New Delhi: The council on Minority Rights in India (CMRI) released a document on Sunday at the Press Club of India, titled “Religious Minorities in India Report (2021)”. The 236-page report raises concerns over the declining membership status of Muslims, Sikhs, and Christian communities in Indian society.
The report came out as a result of the yearlong effort of the young and independent researchers. The study consists of two parts containing various chapters that discuss the conditions under which the minorities in India are being targeted. It also highlights the role of media including prime-time debates and newspapers with regard to the negative portrayal of minorities. “Two out of the three shows analysed have even broadcasted conspiracy theories against religious minorities,” says the report.
The report observes that out of the total 294 cases of hate, 192 crimes were recorded against Muslims, 95 against Christians, and 07 against Sikhs respectively.
“Law enforcement agencies have played a major role in furthering these crimes in several cases by helping the offenders, overlooking the crimes, and at some instances even detaining the victims. Most of the time the FIRs are not even filed due to a lack of cooperation from the police officials. Lack of accountability mixed with unchecked discretion of power makes seeking justice more difficult.”
Part A of the report includes three chapters and is based on primary data collected and analysed by the researchers. The chapters focus on (a) picturisation of religious minorities in popular channels, (b) documentation and analysis of hate crimes, and (c) patterns of representation of religious minorities in news media.
Part B of the report includes five chapters based on secondary data and personal experiences and weaving important narratives from the last year. The chapters are focusing on (a) the ways in which Christian institutions are being repeatedly targeted by Hindutva groups in India (b) the experience of being Muslim in Indian Universities (c) the persecution of the Sikh Community (d) the patterns of online and offline violence against Muslim Women (e) the nature of hate speech and its aftermath.
“This report is a product of a yearlong effort to document, research and analyse the socio-political status and the personal experiences of minority communities in India. It is a manifestation of an innocent idea of the oppressed charting their own persecution and lived experiences. The initial idea of this report was to prepare a document charting out the persecution of the Muslim minority in the year 2021, but as some of us started researching and carrying out field travels, it was realized that there are interlinked realities of oppression with the Sikh and Christian minority of India – both in terms of the policies by the state, public rhetoric used to systemically otherwise the three communities by politicians and actions taken by non-state actors. Principally, the report is written by young students who are impacted by the deepening divide in the society – with a hope of a better and an equal future in the country,” read a press release issued by the authors of the report.
The work of this report was successfully carried out under the banner of The Council on Minority Rights in India (CMRI). At its core, the foundation of CMRI’s mission is to promote diversity and religious acceptance throughout India. CMRI believes that the acceptance of all faiths and ethnicities is directly linked to the success of India as a sovereign and democratic nation. CMRI strongly believes that the Constitution of India is the leading exemplar of tolerance and inclusivity and commits to ensure its core values are upheld across India.
Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves was the presiding member of the report launch. Other speakers included Adv. Kawalpreet Kaur, student activist Safoora Zargar, and three writers of the report; Nidha Parveen, Sharjeel Usmani, and Tazeen Junaid.
The digital copy of the report is available here: https://www.cmriusa.org/reports/