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Hate crimes against Christians peak in 2022: Karnataka, TN highest in south says report

Data shows a rise in attacks against Christians with Uttar Pradesh recording the highest in the north, while Tamil Nadu peaks in the south.

The highest-ever targeted violence against Christians in the country was recorded in 2022. Data released by the United Christian Forum (UCF) on Saturday, November 26, reveals that up until November 21, 511 acts of violence were recorded against Christians in the country. The  number is higher than what was recorded last year – 505 acts of violence in 12 months. The report is based on the information collected by the UCF helpline, a toll-free number launched in January 2015 to help victims access legal remedies. The report is a compilation of a range of incidents including the disruption of prayers, attacks against believers, attacks/abuse directed at pastors and their family members, and vandalisation of churches.

The data from the last five years shows a sharp rise in attacks against Christians. The total number of incidents recorded in 2018 was 292, which increased to 328 in 2019. In the year 2020, the number of incidents reduced to 279 since it was the year when nationwide lockdowns were imposed due to COVID-19. In 2021, the number of reported incidents doubled to 505. This year, violence against Christians surpassed the previous years’ numbers even though there is still a whole month remaining for 2022 to end.

It was in September 2022 that the highest number of such incidents were recorded – 64, followed by May which witnessed 61 incidents. Similar to the last year, Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 149 incidents followed by Chhattisgarh which recorded 115 incidents. Jharkhand recorded 48 incidents while a few North Indian states recorded single-digit incidents, and the capital city Delhi, recorded one incident. Himachal Pradesh recorded four attacks, whereas, Jammu and Kashmir recorded a single incident and Rajasthan reported five incidents. Chandigarh, throughout the last five years, relievingly recorded only a single attack in 2019. In the Northeast, Meghalaya and Tripura reported one incident of violence against Christians each, while Assam reported two attacks to the UCF helpline.

In the Southern states, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu recorded double-digit incidents – 30, whereas Kerala and Puducherry recorded zero incidents. Andhra Pradesh witnessed six incidents this year while the Telangana state recorded four incidents. Andhra Pradesh recorded single-digit incidents in four out of five years except in 2019 when the state witnessed nearly 19 attacks against Christians. In 2018, it recorded 5 attacks, and in 2020, the number of attacks recorded was 8. In 2019, the number in Andhra Pradesh was 9, and this year 6 attacks have been recorded by the UCF.  Telangana on other hand, recorded 4, 3, and 6 incidents in 2022, 2021, and 2020 respectively. In 2018, it recorded as high as 19 incidents and in 2019, there were 18 reported incidents.

Attacks Against Christians

Month wise data from UCF

The report from the UCF noted that Tamil Nadu recorded as high as 48 incidents in the year 2018 and it was at its peak in 2019 with 56 incidents. In 2019, Tamil Nadu was second to Uttar Pradesh when it came to hate crimes against Christians. It recorded 17 and 21 incidents in 2020 and 2021 respectively. According to the UCF, there were 227 instances of hate crimes in Tamil Nadu between 2014 and 2022. Nearly half of the incidents (117) were reported from the Kongu region.

Kerala reported a total of three incidents of violence against Christians in the last five years. One incident occurred in the year 2018 and in the next year, two incidents were reported.

The UCF data shows a decline in the attacks against Christians in Karnataka compared to the last year when it was recorded at 62, the highest among the southern states. Back in 2018, the registered incidents were 8. The state witnessed 27 and 16 such acts of violence in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Last year during Christmas, violence against Christians peaked in the region. In Karnataka on December 28, a group of Hindutva vigilantes barged into a Dalit household in Tumakuru in a bid to stop them from celebrating Christmas, and on the very next day, another mob attacked a Dalit family residing in the Tukkanatti village of Belagavi, after accusing them of converting their neighbors to Christianity.

Attacks Against Christians

Source: The News Minute