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Human Rights Violations and Religious Discrimination in India

Religious Discrimination and Human Rights Violations in India

 

We are living in the 21st century, where every individual without any discrimination is supposed to enjoy fundamental human rights; just because they are human beings. According to the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of human rights (1948):

Article 2 of Equal Human Rights for Everyone:

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

After 72 years, Human rights are still unfulfilled fantasy. The infringement of the rules is a violation. A violation from one end in society provokes oppression from the other end, leading to the conflict sparkling in the state. Dispute occasionally ends up being international chaos. Violations exist in most parts of the World; Human rights watch stated, ‘The Trump administration rolled out inhumane immigration policies and promoted false narratives that perpetuate racism and discrimination.’ Likewise, Amnesty International and non-Governmental organizations accuse the worsening of human rights violations in China after Xi Jinping victory. Yemen scenario depicted by the UN as “the worst man-made humanitarian crisis of our time.” UN blames Turkey for “massive destruction, killings, and numerous other serious human rights violations.” In the same way, Syria, Russia, Saudia Arabia, Myanmar, Brazil, and many more are claimed of violations.

Indian Claims and Human Rights Situation:

India is the 2nd most populated country having 80.5% Hindus and 19.5% minorities. (https://www.livepopulation.com/country/india.html). Constitution of India declares it as a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic republic.

Article 21 states;

No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”

Article 14 for Equal Human Rights:

“The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”

Article 15 Regarding Religious Discrimination:

“The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.”

In the same way, Article 29 and 30 ensure minorities’ rights, and Article 21A guarantees education rights.

http://mls.org.in/books/H-2537%20Human%20Rights%20in.pdf

Human right violations in India:

IPSOS (2018) published a study in which around 78% of participants from India admitted that it is important to have a law, which protects human rights. (https://www.statista.com/statistics/893738/attitude-human-rights-law-india/)

Government of BJP and Vulnerable state of Human Rights in India:

The scenario of human rights violation changed since the victory of National Democratic Alliance in 2014, hill sliding of BJP Narendra Modi as Prime Minister and violations deteriorated with BJP massive win again crowning Narendra Modi as 14th Prime Minister of India in 2019. Religious minorities were threatened, harassed, tortured, attacked by mobs, and killed in my cases, infringement aggravated with the political influence and backing in the so-called World’s largest democracy. (https://doi.org/10.1080/13642987.2019.1656610). Hindu nationalism in India “Hindutva” ideology unites RSS and BJP. Oxford dictionary translates this term as “the belief that Indian culture and the Indian way of life should be based mainly on Hindu values.” This concept unveils the extremism and no-religious-tolerance behavior of its adherents. United States Commission on International Religious Freedom put India on Tier 2, watch list for religious freedom and tolerance. In the context of religion based discriminative conflicts, it is stated by USCIR, “These ceremonies are based on the view that all individuals born in India are Hindus by default, even if their communities have practiced other faiths for several generations.”

Women rights violations During BJP Government in India:

Six hundred fifty million girls and women in India are prone to domestic and workplace violence. In 2018, India was declared the most dangerous country for women due to religious, cultural, and customary practices, sexual abuse, rape, and forced labor. https://www.statista.com/statistics/909596/india-most-dangerous-country-for-women/

Human rights watch posted in their report (2019):

Nearly six years after the government amended laws and put in place new guidelines and policies aimed at justice for survivors of rape and sexual violence, girls and women continue to face barriers to reporting such crimes. Victim-blaming is rampant, and lack of witness and victim protection laws make girls and women from marginalized communities even more vulnerable to harassment and threats.”

The low literacy rate among women in India makes its lowest literacy rate in Asia. They are primarily responsible for home chores; having a job and earning is their secondary responsibility. Their husbands do not accept women without dowry; Al-Jazeera reported that every one hour, one Indian Woman gets killed over dowry. Constitution of India declares giving or receiving the dowry as illegal. In 2019, women with adultery menstruation banned from entering the worship place temple.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/27/india-abuse-women-human-rights-rape-girls,

https://www.female-rights.com/india/

Religious discrimination Against Muslim, Christian and Low Caste Hindus in India:

19.5 % minorities include 13.4% Muslims, 2.3% Christians, 1.9% Sikhs, and 0.1% other unspecified. Religious discrimination in India strongly affiliated with the Hindutva ideology upholds by political backing and influence. The secular face of India is under a downfall. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0017816002000123

Prohibition of Religious Practices for Minorities in India:

Minorities in many states are not allowed to practice their religion freely that is against the constitution of India as well. Anti-conversion and anti-cow slaughter laws are sheltering many inhumane minority killings and harassment. As a cow safety measure, within three years, 50 killed and 250 injured as a suspect of slaughtering or trading their cows. https://www.newyorker.com/news/on-religion/the-violent-toll-of-hindu-nationalism-in-india

Mob Lynching and Attacks on Minorities in India:

These mobs are aided by BJP lead government officials and other state institutions. They reinforce the lynching mobs and their vigilant attacks.

Supreme Court of India stated; “It is imperative for them to remember that they are subservient to the law and cannot be guided by notions or emotions or sentiments or, for that matter, faith.”

Human Rights watch (2019) reports the incidents of lynching mob killing minorities without investigations and the political backing they bear. https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/02/18/violent-cow-protection-india/vigilante-groups-attack-minorities

USCIRF stated; “These ceremonies are based on the view that all individuals born in India are Hindus by default, even if their communities have practiced other faiths for several generations.

(https://www.jstor.org/stable/27768189)

Typical causes for Religious Discrimination and Human Rights Violations:

Human rights and religious discrimination in India is escalating another milestone, giving rise wave of oppression from the minority end. Reasons behind are;

  • Power, Hindutva mindset wants to prove its supremacy over all others
  • Greed for self-respect
  • To glorify their Great Bharat
  • Non-tolerance for other religions customs, Hindutva mindset, wants everyone to follow the religion just the way they want. They want to put everyone under the umbrella of one rule (supported by Hindu religion) and want all other minorities to follow it other than their religious commands. Shah Bano’s case is a leading example in this regard.

Corona Outbreak and India

 Effects of Mob Lynching and Vandalizing against Muslims:

  • The unbalanced supremacy by force is leading the young generation of minorities to stress, complex, and oppression. They are at a high risk of attack all day; their mental condition is worsening day by day.
  • The young generation of majority force is leading their offspring away from a healthy, felicitous life. Their aggression is destroying them.
  • People don’t feel safe at any hour.

Democracy of India bears many cases of Religious discrimination; some get reported, and most of them remain unheard. A few are given below:

Gujarat violence against Muslims:

In 2002, the death of 58 Hindu pilgrims in a train burning incident stimulated the Muslim killings in Gujrat and Ahmadabad. The death toll reached to about 2000 in one year of outbreaks. The current Prime Minister of India was Chief Minister of Gujrat at that time, and he was accused of helping rioters by Government machinery and Police. He was termed as “Butcher of Gujrat” by his opponents. Many scholars consider violence as a planned massacre leading to state terrorism and ethnic cleansing.

Detentions in IOJ&K and Human Rights:

The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) is considered as lawless law by Amnesty International. Repressive Administrative detentions of citizens without stating a reason for 10 days are all fair under the umbrella of PSA. Aakar Patel, Head of Amnesty International India, said: “The continued use of draconian laws against political dissidents, despite promises of change, signals the dishonest intent of the Indian government. Thousands of political leaders, activists, and journalists continue to be silenced through administrative detention laws.”

Abrogation of Special Status of Kashmir and Human Rights:

According to the United Nations, Jammu and Kashmir is an unresolved disputed territory of India, Pakistan, and China, which is administrated by India. On August 5, 2019, India revoked Article 370, which grants Kashmir special status, an autonomous body. Before legal formalities, additional army troops mobilized to J&K, students, and tourists ordered to leave the state, cable TV, internet, and mobile service shut down. Detentions of thousand Kashmiris, including political leaders Hurriyat Rahnuma Farooq Abdullah, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti passed. She called August 5 as the blackest day of the Indian constitution.

Communication Black Out in IOJ&K:

From August 5, still, there is communication blackout, making the valley the World’s largest jail. As stated in Daily Times;

The annexation of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) is only the tip of the iceberg. Ethnic Indian minorities are being targeted under a planned agenda. Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Dalit have been earmarked to accept the supremacy of upper caste Hindus and either convert to Hinduism or leave India.”

Babari Masjid Verdict aganist Muslim Minority in favor of Hindus:

Mughal Emperor constructed Babari Masjid in Ayodhya. Some Hindus declared that place as the birthplace of their religious god, Ram. Campaign for the Mandir at that place started in 1980, under this movement a rally mob got violated and demolished the Masjid in 1992. Later on, in 2019, the biased Supreme Court handed over the disputed land to Hindus for a temple. This tendentious judgment by state institute advocates Religious discrimination in India.

Most Fascinating Places in India for Tourists and Families

Citizenship Amendment Act, CAA a Pre Planned Cleansing of Muslims:

In 2019, the citizenship amendment act was passed, which allows Christian, Buddhist, Jains, Parsis, and Sikh immigrants from neighboring Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh to settle up as citizens in India. While Muslims excluded from the list, BBC calls it “New Anti-Muslim law.” Discrimination on the religious ground in secular India is condemned by international organizations, including UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, US Commission on International Religious Freedom, the European Parliament, and individually by various US senators.

Assam Aliens, National Population Register, NPR a step Forward against Muslim:

Multi-ethnical state, Assam comprises Bengali, Assamese, Muslims, Hindus, and an array of tribal folks. The government has launched the National Register of Citizens, excluding 1.9 million people, listed as stateless aliens now. Thousands of people are detained in the campus accused of being foreigners. Authorities directed the people to prove their identity and appeal within 120 days. Moot courts and BJP-lead foreigner tribunals are heading minorities, especially Muslims, towards detentions. Repeated protesting against this biased register and the discriminatory verification procedure.

https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/ethnic-and-religious-conflicts-india

About 68% of respondents from India that all-India National Register of Citizens and the citizenship amendment bill are causing insecurity in minorities across the country. (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1100103/india-insecurity-among-minorities-about-caa-and-nrc-implementation/)

Protests all over the Country Against CAA, NPR and Human Rights Violations:

Peaceful protests in response to CAA and NRC were arrested, bullied, and subjected to various oppression under the laws; sedition provisions in the Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The death toll reached 27 and thousands injured and detained. Protests began from Assam and spread like a bushfire to other states, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Capital Delhi, and educational institutes Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. Journalists and human rights defenders arrested contradictory to freedom of expression in the constitution of India. Some union ministers and chief ministers triggered the mobs by hateful speeches. Calling by names as “traitor” erupted violence by mobs leading to continuous torture for sit-in protestors. Police used excessive force against peaceful demonstrators, students of Jawaharlal Nehru University and Aligarh University.

Pre Planned Cleansing of Muslims’ Lives, Religious Places and Properties in  Delhi Riots:

Before the visit of President of USA Donald Trump, the head of BJP gave a call to clear the protestors from roads. This summons resulted in the attack of the mob by Hindus and shaped as a riot by passing days. Muslims were tortured and killed vigilantly. The fierce mob invaded the homes; their property was pulverized and set on fire. Many forced to leave their ancestral homes and migrated. The death toll reached 53, and a lot more missing till the date. Capital and other states were under internet blackout, acquiring India with the highest number of internet shutdowns.

(https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/cxlx3qm36lkt/delhi-riots)

Kashmir The World’s Largest Prison and UNO

High Caste Low Caste Conflict and the Dalits, Adivasis:

World watch in the report stated, “Discriminatory and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of over 165 million people in India has been justified on the basis of caste. Caste is descent-based and hereditary in nature. It is a characteristic determined by one’s birth into a particular caste, irrespective of the faith practiced by the individual. Caste denotes a traditional system of rigid social stratification into ranked groups defined by descent and occupation. Caste divisions in India dominate in housing, marriage, employment, and general social interaction-divisions that are reinforced through the practice and threat of social ostracism, economic boycotts, and physical violence

104 million scheduled castes with different ethnic groups make 8.6% of the Indian population. They are called Dalits, “Untouchables” accused of being a lower caste Dalits are harassed and not allowed to categorize as first-class citizens.

https://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/globalcaste/caste0801-03.htm

Adivasis are scheduled tribes making almost 8% of the Indian population, are termed as modern-day slaves, living life with the sole partner, poverty. Starvation compels them to labor migration, result in their land eviction.

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/C_R_Bijoy/publication/295315229_The_Adivasis_of_India_-_A_History_of_Discrimination_Conflict_and_Resistance/links/56c945fb08ae5488f0d70ccb.pdf

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/beyond-trafficking-and-slavery/adivasis-in-india-modernday-slaves-or-modernday-workers/

Need of the Hour:

  • Laws are not enough to furnish Human Rights; implementation lacked. Worldwide organizations should pay severe concerns towards the enforcement of human rights laws, other than just reporting them. Abuses said very actively; instead of that, there should be a deep interest in steps taken to overcome this.

Written by:

Salaha Zafar, szw31103@gmail.com

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