Thursday August 16, 2018
Home Politics Is Modi gover...

Is Modi government responsible for the rising religious intolerance in India?

0
//
450
Republish
Reprint

IMG-20110425-00144

By Anurag Paul

In a few weeks Narendra Modi completes 300 days as the Prime Minister of India. He came into office riding a promise of development. But his term so far has been marred with the rise of incidents against the minorities in the country.

During his term, the incidents of communal violence have gone up, nearly 600 during last eight months. The associates of BJP have become more assertive and the intimidation of the religious minorities has gone up.

“The rape of the 70 year old catholic nun in Bengal two days ago and the vandalisation of a church being built in Hissar in Haryana, not very far from the national capital, New Delhi, are horrific incidents that need urgent intervention by the state governments,” Dr. John  Dayal, spokesman, United Christian Forum for Human Rights told NewsGram.

“What is happening in Pakistan has shocked the world, and the Pope has spoken against the persecution of Christians in that country. India is NOT Pakistan, and it is the duty of the elected governments to assure security.  It is scandalous that in Haryana, the local people are reported to be saying they will not tolerate a church in their locality. Freedom of faith is an important constitutional guarantee  for democracy in India. The community, and in fact any religious community for that matter, have a right to construct a place of worship in conformity with the rules and regulations,” he further added.

THERE WERE ABOUT 150 INCIDENTS OF ANTI-CHRISTIAN VIOLENCE IN 2014, INCLUDING TWO MURDERS.

There is patently a great chasm and disconnect between political pronouncements of religious freedom and protection of institutions and places of worship, and the reality on the ground,  both in cities, town and urban areas and in the villages. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spoke at a Christian meeting reassuring religious minorities of their rights and security, has so far chosen not to comment or even identify the Ghar Wapsi, coercion and hostility to Christian worship and prayer services specially in rural areas in most parts of India. In the absence of a categorical denunciation of such acts, hate speeches and identifying those responsible, these elements who have powerful political support, enjoy immunity from police action.

“The constant attack on Christian minorities in India parallels the attacks on Christian minorities in Pakistan. What is the difference between Pakistan and India, when in both the countries, the Christian minorities are the targets of the majority,” said Father Dominic Emmanuel, Spokesperson, Delhi Church.

“All these incidents only points to targeting minority that is known for its services. Therefore We condemn all such atrocious activities,” he further added.

What happened actually in Hissar, Haryana?- NewsGram Investigation

Subhash Chand was pastoring a church in Kaimri village in Hissar districit of Haryana. Since February, this year they were constantly disturbed by the activists of Bajrang Dal. They used to come, knock the door, jump the wall in order to frighten Subhash Chand and his wife. Since the couple has no children, both of them were silently suffering the oppression. In order the avoid the constant attack by these Hindu extremists, they went for a while to Ambala.

The whole incident of placement of Hanuman idol in the church, theft and vandalisation of church property happened in the absence of the church priest.

Haryana has a BJP government since October last year. Local residents in the village alleged that the priest was trying to construct the church despite the fact that there was no Christian in the entire village.

 Subhash Chand lodged a complaint against 14 people, following which a case was registered by police under sections 147 (Punishment for rioting), 153A (promoting enmity between groups), 295 (destroying, damaging a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class of persons), 380 (theft in a building), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

The idol of Hanuman and the red flag has been confiscated by the Police.

Growing religious intolerance

Religious intolerance is growing ever since this government has come in to power, said Rev. Sunil Sardar, Convener, Satya Sodhak Samaaj Antarrashtriya.

“The ruling government has not been able to control the extremist Hindu groups like Bajrang Dal. Government’s silence on these issues and delayed response is frightening”, he added.

“We call upon the central and state governments to act in unison to identify communal elements, investigate this gang rape and all other cases expeditiously. Law and Order is a State subject,” said Mr Anurag Mishra, Chief Executive Officer, AMMI.

“It is therefore all the more necessary to expeditiously enact a law to prevent communal and targetted Violence.  Such a bill has been on the table of the Parliament since 2005.  Its enactment into law will go a long way in strengthening the secular ethos of India, and peace and harmony across the wonderful God-given diversity of the country.”, he added further.

Mr Dilip Mandal, Former Managing Editor of “India Today Magazine” accepted that the incidents of religious intolerance is the worst form of hegemony in which the quotient of the coercion is very high.

“It is problematic for me because it affects all religious lower caste Hindus, dalits, OBCs,  tribals, women, farmers and all marginalised sections of the society. Such incidents are against the pluralistic democratic ethos of the Indian Constitution drafted by the great visionary of our time, Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar,” he told NewsGram.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

The Other Side of “Hindu Pakistan”

Although, the mainstream parties stay away from nominating Hindus, this time there are many independent Hindu candidates contesting from general seats — mostly from the Sindh province

0
The-Other-Side-of-“Hindu-Pakistan”
The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures.

Sagarneel Sinha

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s remark that India would become a “Hindu Pakistan” if the BJP is elected again in 2019, sparked off a major debate among the political circles of the country. BJP didn’t let the opportunity go by launching a scathing attack on Tharoor and his party for insulting Hindus and Indian democracy, forcing the Congress party to distance itself from its own MP’s comment. Only one year is left for the next general elections and in a politically polarised environment such comments serve as masala for political battles where perception is an important factor among the electorates.

Actually, Tharoor, through his statement, is trying to convey that “India may become a
fundamentalist state just like its neighbour — Pakistan”. Tharoor is a shrewd politician and his remarks are mainly for political gains. The comments refer to our neighbour going to polls on 25 th of this month which has a long history of ignoring minorities where the state institutions serve as a tool for glorifying the religious majority bloc and ridiculing the minorities. This compelled me to ponder about the participation of the Hindus — the largest minority bloc of the country, in the upcoming polls.

There are total 37 reserved seats for minorities in Pakistan — 10 in the National Assembly
(Lower House), 4 in the Senate (Upper House) and 23 in various state legislatures — 9 in the Sindh assembly, 8 in Punjab and 3 each in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Pakistani Hindus, like other minorities have the dual voting rights in principle. But the reality is they have no rights to vote for their own representatives as the seats are reserved — means the distribution of these seats are at the discretion of parties’ leadership. Practically speaking, these reserved seats are meant for political parties not for minorities. In case of general seats, it is almost impossible for a Hindu candidate to win until and unless supported by the mainstream parties of the country. The bitter truth is — the mainstream parties have always ignored the Hindus by hesitating to field them from general seats. In 2013, only one Hindu candidate — Mahesh Kumar from the Tharparkar district won from a general seat, also became the only minority candidate to make it to the National Assembly from a general seat. This time too, he is nominated by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) — a major centre-left party of Pakistan. However, there are no other Hindu candidates for a general seat from the two other significant centre-right parties — former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and cricketer turned politician Imran Khan’s Tehreek-E-Insaf (PTI). Although, there is a Hindu candidate named Sanjay Berwani from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) — a Karachi (capital of Sindh province) based secular centrist party of Pakistan.

Shashi_tharoor
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s remark that India would become a “Hindu Pakistan” if the BJP is
elected again in 2019, sparked off a major debate among the political circles of the country.

The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures. It means that despite the state’s hostile policies, Hindus have been able to remain stable in a highly Islamist polarised society. 90% of the Hindu population of the country lives in the Sindh province. Hindu population in Umerkot,Tharparkar and Mirpur Khas districts of the Sindh province stands at 49%, 46% and 33% respectively — making them the only three substantial Hindu districts of the country. The three districts have 5 National Assembly and 13 Provincial seats. However, Hindus have never well represented from these seats.

Although, the mainstream parties stay away from nominating Hindus, this time there are many independent Hindu candidates contesting from general seats — mostly from the Sindh province. Many of them belong to the Schedule caste — the Dalit community. A recent report based on Pakistan Election Commission’s data says that out of 2.5 lakh women of Tharparkar district, around 2 lakh of them are not included in the electoral list — means that they are not entitled to vote for the upcoming general elections. All over the country, there are about 1.21 crore women voters who will not be able to vote in the elections. The reason is the lack of an identity card. Most of them are poor who are unable to pay the expenses required for an identity card. This has made difficult for independent Hindu Dalit candidates like Sunita Parmar and Tulsi Balani as most of their supporters will not be voting in the upcoming polls. In Tharparkar district, around 33% percent are the Hindu Dalits — brushed aside by the mainstream parties. The reserved seat candidates are based on party nominations, where mainly the upper caste Hindus are preferred. Radha Bheel, a first time contestant and the chairperson of Dalit Suhaag Tehreek (DST), a Dalit organisation, says that the fight is for the rights of the lower socio-economic class and scheduled castes. Sunita, Tulsi, Radha and the other independent Hindu candidates know
that the possibility of winning from the general seats is bleak but for them the contest is for their own identity — an identity never recognised by the political parties and the establishment of Pakistan.