On Thursday, the Secretary of the US State Department Antony Blinken released a report at the Foggy Bottom headquarters to allege that the people belonging to the religious minorities in India were under attack and that such attacks continued throughout the year 2021. The attacks included in the report involve killings, assaults, and intimidation.
According to the reports, the US State Department’s annual report to the Congress on international religious freedom released on June 2 listed several incidents of ‘violence’ against minorities in India. It included alleged incidents of ‘cow vigilantism, attacks on religious places and properties owned by Muslims and anti-conversion laws in several states of India’.
The report also accused the Indian authorities of allegedly ignoring the attacks on ‘religious minorities’ and instead accused the country of supporting the ‘rising incidents of attacks on their places of worship’. It further cornered the country for imposing new laws and penalties to curb the forced religious conversions. “Four state governments have laws imposing penalties against so-called forced religious conversions for the purpose of marriage although some state high courts have dismissed cases charged under this law,” the report was quoted.
The Ministry of External Affairs took the cognizance of the report on June 3 and slammed USA for publishing a ‘biased’ viewed report. It stated that vote bank politics was being practised in international relations. “We would urge that assessments based on motivated inputs and biased views be avoided”, said the MEA in its statement.
We’ve noted release of US State Dept 2021 Report on Int’l Religious Freedom & ill informed comments by senior US officials. Unfortunate that vote bank politics is being practiced in int’l relations. We’d urge that assessments based on motivated inputs&biased views be avoided: MEA pic.twitter.com/dI1s4BCX6p— ANI (@ANI) June 3, 2022
“As a natural pluralistic society, India values religious freedom and human rights. In our discussion with the US, we have regularly highlighted issues of concern there, including racially and ethnically motivated attacks, hate crimes and gun violence”, the MEA added.
While mentioning the acts of violence, the report selectively mentioned two such cases from the year 2021 where the victim belonged to either the Muslim community or the Christian community. Firstly, it referred to the case from August 2021 where allegations were made by two Muslim men in Jamshedpur that the police had forced them to strip naked to beat them up during an interrogation.
The second case referred by the annual report to back their claim was from September 2021, when a 14-year-old converted Christian boy from Bihar’s Gaya district died after a Hindu mob allegedly threw acid on him. The report also blatantly mentioned the incidents of alleged ‘hate speech against Muslims’ including the one at a Hindu conclave at Uttarakhand’s Haridwar in December. It accused the Hindu monks and Hindutva politicians of urging the Hindus to take up weapons against the Muslim community.
However, it failed to mention the several incidents when the Islamist leaders openly called for genocide and ‘Jihad’ against Hindus. Several radical Islamists and their apologists who claim to be ‘secular and liberal’ have tried their best to peddle the ‘Dara Hua Musalman’ narrative since the Modi-led government has come to power in India. The basic premise of the ‘dara hua Musalman’ narrative is that the individual Muslim is scared to profess his religion in Modi’s India and is under attack for no other reason but their religion.
Islamist leaders like AIMIM’s Waris Pathan, AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan, AIMIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi, Islamist preacher Zakir Naik, Ittehad-e-Millat Council founder Tauqeer Raza Khan, Congress leader Salman Khurshid, etc have incited Muslims against Hindus on various occasions in India. OpIndia has recorded 15 such instances where mainstream Islamic leaders and clerics, including politicians in India, have openly called for the genocide of Hindus.
It is also notable here that the USA, which has had more than a dozen mass shootings in the last few days, tries to lecture India on issues of human rights and freedom.
India had rejected the US state dept report on religious freedom in 2019
It is important to note that the Ministry of External Affairs in the year 2019 had once rejected the US state department’s report on religious freedom saying that it had no locus standi to pronounce on the state of our citizens constitutionally protected rights. “India is a vibrant democracy where the fundamental rights of all its citizens, including minorities, are protected under the Constitution. We see no locus standi for a foreign entity/government to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights”, the MEA had said.
A report by the US State Department had made similar claims back in the year 2019 saying that ‘mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef.’
“Some senior officials of the Hindu-majority Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made inflammatory speeches against minority communities. The central and state governments and members of political parties took steps that affected Muslim practices and institutions. Proposals to rename Indian cities with Muslim provenance continued, most notably the renaming of Allahabad to Prayagraj”, it had stated.
The BJP then had strongly reacted to the report and had said that the document displayed clear bias against the Modi government and BJP. Reportedly, the document published on June 2 also failed to mention several incidents of violence against the Hindu community, the one in minority in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Several Hindus were murdered by Islamic terrorists in Kashmir in the last few months
In an act of targeted killing in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, Islamic terrorists shot dead a bank employee named Vijay Kumar in the Kulgam district on June 2. The deceased Vijay Kumar hailed from Hanamangarh in Rajasthan and was employed as the Bank Manager of Elaqahi Dehati Bank.
Also, on June 2, two non-local workers were shot at by Islamic terrorists in Magraypora, in the Chadoora area in Budgam district of central Kashmir. One of them succumbed to the injuries while the other remains in a critical state. As per reports, the deceased worker has been identified as Dilkhush Kumar. He was a resident of Arniya village in the Vaishali district of Bihar. Dilkhush was rushed to the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar where he was declared dead on arrival.
Yet another brutal attack by Islamist terrorists on two migrant labourers in Budgam, Kashmir. Both rushed to the hospital. J&K Police says “ascertaining” details. Earlier today a Hindu Bank Manager was killed in Kulgam, Kashmir. pic.twitter.com/J4bWcUawrC— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) June 2, 2022
This is two days after a high school teacher named Rajni Bala was shot by an Islamic terrorist outside the High School in the Gopalpora area of Kulgam on May 31. As reported earlier, Rajni Bala was a migrant teacher and was a resident of Samba district in Jammu.
On May 17, Ranjit Singh, 52, from Rajouri was killed and three others were injured after terrorists lobbed a hand grenade inside a newly opened wine shop in north Kashmir’s Baramulla.
On May 12, two Islamic terrorists killed a young Kashmiri Pandit named Rahul Bhat at Chadoora in Budgam. Bhat was occupied as a clerk in the Tehsildar’s office. He, who worked hard for his survival, was targeted just for being a Hindu. Terrorists barged into his office and opened fire on him at point-blank range.
On April 13, in yet another incident of targeted killing, the terrorists in the Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir fired upon a Kashmiri Hindu named Satish Kumar Singh Rajput. He was a driver by profession and was a resident of Kakran in Kulgam.
#UPDATE Civilian Satish Kumar Singh, a resident of Kulgam, succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. Terrorists involved in this gruesome terror crime will be neutralised soon. Search to track the involved terrorists in progress: Police— ANI (@ANI) April 13, 2022
After the attack, a letter of threat named ‘Letter to kafirs’ had been issued by a terror group named Lashker-E-Islam in the valley. “Leave the valley or face dire consequences”, the letter read giving a final warning to Kashmiri Pandits, migrants and ‘RSS agents’. The letter further stated that Kashmiri Hindus will be killed and sent to hell for disobeying their diktat and nobody including PM Modi or Amit Shah will be able to save them.
On April 4, a Kashmiri Hindu named Bal Krishna who was a Medical Shop Owner was attacked by terrorists in Chotigam, Shopian of South Kashmir. He was injured in his legs and hands and was shifted to the hospital where he succumbed to injuries. Following the attack, two other Bihar labourers, Patlashwar Kumar and Jakku Choudhary were attacked in Lajoora village, Pulwama district. While no one died, both people were severely hurt.
#BREAKING: Kashmiri Hindu Medical Shop Owner Bal Krishan attacked by terrorists in Chotigam, Shopian of South Kashmir. Bullet injury in leg and hand. Being rushed to Srinagar right now. IGP Kashmiri Vijay Kumar confirms. Fourth terror attack in last 24 hours in Kashmir valley.— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) April 4, 2022
On October 6, a 68-year-old man Makhan Lal Bindroo was shot dead at his pharmacy at Iqbal Park in Srinagar in Kashmir. Bindroo was a brave man and was among few Kashmiri Pandit who had refused to leave the valley during the height of militancy in Jammu & Kashmir during the 1990s. Two other civilians were also gunned down by terrorists in two different incidents in the city. All three killings were executed in a similar fashion in quick succession.
In the wake of continued targeted killings of Hindus in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, many of the minority employees have made their minds to leave Kashmir en masse on June 3, giving rise to fears that another exodus, like the one in 1990 is ongoing. Several videos have surfaced on social media showing terrified Hindus preparing to leave the valley.
What more does the US State Department’s annual report say-
According to the reports, the document released by the Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the police in India had allegedly adopted the practice of arresting people other than Hindus for commenting against Hindus or Hinduism in the media or on social media platforms. It highlighted the quotes of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat who had opined that Hindus and Muslims in India had the same DNA and should not be differentiated by religion. “In July, Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the RSS, which is commonly considered to be the ideological parent to India’s ruling party BJP, publicly stated that Hindus and Muslims in India had the same DNA and should not be differentiated by religion,” the report said.
It also commented on the developments of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) and said that many of the faith-based NGOs continued to criticize 2020 amendments. “NGOs, including faith-based organisations, continued to criticise 2020 amendments passed to the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) as constraining civil society by reducing the amount of foreign funding that NGOs, including religious organizations, could use for administrative purposes and adding onerous oversight and certification requirements”, the report was quoted.
As reported earlier, thousands of NGOs in the last several years, have lost their FCRA licence for failing to comply with the rules. In the last 5 years, from 2017 to 2021, licences of around 1900 NGOs or associations registered under the ‘social’ category have been cancelled by the union government for violation of FCRA rules. On January 1 this year, licences of over 6000 NGOs were expired as they had failed to apply for renewal.
It is worth noting that the annual report that was released by the US State Department gives its own perspective to the status and violations of so-called religious freedom across the globe and has separate chapters on each of the countries.