India, Pakistan among top 5 countries at highest risk for mass killings: Report

For the fourth consecutive year, India has been lined-up in the top 5 highest-risk countries in the list of “Countries at Risk For Mass Killing 2020-21”.

The statistical risk assessment report was curated by Early Warning Project ranking India on the fifth spot behind Pakistan, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Yemen.

“…India is already experiencing an ongoing non-state-led mass killing. Developments that may be relevant to its risk in 2020–21 include the revocation of special status for the disputed Muslim majority territory of Jammu and Kashmir and accompanying heavy-handed counterinsurgency tactics, which included violence against civilians, as well as the proliferation of dangerous speech and rhetoric linked to nationalist and exclusionary ideologies on social media…” the report said.

Raking India under the ‘Unexpected Results’ category, the report carried that the government of India has advanced “Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) ideology through policies often intentionally targeting Muslims and other minorities”.

“These policies include widespread voter suppression measures against Muslims and Dalits and the expulsion and detention of Muslim Indians, which the government calls illegal infiltrators” the report added.

The report mentioned that the UN described the Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019, which excludes Muslims from a list of protected religious minorities and hinders their path to citizenship, as “fundamentally discriminatory in nature,” and protests in response to its passing was met with arrests of journalists and activists.

According to the research model, the factors that accounted for India’s risk estimate include large population, the presence of battle-related deaths (armed conflicts involving Naxalite-Maoists and Kashmir insurgents and Indian state armed forces), its history of mass killing, and its geographic region (South and Central Asia).

“The Early Warning Project also considers there to be an ongoing mass killing perpetrated by Naxalite-Maoists against civilians’ since 2004; this risk assessment relates to the possibility of a new and distinct non-state-led or state-led episode beginning, not to the ongoing episode continuing or increasing.” it read.

Pakistan has consistently ranked among the ten highest-risk countries every year this assessment has been produced according to the report, this time securing the first spot.

“Pakistan faces multiple security and human rights challenges, including violence by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, other ideologically-driven militant groups, and separatist movements… The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government has imprisoned political opposition on alleged politically motivated charges and backed controversial blasphemy laws, which are used to incite hatred, persecute individuals from minority religious groups, and allow for attacks on minority religious communities” it read.

The Early Warning Project is a joint initiative of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College.

It assesses the risk of mass atrocities in countries around the world using state-of-the-art quantitative and qualitative methods and a range of widely available data.

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