New delhi: In the wake of a massive surge in attacks against Christians in India, United Against Hate along with Association for Protection of Civil Rights and United Christian Forum released a fact-finding report at a press conference held at the Press Club of India.
According to the report, three hundred and five (305) incidents of violence were reported in the nine months of 2021 on UCF toll-free helpline number 1-800-208-4545, a helpline number launched on 19th January 2015 with the aim of helping people in distress, especially those who are not aware of the law of the land and the system by providing them the way to legal remedies and reaching out to public authorities.
September 2021 witnessed the highest number of incidents with 69 followed by 50 in August , 37 in January, 33 in July , 27 in March, April and June, 20 in February and 15 in Month of May. Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh recorded 169 incidents of Violence against Christians in total while 32 such incidents were reported in Karnataka.
Nearly three hundred incidents of mob attacks were reported in these eight months. Twenty-eight (28) incidents of causing damage to the places of worship/churches were reported too. Police or/other concerned authorities disallowed 85 times the assembly of people for religious activities under one pretext or the other. Ten fresh cases were filed under the Freedom of Religion Act this year. The recent one is related to the 3 October attack by over 200 Hindutva workers at a church in Roorkee, Uttarakhand.
Mr. A.C. Michael, National Coordinator of United Christian Forum, defined the term “minority” and addressed how minorities under attack are not allowed to practice their faith. The religious gatherings are attacked and police pressure forces them into silence.
Ms Minakshi Singh, President of Unity in Compassion, pointed out that the Christian community is being accused of carrying out ‘conversions’ on a large scale but numbers state otherwise. Over the years, a reduction in the Christian population has been noted. She pointed out the police atrocities against minorities.
Nadeem Khan, Founder of United Against Hate, compared the state’s attitude towards attacks on minorities in India and Bangladesh. The Indian government is ‘protecting’ these groups as if they belong to a party. He pointed out that this non-responsive government must be questioned.
The fact-finding report by the team noted, in light of the victims’ testimonies, that despite prior complaints by Lance family Roorkee, the police did not provide security to the church and family, at the time of the attack police were informed and calls were made to Civil Lines police station, which is less than a kilometre away from the church but the police team arrived when the violent mob dispersed on its own.
Prima facie attack looked meticulously planned to build a fake narrative of conversion. Breaking of CCTV cameras at the entrance of the prayer hall and taking away the DVR indicate the planning and motive of not leaving evidence behind. The Report records that the daughter of the pastor was molested by a man from the mob while some women slapped and abused her and also snatched her phone away.
The Report also records the testimonies of victims of 89 other incidents of hate crime against Christians like the recent attack of Hindutva mob on Christians in Mau.