India gets yet another embarrassing blow from ally US

ISLAMABAD - An official US report has said that the mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against the minority communities, particularly Muslims, continued in India in 2018.

According to Kashmir Media Service (KMS), the US State Department, in its annual 2018 International Religious Freedom Report, said, “Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef.”

The report said that some senior officials of the ruling Bahartiya Janata Party (BJP) made inflammatory speeches against the minority communities.

According to some NGOs, the authorities often protected perpetrators from prosecution, it said.

It said that as of November, there were 18 such attacks, and eight persons were killed during the year. On June 22, two Uttar Pradesh police officers were charged after a Muslim cattle trader died of injuries sustained while being questioned in police custody, the report said.

The US State Department said that there were reports by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that the government sometimes failed to act on mob attacks on religious minorities, marginalised communities and critics of the government.

It said that the central and State governments, and members of political parties took steps that affected Muslim practices and institutions.

“Proposals to rename Indian cities with Muslim provenance continued, most notably the renaming of Allahabad to Prayagraj. Activists said that these proposals were designed to erase Muslim contributions to Indian history and had led to increased communal tensions.”

There were reports of religiously-motivated killings, assaults, riots, discrimination, vandalism and actions restricting the right of individuals to practice their religious beliefs and proselytize, the annual report said.

The report also mentioned that the brutal gang-rape and murder of eight-year-old Aasifa Bano of Kathua area of Jammu region of Occupied Kashmir.

“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 (Aasifa). 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,” it said.