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Christian Forum demands state mechanism to redress anti-minority violence in India

A. C. Michael (right), national coordinator of the United Christian Forum (UCF) in India called on the Federal Minister of Minority Affairs John Barla (left) on June 16, 2022. (Photo supplied)

A human rights group based in New Delhi on June 16 submitted a memorandum to the federal minister demanding to set up national and state redressal commissions on anti-minority (religious) violence in India.
A. C. Michael, national coordinator of the United Christian Forum (UCF) in India called on the Federal Minister of Minority Affairs John Barla and urged him to find ways to strengthen India’s human rights monitoring mechanisms.
The Forum expressed its anguish at the targeted violence and hostility towards the Christians and other non-Christians face in various parts of India.
“The chronicle of religious intolerance and hatred has swept the country, unfortunately,” moans the Forum, an ecumenical body that monitors atrocities against Christians in India.
The Forum has given a record of a total of 505 incidents of violence against Christians from 21 states in 2021 and 107 incidents since January 2022. 
The memorandum also contains a record of a total of 1,112 incidents of violence against Christians or persons with faith in Jesus in the last three years (2019–2021). 
The majority of these atrocities happened in the states of Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
The memorandum further says, “in almost all incidents reported, vigilante mobs comprising of religious extremists either muscle in a prayer gathering or round up individuals who they believe are involved in forcible religious conversions. With impunity, such mobs criminally threaten, and physically assault such individuals, before handing them over to the police on of forcible conversions. Often communal sloganeering is witnessed outside the police stations, where the police stand as mute spectators.”
The Forum in the memorandum has sought the redressal commissions to be led by retired Supreme Court judges and their members consist of senior members of the Christian community and civil society.
It also demands speedy closure of cases where false has been levied against Christians, for instance in the case of Jesuit tribal activist Father Stan Swamy who died in prison, and many others who face wrongful detention and prosecutions.
The memorandum also demands reconstruction of illegally demolished churches across the country, and appropriate and adequate compensation to Christians and their institutions that are targeted for their religious identity, under the central and state victim compensation schemes.
The memorandum has asked the government to take strict action against vigilante mobs that round up individuals, and trespass on private property belonging to churches, Christians, or persons of other religions who also have faith in Christ. 
It also demands action against those raising communal slogans outside police station premises, on the pretext of forcible religious conversions. It wants the police to conduct a basic preliminary investigation in cases alleging religious conversions before the registration of First Information Reports (FIR).
Installation of CCTV cameras in local police stations across India and registration of FIRs on receipt of complaints by victims of religion-based violence or discrimination, the memorandum further demands. - Atanu Das/RVA Bengali Service 


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