Chhattisgarh in Focus- September 2020
The month of September 2020 saw 26 incidents, with Jharkhand taking the lead with 5 incidents, followed by 4 incidents each in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
One of the most striking examples of faith based persecution was seen in the State of Chhattisgarh. The case in point happened on 19th September, 2020. A mob of 200 villagers in Kakabeda, Kondagaon, Chhattisgarh, gathered together and harassed 15 Christian families living in the village. They severely assaulted one of the Christian men and threatened all of them to either abandon their faith or leave the village within 10 days. When the Christians denied to accede to their demands, they misbehaved with a Christian woman by tearing her clothes and subsequently destroyed their houses.
Chhattisgarh has been a region of concern with as many as 50 incidents reported just this year so far. The most common trend of religious persecution seen in the state has been that of social boycott. The means employed to ostracise Christians in the village range from threats, intimidation and harassment in an attempt to drive them out of the village to denying the poor victims the right to access public facilities in the village like wells or shops that sell daily supplies like food grains, milk and other essentials.
The persecution faced by Christians living in the state of Chhattisgarh has been so intense in the recent past that in a notification dated 12th of October, 2020, the Kondagaon district administration acknowledged the violence meted out to Christian residents of Kondagaon and forbade village groups that have continuously targeted and conspired against Christians in the village, from organizing events of that nature. The village groups have persistently harassed and threatened Christian families living in the villages of Chhattisgarh in an attempt to forcefully have them leave the village.
Despite these measures, incidents of violence continue to happen in the state and these perpetrators continue to deprive Christians of their fundamental rights, like freedom from discrimination and freedom to practice a religion of their choice. Social Boycott is undoubtedly emerging to be the new “Untouchability”.