous to practice one’s faith, especially for Christians. This also means that the state authorities are failing to protect the fundamental rights of all its citizens equally,” it said.

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