We had recently published a list of all incidents of communally motivated hate crimes. Now, we present an interactive infographic to record all the atrocities committed in the name of misplaced beliefs. It is noteworthy though, that the following information has been compiled using reportage by SabrangIndia, a sister organization of CJP, and is not an exhaustive list of all communal crimes in India in 2021.
Within the map, cities where such hate crimes took place are marked with an "X". The darker the colour of the "X" the more the number of crimes. Therefore, cities with black icons mean these are the places with hate crimes are the most widespread. Meanwhile, the religious symbols (of Islam and Christianity) showcase against which community the crime took place, with crimes also colour-coded as per category.
As per recorded information, five Indian cities alone recorded as many as 17 hate crimes against minority communities. Capital cities like Delhi and Bengaluru recorded the highest numbers of crimes - four incidents in each city. This means that the two cities accounted for 47 percent of the crimes in this category in 2021. Delhi reported two instances of hate crimes against Muslim men and two instances – one each of mob violence and institutional violence against churches. Bengaluru recorded three crimes against Muslims. The third city in this category is Belagavi with three crimes of which one incident was against the Christian community.
Other categories reflected in the map are: police brutality, mob attacks, cow vigilantism, targeting places of worship, threats, individual attacks and clashes. All categories together account for 60 incidents. With 20 instances recorded, mob attacks account for a third of the crimes, more than half of which (11 crimes) are against the Christian community.
Uttar Pradesh recorded the maximum number of places where mob-attacks took place (6), followed by Karnataka. It is noteworthy that one of the crimes listed occurred pan-state. This means there were at least 20 incidents of mob attacks in 2021 as per reported data.
When it comes to police brutality, again UP ranked first with as many as four incidents of crime, two of which occurred in Unnao. All of these crimes were against the Muslim minority. Similarly, extreme violent attacks arising from cow vigilantism were all against Muslim individuals. Two of these crimes occurred in UP while one crime took place in Alwar, Rajasthan. Individual attacks (2) were also focused against the Muslim community.
Interestingly, 87.5 percent of threats against minorities (7 out of 8 crimes) were against the Muslim community with only Satna, Madhya Pradesh recording one crime against Christians. UP recorded half of these crimes, followed by two incidents in Gujarat.
With respect to instances of "targeting places of worship", four crimes were recorded against Muslims and Christians each. Two of these crimes, one against both minority groups, were recorded in Haryana. Lastly, miscellaneous incidents of crime were recorded in cities of UP and Gujarat.
The entire map may be viewed here.
2021: A year of unprecedented communal hate crimes
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Politicians, religious leaders, cult leaders, fanatics, all indulged in speeches peppered with words, some carefully crafted, others more directly targeting Muslims, and Christians as well as anyone they see as the "other". They came, they saw, they spewed hate, and hoped that it would divide, fuel violence, and polarise. Unfortunately, some of those words did hurt as much as sticks and stones, and some others were seen as signaling by those seeking to manifest hate into real time. However, it is important to put those words on record, so history bears witness to the year that was. Here are the most recent ones, the tip of the hate speech iceberg.
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister: "आतातायियों ने इस नगरी पर आक्रमण किए, इसे ध्वस्त करने के प्रयास किए! औरंगजेब के अत्याचार, उसके आतंक का इतिहास साक्षी है। जिसने सभ्यता को तलवार के बल पर बदलने की कोशिश की, जिसने संस्कृति को कट्टरता से कुचलने की कोशिश की! लेकिन इस देश की मिट्टी बाकी दुनिया से कुछ अलग है। यहाँ अगर औरंगजेब आता है तो शिवाजी भी उठ खड़े होते हैं!” (Translation: Terrorists have invaded this city, tried to destroy it! History has borne witness to Aurangzeb’s atrocities and terror. He tried to change civilization with the might of his sword, he tried to crush culture using extreme methods. But the soil of this land is different from that of others. If Aurangzeb comes here, Shivaji stands up to him!)
Tejasvi Surya, BJP’s Member of Parliament, Karnataka: "We should convert the Muslims of Pakistan to Hinduism. We have to prioritise ghar wapsi. Pakistan is included in the idea of Akhanda Bharath. Mutts and temples should take leadership in this regard."
Araga Jnanendra home minister Karnataka: "There are mistakes on both sides. If they were not doing forceful conversion, then they wouldn't be stopping them and creating ruckus. On one hand, yes, fringe elements and on the other hand there are illegal conversions."
Pradipsinh Vaghela, BJP: "Congressmen say that if one Afzal Guru is killed, more will be born. But I am saying that if more are born, we will kill them all!"
Yati Narsinghanand, religious leader from UP: As an organiser of the Haridwar Dharam Sansad on December 19, Narsinghanand announced, “If any youth worker is prepared to become the Hindu Prabhakaran, then before anyone else, I will give him Rs 1 crore… if anyone takes on the responsibility to become the Prabhakaran of the Hindus, I will give Rs 1 crore, and if he continues for one year, I will raise at least Rs 100 crore to give.”
Annapurna, Hindu Mahasabha: "I will raise swords, to save my Hindu dharma, will rip them with my tigress like nails. If we give a call, it will not be Islamic Bharat, Hindu rashtra will be declared… ready to kill 20 lakh of them [Muslims].”
Dharamdas, religious leader from Bihar: "If I was present in the Parliament when PM Manmohan Singh said that minorities have first right over national resources, I would've followed Nathuram Godse, I'd have shot him six times in the chest with a revolver."
Ravindra Narayan Singh,Vishwa Hindu Parishad: "When India was partitioned on the basis of religion, we had given a separate land for Muslims. Ye samjhiye ke hum apne desh se us cancer ko nikalna chahte the (It was akin to removing that cancer from our country). But, unfortunately, this did not succeed."
Keshav Prasad Maurya Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister: "[Muslims are] lungi chaap, jaalidaar topi goondas.They were roaming the streets with revolvers in their hands and threatening businessmen."
Manohar Lal Khattar, Haryana Chief Minister: Offering namaz in open will not be tolerated!
Sadhvi Saraswati of Vishwa Hindu Parishad: Across the world Gau Mata (mother cow) is respected, but in Karnataka, the cow is killed for meat. Such slaughterers have no right to live in this country. Cows are being stolen from the cowsheds of Hindus showing arms. We all should carry swords to save the Gau Mata.
Ashwini Upadhyay BJP leader: One of the organisers of a Hindutva rally called for Muslim genocide with “Jab M***e Kate Jaenge Ram Ram Chillaayenge (Muslims will scream “Ram Ram” while they are hacked to death.) He was arrested, and released on bail. At the ‘Dharma Sansad’ which became a Hindutva ‘hate speech’ conclave at Haridwar, that has now made global news for its calls to violence against Muslims lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay unveiled a “Hindutva” edition of the Constitution saying, “I got a "Bhagwa Samvidhan (Saffron Constitution).”
Kalicharan Maharaj, religious leader: "Elect a staunch Hindu king… When there will be gang-rapes then what will happen to women of your houses (families)...(Mahamurkho) Idiots! The target of Islam is to capture nation through politics. In front of our eyes they had captured in 1947. They had earlier captured Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. They captured Bangladesh and Pakistan through politics."
Wasim Rizvi aka Jitendra Narayan Singh Tyagi: "Islam is a terror cult. [I] chose the holy day of December 6 to convert to Hinduism as on this day, the Babri mosque was demolished in 1992…"
"26 verses of the Quran should be removed… some verses that are used to promote terrorism, violence, jihad."
Kangana Ranaut, actor: "Woh azaadi nahi thi, woh bheek thi. Aur jo azaadi mili hai woh 2014 mai mili hai (That [India’s Independence in 1947] wasn’t freedom, that was alms. We got real freedom in 2014.)”
Ranaut also allegedly labelled the Sikh Community as ‘Khalistani Terrorists’.
Mar Joseph Kallarangatt, Bishop of Pala diocese: "Non-Muslims are being targeted with 'Narcotic Jihad' in Kerala, drugs used to lace soft drinks and juices to make non-Muslims addicts."
Ajju Chauhan of Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Bajrang Dal: "Santa [Claus] does not come bearing any gifts, his only goal is to convert the Hindus to Christianity. If this is not stopped, then there will be agitations at missionary schools…. If any missionary is found doing this, the Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad and Rashtriya Bajrang Dal will take strict action against him."
Narendra Singh Pahari, Politician: "Christianity is not acceptable here. We are not disrespecting Jesus Christ but we want to tell the future generations to remember him if they want and do it legally but not fall for attempts of religious conversion. It can destroy Indian culture."
DG Vanzara, Ex-IPS officer: "India be declared a Hindu rashtra by establishing dharma satta (reign of religion). Till India remains a secular state, Hindus will never be able to become owners of this country like Christians and Muslims, who have their own countries, which are ruled according to their religion… Even in a state like Gujarat, Hindus are not safe."
Suraj Pal Amu, Karni Sena, BJP spokesman: "If India is our mother, then we are the father of Pakistan, and we will not give houses here on rent to the Pakistanis [meaning Muslims]… Remove them from this country. If you want to make history in this country, if you don’t want to become history, neither will Taimur be born, nor will Aurangzeb, Babur, Humayun be born. We are 100 crore, and they are 20 crore."
Rakesh Kumar Pandey, Associate Professor, Delhi University: "Love planned to help spread your religion is 'Love Jihad' and Marks distributed to help spread your ideology is 'Marks Jihad'."
Ayush Sinha, Sub-District Magistrate: "Split open the skulls of any person [Farmers] who tries to cross the barricades."
Image: Washington Post
2021 saw a surge in hate crimes against religious minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians. However, India does not possess an independent, comprehensive yet authoritative, or statutory database of the quantum and kind of hate crimes that have taken place across the country. Here, we have tried to compile a list of such hate crimes based on media reports and compilations by other organisations.
The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) records over 305 cases of attacks on Christians until November end alone. There is some other data available but the actual picture is always hidden behind these figures. It is only through the painstaking documentation of such incidents that take place in the farthest corners across states that we are able to get a semblance of how widespread these incidents have become. Tragically, often it is the “viral” video on social media up-loaded and shared by the perpetrators themselves that are the source of such “data.”
The law not only forbids such incidents but encourages fair investigation and prosecution of these. However, rarely do the police or law enforcement act, even more rarely do the courts initiate suo motu action.
Since 2014, India has seen the sinister phenomenon of hate speech being perpetrated by those who hold positions of power, when they take an oath under the Indian Constitution committed to equality, dignity and non-discrimination. This has ensured an impunity for the hate offenders whether through speech or targeted attack. CJP and Sabrangindia are committed to not just exposing this hate speech but to empowering citizens to countering hate through our Peace Mapping programme: Hate Hatao, Desh Bachao.
Here’s a list of the shameful hate attacks of 2021:
Attacks on Muslims
November 15: A ‘purification’ ritual was carried out in Vastrapur lake garden, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, reportedly by members of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), at a park where namaz had been offered. Claiming credit was the Gujarat VHP, and its secretary Ashok Raval, who said, “VHP workers reached the garden to 'purify' the place. They chanted mantras and sprinkled 'Ganga jal'.” Raval said that this ‘purification’ ritual was done "to create awareness among masses" and claimed that "a casual namaz eventually results in claim being staked on that piece of land."
October-December 2021: Every Friday in the past few months have been marred by fringe groups in Gurugram disrupting Namaz or Friday prayers which had previously been going on peacefully. Community elders say Muslims of Gurugram are being denied their constitutional right to practice their religion.
The Hindutva groups have been protesting Friday namaz in open public spaces in Gurugram since 2018. It was in the same year that the city administration had designated 37 sites for Muslims to perform the Friday prayers. However, in November this year, the number of sites was cut down to 20 after members of the right-wing outfits continued to protest and disrupt prayers. The Muslims, however, have maintained that they were forced to use public spaces since there were not enough mosques in the city. “There is no provision made in the town planning for mosques,” said Md Adeeb adding that Gurugram has expanded and even then, Muslims have not been provided the space to build a mosque. A Contempt petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by a former MP, Mohammad Adeeb, against Haryana Government for its failure to stop ‘fringe’ elements from disrupting Friday namaz.
Early December: Bengaluru police reportedly suspended a sub-inspector named Harish KN attached to the Byatarayanapura police station for allegedly assaulting and forcing Tausif Pasha, a 23-year-old Muslim man in custody, to drink urine. Tausif said that three constables including Harish hit him “with a cricket bat at least 30 times and when I asked them for water to drink, they made me drink urine. They also cut my beard. I begged them not to do so as it was part of my faith, but they said this (police station) was not a religious centre. They also made me clean the police station.”
December 2: A Muslim man identified as Salman alleged his “hand was amputated” after the injuries sustained during his “torture in police custody” got severely infected. Salman was detained in connection with a car battery theft case for three days in the Varthur police station after he was “picked up by the police” on October 27. He had to undergo a surgery at a private hospital in Bengaluru for amputation of his right arm as it was “infected after he was allegedly beaten severely in police custody.”
November 8: 22-year-old Altaf was taken into police custody by Kasganj police and 24 hours later police claimed that he strangled himself by tying a string of his jacket to a 2 feet high tap. Altaf was accused of kidnapping a Hindu girl but she later came forward before a Magistrate and claimed that Altaf had promised to marry her.
August 6: In Sonarpur, South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, Bengali Muslim police constable Suraf Hossain was beaten up when the cops came looking for his uncle. When Suraf asked for a warrant, they assaulted him, dragged him out of the house and thrashed him. His wrists were tied to his waist, and he had been stripped naked. Taniya Parveen, the victim’s wife, was pregnant at that time and has since been reported to have suffered a miscarriage after physical assault on the couple. According to the family, they were attacked by policemen they identified to DC as “Somnath Das, Piya Sen and "thirty" others from Sonarpur PS.”
May 27: A 42-year-old man in Bulandshahr was allegedly thrown off the roof of his house by the police when they made a visit to his house after midnight with respect to a case of illegal slaughter. Mohammad Aqeel Qureshi’s eight-year old daughter, Summaiya states that she was on the terrace when the incident took place, and claims that the police asked her father for money and when he refused, they started beating him up with pistol butts, and then held him by his legs and flung him off the terrace.
May-end: A 17-year-old Muslim vegetable vendor succumbed to injuries inflicted by Unnao police as they thrashed him mercilessly in police custody. In this regard, two police constables were suspended. The boy was selling vegetables outside his house in Bangarmau town in Unnao, when he was picked up by the cops, taken to the local police station and allegedly assaulted.
May 21: A 17-year-old boy fell victim to allegedly, custodial torture which was claimed by Bangarmau Police, Unnao, UP as a case of heart attack. The post mortem report showed that Faisal Hussain died of head injury and that there was severe injury behind Hussain’s ear and at least 12 contusions on his body. He was picked up by police and accused of violating Covid norms. The three police officials identified as Constables Vijay Choudhary and Seemavat, and Home Guard Satya Prakash have been charged with murder, and suspended.
May 17: Wasim Khan, a 29-year-old man residing in Delhi’s Chhatarpur area was allegedly brutally thrashed and beaten up by police officials of Fatehpur Beri Police Station when they took him to record his statement in a complaint made by him on 100 helpline number. Khan had dialed 100 from his phone to complain about a fight that had broken out in his neighbourhood which seemed to have got out of control. “It was my first time calling the police,” Khan said, adding, “I never dreamed they would treat me like this.”
November 29: It was reported that some Kashmiri men selling winter essentials and migrant workers were forced to chant 'Jai Shri Ram' and 'Pakistan Murdabad' and four of them beaten up mercilessly in Jharkhand. One of them filed a complaint that in Ranchi's Doranda area a mob of around 25 people attacked him and other Kashmiri traders and forced them to chant ''Jai Shri Ram'' and ''Pakistan Murdabad''.
November 28: Md. Adil, a mentally challenged 22-year-old man was brutally beaten up when he wandered into a neighbouring village in the Idgah Mohalla in Simdega, Jharkhand by mistake. The attackers allegedly threw his cap on the ground and pulled his beard. Adil was then beaten and could barely talk as he recalled that a group of men had attacked him in the area known as Thakur Toli. Adil’s brother Yusuf Ansari told The Telegraph that on November 28, his brother had discontinued his medicine, and on the fateful day had gone for evening namaz at the nearby mosque.
November 12: A bandh was called by Raza Academy to protest the alleged persecution of Muslims in Tripura and another bandh the following day Hindutva groups, were anything but peaceful. Shops and vehicles owned by members of the minority community were set on fire in Rajkamal chowk in Amravati. According to police, they were grossly outnumbered when a mob of over 6,000 members and supporters of Hindutva groups such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajarang Dal, along with many local leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), arrived at the location and started targeting shops and establishments owned by members of the Muslim community.
October-end: A Muslim couple’s chicken shop was vandalised in the outskirts of Belagavi city, Karnataka on the same day as a temple opening was scheduled. The incident took place on October 8. However, it came to light only after a video went viral. The police, however, refused to register an FIR in the matter and instead effected a “compromise” between them and the attackers, even though the couple insisted on police taking action. Hasan Sab and his wife Afsana Hasan Sab Khureshi own the shop in Yamunapur which is 6 kms from the city of Belagavi. A ring-wing group had demanded that meat shops be closed in the area and accordingly the couple had closed the shop by 11 A.M. A few days after the incident, the shop owners were injured in a hit-and-run incident.
October 20: During Navratri festival, right-wing groups such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) put up posters in Madhya Pradesh outside Garba venues saying “entry of non-Hindus is prohibited.” Curfew was imposed in Sendhwa city of Madhya Pradesh’s Barwani district, after communal clash erupted over the alleged presence of 10-year-old Muslim boy on October 13. Barwani Police said, “A dispute erupted when a Muslim boy was spotted at a garba venue in the Moti Bagh locality. This was objected by a Hindu teenager who had had a previous tiff with the Muslim boy’s family. Heated arguments turned into a brawl which got worse as adults got involved in the fight which saw stone pelting as well.” In Ratlam as well VHP had put up such posters saying “entry of non-Hindus is prohibited” claiming that non-Hindu men indulge in objectionable activities and thus their entry is being prohibited for Garba. In Indore, four youths were arrested for creating “public nuisance” after members of Bajrang Dal caught them outside a Garba organised by the city’s Oxford College on October 10.
October 10: In Paldi area of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, two teenage Muslim boys were seriously injured after being attacked by a mob. The attack took place on October 10. The father of one of the victim’s said that the two boys were attacked merely because “they were wearing kurta pajama and a skullcap,” that identified them as Muslim. “They thrashed them so brutally. Umar is still unconscious and Khizar is unable to talk due to the trauma” said the father, adding that Umar’s hand was twisted while he was “repeatedly attacked on his head”. The teenagers were reportedly just returning home on their scooter, from their classes at a Madrasa, when they were attacked.
October 9: A mob armed with iron rods attacked a Muslim family after they refused to move away from the Hindu dominated village called Pewday village, Kampel area of Indore city of Madhya Pradesh. The family of blacksmiths is said to be the only Muslim family in the village, and had moved to the area two years ago. However, the police filed an FIR against the family of 8 instead. Ehtesan Hashmi, a Sureme Court lawyer met with the family and got an FIR registered against the mob attack. “This is not the first time that the Indore police is trying to protect the accused. The police acted in the same manner in bangle seller Tasleem Ali’s case,” said Hashmi.
September 9: Samir Chaudhary, 22, a resident of Shamli in Uttar Pradesh was beaten with sticks and rods by several men allegedly for his Muslim identity. However, the police made a public statement on social media and said the killing was not a communal lynching as alleged but was a result of an altercation fed by a “dispute”. The victim’s family has told the media that he was “lynched to death by Hindutva militants on Thursday evening, while he was returning home from work”. According to a report in Maktoob, Samir’s Cousin, Pravej claimed the assailants attacked Samir for his “Muslim identity” and thrashed him with “sticks and iron rods and killed him”.
August 22: A bangle seller belonging to the Muslim community was beaten up by a mob, Govind Nagar area of Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The video clip of the mob beating up the 25-year old youth identified as Taslim went viral on social media. The State Home Minister Narottam Mishra told reporters that the man was selling bangles to women by posing as a Hindu and eventually a case was registered against the young man, who was a victim of the mob assault.
Early September: A mob marched into Purani Basti police station in Raipur and attacked a Christian pastor who was called by the police for allegations of forcible conversion. “Dharm badal ne waalon ko… joota maro s**lon go… jai jai sree Ram,” chanted the angry mob. The pastor was abused, assaulted and also hit with slippers and shoes.
May 16: In Haryana’s Nuh district 27-year-old Asif Khan, who was a gym instructor, was allegedly abducted, and then beaten to death. It is alleged that he was shot as well and his cousins who accompanies him were also severely injured. His family claims that the men made Asif say ‘Jai Shree Ram’, and abused him with communal slurs. The police claimed that Asif was “attacked by some people from his own village and that they had a long-running tiff.”
March 16: A 26-year-old man identified as Mubarak Khan, was tied to a pole and beaten to death for allegedly stealing a tyre of a motorcycle in Maheshpur village, Sirka Panchayat of Ranchi District, Jharkhand. The complaint states that Mubarak was beaten up by 20 identified and 25 unidentified persons and Tabarak mentions that one Saheb Ram Mahato had threatened Mubarak a few days prior to the incident. Mubarak is survived by three children. To earn a living he used to drive a bread container for deliveries.
September 28: In Mathura, two Muslim men were thrashed by self-appointed right wing cow vigilantes because the ‘gau rakshak’ or vigilante cow protection groups suspected that they were allegedly ferrying banned bovine meat. But the police in turn imposed fine on the two victims, Ayub and Mausim. after the police rescued the victims from further attacks by the lynch mob, they were taken to hospital and later arrested.
September 12: A 17-year-old boy was killed at the Rajasthan-Haryana border, under the jurisdiction of the Chupanki police station area in Bhiwadi, Alwar. The victim, Sabir Khan, was reportedly hit by a vehicle driven by ‘cow vigilantes’ who were chasing a truck they suspected was smuggling bovines. The family has alleged that the teenager was killed intentionally, as he was merely standing on the roadside.
June 4: One man was killed while 6 were injured in an attack where it was suspected they were smuggling cows. In Mathura district’s Tumaula village in UP, Sher Khan alias Shera (55) was shot dead, and six of his associates were injured in an attack by a group of villagers of Tumaula village who had gotten information that these men were smuggling cows. The Additional SP told mediapersons that two injured men said “they were transporting the cows from Aligarh to Mewat in Haryana”. Police claimed that two of the injured had a “history of cattle smuggling.”
May 23: Mohammed Shakir, a meat seller and transporter in UP’s Moradabad was mercilessly thrashed with a big stick by someone who calls himself a "gau rakshak” or a vigilante cow ‘protector on May 23. The victim is being held by the collar by two others while scores watch the attack in silence, till the victim collapses under the blows. While the police did register a case against the assaulters, they also filed a counter case, against the victim, and charged him of 'mischief by killing an animal' and also arrested him while his attackers were not arrested.
October 20: Two people were injured when people from two religious groups pelted stones at each other in Sankisa, a Buddhist pilgrimage site in Uttar Pradesh. Buddhist pilgrims were celebrating second day of their Dhamma yatra by hoisting their flag near the stupa at Sankisa which eventually resulted in the breaking of a kalash of the Mata Bisari Devi temple; which then resulted in stone pelting between the two groups.
May 23: A communal clash took place at the Nava Bandar village, at Una taluka of Gir Somnath, Gujarat as there was an altercation over collision of two fishing boats at a jetty in the village. The situation escalated and the mob grew to 2,000 persons. Members of the two communities allegedly hit each other with sticks, swords, iron and plastic pipes, and also hurled stones and empty glass bottles. It was reported that even the police were attacked by the crowds when they attempted to intervene.
Incitement through Hate Speech
November 24: An aspiring Hindutva leader Rajeev Brahmarshi announced on his Facebook page that “Weapons will reach every corner of #Hindustan,” claiming that he had started the supply in November for Bengaluru. “I have started sending weapons to every house of my Hindu brothers in every corner of the whole of India. There is a weapon in the hands of my deities, keep weapons in the temples,” claims Rajeev Brahmarshi. He claims to be leading an organisation named ‘Hindu Putra Sangathan’.
Targeting places of worship
November 23: A young man, Jeet Vashisht, Claiming to be a member of Bajrang Dal leads Hindutva mobs that vandalised an Islamic shrine in Ballabgarh and set its books, drapes, amulets and other items they found ablaze. He puts up videos of these acts. In the videos Vashishth has recorded, he and his ‘colleagues’ are heard saying that there was ‘magic’ being performed at the mazaar, and ‘sex medicines’ that allegedly render ‘Hindu men impotent’ were kept. The two onlookers they asked denied seeing any ‘evil’ activities that the Hindutva group accuses Muslims of conducting at the shrine.
October 22: Right-wing mobs reportedly vandalised as many as six mosques in Tripura, claiming it to be retaliation for the anti-Hindu violence in Bangladesh. Reportedly, over a dozen of houses and shops belonging to Muslims were vandalised by Hindutva groups like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal across Tripura which then led to imposition of section 144 across the state. Mosques in Krishnagar, Dharmanagar, Panisagar, Chandrapur were allegedly also been attacked and desecrated. The Tripura High Court also took note of the violence and directed the government to file affidavits dealing with preventive measures they had taken.
October 19: Men belonging to Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) sat down and sang Hindu bhajans in Bairidevarkoppa Church in Hubli, Karnataka, and alleged that the church authorities were “conducting forced religious conversions”. They sat at the back of the church, without masks and repeatedly chanted “Sri Ram jai Ram jai jai Ram”.
October 14: Reportedly, Roza Rozi dargah, a 15th century Sojali monument along the banks of Vatrak river in Kheda district was desecrated by lighting lamps in the Dargah. A group allegedly belonging to Bajrang Dal people “lit lamps in the Dargah” and “worshiped with idols” and even young boys are seen in the video dancing in the courtyard outside the main structure, stated social media users. Some alleged that there were police personnel present but did not intervene.
October 5: A Muslim dargah named Hazrat Bheda Peer Dargah Sharif, was reportedly vandalized in Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh by around two dozen masked men belonging to a Hindutva group. The attackers used explosives, damaging the structure, and also injured its caretaker, Khadim Noor Shah. The shrine was partially damaged in the attack. Reportedly, the mobsters “left a pamphlet that threatens to kill nearby Muslims” if the tomb is rebuilt.
May 22: Gareeb Nawaz Masjid that had existed peacefully in Ram Sanehi Ghat, a city in Barabanki, in Uttar Pradesh was demolished by the district administration in violation of a High Court order that had said no action was to be taken till the end of May. While the district administration continues to maintain that the mosque was an “illegal construction”, it is on the records of the Sunni Central Waqf Board documents as 'Tehsil Masjid' for the last six decades.
Early November: A video went viral of a man named Naresh Kumar Suryavanshi, who was seen threatening a Muslim biryani seller in Delhi’s Sant Nagar area. He threatened the shopkeeper for opening his biryani shop on Diwali. The accused reportedly introduced himself as Naresh Kumar Suryavanshi, and said he was a member of the right-wing organisation, Bajrang Dal. He reportedly told the workers of the shop that “Sant Nagar is a Hindu area” and goes on to threaten them from opening the shop on “any Hindu festival” else he will “set the shop on fire.” As expected, the scared workers shut the biryani shop down. The video was purportedly shot on November 4.
November 2: In Aligarh, a Muslim vendor, Mohammad Amir, was allegedly attacked and forced to chant “Jai Sri Ram” by a father and son duo. According to a report in The Telegraph the victim’s relatives said the accused have “had a history of intimidating members of the minority community” in the area. The victim is a resident of Silla while the accused live in adjoining Nangla Khem in Harduaganj in Aligarh.
October 26: A clip was shared on social media of a Hindutva mob, in Anand, Gujarat, raising slogans calling for an attack on Muslims and calling them traitors. The Hindutva mob, that includes women, can be seen and heard shouting slogans and posing for photos for cameras outside what is reportedly a Muslim-owned business. They are also threatening Muslims with slogans such as, “If you want to stay in India, you will have to say Jai Sri Ram."
October 25: A group of right-wingers arrived at a Catholic school in Madhya Pradesh, demanding the school install an idol of goddess Saraswati on the campus. Over 30 people claiming to be from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal demanded that Father Augustine Chittuparambil, manager of Christ Jyoti Senior Secondary School in Satna district headquarters, accept their memorandum and act as instructed. The group claimed that the school was built “where the idol of goddess Saraswati existed.”
October 18: It was reported that a group of goons forced a young woman to remove her Burqa, in Islam Nagar, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The group believed that the man she was riding with was a Hindu. The video shows some people standing near the man and woman, forcing the woman to remove her burqa. One gang member said, “Aap burqa utariye, aap humari qom ko badnaam karr rahe hai” (Remove your burqa, you are bringing disrepute to our community).
October 14: Yati Narsinghanand “caught” a 10 year old Muslim boy and intimidated him in the Dasna temple premises in UP. The minor boy had landed in the premises accidentally. Yati handed him over to the police. The boy told police that he had come to the area to visit his pregnant sister-in-law admitted to the community health centre (CHC) adjacent to the temple. Yati released a video in which he claimed, “Ye hamle ki tayari hai (this is in preparation of an attack)”. He further claims that the minor boy came to the temple to conduct a “recce” and states that “nobody has slapped the boy or anything”.
October 5: A mob of nearly 3,000 people, reportedly led by Hindutva outfits, marched the streets of Kawardha town in Chhattisgarh’s Kabirdham district, wielding swords and lathis. The mob also allegedly, attacked houses and vehicles of people from “another community” and pelted stones on police personnel. Social media showed that the ‘other community’ under attack were Muslims. Curfew was then imposed in the town.
September 17: A Muslim woman and a Hindu man who were riding together on a bike were allegedly assaulted and harassed by two men in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The Hindu man was merely dropping off his Muslim colleague to her home when they were stopped by two men and questioned the woman why she was traveling with a Hindu man in “the kind of times we live in”.
August 11: Unknown goons from an extremist right-wing outfit, Kranti Sena, were allegedly seen conducting a “checking drive” in Muzaffarnagar, UP and appealed to people to not allow Muslim men to apply mehendi on the hands of Hindu women as they indulge in ‘love jihad’.
December 13: Rahul Khan, a Muslim resident of Rasoolpur village in Haryana's Palwal was hacked to death by his ‘friends’ Kalua,Vishal, Akash and some others. They came to Khan’s home at Rasoolpur on December 13 and took him out ‘demanding a treat’ from him. The next day on 14 December, Akram, Rahul’s brother-in-law, received a call from Kalua informing him that Khan met with an accident. Khan died on December 15 and a few days later, police arrested Vishal and Akash, and another man. “In the video, the attackers can be heard saying ‘Hum Hindu Hain Hindu, Tu Mulla Hai Mulla,” while attacking Khan mercilessly. “They hacked him with an axe… they were his friends once,” Akram recalled.
October 20: Madhu Sharma, ‘national religion incharge’ of a right-wing outfit called the Rudrasena was seeing assaulting a Muslim man in a crowded train. “We will kill you next time you touch a Hindu woman,” screamed the woman and nobody in the train intervened as the victim kept begging his innocence saying “Maine to dekha bhi nahi (I didn't even look)". Meanwhile, the woman screams, “I will kill you. Touch my feet,” as she continues to slap him. The video was proudly shared by many on social media. In her Facebook bio, she claims to be a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker and has been associated with many right wing outfits such as the Karni Sena.
August 15: Three people allegedly intimidated and physically assaulted a Muslim man who attempted to celebrate Independence Day in Bagpat’s Ranchad village in UP. The accused also tore apart the tricolour the man was trying to hoist during the incident and issued him death threats.
March 25: One Ajay Goswami was arrested by the police for assaulting a Muslim man and forcing him to chant Pakistan Murdabad (down with Pakistan) slogans in Khajuri Khas area of North East Delhi. After the gruesome video went viral on social media, the North East Delhi Police took cognisance of the matter.
March 13: One Shringi Yadav was arrested by Ghaziabad Police in March for assaulting a minor Muslim boy as he entered Dasna temple in UP in search for water. Yadav was shot on video as he kept slapping the boy, twisted his arm and dropped him to ground and started kicking him all over. The boy in a muffled voice kept pleading “paani peene aaye the uncle”.
Attacks on Inter-Faith Marriages
September 28: In a case of inter-faith love affair gone awry, the parents of a Hindu girl who fell in love with a Muslim boy, reportedly hired a hitman from the right-wing outfit Sri Rama Sena Hindustan to kill 24-year-old Arbaz Aftab Mullah. The young man's body was found decapitated on the railway tracks in Belagavi, Karnataka on September 28. The police confirmed that their investigations showed that the girlfriend's family hired Pundalik Mutgekar for Rs 5 lakh to kill Arbaaz due to his interfaith relationship with their daughter, which was public knowledge in Khanapur for the past year.
September 16: Karnataka based Hindutva group Hindu Jagarana Vedike assaulted and manhandled a Muslim journalist who had gone to cover a protest organised by the group. The Hindu Jagarana Vedike members had given a call to protest “the demolition of temples, especially the Adishakti Mahadevamma temple at Huchgani village in Nanjangud taluk.” However, they turned on and assaulted journalist Mohammed Safdar Kaiser, the chief editor of Urdu daily, The Daily Kausar who was recording the “confrontation of MLA SA Ramadas by the protesters”. A week prior, the Hindu Jagarana Vedike reportedly, raided the Karkala Pragathi church in Udupi, alleging that the priests are involved in a conversion racket.
Attacks on Christians
December 25: A Christmas celebration was disrupted in Kurukshetra, Haryana when right-wing zealots who while shouting slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ took over. They entered the venue and made their way to the state, and started playing Hanuman Chalisa on loudspeakers, even as hapless local Christians looked on in shock and disbelief.
December 25: A group claiming to be members of the Bajrang Dal “stopped Hindus from celebrating Christmas” in Assam’s Silchar. They reportedly also manhandled non-Christian revellers at the town’s Presbyterian Church near the Cachar district police headquarters, according to news reports. A man named Rangirkhari claiming to be local leader of Bajrang Dal said they have nothing against Christians but Hindus cannot go against their dharma “to sing Merry Christmas instead of observing ‘Tulsi Divas’.”
December 24: Effigies of Santa Claus were burnt near St John's College in Agra, Uttar Pradesh by a mob reportedly comprising members of the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal. They set the effigy of Santa Claus ablaze while shouting “Santa Claus Murdabad”, and claimed this was a protest against “using the ruse of Santa Claus during Christmas.” They claimed "using the ruse of Santa Claus during Christmas" was an alleged attempt to convert Hindus.
December 24: In Chandmari district of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, a right-wing group carrying saffron flags raised the “Jai Shri Ram” slogan outside the Matridham Ashram just before a Christmas event was due to take place. The group also chanted ‘Dharmantran band karo’ (stop conversion), ‘Church murdabad’ (death to the church) and ‘Isai missionariyo hosh mein ao’ (Christian missionaries come to your senses) as seen in the video shared on social media by Dr Anoop Shramik, a Dalit rights activist. The mob also blocked the road for about half an hour.
December 24: Christmas celebrations at a school in Karnataka's Mandya district were interrupted by a right-wing group who forced their way in and threatened the school authorities
December 23: A group of men reportedly led by Narendra Singh Pahari, who had contested assembly elections from the Pataudi constituency, Haryana as an independent candidate, barged into a private school and disrupted their Christmas carnival. This incident took place at a Christmas carnival at Narhera village in Gurugram’s Pataudi town, organised by a group called House Hope Gurugram. They chanted "Jai Shri Ram (long live Lord Ram)" and "Bharat Mata Ki Jai (hail mother India)" and reportedly warned the students and staff saying, "Christianity is not acceptable here.”
December 13: Ahead of a sitting of the winter session of the Karnataka state Assembly, there were incidents of targeted acts against Christians in the state. In mid-December, a group of right-wing miscreants set Christian religious books ablaze in Kolar, while in Belagavi, a man entered a church armed with a machete. In Kolar, when a group of local Christians were going door-to-door as part of a preaching drive in Srinivasapura in Kolar district on Saturday, some members of right-wing groups set Christian religious books ablaze. The right-wing group was alleging conversions by the church.
December 6: A mob swearing allegiance to the Bajrang Dal, barged into the St Joseph School in Ganj Basoda town of Vidisha district, around 105 km from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh pelted stones at the school building claiming religious conversion of students. The dangerous violence took place while the students of Class 12 were sitting for a mathematics exam, reported NDTV. Luckily the children were not hurt and had a narrow escape along with the school staff.
November 28: During Sunday prayers members claiming to be from the Bajrang Dal gathered as a mob chanting ‘Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maro s***on ko (shoot the traitors)’ outside a Church in Matiala village, in the Dwarka area of West Delhi. When church members went to lodge a complaint, they were asked by the police to wait until 6 P.M. However around 6 P.M, Hindutva group members returned to the Church and “started abusing” the worshipers and while they headed to the police station for the second time some alleged Bajrang Dal members attacked their cars. While no one was hurt the car windows were broken.
November-end: In Belur, Hassan district, Karnataka, a group of men claiming to be members of the Bajrang Dal disrupted worship at a Christian prayer hall, as seen in a video that went viral on social media. They reportedly stopped the Sunday worship service mid-way and forced people out of the prayer hall. According to news reports, the Belgavi Police had issued a 'friendly warning' telling Christians to avoid prayer meetings, for fear of being attacked by right-wing groups.
November-end: In another incident, Men belonging to Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) sat down and sang Hindu bhajans in the Bairidevarkoppa church in Hubli, and alleged that the church authorities were “conducting forced religious conversions”. The group of men all belonging to right wing groups, allegedly forced their way into the church on a Sunday morning. They sat at the back of the church, without masks and sang a bhajan, rather repeating the chant “Sri Ram jai Ram jai jai Ram”.
October 10: Sister Gracy Monteiro, a school principal, who belongs to the Mirpur Catholic Mission, her colleague Sister Roshni Minj, and their driver were attacked by a right-wing vigilante mob while boarding a bus to Varanasi from Mau, Uttar Pradesh. The mob was reportedly a part of Hindutva groups such as the Hindu Yuva Vahini. On the same day a prayer service was disrupted by a Hindutva mob, some of whom claimed to be activists of Bajrang Dal as well as Hindu Yuva Vahini. They forced the Christian worshipers, including the priest to the police station, accusing them of conversion.
March 19: When senior nuns and two young girls belong to the Sacred Heart Congregation (SH), Delhi were travelling to Odisha they encountered Hindutva goons in the train who started harassing them. They kept talking loudly in threatening tones and accusing the nuns of “converting” the young women and kept shouting ‘Jai Sri Ram and Jai Hanuman'. The men then called the police and alleged they were forcibly converting young girls. When the train arrived at Jhansi railway station at 7:30 P.M, male police officers entered the train and asked the four nuns to evacuate the compartment. Weeks later, the harassers members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Bajrang Dal were arrested.
March 8: Eight Christians were injured and hospitalised in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, after being attacked by a mob of alleged Hindutva radicals. According to news reports, it was a mob of 30, allegedly led by a local radical leader named Ando Guddi. The mob claimed the Christians were involved in illegal religious conversions in an odd justification of their attack. The mob also, reportedly, burned a motorbike and several bicycles belonging to the Christians.
December 12: A man armed with a machete reportedly entered a Karnataka church, and chased the priest in Belagavi. All this was recorded in the CCTV footage of the church's security cameras. It reportedly showed the man, with a machete in hand, following the church’s in-charge Father Francis D'souza.
Attacks on place of worship
December 26: The life-size statue of Jesus Christ at the Holy Redeemer Church in the cantonment area in Haryana’s Ambala was desecrated. According to The Hindu, the lighting inside the church premises was also “damaged by two unidentified men”. A First Information Report (FIR) has been lodged on charges of trespass and defiling a place of worship.
December 23: The 160-year-old St Joseph's church was vandalised in Chikkaballapur district in southern Karnataka was broken into by vandals who destroyed the statue of St Anthony. The police have reportedly taken away the statue “for further investigation” and a first information report, has been registered. Father Jospeh Anthony Daniel, the priest in charge of the church, was quoted by NDTV saying that this kind of vandalism had never happened there before.
October 2-3: During the Gandhi Jayanti weekend, a church was attacked in Solanipuram Colony, Roorkee, Uttarakhand, where worshipers attending church-goers Sunday’s congregational prayers were seriously injured when a right-wing mob that vandalised the Church. The mob alleged that “religious conversion” was taking place, before it launched its vicious attack. Multiple such incidents took place during that weekend. In Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh, Evangelist pastor Prerit and his Church were attacked allegedly by a right wing, which came to disrupt their Sunday worship. In Mahasamund, Chhattisgarh, a group of villagers entered a house church and allegedly vandalised it and “slapped a 12-year-old boy” who was praying inside the church.
July 12: South Delhi district administration razed a church in south Delhi’s Chattarpur area on July 12. The claim is that the church was built upon “encroached” land and was razed during a demolition drive. Father Jose Kannumkuzhy, the parish priest of the church said it was “operating from a temporary structure,” which was suddenly demolished. The demolition squad arrived with police protection and tore the structure down, the priests did not even get time to gather the religious articles used in worship. It is claimed that John Philipose, an acclaimed museologist, and interior designer had donated this plot of land to the church over a decade ago. Father Hose claims that there is a stay order from the National Human Rights Commission that this place of worship should not be demolished.
Institutions under scanner
November 8: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) team, led by its chairman Priyank Kanoongo, conducted a surprise inspection on November 8 at a girls’ hostel at Kheri village in Raisen district, located around 50 kms northeast of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh citing allegations of religious conversion. The nuns who run the hostel provide support, lodging and food to the girls. One of the nuns said that the girl children living there come from remote areas where they do not have easy access to schools. They all study at a government school nearby. The NCPCR team led by Kanoongo, then sat and counted the Bibles etc. they found, which the nun said belonged to the Christian students. “No one is forced to read the Bible here,” said Sr Alice. However, Kanoongo has alleged the hostel is promoting religious conversion and is illegal as it is not registered.
August 29: NCPCR chairman Priyank Kanoongo, visited the Missionaries of Charity Ashram in Makarpura, Vadodara. He reportedly found a few ‘anomalies’ and wrote to the Collector to take action. Following this, the administration's social welfare department, local police etc. made enquiries and found no problems in the running of the institution. Yet, an FIR was lodged against the Ashram under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003 for allegedly “hurting Hindu religious sentiments” and “luring towards Christianity young girls” in the shelter home. The FIR quoted by Indian Express stated, that the girls inside the Home for Girls are being lured to adopt Christianity by making them wear the cross around their neck and also placing the Bible on the table of the storeroom used by the girls and that it is an attempted crime to force religious conversion upon the girls.”
These incidents with a communal and racist colour, not only take India back by decades, but in effect move it closer to a functioning informally as a majoritarian, theocratic state. These forces of the extreme right, in and out of government thrive on a culture of impunity allowed by the government in power. For over 75 years now, as an independent nation and for thousands of years before that, India and South Asia has been evidence of a unique experiment in lived diversity.
These hate crimes are targeted and lead to violence. The “mainstream” media needs to call them out and authorities need to investigate and prosecute these swiftly. The extent and impact of these attacks carried out basis religious identities of people poses a threat to the secular character of Indian democracy, corrodes institutions who are mandated to be non-partisan. Hate speech and Hate crimes pose a very real threat to the lives, dignity and livelihood of millions of Indians and as seriously, detrimentally impact India’s functioning as a secular, democratic republic.
Representation Image / Housing and Land Rights Network
Earlier on September 9, 2021 the Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) announced that over a quarter of a million people i.e., 2.57 lakh individuals were evicted in India during the Covid-19 pandemic. It estimated around 21 people were evicted from their homes every hour between March 2020 and July 2021.
Further, over 24,400 homes, affecting over 169,000 people were demolished by authorities from January 1 to July 31, said the report. Families struggled to keep their young ones alive without a roof over their heads and a global pandemic raging around them. Especially tribal families in Assam survived widespread demolition by the BJP-regime that has its eyes on the approaching election.
Anticipating many more such trials ahead, CJP Team compiled a legal resource that showcases how Courts continue to step in to protect and emphasise the right to live without forced evictions and the right to housing. Similarly, former National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairperson Justice Arun Mishra spoke during a webinar on July 31 about why indigenous communities should not be evicted without the settlement of their claims related to land rights.
However, as children and elderly alike live amidst the ruins of their former homes nearing the end of 2021, it is important to take stock of how many people’s lives were turned upside down due to illegal and forced evictions.
This is possibly the worst affected state when it comes to evictions. Thousands of people, most of them Bengali-speaking Muslims and Hindus were dubbed “encroachers” and evicted from their homes across the state.
The first incident occurred on May 17, 2021 when as many as 25 families were removed from their places of residence in Dighalichapori, Laletup, Bharaki Chapori, Bhoirobi and Baitamari villages of Sonitpur district. All of these are flood-prone areas near the river and the evictions took place amidst a raging Covid-19 pandemic. On June 6, as many as 74 families from Kaki in Hojai district were evicted on from their homes. Roughly 80 percent of this population is Muslim. The following day, nearly 50 families were evicted from Dhalpur, Phuhurtuli in Darrang District with more evictions planned, leading to an outcry in Sipajhar. On August 7, as many as 61 families were evicted from Alamganj in Dhubri district, where 90 percent of the population is Muslim. Later, on September 20, around 200 families evicted from Fuhuratoli, Dhalpur in Darrang district.
However, the worst instance of hate-induced eviction came on September 23 when hundreds of families were evicted from their homes in the same area with notices served the previous night via Whatsapp! What’s worse, when these people protested, police opened fire upon them. Two people including a 12-year-old boy were killed in this incident.
A day before the forced removal, residents of Dhalpur No. 2 and 3 received over 600 notices detailing the eviction schedule from 10 AM the following morning. Horrified by the sudden upheaval in their lives, around 2,500 villagers protested outside the eviction area demanding more time and a designated place for rehabilitation. Officials agreed at first however, on returning home residents found armed police personnel outside their houses. Officials fired guns and brutally assaulted children and adults alike.
The violence received international coverage. The government claimed 960 families were evicted till that day while village heads put the number at 963. In severe condemnation of the attack on unarmed locals, CJP moved the Gauhati High Court and demanded justice for the evicted families.
Worse still, CJP’s on-ground Team learnt on November 5, that at least three infants from these families died: 5-day-old Rajib Ahmed, 2-month-old Rohim Ahmed and a year old Akhi Aktara. The cause of death is still unknown.
Even five years after the incident, the State Ministry of Revenue and Disaster Management is still asked about the details of the post-2016 evictions. Thus, ever since the BJP came in power in Assam, families have been condemned as “encroachers” and cleared from thousands of bhigas of land, leaving only a few dozen families with land for relocation purposes.
Most recently, the Assam government evicted nearly 3,000 people living in over 1,000 hectares of land inside the Lumding Reserve Forest in Hojai district from November 8. Another 1,050 people were evicted from the Karbi Anglong district during a drug-related operation. The administration claimed the encroachers were engaged in the drug trade.
Hindustan Paper Mills
The eviction saga in Assam does not simply end with land claims and xenophobia. Around September 7, the authority auctioning two Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd. (HPCL) paper mills in Nagaon and Cachar, served an eviction notice to the mill’s employees amidst the Covid-19 global pandemic and successive floods.
The notice robbed the roof off 900 people. Earlier, associations of officers and employees moved court challenging the liquidation of the mills. On June 16, the Court dismissed the e-auction of the mills. Yet, the authority persists with evicting workers and officers from the mill. Read more here. However, later the administration announced a relief package where it agreed to clear the pending dues of workers and took over assets of the now defunct mill.
The peaceful lives of Bhil and Barela tribal communities in Khandwa were thrown into turmoil on July 10 when a mob allegedly supervised by local police and JCB vehicles destroyed their small hamlet. As many as 40 Adivasi families now live amidst the ruins of their village without a roof on their heads. The destroyed settlement, now a mixture of rubble and dirt, is where once stood homes, and fields of crops.
Over 200 people were attacked and chased out of their homes even as the Covid-19 pandemic continued unabated and heavy rains lashed the area during the monsoon. This despite a High Court order that barred demolition and eviction of Negaon-Jamniya villages until July 15.
130 quintals of food grains, Rs. 63,800 in cash, a shop worth Rs 80,000, jewellery worth Rs.12,000, five cycles, four mobile phones, over 300 chickens, 16 goats and one calf were either destroyed or looted from villagers. Another calf was killed when JCBs were tearing down the huts of the local residents.
Following the incident, hundreds of Adivasis demonstrated outside Khandwa SP’s office to demand the release of six people arrested during the incident. Later, CJP Team also worked with the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangagthan to organise a press conference wherein the residents could voice their grievances to the media. Read more here.
The state government on October 30 took over the land that accommodated residents of the Dalit Sikh workers settlement Punjabi Lane (Harijan colony). Officials paid local chieftain Syiem of Hima Mylliem Rs. 2 crore for the land spread over 12,000 sq meters.
Government records identified 184 employees and their families as legal settlers, including 128 employees of the Shilling Municipal Board (SMB) and 56 workers from other departments. These families are eligible for relocation to staff quarters. However, the total strength of this settlement is as much as at least 300 families of Dalit Sikhs whose ancestors were brought by the British to work as conservancy workers.
It is worth questioning why families that moved out of their traditional area of work and established small shops or entered the service industry were suddenly deemed “illegal settlers”. Read more here.
The HLRN’s ‘Forced Evictions in 2020’ report that also covered the first half of 2021 stated that the Faridabad Municipal Corporation demolished at least 12,000 houses belonging mostly to daily-wage workers in Khori Gaon, Haryana between July and August. The allegedly forceful removal left 10,000–15,000 families homeless as the rainy season began. Pregnant and lactating women, new-born babies, children, older persons, and persons with disabilities alike were thrown out on the streets since the officials did not come up with a comprehensive rehabilitation plan.
As a result, many affected persons continue to live in the rubble of their former homes, much like the Khandwa Adivasis.
Meanwhile, Gurugram authorities too displaced a large number of labourers and migrants between March and June. The Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority and the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram destroyed 60 houses in Chakkarpur and Sikanderpur, in June to create an ‘urban forest’. In March, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram demolished 2,500 houses in Wazirabad to build a sports stadium. Then the Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran demolished 350 homes, mostly of nomadic families, to construct a school.
The report went on to focus on national capital Delhi where the central government carried out multiple home demolitions between March and July. Once again ignoring Covid-19 restrictions, officials like those from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) demolished 50 houses in Yamuna Khadar, without prior notice, allegedly to implement National Green Tribunal orders to remove all ‘encroachments’ along the floodplains. With nowhere else to go, the community once again chose to stay amidst the rubble. Almost 135 families living near Shastri Park also became homeless in February on the basis of the same order.
Later, another 70 Usmanpur houses were demolished in March. When the people tried to reconstruct dwelling units in the area, the 20 temporary structures were again destroyed in June. In July, 15 Rangpuri Pahadi houses were destroyed even though some people had proof of residence. During the monsoon, the DDA took down 300 houses of daily-wage earners in Ramesh Park over a period of four days.
Further, in June, the DDA demolished tents of homeless persons living in Urdu Park, as part of a ‘city-beautification’ drive that forced at least five families to live on the pavement. Due to the harsh conditions, rain and lack of healthcare, one of the families lost their 11-day-old baby in July.
As per HLRN data, around 2,850 families from five villages of Gautam Buddha Nagar district were evicted to build the Noida International Greenfield Airport between April and July. While the first phase of the project began, affected families resettled at Jewar Bangar village, at a distance of 11 km.
Similarly, Varanasi district administration evicted over 100 low-income families in January for the smart city project. Once again, there was no plan for rehabilitation from the side of the officials.
The HLRN reported demolition of 130 houses in Fatehwadi for various infrastructure projects in April. This happened after 90 homes were destroyed in Juhapura, Ahmedabad, in January. Then in March, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation along with Indian Railways officials evicted 350 people for the construction of the Mumbai–Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor project.
Other demolition as per the HLRN
Forest department officials in South Kashmir’s Shopian district demolished 24 houses of the Gujjar community as per the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court order to remove “encroachments”. However, residents accused the officials of manhandling and injuring them.
Jharkhand’s Jamshedpur district administration and police razed 200 homes in Khasmahal to vacate government land in March 2021. Reportedly, the police detained a few people who were protesting against the demolition, said HLRN.
In Karnataka, the Slum Development Board destroyed over 200 houses in Mysore for the expansion of railway tracks in April – the peak month of the second wave of Covid-19.
Similarly, the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board demolished 130 houses in Arumbakkam, Chennai in July, for an Integrated Cooum river eco-restoration project. In Coimbatore, 141 houses were demolished along the Selvampathy tank bund as part of an ‘encroachment’-removal drive.
In Telangana, the High Court issued an order that led to the South Central Railway demolishing 120 houses constructed on its land in Medhara Basti, in July. Lastly, the Mangrove Conservation Cell in Mumbai demolished 250 houses in Borivali in April and took down 450 huts in Chheda Nagar in February.
The HRLN report may be read here:
Journalists, citizen activists, artists, lawyers, politicians, were subjected to targeted attacks, law suits, jail, online vilification. Here are some who were most isolated, and targeted.
Ehtesham Hashmi: Delhi based Advocate Ehtesham Hashmi led Lawyers For Democracy, a coalition of law practitioners, on a fact finding mission to Tripura after the communal riots broke out in October 2021. Soon after their report was released, Hashmi and his colleague Amit Srivastav, were booked by the Tripura Police booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly sharing fake information, on social media. The group of lawyers had, visited the violence hit areas of Tripura, investigated and spoke to survivors of the Anti-muslim violence. The report was released simultaneously in Agartala and in New Delhi on November 1. Two days later, on November 3, Tripura Police sent notices under UAPA to the lawyers. Tripura Police charged them under Indian Penal Code Sections 153-A and B (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming information), 503 (criminal intimidation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke the breach of peace) and 120B (punishment for criminal conspiracy). Eventually, Supreme Court of India had ordered that “no coercive steps be taken” against them and issued a notice to the Central and Tripura governments on a plea for an investigation by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the incidents of violence in Tripura against the Muslim community.
Shyam Meera Singh: The journalist was terminated from his job by news channel Aaj Tak (India Today Group) for writing two tweets about Prime Minister Modi, in July 2021. He was accused of allegedly violating the media house’s social media and code of conduct policies, which do not allow employees only “to use social media for news that has been published or aired by the system and not for personal views.” In November Shyam Meera Singh had written a social media post about the Tripura violence, “Tripura is burning,” and the Government of Tripura police booked him under the draconian anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Eventually the Supreme Court of India ordered that “no coercive steps should be taken” against Singh.
Samridhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha: Reporters Samridhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha who work at the digital news portal HW News were covering the communal violence in Tripura, and were detained in Assam after a case was filed against them by the Tripura police for "spreading communal disharmony". Citizens for Justice and Peace, with its wide network of rights activists in the state, assisted in legal aid for the duo. Bail to the two female journalists was granted, on a bail bond of Rs 75,000 each. The journalists then challenged the police action in the Supreme Court, adding that the FIRs amounted to "targeted harassment of the press". The SC has stayed further proceedings in FIRs against journalists Samridhi Sakunia, Swarna Jha, and their colleague Arti Ghargi.
Munawar Faruqui: The stand-up satirist Munawar Faruqui’s charity show for the late actor Puneeth Rajkumar’s foundation scheduled to be held on Sunday November 28 could have been a comeback like no other. Bengaluru, would have probably given him a standing ovation. However, it became the 12th show to be axed, “Nafrat jeet hai, Artist haar gaya. (sic) Im done! Goodbye! INJUSTICE”, Munawar Faruqi had shared an emotional note after the show was cancelled because the authorities feared ‘law and order’ problems. Munawar Faruqui’s livelihood has taken a beating this year. Bajrang Dal members travelled from Gujarat to Mumbai to threaten venue owners against hosting Faruqui’s scheduled stand-up comedy shows in October. Faruqui was arrested earlier this year on charges of hurting religious sentiments at a show in Indore, based on a complaint filed by Eklavya Singh Gaur, chief of Hindutva organisation Hind Rakshak Sangathan. The audience’s retelling of the incident indicated that the joke was never told in the first place and Faruqui was incarcerated without cause! After over a month of being incarcerated, Faruqui was granted ad-interim bail by the Supreme Court on February 5.
Vir Das: A slew of police complaints were lodged against satirist Vir Das accusing him of ‘maligning India’s image’ via a monologue titled “I come from two Indias”, that he performed recently at the John F Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Complaints accused Das of allegedly using derogatory statements against women and India in the said monologue, a video of which was uploaded to YouTube by Das. The first complaint was filed in Mumbai by Advocate Ashutosh Dubey who identifies himself as a legal advisor of Bharatiya Janata Party-Maharashtra Palghar District. He accused Das of “defaming & spoiling the image of India in the USA, which is inflammatory”, and filed the complaint against him with the Mumbai Police.
Sabbah Haji: Educationist Sabbah Haji was popular on social media for sharing updates about the Haji Public School, in Breswana that is located at an altitude of 8,483 ft. Over the years, she has shared photos of students, many first-generation learners, and of volunteers who come from across the country to reach the school after a seven kilometre-long trek or on horseback. Recently, Sabbah Haji, who has been the face of the school and helped make it popular worldwide, was in the news after there were demands for her arrest for a social media post where she allegedly referred to the recently deceased General Bipin Rawat as a “war criminal”. She was arrested and later granted bail by the Executive Magistrate Doda in December.
Vamika Kohli: Actor Anushka Sharma and Cricketer Virat Kohli’s infant daughter Vamika Kohli was threatened with rape by Twitter account user in India named “@Criccrazyygirl”. The account was deleted after users called it out for its abusive threat to an infant, and the identity of the person who tweeted the rape threat is still not known. The user demanded that Sharma and Kohli share a photo of the toddler, and followed it with a rape threat. Virat Kohli has been facing massive trolling ever since he condemned the abuse teammate Mohammad Shami was facing. He had said, "To me attacking someone over their religion is the most pathetic thing a human being can do. Everyone has the right to voice their opinion, but I personally have never even thought of discriminating against someone over their religion." Soon enough, Virat Kohli, as expected, got his share of hate from right-wing trolls.
Mohammad Shami: The sole Muslim member of the Indian cricket team was the target of massive verbal and emotional abuse after Team India lost to Pakistan recently. As a Muslim, Mohammad Shami was accused of ‘selling out’ to a Muslim dominated team at T20 World Cup 2021 Super 12 match against Pakistan in Dubai. As soon as team India was defeated by Pakistan in the final, Hindutva trolls were out in droves to hurl a volley of abuse at Mohammad Shami.
Akbar Lashkar: The journalist works for the Kolkata-based Bengali news portal Ab Tak Khabar and had gone to Tripura from Kolkata to report news developments. However, a mob beat him up mercilessly with sticks, a wounded Akbar Lashkar, 27, told mediapersons, “Look how they have beaten me, cracked my skull. I don't know if I will survive, democracy has vanished.” Lashkar was among the three journalists who were allegedly beaten up in Tripura while reporting outside a police station, allegedly by “a group of nearly 200 people, many wearing helmets and carrying hockey sticks, rods and laathis.
Anirban Roy Choudhury: The editor of Barak Bulletin, has been accused of Sedition and an FIR has been registered U/S 153 - A, 124 -A, 501 and 505 of Indian Penal Code, for an editorial published on November 28. “They have accused me of questioning the independence of the judiciary, and that I tried to disturb relations between Assamese and Bengali and that I spoke against the police. They cite ‘independence’. This independence is also my birthright, this is my country as much as theirs, I am as independent as them,” said Anirban Roy Choudhury, a co-founder and editor of Barak Bulletin, a hyper local news portal in Assam’s Barak valley, adding the “FIR has been registered by the police U/S 153 - A, 124 -A, 501 and 505 of the Indian Penal Code for publishing an article on Barak Bulletin, a hyperlocal portal that I co-own.”
Disha Ravi: Climate activist Disha Ravi was arrested by Delhi Police on February 13, in Bengaluru and brought to Delhi in the infamous ‘toolkit case’. However, it eventually was reported that she may have been incarcerated for nothing. The case received much media attention as the ‘toolkit case’ during the farmers' protests. Disha remained in jail for a period of 10 days before she was granted bail by a Delhi court which observed that police action against her was based on ‘scanty and sketchy’ evidence. Disha had been booked for sedition as well as criminal conspiracy as the police had alleged that the ‘toolkit’ was edited by Disha along with advocate Nikita Jacob and engineer Shantanu Muluk having connections with a ‘pro-Khalistani’ organisation called Poetic Justice Foundation. The FIR lodged by Delhi Police against the creators of the toolkit, it was alleged that its contents made it evident that the January 26 “violence” in Delhi during a tractor rally by farmers was a “pre-planned conspiracy” aimed at attacking India’s “sovereignty” and “security”.
Aashna Lidder: Barely 17-years-old, Aashna Lidder had just attended the last rites if her father Brigadier Lakhwinder Singh Lidder, who was the defense advisor to CDS General Bipin Rawat and was traveling with him on the helicopter that crashed in Tamil Nadu. However, a group aligned to right-wing ideologies began spewing hate against the teenager digging out old tweets they claimed were posted by Aashna Lidder and started taunting her as ‘woke’ because she had reportedly ‘liked’ many tweets of Congress and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Some others began sharing screenshots of old tweets purportedly by Lidder where she expressed opinion on the state of Uttar Pradesh and fuelled a chat about how “military kids can end being woke”. The twitter account was soon deleted.
Dr. Udit Raj: Dalit rights activist Dr. Udit Raj, who quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and joined the Congress, where he is now a National Spokesperson, is not new to being targeted. An Ex-IRS officer, who quit his government job to devote more time as an activist, and later as a politician, he has regularly been targeted online with racist, anti-Dalit social media posts and has received threats on a regular basis. “I am the most hated person by the RSS-BJP. You can see a two-year war against me on social media, and even a media boycott,” Raj told SabrangIndia. His words rile up the right-wing trolls, and puts him on their “list” of people to vilify especially online, with the BJP, he said, “They have conducted twitter trends against me two three times, they have put up hoardings against me in Narela area,” adding such threats were just the tip of the abuse iceberg.
Salman Khurshid: The veteran politician’s Nainital home was vandalised on, November 15, after the launch of his book Sunrise Over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times, where he draws a parallel between extremists from different religions. Sharing images of the vandalised area of his home Salman Khurshid told the media that the attack proves what he wrote in his book, “They were carrying flags and posters. In the book, I had said that such thoughts and beliefs are wrong, even more wrong if it misuses religion. On one hand there are the Hindutva groups, and globally there are Boko Haram and ISIS who do this.” Affiliates of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), hit out at Khurshid for hurting sentiments of Hindus, and accused the Congress "communal politics" to woo Muslim votes.
Asaduddin Owaisi: The official New Delhi residence of Asaduddin Owaisi, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president and Hyderabad MP was attacked, allegedly by right wing affiliated vandals, claiming to belong to “Hindu Sena”. They called Owaisi “Jihadi” and said they attacked his house to “teach him a lesson”. According to news reports, the accused also allegedly assaulted Owaisi's aide Raju, who was at the venue. Delhi Police have detained five members of the right-wing organisation Hindu Sena for their alleged involvement in the incident.
Priyanka Gandhi: Uttar Pradesh police and administration detained Priyanka Gandhi, the Congress national general secretary, well before dawn around 4.30 A.M on October 4. Purportedly held under Section 151 of the CrPC, while travelling within the district of Sitapur, approximately 20 km from Lakhimpur Kheri which was under Section 144 -- reportedly Section 144 had not been imposed in Sitapur -- she was not allowed to move out of the guest house till late October 6. She was ‘arrested’ later. Her vehicle had only four or five people, including Congress spokesman Deepinder Hooda. She was not allowed access to a lawyer, not produced within 24 hours before a court. The video of the arrest went viral along with Priyanka's angry response, she was shown sweeping the dust-strewn room too. A ‘Priyanka masterpiece’ was the video she addressed to the prime minister.
Scores of Human Rights Defenders, students and citizen activists, were subjected to targeted attacks, online vilification, lawsuits and even jail, but stayed true to their path. Today we hail those who grew stronger despite the blows. There are hundreds who are unnamed, here are a few who made headlines worldwide in 2021.
Sudha Bharadwaj: Trade unionist and human rights defender Sudha Bharadwaj finally walked out of the Byculla women’s jail on December 9, 2021, after conditions of her bail were finalised on December 8, 2021. She had been granted default bail in the Bhima Koregaon case by the Bombay High Court on December 1, 2021. Bharadwaj, who has been fighting for the rights of workers and women, was falsely implicated in the Bhima Koregaon case. She was among the 16 activists and human rights defenders arrested in connection with the case. Those who have not been given bail in the case include Varavara Rao, Gautam Naulakha, Anand Teltumbde, Shoma Sen, Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Hany Babu and Kabir Kala Manch members Jyoti Jagtap, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor.
Rona Wilson: Activist Rona Wilson’s phone was infected with Pegasus spyware, as revealed in a recent forensic report by the US-based Arsenal Consulting. It made public findings that “two backups of an Apple iPhone belonging to Wilson had digital traces showing infection by the Pegasus surveillance tool”. Bhima Koregaon accused Wilson remains in jail, the last time he was granted an interim bail was by the Special National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court’s Judge DE Kothalikar, from September 13 to September 27 for Wilson to attend the memorial; mass scheduled on September 16, 2021 for his father Jacob Wilson, who breathed his last on August 18.
Umar Khalid: Activist Dr. Umar Khalid remains in jail as a Delhi court continues to hear his bail arguments. Dr. Umar Khalid, who has been implicated in the North East Delhi violence case of 2020, is represented by senior counsel, Trideep Pais and has already called out the regime for their well orchestrated attack on him, “Your (Delhi Police) wish to paint everyone in the same brush crumbles when you look at your chargesheet. Script is nicely tied up. Can we paint these people with one brush. Like it looks like a film script.” Advocate Pias probably said it best in his memorable submission on November 3, “Protest was secular, chargesheet is communal”, referring to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests and Khalid’s role in them. Even from behind bars, Dr Khalid’s name trends on social media on a daily basis, given how he rose from being a student leader to being one of the most well known human rights activists in recent times, and remains an inspiration to his colleagues.
Sanjay Tickoo: An activist who hails from the Kashmiri Pandit community, and continues to live in Kashmir, and bravely raises his voice for those targeted. Recently, anguished at the series of attacks on minorities and Muslims by terrorists in the Valley, Kashmiri Pandit leader Sanjay Tickoo told Sabrangindia that his repeated pleas with LG Manoj Sinha to enhance security for Pandit families had gone unanswered. Following a spate of killings on October 5, today October 7, two teachers, one Sikh, one Pandit were gunned down by militants in the Eidgah area of Srinagar after identities were demanded and they were singled out. Taking to social media, Tickoo wrote: “Welcome back to 1990”. Tickoo had earlier in 2020 led not one, but two hunger strikes, demanding justice for the minority Kashmiri Pandit community that is still forced to live in refugee camps amidst poverty and squalor, in the absence of implementation of various socio-economic schemes to which the community is entitled under the law.
Sokalo Gond: Adivasi and forest rights leader Sokalo Gond has survived police and administrative harassment many times as an indegenous activist. She was elected President of All India Union For Forest Working People (AIUFWP) on December 3, 2021. She has been on the forefront of challenging the ruling regime, police, landlords, so that Adivasis and forest dwellers, as well as forest workers have equal access to their rights and are given equal access to education, health, and the right to earn. Sokalo Gond and fellow activist Nivada Rana had moved the Supreme Court against its 2019 order calling for the ‘eviction’ of millions of Adivasis and forest-dwelling communities. While the apex court order was based on the Indian Forest Act 1927, Sokalo and Nivada opposed the same as an abuse of their constitutional rights. Gond and Rana’s petition was backed by CJP and AIUFWP. Sokalo Gond was among the women forest rights defenders from Lilasi village, who stood up against police brutality in May 2018. She was illegally detained and kept behind bars along with Kismatiya Gond, for months until a sustained campaign by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) helped their release.
Sharjeel Imam: Even as Delhi court denied bail to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) scholar, Sharjeel Imam in connection with the Sedition case registered against him in December 2019, where it was alleged that his speech made during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB at that time) led to the Delhi violence in 2020, it said that his speech did not instigate rioters during the Delhi Violence of 2020, and also that the evidence against him in the riots matter, is ‘scanty and sketchy’ and as far as allegations against him for offences like being part of an unlawful assembly, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy, rioting with deadly weapons, voluntarily causing grievous hurt are concerned. The court said, “The evidence in support of the allegations (rioters got instigated by the speech dated 13.12.2019 of applicant/accused and thereafter they indulged in the acts of rioting, mischief, attacking the police party etc), is scanty and sketchy.” The court noted that there was no eye witness to this effect, and that there is no evidence presented by the Delhi Police to suggest that co-accused persons got instigated and committed the alleged act of rioting upon hearing Imam’s speech.
Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, Asif Tanha: The three scholars and activists accused in Delhi violence conspiracy case accused were granted bail by the Delhi High Court on June 15, but were not released by the Police immediately on flimsy grounds of “address verification”. A few days later Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, and Asif Tanha finally walked out from the confines of Delhi’s Tihar Jail. Asif, Natasha and Devangana are permanent residents of Jharkhand, Rohtak and Assam respectively. Using this to their advantage, the Delhi Police contended that additional time would be required by the investigating agency in filing the verification report as their personnel would have to travel to these states. However, they walked out, and continue to speak up for the marginalised.
Doctor Kafeel Khan: Pediatrician and human rights activist Dr Kafeel Khan was sacked by the Uttar Pradesh state government recently, and has said that he will challenge it in court. According to Dr Khan this action of the government of UP comes even after he got a "clean chit from a court". In 2017, Dr Kafeel Khan was accused of being responsible for the death of several children on the intervening night of August 10 and 11, 2017. These tragic deaths were reportedly caused because the state-run BRD Medical College Hospital ran out of oxygen on the fateful night. The Allahabad High Court had even stayed the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision of suspending Dr. Kafeel Khan, for the second time in 2019, for allegedly misbehaving with the staff at Bahraich District Hospital.
Multiple Protests continue, for more than seven days, over Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat’s murder in the Valley. Supported by Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Sikhs, the protestors have come forward to accuse the BJP led administration of sending people, who are desperate for jobs, in risky areas with no security and a meagre salary.
Multiple Protests continue, for more than seven days, over Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat’s murder in the Valley. Supported by Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Sikhs, the protestors have come forward to accuse the BJP led administration of sending people, who are desperate for jobs, in risky areas with no security and a meagre salary.