India saw highest religious hostilities during COVID lockdown: Survey

Tablighi Jamaat members who were held for allegedly flouting COVID guidelines while participating in a Tablighi Jamaat event in Nizamuddin in March 2020 and later acquitted by Delhi court. [File Photo]

Pew Research Center survey identified India as ‘one of the three nations along with Yemen and Indonesia, where pandemic-related killings of religious minorities occurred in 2020’.

New Delhi: India saw the highest level of social hostilities involving religion during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released  by the fact tank Pew Research Center.

According to the fact tank’s 13th annual study of limitations impacting the practice of religion, India fared the worst in the Social Hostilities Index in 2020 with a score of 9.4 out of 10, worse than its neighbours Pakistan (7.5) and Afghanistan (8.0).

The Social Hostilities Index is calculated by the centre based on 13 questions that assess hostilities both between and within religious communities, including sectarian or mob violence, crimes motivated by prejudice against religion, physical conflict over conversions, harassment for wearing religious clothing, and other forms of intimidation and violence related to religion.

The fact tank mentioned the India’s Ministry of Home Affairs’ decision to quarantine 900 members of the Islamic organisation Tablighi Jamaat after it staged a religious gathering at the Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi in early 2020 in its report.

The Tablighi Jamaat congregation was cited as the cause of thousands of coronavirus cases across the nation, leading to the closure of the mosque on March 31, 2020. Through a wave of commercial boycotts and hate speech, the incident revived the stigma against Muslims.

Additionally, a number of lawsuits were brought up against persons who attended the gathering for various reasons, including alleged visa violations or disobedience to the COVID regulations of the government. Courts have, however, dismissed the majority of FIRs and cleared the individuals.

In addition, the Pew Research Center survey identified India as one of the three nations, along with Yemen and Indonesia, where pandemic-related killings of religious minorities occurred in 2020. It made mention of the two Christians who died in Tamil Nadu following reports that they had been assaulted by police while being held on suspicion of breaking coronavirus regulations.


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