Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims continued throughout the year (2018) amid rumors that victims had traded or killed cows for beef, says a State Department’s report.
The report titled – India 2018 International Religious Freedom Report — said the government sometimes failed to act on mob attacks on religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the government.
“Some senior officials of the Hindu-majority Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made inflammatory speeches against minority communities,” reads the report.
The report contends that at least 24 States in the country apply partial to full restrictions on bovine slaughter.
“The ban mostly affects Muslims and members of other Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. In the majority of the 24 States where bovine slaughter is banned, punishments include imprisonment for six months to two years and a fine of 1,000 to 10,000 rupees.”
The reports claimed that there is “religiously motivated killings, assaults, riots, discrimination, vandalism, and actions restricting the right of individuals to practice their religion, beliefs and proselytize.”
The report released by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has quoted Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) data, saying communal incidents in India has increased by 9 per cent from 2015 to 2017, with 822 incidents resulting in 111 deaths and 2,384 injuries in 2017.
“Authorities often failed to prosecute perpetrators of ‘cow vigilante’ attacks, which included killings, mob violence, and intimidation,” added the report.
Citing the example of an eight-year-old Muslim girl from Jammu and Kashmir who was kidnapped, raped, and killed, the report said: “Attacks on religious minorities included allegations of involvement by law enforcement personnel.”
“On January 10, Jammu and Kashmir police arrested eight men, including four police personnel, in connection with the kidnapping, gang rape, and killing of an 8-year-old girl. The men allegedly kidnapped the victim, took her to a nearby temple, and raped and killed her in an effort to drive her nomadic Muslim community out of the area,” says the report.