Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against the minority communities, particularly Muslims, continued in India in 2018, amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef, an official US report said Friday.
The State Department in its annual 2018 International Religious Freedom Report alleged that some senior officials of the ruling BJP made inflammatory speeches against the minority communities.
“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,” it said.
According to some NGOs, the authorities often protected perpetrators from prosecution, it said.
The report said that as of November, there were 18 such attacks, and eight people killed during the year.
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In the India section, the State Department said that there were reports by nongovernmental organizations that the government sometimes failed to act on mob attacks on religious minorities, marginalised communities and critics of the government.
The State Department said that the central and state governments and members of political parties took steps that affected Muslim practices and institutions.
The government continued its challenge in the Supreme Court to the minority status of Muslim educational institutions, which affords them independence in hiring and curriculum decisions, it said.
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“Proposals to rename Indian cities with Muslim provenance continued, most notably the renaming of Allahabad to Prayagraj. Activists said these proposals were designed to erase Muslim contributions to Indian history and had led to increased communal tensions,” the State Department said. 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.