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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

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.
  • 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.

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

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)

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10 Facts You Should Know About Raif Badawi, Victim Of Religious Persecution

Raif Badawi
Facts You Should Know About Raif Badawi – A Victim Of Religious Persecution Source: Wikimedia Common

Saudi Arabia, September 22, 2017: A Saudi writer, atheist, activist and the founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website Raif Badawi, who has been a prey to brutal punishment of Saudi Arabia law, reveals his agony in a book “1000 Lashes, Because I Say What I Think”.

Badawi, through his book expressed one’s life in the autocratic Islamic state under ‘Sharia’, insights about freedom of expression, separation of religion and state, human and civil rights and tolerance.

Raif Badawi
People from Oslo protesting to Free Raif Badawi – A Victim Of Religious Persecution Source: Wikimedia Common

It was in 2012 when Badawi was taken into imprisonment in Saudi Arabia and was sentenced to 10 years torture with 1000 lashes. The reason stated for his imprisonment was his act of showing disrespect towards Islam and produced before the court charges including apostasy.

His punishment was partly enforced due to ‘parental disobedience’ when the debate over freedom of speech and Islam continued to rage. The punishment was in context to the disobedience shown towards one’s father, as follows in Saudi Arabia. Reportedly, Badawi’s father also renounced his son on television.

There are facts that left Raif Badawi to live a life of torture and trauma and you should know these.

  1. Raif Badawi had to face 50 lashes in his first session in front of the crowd gathering near the mosque in Jeddah on January 9, 2015.
  2. After his first session, the medical committee advised not to flog Raid Badawi as his wound had not healed sufficiently, because of high blood pressure. Whereas, another prison doctor objected to that and said that he is fine to take more lashes.
  3. Nevertheless, the flogs were not carried out due to some unknown reason.
  4. He was sentenced with seven years’ imprisonment and 600 lashes, but was extended to 10 years and 1000 lashes later.
  5. He was arrested against his rights to freedom of speech, expression, association and assembly. He was being suppressed with his rights to be democratic.
  6. The case was being dropped twice. The district court passed on the case to high court, saying “could not give a verdict in a case of apostasy.” Also, the higher court refused to hear the case and referred it to the lower court.
  7. His family said that they have learned of judicial attempts to have Badawi retried for apostasy and that it may end up beheading his head for renouncing his religion. Though the human rights are not sure of the claim.
  8. Raif’s wife, Ensaf Haidar was forced to leave Saudi Arabia and move to Canada along with her children after she received anonymous threats.
  9. Badawi expressed his sentiment towards living in a democratic society through his website Free Saudi Liberals until it was shut down by the Saudi authorities. He writes in one of his posts, “You have the right to express and think whatever you want as you have the right to declare what you think about it, it is your right to believe or think, have the right to love and to hate, from your right to be a liberal or Islamist.”
  10. There have been several international awards accorded to Badawi. He was a nominee for 2015 Nobel Peace Prize and for Human Rights and Democracy he was also awarded the Courage award in 2015 in Geneva Summit.

Many people around the world are showing their support to Raif Badawi through different campaigns and protest. The Canadian government also expressed him gratitude with their concern towards his wife and children.

ALSO READ: 2,384 Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Jailed for Minor and Major Offenses

It was not just Badawi, who was victimized for raising his voice. His lawyer, Waleed Abu al-Khair, in July 2014 was also sentenced 15 years in prison for denouncing the human rights abuses of Saudi during his media interviews and in social media. Khair also had an organization that monitored the human rights in Saudi Arabia.

– Prepared by Abhishek Biswas of NewsGram Twitter: @Writing_Desire

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Islamic State War Crimes in Iraq being Investigated: UN Team

The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to establish an investigative team to help Iraq secure evidence of atrocities committed by Islamic State militants "that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide

islamic state
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk toward the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh of Al-Hasakah Governorate (voa)

Iraq, September 22, 2017: The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to establish an investigative team to help Iraq secure evidence of atrocities committed by Islamic State militants “that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.”

Britain, which drafted the resolution, said the team would bring some justice to those who had experienced atrocities at the hands of IS, variously known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh.

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, called the resolution “a landmark” that would “provide an indispensable record of the scope and scale” of IS atrocities.

“This means justice for those people who have been victimized by ISIS,” Nadia Murad, a former IS captive in Iraq, said in a Facebook Live video after attending the council vote with well-known international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

Yazidi survivor and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human trafficking Nadia Murad, center, visits her village for the first time after being captured and sold as a slave by the Islamic State three years ago, in Kojo, Iraq, (VOA)

Clooney represents women of Iraq’s Yazidi minority who were kidnapped and held as sex slaves by IS militants after the terrorist organization conquered large swaths of Iraq in mid-2014.

“It’s a huge milestone for all of those who’ve been fighting for justice for victims of crimes committed by ISIS,” Clooney said in the Facebook Live video. “It says to victims that their voices will be heard and they may finally get their day in court.”

Since then, U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have driven IS from most of the land it had seized in Iraq, retaking all the major urban areas, although the group still controls some pockets in Iraq as well as territory in Syria.

ALSO READ UN Human Rights Chief Urges Iraqi Government to help Victims of Islamic State (ISIS) Sex Abuse

IS fighters have been on the run in Iraq since U.S.-backed Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul, Iraq’s second city and the Islamic State’s former stronghold capital, in July.

Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled the August 2014 massacre in Sinjar, and U.N. rights investigations have documented horrific accounts of abuse suffered by women and girls, such as Murad. About 3,000 women are believed to remain in IS captivity.

But Human Rights Watch criticized the resolution as a missed opportunity by the council “to address war crimes and rights abuses by all sides to the conflict in Iraq.”

“No one denies the importance of tackling the widespread atrocities by ISIS in Iraq, but ignoring abuses by Iraqi and international forces is not only flawed, it’s shortsighted,” said Balkees Jarrah, senior international justice counsel at Human Rights Watch. “The pursuit of justice is essential to all victims who saw their loved ones tortured and killed, or houses burned and bombed, regardless of who is responsible.” (VOA)