Indian American Muslim Council’s (IAMC) first quarterly report titled “Persecution of Religious Minorities in India” brings attention to the “disturbing escalation of atrocities experienced by minority groups under the rule of the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India”. The report report records incidents of systematic violence, hate speech, and discrimination that occurred between January and March 2023.
Among the comprehensive e list of recommendations that seek to tackle the fundamental causes of religious persecution, are those that encourage international discourse to confront this urgent concern, and cultivate a society that embraces inclusivity and tolerance.
“The persecution of religious minorities in India is a significant concern that requires immediate attention from the Indian government and international community. The increasing incidents of violence and discrimination against minorities have violated their basic human rights and have created an atmosphere of fear and insecurity.
- The government must ensure that the rule of law is upheld and perpetrators of violence are held accountable for their actions, regardless of their political affiliation. This would help to restore confidence in the justice system and send a clear message that violence against minorities will not be tolerated.
- The government should review and repeal laws that discriminate against religious minorities, including anti-conversion laws, beef ban laws, the hijab ban, and the Citizenship Amendment Act, which has been a major source of unrest in the country. The government should take steps to protect religious sites and places of worship, which are often targeted. The government must also pass a national anti-lynching bill to protect minorities from Hindu militias and cow vigilante groups.
- BJP-led state governments must uphold every citizen’s right to a safe home and immediately stop bulldozing Muslim homes, livelihoods, and places of worship in the name of anti-encroachment drives.
- As signatories of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief and UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious, and Linguistic Minorities, the international community—as well as the Indian government—has a responsibility to ensure that police effectively investigate, prosecute, and prevent instances of harassment and violence committed against Muslims and Christians.
- The government should engage in dialogue with civil society organizations, religious leaders, and members of minority communities to address their concerns and grievances. This would help to build trust and foster a sense of inclusion and belonging among all citizens.
- Regarding the weaponization of Hindu festivals across the country, local and state governments can take measures to increase security during festivals and other public events where communal tensions are likely to be high. This would involve deploying additional forces in sensitive areas, monitoring social media and other communication channels for hate speech and incitement to violence, and taking preventive measures to avoid any escalation of violence.
- There is a need for education and awareness-raising initiatives to promote interfaith harmony and understanding. Schools and universities should include teachings on religious diversity and tolerance in their curricula, and media outlets should promote positive portrayals of religious minorities to counter the negative stereotypes perpetuated by some extremist groups.
- The President of the U.S. can place sanctions on individuals who have committed, directly aided, or are complicit in gross human rights violations through the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. The Biden administration should impose sanctions on leaders and members of Hindu militant groups. The U.S. Department of State should accept the USCIRF’s recommendation to designate India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for its egregious violations of human rights and religious freedoms”
The rest of the report may be read here:
BJP has strayed away from Nehruvian vales of secularism: IAMC report