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Contemplating Action for Damages : Launch of the IndiaFacts Hindu Human Rights Report 2017

National and international agencies fail to track violations against diverse communities spread across India simply because of the fact that they are classified as ‘Hindus’ who comprise the majority in India

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Hindu human rights report 2017
Hindus comprise the majority in India but they are a minority at the global level. Hence, violation of their rights deserves proper documentation.
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  • Human rights have become largely restricted to mere paper when it comes to the Hindu community in India
  • Amnesty International and other human rights organizations expressed little concern about the genocide of Hindus in Kashmir or the persecution of Hindus in Tamil Nadu and Kerala during 2015-16
  • The Report emphasizes on the need to end majority-minority discrimination in government policies

New Delhi, August 22, 2017: Pakistan is a country for Pakistani people. Japan is for Japanese as China is for the Chinese people. By that logic, is Hindustan for Hindus? And who are these Hindus? Questions about this complex ethnic community and their human rights were discussed at the launch of the IndiaFacts Hindu Human Rights Report 2017 on August 19.

According to the Report, national and international agencies fail to track violations against diverse communities spread across India simply because of the fact that they are classified as ‘Hindus’ who comprise the majority in India. There have been countless national and international reports on Human Rights in India, most of which operate on the presumption that rights violations in India can take place only against the ‘minorities’. To rectify this omission, and to draw attention to the persecution of and discrimination against Hindus in India, IndiaFacts launched a comprehensive report highlighting human rights violations against the majority Hindu community in India.

Hindu human rights report 2017
Featuring a distinct layout, the Hindu human rights report 2017 highlights cases of violations against Hindus.

Prepared by Mayank Patel, the report has been edited by Nithin Sridhar, Editor at IndiaFacts and Sankrant Sanu, the IndiaFacts Hindu Human Rights Report 2017 has been published by Garuda publications and provides a remedial to prejudiced reporting by international organizations and media alike, and documents methodical and episodic violations of human rights of Hindus.

The report was launched by Ram K. Ohri and J.P Sharma, retired IPS officers who have authored the book ‘The Majority Report’. Also present at the event were editors of the report Nithin Sridhar and Sankrant Sanu, along with Madhu Kishwar, Professor at the ICSSR Maulana Azad National who shared their thoughts and experiences about the unbridled practice prevailing in the country.

hINDU HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT 2017
The launch of the Hindu Human Rights Report 2017.

A special emphasis tracing the origin of the exploitation of Hindus in independent India was placed on the power exercised by foreign funding of Indian academia, NGOs, and the media by Islamic and Evangelical Christian missionaries.

R.K Ohri drew attention to the fact that following the partition in 1947, India had a series of Muslim education and culture ministers, starting with Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. According to him, these leaders glorified Islam and leftism during the foundational years of the country. He further added that during the Manmohan Singh government (2004-14), majority scholarships were given to Christians and Muslims. “A few scholarships were given to Sikhs and Parsis for namesake, but none to Hindu. The biggest threat to Hinduism comes from this so-called secularism“, he added.

The Hindu community, which operates on the principles of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (entire world is one family) and Ahimsa Parmo Dharam (non-violence is the highest form of religion), does not foster hostile feelings against their perpetrators of violence. Thus, at the event, Madhu Kishwar traced the origin of these atrocities to the deeply embedded beliefs of ‘Ishwar-Allah tero naam (God is one) and ‘Ram Rahim bhai bhai’ (Hindus and Muslims are brothers) that have remained central to the Hindus and have prevented them from raising voices against their discrimination.

Hindu human rights report 2017
Madhu Kishwar was the guest speaker at the event

According to Sankrant Sanu, the domination and discrimination against Hindus is a result of a phenomenon that he understands as ‘the conspiracy of silence.’ He supported his argument by citing cases of rights violations. According to him, under-reporting and circulation of fake narratives affects the functioning of government and legal structures, making them discriminatory between communities.

In a country where then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asserted that the first rights on resources are of the minorities, Sankrant Sanu asserted that “India has now become an apartheid state, where the minority rules over the majority.” This can be supported by the Report’s findings that suggests that in 2015, UP state government’s action forced 800 Hindu Dalits to convert to Islam, and in 2016, there was a mass exodus of Hindu families from Kerala.

Nithin Sridhar explained at the event that the report, which focuses largely on incidents from 2015 and 2016, has been divided into sections wherein the first section deals with cases of sanctioned discrimination against Hindus by the State. This includes cases of confiscation and looting of Hindu temples and assets, and RTE among other issues.

The second section covers the persecution of Hindus and the Hindu communities at the hands of various hostile ideologies like the Christian extremism in North East India, Dravidian extremism in Tamil Nadu, the left extremism in Kerala and Islamic terrorism.  Also covered in the last section are attacks on Hindu temples, and proselytization, among other things.

Salient Highlights of the Report

  1. Despite a so-called ‘Hindu-friendly’ government at the centre since 2014, abuses against Hindus have witnessed a rise. Against 231 incidents of anti-Hindu attacks in 2015, there were 244 incidents reported in 2016.
  2. There is legalized discrimination of Hindu community and their interests by governments at states and centre like the confiscation of temple land, administration and assets, RTE, discriminatory government schemes targeting specific communities, etc.
  3. In the last 3 years, budgeted percentage increase for minorities is far higher compared to other groups like Tribals, SCs, and OBCs. Benchmark comparison shows that Ministry of Minority Affairs got Rs. 524.94 crores more, Ministry of Social Justice received 465.34 crores less.
  4. In the last three years, the government has forced closure of 7659 Hindu schools by laws like Right to Education (RTE).
  5. There were a total of 231 incidents of violation of religious freedom of Hindus in 2015. This number increased to 244 incidents in 2016 with most cases reported from West Bengal, UP,, Kerala and Karnataka. In the last 2 years, these states have witnessed a high level of physical attacks on Hindus.

ALSO READ: 2017 Hindu Human Rights Report Released by Hindu American Foundation (HAF) : Here is What you Need to Know!

The event came to a close with an understanding that,

  • The freedom of minorities to practice their religion must not pose restrictions on the Hindu community.
  • When the ethnic minority is protected, the suppression and exploitation of the majority must also be avoided.
  • When the protection of the human rights of minorities is given priority, the infringement of rights of the Hindu community must also not be ignored. 

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Rape Survivors in India Still Face Humiliation with Two-Finger tests and Barriers to Justice says Human Rights Watch

Indian Rape survivors still face barriers in justice and humiliation with two-finger tests, reported the Human Rights Watch

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Rape Survivors
Rape survivors face humiliation during investigation. Pixabay.

New Delhi, Nov 9: Five years after the Nirbhaya gang rape case in Delhi, rape survivors are still facing barriers to getting justice in India, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.

Rape survivors in India face significant barriers to obtaining justice and critical support services despite legal and other reforms adopted since the December 16, 2012 gang rape-murder of a 19-year-old physiotherapy intern in the national capital, who came to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’, said the international human rights NGO in an 82-page report “Everyone Blames Me: Barriers to Justice and Support Services for Sexual Assault Survivors in India” released on Wednesday.

The report said women and girls who survived rape and other sexual violence often suffered humiliation at police stations and hospitals.

“Police are frequently unwilling to register complaints, victims and witnesses receive little protection, and medical professionals still compel degrading two finger tests. These obstacles to justice and dignity are compounded by inadequate healthcare, counselling, and legal support for victims during criminal trials of the accused,” an HRW statement said.

“Five years ago, Indians shocked by the brutality of the gang rape in Delhi, called for an end to the silence around sexual violence and demanded criminal justice reforms,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director of HRW.

“Today, there are stronger laws and policies, but much remains to be done to ensure that police, doctors, and courts treat survivors with dignity,” she said.

The HRW said it conducted field research and interviews in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan — selected because of their large number of reported rape cases — as well as Delhi and Mumbai.

The report details 21 cases — 10 cases involving girls under the age of 18.

Rape survivors
Rape survivors feel harassed at police stations and hospitals. Pixabay.

The findings are drawn from more than 65 interviews with victims, their family members, lawyers, human rights activists, doctors, forensic experts, and government and police officials, as well as research by Indian organisations.

“Under the Indian law, police officers who fail to register a complaint of sexual assault face up to two years in prison. However, Human Rights Watch found that police did not always file a First Information Report (FIR), the first step to initiating a police investigation, especially if the victim was from an economically or socially marginalised community.

“In several cases, the police resisted filing the FIR or pressured the victim’s family to ‘settle’ or ‘compromise’, particularly if the accused was from a powerful family or community,” the statement said.

ALSO READ : Debunking Virginity Myths and Hymen Breaks

It said that lack of witness protection law in India makes rape survivors and witnesses vulnerable to pressure that undermines prosecutions.

The human rights body said that some defence lawyers and judges still use language in courtrooms that is “biased and derogatory” toward sexual assault survivors.

“The attempt at shaming the victim is still very much prevalent in the courts,” Rebecca Mammen John, a senior criminal lawyer in Delhi, was quoted in the statement. (IANS)