Police in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh (UP) state work in tandem with Hindu extremists to treat Christians and other religious minorities especially harshly, sources said.
“The UP police force is very different from the rest of India,” Dinanath Jaiswar, a volunteer with legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)-India, said. “They are very brash in their dealings with Muslim and Christian minorities, and there have been several cases of violence in police custody, but by God’s grace we have tried our best to reach them on time, and even while in the clutches of the enemy, God protects His people.”
From April 2017 to February 2018, India’s National Human Rights Commission registered 365 cases of judicial and custodial deaths in Uttar Pradesh, according to The Indian Express. The next highest amount was 127 cases in West Bengal state.
Most cases reported against police stations in several Uttar Pradesh districts fell under the categories of torture, infliction of injury and grievous hurt, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
“It has become a trend that a batch of Hindu extremists barge inside Christian homes and accuse them of proselytizing Hindus to Christianity,” Jaiswar said. “When Christians deny the accusations and restrain them from disrupting the prayers, they use the police force to take Christians into custody.”
ADF-India personnel in Uttar Pradesh are often called to rush to police stations to try to intervene before any charges are filed, ensure that Christians are safe and work to release them as soon as possible, he added.
India is ranked 10th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The country was 31st in 2013, but its position has been worse each year since Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014. (MS)