Mob Violence Against Christians on the Rise in India

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Around 218 incidents of mob violence were recorded in 2019 so far in different cities of India, reveals the Alliance Defending Freedom India (ADF India) report.

Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — As many as 159 cases of mob violence against the minority Christian community were recorded in the last 8 months of this year. Since the beginning of this year, with UP topping the list, around 218 incidents of violence were recorded in 243 days of 2019. This was revealed on Friday by the Alliance Defending Freedom India (ADF India) in its latest report which has been tracking hate violence against Christians in the country.

The mob violence and attacks on the weaker sections (Dalits) and religious minorities including Muslims and Christians have become commonplace since the BJP-led government came to power at the Center in May 2014 first time. Releasing the report, ADF India said the violence against Christian community has a pattern with the help of Police mob attack worship places while the prayer is going on.

Speaking to Caravan Daily, Development Director of ADF India, A C Michael said modus operandi followed in all cases of mob violence against Christians as they showed same pattern.

“A mob accompanied by the police arrives at the prayer service, shouts slogans and beats up the members of the congregation including women and children and then the pastors are arrested or detained by the police under the false allegation of conversion,” Michael said who is also a former Member of Delhi Minorities Commission.

It will not be exaggeration if we say that many Christians are experiencing restrictions on their freedom to practice their faith, in one way or the other, in a large part of India’s territory, that is in 23 states out of 29 states of India, he said.

According to the report, Uttar Pradesh leads the chart, with the incidences of mob-violence against Christians, 51 incidents followed by 41 in Tamil Nadu, 24 in Chhattisgarh, 17 in Jharkhand, 16 in Karnataka, 14 in Telangana, 12 in Andhra Pradesh, 9 in Maharashtra, 6 in Haryana, 5 in Bihar, 4 in Delhi, 3 in Odisha, 2 each in Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Puducherry, Rajasthan and West Bengal, 1 each in Goa, Gujarat, J&K, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, and Tripura.

Michael also alleged that the police and mob also took friendly media along to ensure publication of their side of story.

What’s more important to note is that till today none of these false allegations of conversions have ever been sustained in a court of law. In fact, almost all of the arrested pastors have either been released on bail or acquitted as the police or the unruly crowds have failed to provide evidence of forceful conversions, he emphasized .

The report highlights that, “Since the beginning of this year, 218 incidents of violence against Christians, in 243 days of 2019, have been reported on UCF toll-free helpline number 1800-208-4545. Out of 218 incidents of violence against Christians, 159 incidents are in the form of intimidation and threats by a vigilante mob. On an average it counts for 27 incidents in a month in last 8 months, as against 20 incidents a month in 2018. There were 121 women and 181 children who were injured in these mob violence incidents.”

Accusing the collusion between Law and Order machinery and the violent Hindutva mobs, Michael said police refused to file FIRs of the incidents and it has become a trend while local political leaders also giving patronage  to perpetrators.

“The trend of not filing FIRs against perpetrators of violence continues as out of these 218 incidents only 25 FIRs are registered against them so far. This shows the tacit understanding between the perpetrators and the police. Sometimes complaints or FIRs are not filed due to fear of reprisals,“ he pointed out.

According to report graph of violence against Christians has been on the steady rise in the country.

“Year after year, since 2014, the attacks on Christians have increased consistently like 292 in 2018, 240 in 2017, 208 in 2016, 177 in 2015 and 147 in 2014. As a matter of fact, according to the World Watch List of 50 countries, India is the 10th most dangerous country in the world to live in for Christians as against 28th in the year 2014.”

Expressing serious concern over the behaviour of the Law and order machinery and the criminal justice system, Tehmina Arora, Director of ADF India said it is worrying to see these horrendous acts of mobocracy still continuing even after a slew of directions given to the government by the Supreme Court Bench led by former CJI Dipak Misra.

Urging  that nobody should be persecuted because of his /her faith, Tehmina Arora told  Caravan Daily that unless the political forces (without naming the BJP and other Hindutva outfits) stop encouraging the people from taking power into their own hands, the ‘mob’ culture is likely to become a norm.

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