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Persecution of Hindus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hindus have experienced historical and current religious persecution and systematic violence. These occurred in the form of forced conversions, documented massacres, demolition and desecration of temples, as well as the destruction of educational centres.

Definition of persecution

Definition

Religious persecution is defined as violence or discrimination against religious minorities, actions intending to deprive political rights and force minorities to assimilate, leave, or live as second-class citizen.[1] In the aspect of state policy, it may be defined as violations on freedom of thought, conscience and belief spread by systematic and active state policy and actions of harassment, intimidation and punishment that infringes or threatens the right to life, integrity or liberty.[2] The distinction with religious intolerance is that the latter in most cases is in the sentiment of the population, which may be tolerated or encouraged by the state.[2] Denial of civil rights on the basis of religion is most often described as religious discrimination, rather than religious persecution.

Bateman has differentiated different degrees of persecution:

It must be personally costly... It must be unjust and undeserved [...] it must be a direct result of one's faith.[3]

Persecution of Hindus

Four major eras of persecution of Hindus can be discerned:

  1. Violence of Muslim-rulers against the Indian population, driven by rejection of Non-Islamic religions;
  2. Violence of European Colonial rulers;
  3. Violence against Hindus in the context of the Indian-Pakistan conflict;
  4. Other contemporary cases of violence against Hindus worldwide

Medieval persecution by Muslim rulers

Muslim conquest of the Indian subcontinent began during the early 8th century AD. According to a 1900 translation of Persian text Chachnamah by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg, the Umayyad governor of Iraq Hajjaj responded to a plea by men and women attacked and imprisoned by pirates off the coast of Debal (Karachi).[4] Hajjaj mobilised an expedition of 6,000 cavalry under Muhammad bin-Qasim in 712 CE. Reports of the campaign narrated in the Chach Nama mention temple demolitions, mass executions of resisting Sindhi forces and the enslavement of their dependants. The raids attacked the kingdoms ruled by Hindu and Buddhist kings, wealth plundered, tribute (kharaj) settled and hostages taken.[5] Numerous Hindu Jats were captured as prisoners of war by the Muslim army and moved to Iraq and elsewhere as slaves.[6]

Ruins of the Martand Sun Temple. The temple was completely destroyed on the orders of Muslim Sultan Sikandar Butshikan in the early 15th century, with demolition lasting a year.[7][8]
Ruins of the Martand Sun Temple. The temple was completely destroyed on the orders of Muslim Sultan Sikandar Butshikan in the early 15th century, with demolition lasting a year.[7][8]

Parts of India have historically been subject to Muslim rule from the period of Muhammad bin Qasim till the fall of the Mughal Empire. After the conquest of Sindh, Qasim chose the Hanafi school of Islamic law which stated that, when under Muslim rule, people of Indic religions such as Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains are to be regarded as dhimmis (from the Arab term) as well as "People of the Book" and are required to pay jizya for religious freedom.[9]

Historian K. S. Lal in his book Theory and Practice of Muslim State in India claims that between the years 1000 AD and 1500 AD, the population of the Indian subcontinent decreased from 200 to 170 million.[10] In Growth of Muslim Population in Medieval India meanwhile he claimed that it fell from 200 million to 120 million by establishment of the Mughal empire because of killings, deportations, dissemination, wars, and famines. He stated that his estimates were tentative and did not claim any finality.[11][12] These population estimates, however, have been questioned by Simon Digby[13] and Irfan Habib.[14] Will Durant called the Muslim conquest of India "probably the bloodiest story in history",[15] but this is not accepted by some contemporary historians.[16]

The destruction of temples and educational institutions, the killings of learned monks and the scattering of students, led to a widespread decline in Hindu education. With the fall of Hindu kings, science research and philosophy faced some setbacks due to a lack of funding, royal support, and an open environment. Despite unfavourable treatment under the Muslim rule, Brahmanical education continued and was also patronised by rulers like Akbar and others. Bukka Raya I, one of the founders of Vijaynagar Empire, had taken steps to rehabilitate Hindu religious and cultural institutions which suffered a serious setback under Muslim rule. Buddhists centres of learning decayed, leading to the rise to prominence of Brahmanical institutions.[17] Idols in numerous temples were unarmed, temples were desecrated.[18] Most of the great temples in North India were destroyed and no great temples were built under Muslim rulers except the Vrindavan temples under Akbar which lack ornamentation as imagery was generally prohibited.[19] The architecture of Hindu temples underwent change under the Muslim rulers and incorporated Islamic influences.

While Sanskrit language and research on Vedantic philosophy faced a period of struggle, with Muslim rulers often targeting well-established and well-known educational institutions that were often suffering at the time, the traditional educational institutions in villages continued as before,[17] vernacular regional languages based on Sanskrit thrived. A lot of Vedantic literature got translated into these languages between 12th to 15th centuries.[20]

Mahmud of Ghazni (971–1030 AD)

Somnath temple in ruins, 1869
Front view of the present Somnath Temple
The Somnath temple was first attacked by Muslim Turkic invader Mahmud of Ghazni and repeatedly demolished by successive Muslim invaders, each time being rebuilt by Hindu rulers.

Mahmud of Ghazni, Sultan of the Ghaznavid empire, invaded the Indian subcontinent during the early 11th century. His campaigns across the Gangetic plains are often cited for their iconoclast plundering and destruction of temples. Mahmud's court historian Al-Utbi viewed Mahmud's expeditions as a jihad to propagate Islam and extirpate idolatry.[21] Mahmud may not have personally hated Hindus, but he was after the loot and welcomed the honours and accolades in the Islamic world obtained by desecrating Hindu temples and idols.[22]

The loot from Mathura is estimated at 3 million rupees and over 5,000 slaves.

According to British historical writer Victoria Schofield, Sabuktagin, the Turkish ruler of Ghazni and father of Mahmud, "set as his goal the expulsion of the Hindus from the Kabul valley and Gandhara, as the vale of Peshawar was still called. His son and successor, the Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, continued his work, carrying the so called 'holy war' against the Hindus into India".[23]

Mahmud of Ghazni sacked the Somnath Temple in 1026, looted it, and destroyed the famous Shiva linga of the temple.[24] Following the defeat of the Rajput Confederacy, Mahmud set out on regular expeditions against them, leaving the conquered kingdoms in the hands of Hindu vassals annexing only the Punjab region.[25]

Qutb-ud-din Aibak (1206-1287 AD)

Historical records compiled by Muslim historian Maulana Hakim Saiyid Abdul Hai attest to the religious violence during Mamluk dynasty ruler Qutb-ud-din Aybak. The first mosque built in Delhi, the "Quwwat al-Islam" was built with demolished parts of 20 Hindu and Jain temples.[26][27] This pattern of iconoclasm was common during his reign.[28]

Khalji dynasty (1290-1320 AD)

Religious violence in India continued during the Khalji dynasty. The campaign of violence, abasement, and humiliation was not merely the works of Muslim army, the kazis, muftis and court officials of Allauddin recommended it on religious grounds. Kazi Mughisuddin of Bayánah advised Allauddin that "To keep the Hindus in abasement is especially a religious duty, because they are the most inveterate enemies of the Prophet, and because the Prophet has commanded us to slay them, plunder them, and make them captive, saying 'Convert them to Islám or kill them, enslave them and spoil their wealth and property.'"[29]

The Muslim army led by Malik Kafur pursued two violent campaigns into south India, between 1309 and 1311, against three Hindu kingdoms of Deogiri (Maharashtra), Warangal (Telangana) and Madurai (Tamil Nadu). Thousands were slaughtered. Halebid temple was destroyed. The temples, cities, and villages were plundered. The loot from south India was so large, that historians of that era state a thousand camels had to be deployed to carry it to Delhi.[30] In the booty from Warangal was the Koh-i-Noor diamond.[31]

In 1311, Malik Kafur entered the Srirangam temple, massacred the Brahmin priests of the temple who resisted the invasion for three days, plundered the temple treasury and the storehouse and desecrated and destroyed numerous religious icons.[32][33]

Madurai Sultanate (1335–1378)

Moroccan traveler Ibn Batuta described the cruel behaviour of the Madurai sultan Ghiyas-ud-Din Muhammad Damghani, in his memoirs. His army routinely rounded local Hindu villagers and impaling and decapitated them, indiscriminately with women and children being included. Ibn Battuta expressed shock and revulsion with the comment, "this was an abomination which I have not known of any other king. That is why God hastened his death."[34] The Vijayanagar princess Gangadevi also described the atrocities of the Madurai Sultanate towards women and children.

Tughlaq Dynasty (1321-1394)

After Khalji dynasty, Tughlaq dynasty assumed power and religious violence continued in its reign. In 1323 Ulugh Khan began new invasions of the Hindu kingdoms of South India. At Srirangam, the invading army desecrated the shrine and killed 12,000 unarmed ascetics. The Vaishnava philosopher Sri Vedanta Desika, hid himself amongst the corpses together with the sole manuscript of the Srutaprakasika, the magnum opus of Sri Sudarsana Suri whose eyes were put out, and also the latter's two sons.[32][35][36][37]

Firuz Shah Tughluq was the third ruler of the Tughlaq dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. The "Tarikh-i-Firuz Shah" is a historical record written during his reign that attests to the systematic persecution of Hindus under his rule.[38][page needed] Capture and enslavement was widespread; when Sultan Firuz Shah died, slaves in his service were killed en masse and piled up in a heap.[39] Victims of religious violence included Hindu Brahmin priests who refused to convert to Islam:

An order was accordingly given to the Brahman and was brought before Sultan. The true faith was declared to the Brahman and the right course pointed out. but he refused to accept it. A pile was risen on which the Kaffir with his hands and legs tied was thrown into and the wooden tablet on the top. The pile was lit at two places his head and his feet. The fire first reached him in the feet and drew from him a cry, and then fire completely enveloped him. Behold Sultan for his strict adherence to law and rectitude.

— Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi[38][40]

Under his rule, Hindus who were forced to pay the mandatory Jizya tax were recorded as infidels and their communities monitored. Hindus who erected a deity or built a temple and those who praticised their religion in public such as near a kund (water tank) were arrested, brought to the palace and executed.[38][41] Firuz Shah Tughlaq wrote in his autobiography,

Some Hindus had erected a new idol-temple in the village of Kohana, and the idolaters used to assemble there and perform their idolatrous rites. These people were seized and brought before me. I ordered that the perverse conduct of this wickedness be publicly proclaimed and they should be put to death before the gate of the palace. I also ordered that the infidel books, the idols, and the vessels used in their worship should all be publicly burnt. The others were restrained by threats and punishments, as a warning to all men, that no zimmi could follow such wicked practices in a Musulman country.

— Firuz Shah Tughluq, Futuhat-i Firoz Shahi[42]

Timur invasion of India (1398-1399)

The Turko-Mongol ruler Timur's attack on India was marked by systematic slaughter and other atrocities on a massive scale which were inflicted mainly on the subcontinent's Hindu population.[43] His army looted Delhi, sparing only the Muslim neighbourhoods of the city. The Hindu population was massacred or enslaved.[44] One hundred thousand Hindu prisoners were killed by his army before he attacked Delhi for fear of rebellion and many more were killed afterwards.[45][46][47]

After the sack of Bhatner fort during the Timurid conquests of India in 1398, Timur attacked and sacked the important cities like Sirsa, Fatehabad, Sunam, Kaithal and Panipat. When he reached near the town of Sarsuti from the fort of Firozah and Bhatner, the residents who were mostly non-Muslims fled and were chased by a detachment of Timur's troops, with thousands of them being killed as well as looted by the troops. From there he travelled to Fatehabad, whose residents fled and a large number of those remaining in the town were massacred. The Ahirs resisted him at Ahruni but were defeated, with thousands being killed and many were taken prisoners while the town was burnt to ashes. From there he travelled to Tohana. Sharaf ad-Din Ali Yazdi said the inhabitants of that town were robbers. They tried to resist but were defeated and fled. Timur's army pursued and killed 200 Jats, while taking many more as prisoners. He then sent a detachment to chase the fleeing Jats and killed 2,000 of them. Meanwhile, their wives and children were enslaved and their property plundered. From there he proceeded to Kaithal; the residents were massacred and plundered and all the villages along the way were destroyed. On the next day, he reached Assandh which was deserted. Afterward, he subdued Tughlaqpur's fort and the town of Salwan before besieging Loni's fort and ultimately marching on Delhi.[48][49]

According to Habib and Raychaudhuri, when "Timur invaded India in 1398-99, the collection of slaves formed [as] an important object for his army; 100,000 Hindu slaves had been seized by his soldiers and camp followers". All of them were killed to avoid a rebellion before the attack on Delhi.[47]

(Timur's) soldiers grew more eager for plunder and destruction. On that Friday night, there were about 15,000 men in the city who were engaged from early eve till morning in plundering and burning the houses. In many places the impure infidel gabrs (of Delhi) made resistance. (...) Every soldier obtained more than twenty persons as slaves, and some brought as many as fifty or a hundred men, women and children as slaves of the city. The other plunder and spoils were immense, gems and jewels of all sorts, rubies, diamonds, stuffs and fabrics, vases and vessels of gold and silver. (...) On the 19th of the month Old Delhi was thought of, for many Hindus had fled thither. Amir Shah Malik and Ali Sultan Tawachi, with 500 trusty men, proceeded against them, and falling upon them with the sword despatched them to hell.

— Sharafuddin Yazdi, Zafarnama (ظفرنامه)[50]

Sikandar (1399-1416)

After Timur left, different Muslim Sultans enforced their power in what used to be Delhi Sultanate. In Kashmir, Sultan Sikandar began expanding, and unleashed religious violence that earned him the name but-shikan or idol-breaker.[51] He earned this sobriquet because of the sheer scale of desecration and destruction of Hindu and Buddhist temples, shrines, ashrams, hermitages and other holy places in what is now known as Kashmir and its neighbouring territories. He destroyed the vast majority of Hindu and Buddhist temples within his reach in the Kashmir region (north and northwest India).[52][53] Encouraged by Islamic theologian, Muhammad Hamadani, Sikandar Butshikan also destroyed ancient Hindu and Buddhist books and banned followers of Indian religions from prayers, dance, music, consumption of wine and observation of their religious festivals.[54][55] To escape the religious violence during his reign, many Hindus converted to Islam and many left Kashmir. Many were also killed.[54]

Lodhi dynasty (1451-1526)

Religious violence and persecution continued during the reign of the two significant Lodhi dynasty rulers, Bahlul Khan Lodhi and Sikandar Lodhi. The Delhi Sultanate, whose reach had shrunk to northern and eastern India, witnessed the burning and killing of Hindus for their religion, in Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.[56] In 1499, a Brahmin of Bengal was arrested because he had attracted a large following among both Muslims and Hindus with the following teaching: "the Mohammedan and Hindu religions were both true, and were but different paths by which God might be approached." Sikandar, with his governor of Bihar Azam Humayun, asked Islamic scholars and sharia experts of their time whether such pluralism and peaceful messages were permissible within the Islamic Sultanate.[57] The scholars advised that it is not, and that the Brahmin should be given the option to either embrace and convert to Islam, or be killed. Sikandar accepted the counsel and gave the Brahmin an ultimatum. The Hindu refused to change his view and was killed.[57]

Mughal Empire

The reign of Aurangzeb (1658-1707) witnessed one of the strongest campaigns of religious violence in the Mughal Empire's history. Aurangzeb is a controversial figure in modern India, often remembered as a “vile oppressor of Hindus”.[58] During his rule Aurangzeb expanded the Mughal Empire, conquering much of southern India through long bloody campaigns against non-Muslims. He forcibly converted Hindus to Islam and destroyed Hindu temples.[59][60] He also re-introduced the jizya, a tax on non-Muslims,[61] which had been suspended for the previous 100 years.[62]

The number of Hindu temples destroyed or desecrated under Aurangzeb’s rule is unclear.[64] Aurangzeb issued orders in 1669 to all his governors of provinces to "destroy with a willing hand the schools and temples of the infidels, and that they were strictly enjoined to put an entire stop to the teaching and practice of idolatrous forms of worship".[65] However, these orders appear to have been directed not toward Hindu temples in general, but towards a more narrowly defined “deviant group”.[66] Despite uncertainty regarding the number, Aurangzeb oversaw more desecration of temples than any other Mughal emperor, mostly occurring in the context of conquering new lands and putting down rebellions, punishing political leaders by destroying the temples that symbolized their power.[67][68] Some temples were destroyed entirely; in other cases mosques were built on their foundations, sometimes using the same stones. Idols in temples were smashed, and the city of Mathura was temporarily renamed as Islamabad in local official documents.[65][69]

Tipu Sultan

Tipu Sultan persecuted the Hindus, Christians with the Mappila Muslims[70] and carried out forced conversions of Hindus and Christians.[71][72][73][74][72][75] According to C. K. Kareem, Tippu Sultan issued an edict for the destruction of Hindu temples in Kerala.[76] The portrayal of Tipu Sultan as a religious bigot has been also disputed by some sources suggesting that he in fact often embraced religious pluralism.[77][78][78][78][79]

Tipu got Runmust Khan, the Nawab of Kurnool, to launch a surprise attack upon the Kodava Hindus (also called Coorgs or Coorgis) who were besieged by the invading Muslim army. 500 were killed and over 40,000 Kodavas fled to the woods and concealed themselves in the mountains.[80] In Seringapatam, the young men were reported to be forcibly circumcised and incorporated into the Ahmedy Corps, and they formed eight Risalas or regiments.[80] Thousands of Kodava Hindus were seized along with the Raja and held captive at Seringapatam (Srirangapatna). They were also subjected to forcible conversions to Islam, death, and torture.[81] The actual number of Kodavas that were captured in the operation is unclear. The British administrator Mark Wilks gives it as 70,000, historian Lewis Rice arrives at the figure of 85,000, while Mir Kirmani's score for the Coorg campaign is 80,000 men, women and child prisoners.[80] In a letter to Runmust Khan, Tipu himself stated:[82]

We proceeded with the utmost speed, and, at once, made prisoners of 40,000 occasion-seeking and sedition-exciting Coorgis, who alarmed at the approach of our victorious army, had slunk into woods, and concealed themselves in lofty mountains, inaccessible even to birds. Then carrying them away from their native country (the native place of sedition) we raised them to the honour of Islam, and incorporated them into our Ahmedy corps.[83]

In 1788, Tipu reportedly ordered his governor in Calicut Sher Khan to begin the process of converting Hindus to Islam.[84][85][86]

The archaeological survey of India has listed three temples which were destroyed during the reign of Tipu Sultan. These were the Harihareshwar Temple at Harihar which was converted into a mosque, the Varahswami Temple in Srirangapatnam and the Odakaraya Temple in Hospet.[87]

The following is a translation of an inscription on the stone found at Seringapatam, which was situated in a conspicuous place in the fort:[88]

Oh Almighty God! dispose the whole body of infidels! Scatter their tribe, cause their feet to stagger! Overthrow their councils, change their state, destroy their very root! Cause death to be near them, cut off from them the means of sustenance! Shorten their days! Be their bodies the constant object of their cares (i.e., infest them with diseases), deprive their eyes of sight, make black their faces (i.e., bring shame).

In 1788, Tipu ordered his governor in Calicut Sher Khan to begin the process of converting Hindus to Islam, and in July of that year, 200 Brahmins were forcibly converted and made to eat beef.[84] Mohibbul Hasan, Prof. Sheikh Ali, and other historians cast great doubt on the scale of the deportations and forced conversions in Coorg in particular, and Hasan says that the British versions of what happened were intended to malign Tipu Sultan, and to be used as propaganda against him.[78] He argues that little reliance can be placed in Muslim accounts such as Kirmani's Nishan-e Haidari; in their anxiety to represent the Sultan as a champion of Islam, they had a tendency to exaggerate and distort the facts: Kirmani claims that 70,000 Coorgis were converted, when forty years later the entire population of Coorg was still less than that number. According to Ramchandra Rao Punganuri the true number of converts was about 500.[85]

Bengal

Richard Eaton states that the origin of the caste system of modern form in the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent may be traceable to the period of 1200-1500. This is after the Turkic conquests. He states that "Looking at Bengal's Hindu society as a whole, it seems likely that the caste system - far from being the ancient and unchanging essence of Indian civilization, as supposed by generations of Orientalists - emerged into something resembling its modern form only during the period 1200-1500". Before the Turkish conquest, the Sena dynasty kept order by distributing wealth and judging between the socially higher or lower in the context of the court and its rituals. However, with the collapse of the Hindu kingship that followed the Turkic conquest, these functions appear to have been displaced onto the society, with social order being maintained through enforced group endogamy, marriage regulation enforced through caste councils and specialists kept the genealogies.[89] The advent of Indo-Turkish rule resulted in the end with patronage for the Brahmins who had enjoyed it under the Sena government and many of them fled into the eastern hinterlands. Until 1415, they served few positions in the government and were disdained. However, this changed with Raja Ganesha's revolution and under the reign of his converted son Jalaluddin Muhammad Shah, resulting in many of them gaining employment in the government by the time of Alauddin Husain Shah.[89]

Deccan wars

Muhammad Shah I's draft on Vijayanagara Empire's treasury in 1365 incensed the king Bukka Raya I, who insulted the envoy with the draft and besieged the fort of Mudgal held by no less than 800 Muslim troops. Many men, women and children were killed. The fortress fell and its garrison was massacred before any relief could reach it. Ferishta's claim of only one survivor narrating the incident to the Sulatn may be one-sided. Muhammad in response attacked Bukka's army and vowed to not sheathe his sword until he avenged the massacre by killing 100,000 Hindus. At Raichur Doab, Muhammad killed 70,000 Hindus. He pursued Bukka throughout his dominions and the slaughtered no less than 400,000 Hindus around Vijaynagara. Bukka sued for peace and even the Muslim officers were moved to beg on hopes the slaughter might cease. Muhammad replied that though he had killed four times the number of Hindus than his promise, he will not desist until the draft on treasury was honoured. The envoys agreed to this, resulting in an end to the war. The Hindus shocked by the bloodshed called on both parties to avoid killing non-combatants in the future. Muhammad agreed and the agreement, though sometimes violated, was to some extent successful in stopping the atrocities during the long period of intermittent warfare between the two kingdoms.[90][91][92]

The Barid Shahi, surrounded by more powerful states, had invited the intervention of Vijayanagara in the affairs of the Muslim kingdoms. The arrogance of Sadasiva Raya had embarrassed and disgusted both his enemies as well as allies, in addition the excesses of his troops had horrified the Muslims. He demanded cessation of extenstive territory from Bijapur for his assistance to Ali as well as from Golconda as punishment for duplicitous actions of Ibrahim. It seemed apparent to them that the end of Muslim rule was at hand if his ambition was not curbed. The Vijayanagara army was defeated at the Battle of Talikota and fled with their loss estimated at 100,000 men.[93] The city was hastily abandoned after its defeat.[94] Both Muslims and Hindus plundered and burnt the Vijayanagara city.[95] The victors occupied the city for six months and had it destroyed while plundering the country.[93]

Miseries inflicted by the invaders from the North-west

A horde of 25,000 Afghan horsemen swooped down upon the sacred city of Muttra during a festival, while it was thronged with peaceful Hindu pilgrims engaged in their devotions. "They burned the houses," says the Tyrolese Jesuit Tieffenthaler, who was in India at that time, "Together with their inmates, slaughtering others with the sword and the lance, haling off into captivity maidens and youths, men and women. In the temples they slaughtered cows (the sacred animal of the Hindus), and smeared the images and pavement with the blood." The borderland between Afghanistan and India lay silent and waste. Districts far within the Indian frontier, which had once been densely inhabited, and which are now again thickly peopled, were swept bare of in-habitats. Thus Gujranwila, the seat of the ancient capital of the Punjab in Buddhist times, was utterly depopulated. The district which was stripped off from its inhabitants in the last century has now been inhabited by new population of people.[96]

European colonial rule

Portuguese Goa

St. Francis Xavier who requested the Inquisition in 1545
St. Francis Xavier who requested the Inquisition in 1545

During the Portuguese rule of Goa, thousands of Hindus were coerced into accepting Christianity by the passage of laws that made it difficult for them to practice their faith, harassed them under false pretences or petty complaints, and gave favourable status to converts (indiacatos) and mestiços in terms of laws and jobs.[97] The Goa Inquisition, was established in 1560 by Portuguese missionaries in the Estado Português da Índia. The Goa Inquisition was directed against backsliding converts (that is, former Hindus and Muslims who had converted to Christianity), and it has been recorded that at least 57 Goans were executed over a period of three hundred years, starting in the year 1560.[98][99] [98][99] The inquisition was proposed by St. Francis Xavier.[100][101]

According to Teotónio de Souza the Hindus faced severe persecution with great fortitude under the Portuguese in Goa.[102] Vicar general Miguel Vaz had written to the king of Portugal in 1543 from Goa requesting that the Inquisition be established in Goa as well. Three years later Francis Xavier made a similar request in view of the Muslims in the region and the Christians abandoning their faith. On hearing of the excesses of the Inquisition in Goa, Lourenco Pires, Portuguese ambassador at Rome, expressed his displeasure to the crown while warning that this zeal for religion was actually becoming a disservice to God and the kingdom. Again according to de Souza, the Inquisition led to the downfall of the Portuguese Empire in the East.[102]

South Asia

Muslim and Hindu communities in South Asia have lived in a delicate balance since the end of Muslim rule. Violent clashes have often appeared, and the partition of India in 1947 has only perpetuated these confrontations.

Mappila Riots (1836-1921)

Mappila Riots or Mappila Outbreaks refers to a series of riots by the Mappila (Moplah) Muslims of Malabar, South India in the 19th century and the early 20th century (c.1836–1921) against native Hindus and the state. The Malabar Rebellion of 1921 is often considered as the culmination of Mappila riots.[103] Mappilas committed several atrocities against the Hindus during the outbreak.[104][105] Annie Besant reported that Muslim Mappilas forcibly converted many Hindus and killed or drove away all Hindus who would not apostatise, totalling the driven people to one lakh (100,000).[106]

Partition of India

Hindus, like Muslims, Sikhs, and members of other religious groups, experienced severe dislocation and violence during the massive population exchanges associated with the partition of India, as members of various communities moved to what they hoped was the relative safety of an area where they would be a religious majority. Hindus were among the between 200,000 and a million who died during the rioting and other violence associated with the partition.[107]

Direct Action Day

In 1946, the Cabinet Mission to India was planning the transfer of power from the British Raj to the Indian leadership. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the one time Congressman and Indian Nationalist, and now the leader of the Muslim League, had accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan of 16 June whereas the Congress rejected it outright. Fearing Hindu Domination in the Constituent Assembly, Jinnah denounced the British Cabinet Mission and decided to boycott the Constituent Assembly to try to put pressure on Congress and the British, by resorting to "Direct Action".

The Muslim League responded by planning and carrying out a hartal ("general strike") on 16 August 1946 (called Direct Action Day).[108] Upon the request of Suhrawardy, Muslim League Chief Minister of Bengal, the Governor of Bengal Frederick Burrows declared a public holiday that day.[108][109][110] The Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha in Bengal protested to this; they did not want to be seen as supporting the hartal. They urged the Hindus to instead keep their shops open and to continue their business as usual on that hartal day.[111] On the afternoon of Direct Action Day Suhrawardy and another speaker Nazimuddin addressed a Muslim rally.[108] As soon as many of the listeners left the meeting they were reported to have started violently attacking the Hindus and looting their shops.[108][110] Later Suhrawardy reportedly tried to get British officials to bring the army in but nothing happened until steps towards an army intervention began in the afternoon of 17 August.[108] The Hindus, supported by Sikhs, in the city of Calcutta retaliated.[112] All these events are known as the Great Calcutta killings of 1946.[112]

On 17 August the president of a Textile Workers' Union led a hooligan and his mob (all Muslims) into the compound of a Birla owned Kesoram Cotton Mill. The mill was looted while the workers, including 300 Odia Hindus were massacred.[113][114] In Calcutta, within 72 hours, more than 4,000 people lost their lives and 100,000 residents in the city of Calcutta were left homeless.[110][115] Some sources claim that 7,000-10,000 people were killed, including both Hindus and Muslims.[116] On 21 August Bengal was brought under the Viceroy's rule.[117] British troops entered the place, and the rioting was reduced by 22 August.[118] This sparked off several riots between Muslims and Hindus in Noakhali, Bihar and Punjab that year. There also occurred communal violence in Delhi, Bombay, Punjab and the Northwest Frontier Province.

Noakhali Riots

Around seven weeks after Direct Action Day, violence was directed against the Hindu minority in the villages of Noakhali and Tippera in Chittagong district in East Bengal.[119][120] Rioting in the region began in the Ramganj police station area by a mob.[121] The rioting spread to the neighbouring police station areas of Raipur, Lakshmipur, Begumganj and Sandip in Noakhali and Faridganj, Hajiganj, Chandpur, Laksham and Chudagram in Tippera.[121] From 2 October, there were instances of stray killings.[122]

Relief operations took place and Gandhiji visited the place on a peace mission even as threats against the Hindus continued.[123] While claims varied, the official Muslim League Bengal Government estimates of those killed were placed at a conservative 200.[124] According to Suhrawardy 9,895 people were forcibly converted in Tippera alone.[125] Ghulam Sarwar Hossain, a religious leader who belonged to a local political party dominated by Muslims,[126] was the main organiser of the riot.[127] It was said that the local administration had planned the riot and that the police helped Ghulam Sarwar escape arrest.[127] A large number of victims were Namasudra (a Bengali Hindu lower caste).[128] According to a source quoting from the State Government Archives, in Naokhali 178 Hindus and 42 Muslims were killed while in Tippera 39 Hindus and 26 Muslims were killed.[129] Women were abducted and forced into marriage.[120][129] In retaliation Muslims were massacred in Bihar and in Garhmukteshwara in the United Provinces.[121] These attacks began between 25 and 28 October in the Chhapra and Saran districts of Bihar and then spread to Patna, Munger, Bhagalpur and a large number of scattered villages of Bihar.[121] The official estimates of the dead at that time were 445.[121]

Hyderabad state

In 1947, the Nizam, ruler of the princely state of Hyderabad, refused to accede to the Dominion of India. The Nizam sanctioned the creation of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, then the State's dominant political party, which wielded a 150,000 strong private army, the Razakars, under the leadership of Kasim Razvi.[130]

Pakistan

In contemporary Pakistan, Hindus constitute nearly 2 percent (actual is 1.85%) Pakistan's population, lower than their percentage in 1947 when Pakistan emerged as a nation out of British India (that is 12.14%).[131][132][133]

The Hindus are one of the persecuted minority religions in Pakistan. Militancy and sectarianism has been rising in Pakistan since the 1990s, and the religious minorities such as Hindus have "borne the brunt of the Islamist's ferocity" suffering "greater persecution than in any earlier decade", states Farahnaz Ispahani – a Public Policy Scholar at the Wilson Center. This has led to attacks and forced conversion of the Hindus.[134][135][136]

The London-based Minority Rights Group and Islamabad-based International and Sustainable Development Policy Institute state that religious minorities in Pakistan such as Hindus face "high levels of religious discrimination", and "legal and social discrimination in almost every aspect of their lives, including political participation, marriage and freedom of belief".[137] Similarly, the Brussels-based Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization stated in 2019, that "religious minorities, including Hindus" have perpetually been subjected to attacks and discrimination by extremist groups and the society at large."[138]

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedoms (USCIRF) echos a similar view, stating that "extremist groups and societal actors [have] continued to discriminate against and attack religious minorities" in Pakistan.[139][140][141] The European Parliament, similarly has expressed its concerns to Pakistan of systemic persecution of minorities citing examples of attack on Hindu temples (and Christian Churches), hundreds of honor killings, citing its blasphemy laws that "make it dangerous for religious minorities to express themselves freely or engage openly in religious activities".[142] The European Parliament has adopted resolutions of concern stating that "for years Pakistan's blasphemy laws have raised global concern because accusations are often motivated by score-settling, economic gain or religious intolerance, and foster a culture of vigilantism giving mobs a platform for harassment and attacks" against its religious minorities such as Hindus.[143][144][145]

In the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition Pakistani Hindus faced riots. Mobs attacked five Hindu temples in Karachi and set fire to 25 temples in towns across the province of Sindh. Shops owned by Hindus were also attacked in Sukkur. Hindu homes and temples were also attacked in Quetta.[146]

1971 Bangladesh genocide

During the 1971 Bangladesh genocide there were widespread killings and acts of ethnic cleansing of civilians in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan, a province of Pakistan), and widespread violations of human rights were carried out by the Pakistani Army, which was supported by political and religious militias during the Bangladesh Liberation War. In Bangladesh, the atrocities are identified as a genocide. Time magazine reported that "The Hindus, who account for three-fourths of the refugees and a majority of the dead, have borne the brunt of the Muslim military's hatred."[147]

United States government cables noted that Hindus were specific targets of the Pakistani army.[148][149] There was widespread killing of Hindu males, and rapes of women. Documented incidents in which Hindus were massacred in large numbers include the Jathibhanga massacre,[citation needed] the Chuknagar massacre, and the Shankharipara massacre.[150] More than 60% of the Bengali refugees who fled to India were Hindus.[151][152] It has been alleged that this widespread violence against Hindus was motivated by a policy to purge East Pakistan of what was seen as Hindu and Indian influences.[153][154]

According to R.J. Rummel, professor of political science at the University of Hawaii,

The genocide and gendercidal atrocities were also perpetrated by lower-ranking officers and ordinary soldiers. These "willing executioners" were fueled by an abiding anti-Bengali racism, especially against the Hindu minority. "Bengalis were often compared with monkeys and chickens. Said General Niazi, 'It was a low lying land of low lying people.' The Hindus among the Bengalis were as Jews to the Nazis: scum and vermin that [should] best be exterminated. As to the Moslem Bengalis, they were to live only on the sufferance of the soldiers: any infraction, any suspicion cast on them, any need for reprisal, could mean their death. And the soldiers were free to kill at will. The journalist Dan Coggin quoted one Pakistani captain as telling him, "We can kill anyone for anything. We are accountable to no one." This is the arrogance of Power.[155]

The Bangladesh Liberation War (1971) resulted in one of the largest genocides of the 20th century. While estimates of the number of casualties was 3,000,000, it is reasonably certain that Hindus bore a disproportionate brunt of the Pakistan Army's onslaught against the Bengali population of what was East Pakistan. An article in Time magazine dated 2 August 1971, stated "The Hindus, who account for three-fourths of the refugees and a majority of the dead, have borne the brunt of the Muslim military hatred."[156] Senator Edward Kennedy wrote in a report that was part of United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations testimony dated 1 November 1971, "Hardest hit have been members of the Hindu community who have been robbed of their lands and shops, systematically slaughtered, and in some places, painted with yellow patches marked "H". All of this has been officially sanctioned, ordered and implemented under martial law from Islamabad". In the same report, Senator Kennedy reported that 80% of the refugees in India were Hindus and according to numerous international relief agencies such as UNESCO and World Health Organization the number of East Pakistani refugees at their peak in India was close to 10 million. Given that the Hindu population in East Pakistan was around 11 million in 1971, this suggests that up to 8 million, or more than 70% of the Hindu population had fled the country. The Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Sydney Schanberg covered the start of the war and wrote extensively on the suffering of the East Bengalis, including the Hindus both during and after the conflict. In a syndicated column "The Pakistani Slaughter That Nixon Ignored", he wrote about his return to liberated Bangladesh in 1972. "Other reminders were the yellow "H"s the Pakistanis had painted on the homes of Hindus, particular targets of the Muslim army" (by "Muslim army", meaning the Pakistan Army, which had targeted Bengali Muslims as well), (Newsday, 29 April 1994).

India

There have been a number of more recent attacks on Hindu temples and Hindus by Muslim militants in India. Prominent among them are the 1998 Chamba massacre, the 2002 fidayeen attacks on Raghunath temple, the 2002 Akshardham Temple attack allegedly perpetrated by Islamic terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba,[157] and the 2006 Varanasi bombings (supposedly perpetrated by Lashkar-e-Taiba), resulting in many deaths and injuries.

In Godhra train burning, which happened on 27 February 2002, 59 people, including 25 women and 15 children Hindu pilgrims were the victims. In 2011, Judicial court convicted 31 people saying the incident was a "pre-planned conspiracy".[158][159][160]

In Tripura, the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) attacked a Hindu temple and killed a spiritual leader there. They are known to have forcefully converted Hindus to Christianity.[161][162]

In Assam, members of the primarily Christian Hmar ethnic group have placed bloodstained-crosses in temples and forced Hindus to convert at gunpoint.[163]

In 2020,in Meghalaya the banned militant Group the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) threatenee the Bengali Hindus to leave Ichamati and Majai regions in Meghalaya.[164]

The period of insurgency in Punjab around Operation Blue Star saw clashes of the Sikh militants with the police, as well as with the Hindu-Nirankari groups resulting in many Hindu deaths. In 1987, 32 Hindus were pulled out of a bus and shot, near Lalru in Punjab by Sikh militants.[165]

On 2 May 2003, eight Hindus were killed by a Muslim mob at Marad beach in Kozhikode district, Kerala. One of the attackers was also killed. The judicial commission that probed the incident concluded that members of several political parties were directly involved in planning and executing the killing.[166] The commission affirmed "a clear communal conspiracy, with Muslim fundamentalist and terrorist organisations involved".[166] The courts sentenced 62 Muslims to life imprisonment for committing the massacre in 2009.[167]

Kashmir

The Kashmiri Pandit population living in the Muslim majority region of Jammu and Kashmir has often come under threat from Islamic militants in recent years, in stark contrast to centuries of peace between the two religious communities in the state. Historians have suggested that some of these attacks have been in retaliation for the anti-Muslim violence propagated by the Hindutva movement during the demolition of the Babri Masjid, and the 2002 Gujarat riots.[168] This threat has been pronounced during periods of unrest in the Kashmir valley, such as in 1989. Along with the Hindus, large sections of the Muslim population have also been attacked, ostensibly for "cooperating" with the Indian state. Some authors have found evidence that these militants had the support of the Pakistani security establishment.[169][170] The incidents of violence included the Wandhama Massacre in 1998, in which 24 Kashmiri Hindus were gunned down by Muslims disguised as Indian soldiers.[citation needed] Many Kashmiri Non-Muslims have been killed and thousands of children orphaned over the course of the conflict in Kashmir. The 2000 Amarnath pilgrimage massacre was another such incident where 30 Hindu pilgrims were killed en route to the Amarnath temple.[171]

In the Kashmir region, approximately 300 Kashmiri Pandits were killed between September 1989 to 1990 in various incidents.[172] In early 1990, local Urdu newspapers Aftab and Al Safa called upon Kashmiris to wage jihad against India and ordered the expulsion of all Hindus choosing to remain in Kashmir.[172] In the following days masked men ran in the streets with AK-47 shooting to kill Hindus who would not leave.[172] Notices were placed on the houses of all Hindus, telling them to leave within 24 hours or die.[172]

As of 2005, it is estimated that between 250,000 and 300,000 pandits have migrated outside Kashmir since the 1990s[173][172] due to persecution by Islamic fundamentalists in the largest case of ethnic cleansing since the partition of India.[174] The proportion of Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir valley has declined from about 15% in 1947 to, by some estimates, less than 0.1% since the insurgency in Kashmir took on a religious and sectarian flavour.[175]

Many Kashmiri Pandits have been killed by Islamist militants in incidents such as the Wandhama massacre and the 2000 Amarnath pilgrimage massacre.[176][177][178][179][180] The incidents of massacring and forced eviction have been termed ethnic cleansing by some observers.[172]

Bangladesh

According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, Hindus are among those persecuted in Bangladesh, with hundreds of cases of "killings, attempted killings, death threats, assaults, rapes, kidnappings, and attacks on homes, businesses, and places of worship" on religious minorities in 2017.[181]

There have been several instances where Hindu refugees from Bangladesh have stated that they were the victims of torture and intimidation.[182][183][184] A US-based human rights organisation, Refugees International, has claimed that religious minorities, especially Hindus, still face discrimination in Bangladesh.[185]

One of the major political parties in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, openly calls for 'Talibanisation' of the state.[186][187][188] However, the prospect of actually "Talibanizing" the state is regarded as a remote possibility, since Bangladeshi Islamic society is generally more progressive than the extremist Taliban of Afghanistan. Political scholars conclude that while the Islamization of Bangladesh will not happen, the country is not on the brink of being Talibanized.[186] The 'Vested Property Act' previously named the 'Enemy Property Act' has seen up to 40% of Hindu land snatched away forcibly. Hindu temples in Bangladesh have also been vandalised.[189]

Bangladeshi feminist Taslima Nasrin's 1993 novel Lajja deals with the anti-Hindu riots and anti-secular sentiment in Bangladesh in the wake of the Demolition of the Babri Masjid in India. The book was banned in Bangladesh, and helped draw international attention to the situation of the Bangladeshi Hindu minority.

In October 2006, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom published a report titled 'Policy Focus on Bangladesh', which said that since its last election, 'Bangladesh has experienced growing violence by religious extremists, intensifying concerns expressed by the countries religious minorities'. The report further stated that Hindus are particularly vulnerable in a period of rising violence and extremism, whether motivated by religious, political or criminal factors, or some combination. The report noted that Hindus had multiple disadvantages against them in Bangladesh, such as perceptions of dual loyalty with respect to India and religious beliefs that are not tolerated by the politically dominant Islamic Fundamentalists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Violence against Hindus has taken place "in order to encourage them to flee in order to seize their property".[190] On 2 November 2006, USCIRF criticised Bangladesh for its continuing persecution of minority Hindus. It also urged the Bush administration to get Dhaka to ensure protection of religious freedom and minority rights before Bangladesh's next national elections in January 2007.[190]

On 6 February 2010, Sonargaon temple in Narayanganj district of Bangladesh was destroyed by Islamic fanatics. Five people were seriously injured during the attack.[191] Temples were also attacked and destroyed in 2011.[192]

In 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal indicted several Jamaat members for war crimes against Hindus during the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities. In retaliation, violence against Hindu minorities in Bangladesh was instigated by the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. The violence included the looting of Hindu properties and businesses, the burning of Hindu homes, rape of Hindu women and desecration and destruction of Hindu temples.[193]

On 28 February 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, the Vice President of the Jamaat-e-Islami to death for the war crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Following the sentence, activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir attacked the Hindus in different parts of the country. Hindu properties were looted, Hindu houses were burnt into ashes and Hindu temples were desecrated and set on fire.[194] [195] While the government has held the Jamaat-e-Islami responsible for the attacks on the minorities, the Jamaat-e-Islami leadership has denied any involvement. The minority leaders have protested the attacks and appealed for justice. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh has directed the law enforcement to start suo motu investigation into the attacks. US Ambassador to Bangladesh express concern about attack of Jamaat on Bengali Hindu community.[196][197] The violence included the looting of Hindu properties and businesses, the burning of Hindu homes, rape of Hindu women and desecration and destruction of Hindu temples.[193] According to community leaders, more than 50 Hindu temples and 1,500 Hindu homes were destroyed in 20 districts.[198]

According to the BJHM report in 2017 alone, at least 107 people of the Hindu community were killed and 31 fell victims to enforced disappearance 782 Hindus were either forced to leave the country or threatened to leave. Besides, 23 were forced to get converted into other religions. At least 25 Hindu women and children were raped, while 235 temples and statues vandalized during the year. The total number of atrocities happened with the Hindu community in 2017 is 6474.[199] During the 2019 Bangladesh elections, eight houses belonging to Hindu families on fire in Thakurgaon alone.[200]

In April 2019, two idols of Hindu goddesses, Lakshmi and Saraswati, have been vandalized by unidentified miscreants at a newly-constructed temple in Kazipara of Brahmanbaria.[201] In the same month, several idols of Hindu gods in two temples in Madaripur Sadar upazila which were under construction were desecrated by miscreants.[202]

Pakistan

Hindus in Pakistan are often treated as second class citizens, systematically discriminated and dehumanised.[203] Hindu women have also been known to be victims of kidnapping and forced conversion to Islam.[204] A member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan claimed in 2010, though without official record, that around 20 to 25 girls from the Hindu community, along with people from other minorities like Christians, are abducted every month and forcibly converted.[205] Many Hindus are continuing to flee Pakistan even now due to persecution.[206] Krishan Bheel, a Hindu member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, came into the news recently for manhandling Qari Gul Rehman after being taunted with a religious insult.[207]

On 18 October 2005, Sanno Amra and Champa, a Hindu couple residing in the Punjab Colony, Karachi, Sindh returned home to find that their three teenage daughters had disappeared. After inquiries to the local police, the couple discovered that their daughters had been taken to a local madrassah, had been converted to Islam, and were denied unsupervised contact with their parents.[208] In January 2017, a Hindu temple was demolished in Pakistan's Haripur district.[209]

A Pakistan Muslim League politician has stated that abduction of Hindus and Sikhs is a business in Pakistan, along with conversions of Hindus to Islam.[210] Forced conversion, rape, and forced marriages of Hindu women in Pakistan have recently become very controversial in Pakistan.[211][212]

In 2006, a Hindu temple in Lahore was destroyed to pave the way for construction of a multi-storied commercial building. When reporters from Pakistan-based newspaper Dawn tried to cover the incident, they were accosted by the henchmen of the property developer, who denied that a Hindu temple existed at the site.[213] In January 2014, a policeman standing guard outside a Hindu temple at Peshawar was gunned down.[214] 25 March 2014 Express Tribune citing an All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement (PHRM) survey said that 95% of all Hindu temples in Pakistan have been converted since 1990.[215] Pakistanis attack Hindu temples if anything happens to any mosque in neighbouring India.[146] In 2019, a Hindu temple Pakistan's southern Sindh province was vandalism by miscreants and they set fire to holy books and idols inside the temple.[216]

Although Hindus were frequently soft targets in Pakistan,[217][218] the rise of Taliban forces in the political arena has particularly unsettled the already fragile situation for the minority community. Increasing persecution, ostracism from locals and lack of a social support system is forcing more and more Hindus to flee to India.[219][220] This has been observed in the past whenever the conflicts between the two nations escalated,[221] but this has been a notable trend in view of the fact the recent developments are due to internal factors almost exclusively. The Taliban have used false methods of luring, as well as the co-operation of zealots within local authorities to perpetrate religious cleansing.[222]

In July 2010, around 60 members of the minority Hindu community in Karachi were attacked and evicted from their homes following an incident of a Hindu youth drinking water from a tap near an Islamic mosque.[223][224] In January 2014, a policeman standing guard outside a Hindu temple at Peshawar was gunned down.[214] Pakistan's Supreme Court has sought a report from the government on its efforts to ensure access for the minority Hindu community to temples - the Karachi bench of the apex court was hearing applications against the alleged denial of access to the members of the minority community.[225][226][227]

In 2005, 32 Hindus were killed by firing from the government side near Nawab Akbar Bugti's residence during bloody clashes between Bugti tribesmen and paramilitary forces in Balochistan. The firing left the Hindu residential locality near Bugti's residence badly hit.[228]

The rise of Taliban insurgency in Pakistan has been an influential and increasing factor in the persecution of and discrimination against religious minorities in Pakistan, such as Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, and other minorities. Hindu minorities living under the influence of the Taliban in Swat, Pakistan, were forced to wear red headgear such as turbans as a symbol of dhimmi.[219] In July 2010, around 60 members of the minority Hindus in Karachi were attacked and ethnically cleansed following an incident when a Hindu youth drank from a water tap near an Islamic mosque.[223][224] In January 2014, in an attack on a temple, the guard was gunned down.[214]

Some Hindus in Pakistan feel that they are treated as second-class citizens and many have continued to migrate to India.[217][229] According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan data, just around 1,000 Hindu families fled to India in 2013.[230] In May 2014, a member of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, revealed in the National Assembly of Pakistan that around 5,000 Hindus are migrating from Pakistan to India every year.[231]

Many Hindu girls living in Pakistan are kidnapped, forcibly converted and married to Muslims.[232] According to the Pakistan Hindu Council, religious persecution especially forced conversions to remain the foremost reason for the migration of Hindus from Pakistan. Religious institutions like Bharchundi Sharif and Sarhandi Pir support forced conversions and are known to have support and protection of ruling political parties of Sindh.[233] According to the National Commission of Justice and Peace and the Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC) around 1000 Christian and Hindu minority women are converted to Islam and then forcibly married off to their abductors or rapists. This practice is being reported increasingly in the districts of Tharparkar, Umerkot and Mirpur Khas in Sindh.[233] According to another report from the Movement for Solidarity and Peace, about 1,000 non-Muslim girls are converted to Islam each year in Pakistan.[234] According to the Amarnath Motumal, the vice chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, every month, an estimated 20 or more Hindu girls are abducted and converted, although exact figures are impossible to gather.[232] In 2014 alone, 265 legal cases of forced conversion were reported mostly involving Hindu girls.[235]

In 2010 also, 57 Hindus were forced to convert by their employer as his sales dropped after Muslims started boycotting his eatable items as they were prepared by Hindus. Since the impoverished Hindus had no other way to earn and needed to keep the job to survive, hence they converted.[236]

In September 2019,Hindu teacher was attacked and three Hindu temples were vandalised in Ghotki over blasphemy accusations.[237]In 2020, Hindu temple in Tharparkar, Sindh was vandalised by miscreants.The miscreants desecrated the idols and set fire to holy scriptures.[238]

In 2020, an Islamist mob desecrated the construction site of the first Hindu temple in Islamabad.[239] Subsequently, the Pakistan government halted the construction of the temple and referred the issue to the Council of Islamic Ideology, a constitutional body set up to ensure compliance of state policy with Islamic Ideology. Punjab Assembly speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, a member of Pakistan Muslim League - Quaid, stated that construction of the temple was “ against the spirit of Islam”. Jamia Ashrafia, a Lahore based Islamic institution, issued a fatwa against the temple.[240][241]

Bhutan

Ethnic cleansing of Lhotshampas Hindus carried out by King Jigme Singye Wangchuk of Bhutan during the 1990s.

The government provided financial assistance for the construction of Buddhist temples and shrines and state funding for monks and monasteries. NGOs alleged that the government rarely granted permission to build Hindu temples; the last report of such construction was in the early 1990s, when the government authorized the construction and renovation of Hindu temples and centers of Sanskrit and Hindu learning and provided state funds to help finance the projects. The government argued that it was a matter of supply and demand, with demand for Buddhist temples far exceeding that for Hindu temples. The Government stated that it supported numerous Hindu temples in the south, where most Hindus reside, and provided some scholarships for Hindus to study Sanskrit in India.[242]

Sri Lanka

Most of the LTTE's leaders were captured and gunned down at point blank range in May 2009, after which a genocide of Sri Lankan Tamils in the Northern Province, Sri Lanka has started.[243][244][245] Even a book, The Tamil Genocide by Sri Lanka has been written on this genocide. Tamils Against Genocide hired US attorney Bruce Fein[246] to file human rights violation charges against two Sri Lankan officials associated with the civil war in Sri Lanka which has reportedly claimed the lives of thousands of civilians.[247]

Malaysia

Approximately nine percent of the population of Malaysia are Tamil Indians, of whom nearly 90 percent are practising Hindus. Indian settlers came to Malaysia from Tamil Nadu in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Between April to May 2006, several Hindu temples were demolished by city hall authorities in the country, accompanied by violence against Hindus.[248] On 21 April 2006, the Malaimel Sri Selva Kaliamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur was reduced to rubble after the city hall sent in bulldozers.[249]

The president of the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam in Selangor State has been helping to organise efforts to stop the local authorities in the Muslim dominated city of Shah Alam from demolishing a 107-year-old Hindu temple. The growing Islamization in Malaysia is a cause for concern to many Malaysians who follow minority religions such as Hinduism.[250] On 11 May 2006, armed city hall officers from Kuala Lumpur forcefully demolished part of a 60-year-old suburban temple that serves more than 1,000 Hindus. The "Hindu Rights Action Force", a coalition of several NGO's, have protested these demolitions by lodging complaints with the Malaysian Prime Minister.[251] Many Hindu advocacy groups have protested what they allege is a systematic plan of temple cleansing in Malaysia. The official reason given by the Malaysian government has been that the temples were built "illegally". However, several of the temples are centuries old.[251] According to a lawyer for the Hindu Rights Action Task Force, a Hindu temple is demolished in Malaysia once every three weeks.[252]

Malaysian Muslims have also grown more anti-Hindu over the years. In response to the proposed construction of a temple in Selangor, Muslims chopped off the head of a cow to protest, with leaders saying there would be blood if a temple was constructed in Shah Alam.[253]

Laws in the country, especially those concerning religious identity, are generally slanted towards compulsion into converting to Islam.[254]

Myanmar

Hindu villagers gather to identify the corpses of family members who were killed in the Kha Maung Seik massacre.
Hindu villagers gather to identify the corpses of family members who were killed in the Kha Maung Seik massacre.

On 25 August 2017, the villages in a cluster known as Kha Maung Seik in northern Maungdaw District of Rakhine State in Myanmar were attacked by Rohingya Muslims of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).This was called Kha Maung Seik massacre. Amnesty International said that about 99 Hindus were killed in that day.[255][256] Due to these, many Rohingya Hindus have started identifying themselves as Chittagonian Hindus rather than Rohingyas.[257] In Myanmar and in Bangladeshi refugee camps—according to some media accounts—Hindu Rohingyas (particularly women) faced kidnapping, religious abuse and "forced conversions" at the hands of Muslim Rohingyas.[258]

Afghanistan

According to Ashish Bose – a Population Research scholar, after the 1980s, Hindus (and Sikhs) became a subject of "intense hate" with the rise of religious fundamentalism in Afghanistan.[259] Their "targeted persecution" triggered an exodus and forced them to seek asylum.[260][259] Many of the persecuted Hindus started arriving in and after 1992 as refugees in India.[259][260] While these refugees were mostly Sikhs and Hindus, some were Muslims.[259] However, India has historically lacked any refugee law or uniform policy for persecuted refugees, state Ashish Bose and Hafizullah Emadi.[259][261]

Under the Taliban regime, Sumptuary laws were passed in 2001 which forced Hindus to wear yellow badges in public in order to identify themselves as such. This was similar to Adolf Hitler's treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany during World War II[262] Hindu women were forced to dress according to Islamic hijab, ostensibly a measure to "protect" them from harassment. This was part of the Taliban's plan to segregate "un-Islamic" and "idolatrous" communities from Islamic ones.[263] In addition, Hindus were forced to wear yellow distinguishing marks, however, after some protests Taliban abandoned this policy.[264]

The decree was condemned by the Indian and United States governments as a violation of religious freedom.[265] Widespread protests against the Taliban regime broke out in Bhopal, India. In the United States, the chairman of the Anti-Defamation League Abraham Foxman compared the decree to the practices of Nazi Germany, where Jews were required to wear labels which identified them as such.[266] The comparison was also drawn by California Democrat and holocaust survivor Tom Lantos, and New York Democrat and author of the bipartisan 'Sense of the Congress' non-binding resolution against the anti-Hindu decree Eliot L Engel.[262]

Since the 1990s many Afghan Hindus have fled the country, seeking asylum in countries such as Germany.[267]

Kazakhstan

In 2005 and 2006 Kazakh officials persistently and repeatedly tried to close down the Hare Krishna farming community near Almaty.

On 20 November 2006, three buses full of riot police, two ambulances, two empty lorries, and executors of the Karasai district arrived at the community in sub-zero weather and evicted the Hare Krishna followers from thirteen homes, which the police proceeded to demolish.

The Forum 18 News Service reported, "Riot police who took part in the destruction threw the personal belongings of the Hare Krishna devotees into the snow, and many devotees were left without clothes. Power for lighting and heating systems had been cut off before the demolition began. Furniture and larger household belongings were loaded onto trucks. Officials said these possessions would be destroyed. Two men who tried to prevent the bailiffs from entering a house to destroy it were seized by 15 police officers who twisted their hands and took them away to the police car."[268]

The Hare Krishna community had been promised that no action would be taken before the report of a state commission – supposedly set up to resolve the dispute – was made public. On the day the demolition began, the commission's chairman, Amanbek Mukhashev, told Forum 18, "I know nothing about the demolition of the Hare Krishna homes – I'm on holiday." He added, "As soon as I return to work at the beginning of December we will officially announce the results of the Commission's investigation." Other officials also refused to comment.

The United States urged Kazakhstan's authorities to end what it called an "aggressive" campaign against the country's tiny Hare Krishna community.[269]

Saudi Arabia

On 24 March 2005, Saudi authorities destroyed religious items found in a raid on a makeshift Hindu shrine found in an apartment in Riyadh.[270]

Italy

In Italy, Hinduism was previously not recognised as a religion, and during Durga Puja celebrations, the Italian police shut down a previously approved Durga Puja celebration in Rome. The affront was seen by some as a statement against alleged persecution of Christians in India.[271]

However, on 14 December 2012, Hinduism, along with Buddhism, was recognised and given freedom as a religion not conflicting with the Italian Law, as per Article 8 of the Italian constitution. The move has been hailed as a new milestone for religious freedom and equality between religions.[272]

United States

Hindus constitute 0.7% of the total population of the United States.[273] They are also the most affluent religious group.[274][275] Hindus in the US enjoy both de jure and de facto legal equality. However, a series of threats and attacks were committed against people of Indian origin by a street gang called the "Dotbusters" in New Jersey in 1987. The name originated from the bindi traditionally worn on the forehead by Indian women.[276]

In October 1987, a group of youths attacked Navroze Mody, an Indian man of Parsi origin, who was mistaken for a Hindu, after he had left the Gold Coast Cafe with his friend who fell into a coma. Mody died four days later. The four convicted of the attack were Luis Acevedo, Ralph Gonzalez and Luis Padilla - who were convicted of aggravated assault; and William Acevedo - who was convicted of simple assault. The attack was with fists and feet and with an unknown object that was described as either a baseball bat or a brick, and occurred after members of the group, which was estimated as being between ten and twelve youths, had surrounded Mr. Mody and taunted him for his baldness as either "Kojak" or "baldie". Mody's father, Jamshid Mody, later brought charges against the city and police force of Hoboken, New Jersey, claiming that "the Hoboken police's indifference to acts of violence perpetrated against Asian Indians violated Navroze Mody's equal protection rights" under the Fourteenth Amendment.[277] Mody lost the case; the court ruled that the attack had not been proven a hate crime, nor had there been proven any malfeasance by the police or prosecutors of the city.[277]

A few days after the attack on Mody, another Indian was beaten into a coma; this time on a busy street corner in Jersey City Heights. The victim, Kaushal Saran, was found unconscious at Central and Ferry Avenues, near a city park and firehouse, according to police reports. Saran, a licensed physician in India who was awaiting licensing in the United States, was discharged later from University Hospital in Newark.[278] The unprovoked attack left Saran in a partial coma for over a week with severe damage to his skull and brain. In September 1992, Thomas Kozak, Martin Ricciardi, and Mark Evangelista were brought to trial on federal civil rights charges in connection with the attack on Saran. However, the three were acquitted of the charges in two separate trials in 1993. Saran testified at both trials that he could not remember the incident.[279]

The Dotbusters were primarily based in New York and New Jersey and committed most of their crimes in Jersey City. Although tougher anti-hate crime laws were passed by the New Jersey legislature in 1990, the attacks continued, with 58 cases of hate crimes against Indians in New Jersey reported in 1991.[280]

On 2 January 2012, a Hindu worship center in New York City was firebombed.[281]

In late January 2019, an attack on the Swaminarayan Temple in Louisville, Kentucky resulted in damage and Hinduphobic graffiti on the temple. A cleanup effort was later organised by the mayor to spread awareness of Hinduism and other hate crimes. An arrest of a 17 year old was made for the hate crime days later.[282][283][284]

Trinidad and Tobago

During the initial decades of Indian indenture, Indian cultural forms were met with either contempt or indifference by the Christian majority.[285] Hindus have made many contributions to Trinidad's history and culture even though the state historically regarded Hindus as second class citizens. Hindus in Trinidad struggled over the granting of adult franchise, the Hindu marriage bill, the divorce bill, the cremation ordinance, and other discriminatory laws.[285] After Trinidad's independence from colonial rule, Hindus were marginalised by the African-based People's National Movement. The opposing party, the People's Democratic party, was portrayed as a "Hindu group", and Hindus were castigated as a "recalcitrant and hostile minority".[285] The displacement of PNM from power in 1985 would improve the situation.

Intensified protests over the course of the 1980s led to an improvement in the state's attitudes towards Hindus.[285] The divergence of some of the fundamental aspects of local Hindu culture, the segregation of the Hindu community from Trinidad, and the disinclination to risk erasing the more fundamental aspects of what had been constructed as "Trinidad Hinduism" in which the identity of the group had been rooted, would often generate dissension when certain dimensions of Hindu culture came into contact with the State. While the incongruences continue to generate debate, and often conflict, it is now tempered with growing awareness and consideration on the part of the state to the Hindu minority.[285] Hindus have been also been subjected to persistent proselytisation by Christian missionaries.[286] Specifically the evangelical and Pentecostal Christians. Such activities reflect racial tensions that at times arise between the Christianized Afro-Trinidadian and Hindu Indo-Trinidadian communities.[286]

Fiji Islands

The burnt out remains of Govinda's Restaurant in Suva: over 100 shops and businesses were ransacked in Suva's central business district on 19 May
The burnt out remains of Govinda's Restaurant in Suva: over 100 shops and businesses were ransacked in Suva's central business district on 19 May

Hindus in Fiji constitute approximately 38% of the country's population. During the late 1990s there were several riots against Hindus by radical elements in Fiji. In the Spring of 2000, the democratically elected Fijian government led by Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry was held hostage by a guerilla group, headed by George Speight. They were demanding a segregated state exclusively for the native Fijians, thereby legally abolishing any rights the Hindu inhabitants have now. The majority of Fijian land is reserved for the ethnically Fijian community.[287] Since the practitioners of Hindu faith are predominantly Indians, racist attacks by the extremist Fijian Nationalists too often culminated into violence against the institutions of Hinduism. According to official reports, attacks on Hindu institutions increased by 14% compared to 2004. Hindus and Hinduism, being labelled the "outside others," especially in the aftermath of the May 2000 coup, have been victimised by Fijian fundamentalist and nationalists who wish to create a theocratic Christian state in Fiji. This intolerance towards Hindus has found expression in anti-Hindu speeches and destruction of temples, the two most common forms of immediate and direct violence against Hindus. Between 2001 and April 2005, one hundred cases of temple attacks have been registered with the police. The alarming increase of temple destruction has spread fear and intimidation among the Hindu minorities and has hastened immigration to neighbouring Australia and New Zealand. Organised religious institutions, such as the Methodist Church of Fiji, have repeatedly called for the creation of a theocratic Christian State and have propagated anti-Hindu sentiment.[288]

The Methodist Church of Fiji specifically objects to the constitutional protection of minority religious communities such as Hindus and Muslims. State favouritism of Christianity, and systematic attacks on temples, are some of the greatest threats faced by Fijian Hindus. Despite the creation of a human rights commission, the plight of Hindus in Fiji continues to be precarious.[citation needed]

See also

References

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  2. ^ a b Nazila Ghanea-Hercock (11 November 2013). The Challenge of Religious Discrimination at the Dawn of the New Millennium. Springer. pp. 91–92. ISBN 978-94-017-5968-7.
  3. ^ Bateman, J. Keith. 2013. Don't call it persecution when it's not. Evangelical Missions Quarterly 49.1: 54-56, also p. 57-62.
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  5. ^ Wink 2002, pp. 51, 204–205
  6. ^ Wink 2002, p. 161
  7. ^ Hindu temples were felled to the ground and for one year a large establishment was maintained for the demolition of the grand Martand temple. But when the massive masonry resisted all efforts, it was set on fire and the noble buildings cruelly defaced.-Firishta, Muhammad Qãsim Hindû Shãh; John Briggs (translator) (1829–1981 Reprint). Tãrîkh-i-Firishta (History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India). New Delhi
  8. ^ Keay 2000, p. 288: "The normally cordial pattern of Hindu–Muslim relations was interrupted in the early fifteenth century. The great Sun temple of Martand was destroyed and heavy penalties imposed on the mainly Brahman Hindus".
  9. ^ Nicholas F. Gier, FROM MONGOLS TO MUGHALS: RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE IN INDIA 9TH-18TH CENTURIES, Presented at the Pacific Northwest Regional Meeting American Academy of Religion, Gonzaga University, May 2006
  10. ^ Lal 1999, p. 343: "I have arrived at the conclusion that the population of India in A.D. 1000 was about 200 million and in the year 1500 it was 170 million."
  11. ^ [Growth of Muslim Population in Medieval India, 1973, page 89]
  12. ^ Miller, Sam (2014). "A Third Intermission". A Strange Kind of Paradise: India Through Foreign Eyes. Random House. p. 80. ISBN 978-14-4819-220-5.
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  15. ^ Durant, Will (2014) [first published 1935], The Complete Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage, Simon and Schuster, pp. 458–, ISBN 978-1-4767-7971-3, The Mohammedan Conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precarious thing, whose delicate complex of order and liberty, culture and peace may at any time be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within. The Hindus had allowed their strength to be wasted in internal division and war; they had adopted religions like Buddhism and Jainism, which unnerved them for the tasks of life; they had failed to organize their forces for the protection of their frontiers and their capitals.
  16. ^ Gier, Nicholas F. (2014), The Origins of Religious Violence: An Asian Perspective, Lexington Books, p. 9, ISBN 978-0-7391-9223-8: 'Quite apart from Akbar, most Indian medieval communities experienced harmonious relations, as Stuart Gordon explains: "No Muslim or Hindu enclaves were seized; populations were not expelled on the basis of religion. No prince publicly committed himself and all of his resources to the annihilation of the Other. Both Hindus and Muslims were routinely and without comment recruited into all the armies of the period."'
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    In contrast to Avari, the historian Abraham Eraly estimates Aurangzeb era destruction to be significantly higher; "in 1670, all temples around Ujjain were destroyed"; and later, "300 temples were destroyed in and around Chitor, Udaipur and Jaipur" among other Hindu temples destroyed elsewhere in campaigns through 1705.[63] The persecution during the Islamic period targeted non-Hindus as well. Avari writes, "Aurangzeb's religious policy caused friction between him and the ninth Sikh guru, Tegh Bahadur. In both Punjab and Kashmir the Sikh leader was roused to action by Aurangzeb's excessively zealous Islamic policies. Seized and taken to Delhi, he was called upon by Aurangzeb to embrace Islam and, on refusal, was tortured for five days and then beheaded in November 1675. Two of the ten Sikh gurus thus died as martyrs at the hands of the Mughals. (Avari (2013), page 115)
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