Skip to main content

India's upper caste animosity towards Dalits and tribals extends to religious minorities: US report raises alarm

By Our Representative
A new report by an Indian-American coalition based in Washington, Alliance for Justice & Accountability, has raised the alarm that that over the last three years of the BJP rule in India, “the ‘upper’ castes’ animosity towards the Dalits and Adivasis” has sharply “extended to Muslims and Christians, who are today India’s second and third largest religious minorities respectively”.
“Endorsed” by the Indian American Muslim Council, the Dalit American Coalition Organization of Minorities from India, TwoCircles, and South Asian Solidarity Initiative, the report, titled “Minority Rights Violations in India”, believes an important reason for this is, “millions of Dalits and other lower castes have chosen to convert in a bid to escape their exploited fate under Hinduism.”
A compilation of “attacks” on minority communities, Dalits and adivasis, as also on dissent, in India over the last three years, the report, believes, India’s caste-based discriminatory system is “akin to apartheid”, with its “concomitant evils like untouchability and religious bigotry” threatening to “exacerbate India’s rapidly widening caste and class divide”, creating “an environment of increasing intolerance towards religious, caste, and gender minorities.”
According to the report, “Millions of Dalit or ‘lower’ castes and Adivasis have suffered centuries of systemic repression, exclusion and stigma at the hands of ‘upper’ castes. The same forces are spearheading India's seemingly relentless drift away from secularism and religious pluralism, especially over the course of the last three years.”
Calling BJP’s victory in May 2014 coming to power of forces which have “openly espoused Hindutva, an ultranationalist ideology marked by extreme animus towards Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities”, the report notes, “While votaries of Hindutva are actually a minority among Hindus, the BJP rode to power on promises of inclusive development.”
“The result”, according to the report, is “brazen” violations of “human rights and religious freedom of minorities” covering “a broad spectrum, from illegal detention, torture and fake encounter killings of detainees to open assault against individuals, their sources of livelihood and in many cases their places of worship.”
“Hundreds of Muslims have been arrested on trumped up charges of terrorism, and have spent several years in prison before being finally acquitted”, the report complains, giving the example of how this is being done through “laws curbing religious conversion, the ban on sale and possession of beef in many states and the curbs placed on NGOs.”
“In all cases, the state has become an enabler of repression, often going to great lengths to defend and normalize the abuse”, it says, adding, “While multiple international bodies have called out the RSS and its affiliates for their violence and extremism, Hindutva's stranglehold on Indian polity continues to tighten.”
Pointing out that “the culture of impunity that has taken hold in India bodes ill for the rule of law, and for India's continued ascendancy on the world stage”, the report insists, “The international community has an obligation to take cognizance of human rights violations in India and to influence the Indian government to take necessary steps to safeguard the rights of Dalits, Adivasis and religious minorities.”

Comments

TRENDING

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

As fear 'grips' right liberals, Arvind Panagariya, too, would be declared anti-national?

By Rajiv Shah
It is surely well-known by now that India's top people in the power-that-be have been castigating all those who disagree with them as "anti-nationals". Nothing unusual. If till yesterday only "secular liberals", and "left-liberals" were declared anti-national, facts, however, appear to have begun surfacing that, now, guns are being trained against those who could be qualified as right liberals, too. Let me be specific.

Indian Muslims' position being 'undermined' by new nationalism gripping the country

By Moin Qazi*
Muslims are the second-largest demographic of India, with nearly 14 per cent of the country’s population, or roughly 172 million people, but they are so marginalised that their presence in important public spheres is almost invisible. Most of them are poor, semi-literate and driven into ghettos.

Australia's centre-right govt 'wakes up' to Islamophobia, swears by multicultural legacy

By Neeraj Nanda*
In an interesting turn, the federal government in Australia, which is led by the centre-right Liberal Party, has slammed incidents of Islamophobia gripping the country, calling them ‘completely unacceptable’. A media statement from David Coleman, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, has referred to a report released by the Charles Sturt University to point towards the danger.

National award winning film 'Hellaro' co-produced by three chartered accountants

By Our Representative
“Hellaro”, a Gujarati feature film produced by Saarthi Productions in association with Harfanmaula Films (Ahmedabad) was declared as the Best Feature Film at the National Film Awards which was conferred by the Government of India. The film also won the Special Jury Award for the Best Actress to all the 13 actresses of the film.
Ashish Patel produced the movie, which has been co-produced three co-producers, Aayush Patel, Prateek Gupta and Mit Jani, all of whom, interestingly, started their filmmaking journey after becoming Chartered Accountants in 2012.
“Hellaro” is directed by Abhishek Shah, who has been working in Gujarati theatre since the past 17 years as writer, director and actor and has received numerous awards for his plays. He has also worked as a casting director for 12 films.
“Hellaro” is a period drama based in Kutch and has been co-written by Abhishek Shah and Prateek Gupta. Gupta previously received the Best Debut Director Award, along with Mit Jan…

Sabarimala: Male devotee nurturing unholy thoughts is 'unfit' to visit Lord Ayyappa shrine

By RB Sreekumar, IPS (Retd)*
The Supreme Court last week, by 3:2 majority, decided to keep the review petitions in Sabarimala matter pending until a larger bench determines questions related to essential religious practices. The majority of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra expressed that the issue whether Court can interfere in essential practises of religion needed examination by larger bench. Justices Chandrachud and Nariman dissented.