A newly released document on minorities in India titled “Religious Minorities in India Report (2021)” is raising concerns, saying that the status of the membership of Muslim, Sikh, and Christian communities in Indian society is declining.
A 236-page long document published by the Council on Minority Rights in India (CMRI) includes the lengthy articles of prominent Muslim activist Afreen Fatima, journalist Aditya Menon, lawyer Vikasan Pillai, social worker Mohd Uzair and research students Mehwish Asim, Mohd Kamran, Tazeen Junaid, Nidha Parveen JA, Nada Nasreen, and Sabah Maharaj.
“Members of the research team predominantly constitute first-generation university learners and all the contributors to this report have lived experiences of the themes that have been addressed,” claimed the Council on Minority Rights in India (CMRI).
The report is edited by independent researchers Sharjeel Usmani and Aiman Khan.
The report released on Sunday at the Press Club of India contains chapters on hate crimes and hate speeches against minorities, media portrayal of minorities, repression of Christian-run educational institutions, gendered Islamophobia, the state of Sikhs in India, and the Muslim students’ resistance in universities.
Part A of the report includes three chapters and is based on primary data collected and analyzed by the researchers. The chapters are focusing on (a) picturization 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 which are based on secondary data, personal experiences and are 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.
The forward to the report is written by prominent human rights defender and Amnesty International India Chair Aakar Patel.
The report launch was attended by Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, Adv. Kawalpreet Kaur, student activist Safoora Zargar, and three writers of the report; Nidha Parveen, Sharjeel Usmani, and Tazeen Junaid.
“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 society – with a hope of a better and equal future in the country,” read a press release issued by the authors of the document.
The digital copy of the report is available here.