Religious hate crime cases have increased in India since Narendra Modi's pro-Hindu government came into power in 2014 while more than 50% victims of these incidents are Muslims.
In a period of nine years, from 2009-2018, as many as 278 religious hate crimes took place in the country in which 99 people were killed and 687 were injured, according to a report in Fact Checker. Muslims, who account for 14% of India's population, were victims in 58% incidents. But if 32 incidents out of 278 where religion of the victim was not reported are kept aside, then the percentage of Muslim victims will touch 66%.
"Muslims--14% of India's population--were victims in 58% incidents. Christians--2% of population--were victims in 15% cases. Hindus--80% of population--were victims in 14% cases. In 12% or 32 incidents, religion of the victim was not reported. Considering only the 246 incidents where the religion of the victims was known, Muslims were victims in 66% attacks, Christians in 17% incidents and Hindus in 15% cases," says the website which has prepared a Citizen's Religious Hate-Crime Watch database in collaboration with Aman Biradari and newsclick.in.
The study revealed that 90 percent of the 254 incidents took place after Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party was elected. But because many religious hate crimes are not reported, the true number of incidents is thought to be much higher.
The research found the majority of the victims were Muslims, while most of the perpetrators were Hindus.
The report says that Uttar Pradesh, country's largest state, has reported the largest number of hate crimes since 2009. In 2018, nearly a third (29%) of hate crimes occurred in the state.
Since May 2014 when BJP came to power at the centre with absolute majority, there has been sharp rise in hate crimes various parts of the country, particularly in BJP-ruled states. Dozens of incidents of lynching in the name of cow smuggling, cow slaughter or beef consumption took place in Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Assam. Some of the incidents, like Dadri (UP) lynching and Alwar (Rajasthan) lynching where Mohammad Akhlaq and Pahlu Khan were beaten to death by a mob respectively hit national and international headlines.
The government of India does not record religious-based hate crimes as separate offenses and so does not provide data on the category. The government does monitor incidents of communal violence such as riots between religious communities and has data that shows such incidents rose 28 percent between 2014 and 2017.Between 2010 and 2013, fewer than 10 cases of hate crimes appeared in English-language media in India each year.
A history of violence
Modi's career has been shadowed by allegations of religious intolerance since 2002, when he, as the chief minister of the state of Gujarat, was accused of failing to do enough to stop Hindu-Muslim riots that killed more than 1,000. For this, he was denied a visa to visit the United States on religious-freedom grounds, making the trip only after he became prime minister in 2014.
In an interview with The Post in 2012, Modi showed little regret for what happened in Gujarat. "I have not done anything wrong," he said, "and I am committed to the human cause."
Now, in a string of incidents, his party members have been accused of supporting or even inciting violence against Muslims, leaving many in the country's Muslim community of 172 million the third largest in the world fearful.
In some of the lynching cases, members of Modi's party or its right-wing affiliates incited or organized the mobs or praised the killers after the fact.
To borrow Rana Ayyub the author of "Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Coverup,":
"Anti-Muslim hate crimes are not just encouraged but also rewarded by those in power. According to a report on hate crimes released by Fact Checker, 76 percent of victims of hate crimes in India over the past 10 years have been Muslims. Ninety percent of these attacks have occurred since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was voted into power in 2014.