Violent attacks against Christians up by 81 per cent since 2020, 505 incidents in 2021
A report by the United Christian Forum says that in the first 45 days of the new year till February 14, 2022 itself, 53 incidents were reported by its helpline number
The number of violent crimes against Christians in the country has risen by 81 per cent to 505 cases from 279 cases in 2020, states a new report from the United Christian Forum. In the first 45 days of the new year till February 14, 2022, 53 incidents were reported by the UCF helpline number.
The Forum said that in 2021, Christians faced the most number of attacks since 2014. Though the data is not exhaustive, the trend shows 127 incidents in 2014, 142 in 2015, 226 in 2016, 248 in 2017, 292 in 2018, 328 in 2019, 279 in 2020, and 505 in 2021. Many of these incidents were reported on the toll-free helpline that the Forum started in 2015.
In 2021, the highest number of attacks was recorded in Uttar Pradesh at 105 cases, followed by Chhattisgarh, where 91 cases were recorded. Karnataka (62), Jharkhand (46), Madhya Pradesh (39), Bihar (30), Tamil Nadu (21) and Odisha (20) followed close behind.
The maximum number of attacks occurred in October (77), September (70) and December (64).
In 2022, the highest number of attacks against Christians occurred in Chhattisgarh (12), Tamil Nadu (10), Madhya Pradesh (8) and Uttar Pradesh (7).
UCF pointed out that in many cases, the victims had to go to the police station multiple times to ensure the FIR was registered.
“In July 2021, a group of 20 aggressive religious extremists attacked 80-90 people praying together in a house. The victims sustained injuries and were warned that they should not conduct religious gatherings. The pastor fled the house to save his life. It took three months to file a complaint with the area SHO, SDM & SP. The law is taking a slow course with little relief in sight for these victims,” it added.
The report underscored that as a result of the upcoming elections, a slew of promises were made by all parties in the fray, but none of them guaranteed protection for minorities.
While India’s Christian community comprises just 2.3% of India’s population per the 2011 census, these issues were not restricted to only the Christian community.
“I appeal to Centre, respective states and minority commissions to look into these reports, conduct appropriate investigation and take action against culprits to send out a message that our country still believes in federal and secular structures so that every person living in this country enjoys full freedom to practice one’s faith freely as guaranteed under Constitution of India,” said AC Michael, National Coordinator of United Christian Forum.
The former Member of Delhi Minorities Commission underscored that there was an urgent need for harmony in the country that would unite people instead of dividing them.
“It is the duty and responsibility of those in power. Leaders in position should think twice if not 10 times before they speak or frame rules to bring about disharmony in the country,” added Michael.