London: The London-based human rights organization South Asia Solidarity Group (SASG) has launched an online petition urging the UN Special Rapporteur, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye to investigate the growing human rights violation in India, particularly the attacks on religious minorities and Dalits.
“Human rights violations which target religious minorities, specifically Muslims and Christians, and Dalits are occurring on a vast and horrific scale in India today. While violence against Muslim and Christian communities have been increasing since the early 1990s, and upper caste atrocities on Dalits are a longstanding phenomenon, there has been a massive escalation in both since Narendra Modi ‘s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power at the Centre in 2014. Emboldened by the victory of the BJP, Hindu supremacist gangs with links to the ruling party, or in some parts of India directly set up by the state, are the chief perpetrators of these abuses which are occurring unchecked. Below we outline some of the types of extreme violations affecting Muslims, Christians, and Dalits.” Reads the petition.
Giving a catalogue of incidents of lynching of Muslims on the pretext that they had eaten beef, rape of Dalit girls, attacks on Christians and killing of Muslims instigated using the, “baseless trope of ‘love jihad’, according to which Muslim men abduct and have relationships with Hindu women only to convert them to Islam” and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in various parts of India the petition says, “The perpetrators are Hindu-supremacist gangs of so-called Cow Vigilantes. In the vast majority of cases, they have been neither punished nor condemned by the government. Instead, the police have often charged the victims and BJP state governments have given tacit encouragement to the violence by making statements and announcing policies which call for harsh penalties for cow slaughter. Christians are also under attack. Here the scale of violence is demonstrated by the figures for 2016 alone: 10 people were killed and over 500 members of the clergy or community leaders were physically attacked.”
It adds, “There is a horrifying rise in the rapes, mutilation, acid attacks and other forms of violence, often followed by murder, of women and girls of all communities, but Dalit women and girls and those from religious minorities are being specifically targeted. Among recent cases are that of a Dalit schoolgirl raped and killed inside the school premises in Bihar, a Dalit girl gang raped and murdered in Tamilnadu, two Muslim women raped and their relatives killed after being falsely accused of eating beef in Haryana and the gruesome gang rape of the recently buried body of a Muslim woman in UP. In 2016 alone, 34 Christian women including nuns were raped, molested or beaten. Some of the worst violence against Christians is taking place in Chhattisgarh which has long had a BJP government.”
Reads the petition further, “The cases mentioned above are only a small indication of what is now a human rights emergency with religious minorities and Dalits under attack as never before. We call upon you to investigate this escalating situation as a matter of urgency.”
Full petition may be read and signed on here.
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