Brussels: Indian diaspora members in Brussels toured the city to raise awareness about attacks on religious minorities in India. On December 10, International Human Rights Day, which commemorates the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a three-day tour was held with two enormous banners on bicycles that featured statistics on hate crimes (UDHR). While India was instrumental in framing the human rights language for the UDHR, the rights of minorities have steeply regressed under the regime of Narendra Modi.
The bicycle-mounted placards notified onlookers about Human Rights Day and its theme, #StandUp4HumanRights, before bringing up the extreme marginalisation of and regular attacks on religious minorities in India. One banner read: “In India, police tortured 41 children. Their crime? They are Muslim.” This referred to the treatment of 41 Muslim children by Uttar Pradesh police as part of the crackdown on protests against the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act in 2020. Another banner informed passer bys of an incident in October 2022, when police officers in Gujarat tied nine Muslim men to a pole and publicly flogged them, while a civilian crowd cheered.
The diaspora members reported general support from the public. Citing figures from the Documentation of the Oppressed (DOTO) Database since 2014, which constitute a minimum of publicly available examples, the banners noted that 2,420 people are attacked for their religion annually on average. Over 86% of victims are Muslims, but violence against Christians has also risen by 81% between 2020 and 2021.
"India must never forget that it was founded on equality, diversity, tolerance, and secularism. We urge the Indian government to provide respect, liberty, and justice for all people on this Human Rights Day, especially the country's religious minority, said Dr. Ritumbra Manuvie, the head of the Indian diaspora-led think tank The London Story.