Continued Impunity for Large-Scale Communal Violence – USCIRF Report April 2019


Numerous instances of large-scale communal violence across India remain unresolved years later, without proper accountability or recompense. Investigations and prosecutions of those involved in large-scale communal violence have too often been ineffective or absent.

Further, victims have complained that the government has not provided adequate assistance to rebuild destroyed neighborhoods, homes, and places of worship. The government has also not taken sufficient steps to prevent such large-scale communal violence from recurring.

The Supreme Court of India and fact-finding commissions, among other institutions, have noted common characteristics and causes of such violence, including incitement to violence against religious minorities by politicians or religious leaders.

Yet failing to address those common characteristics and causes or to hold perpetrators accountable have contributed to a culture of impunity for such violence. The case of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, exemplifies the enduring nature of these conflicts.

In 1992, after Hindutva groups destroyed the Babri Mosque, nearly 2,000 people lost their lives after months of rioting. In 2018, this tension continued as politicians and others renewed calls for a Hindu temple to be built on the mosque ruins; the Supreme Court of India in 2018 heard several pleas regarding the site.

Annual Report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom – April 2019

Based on these concerns, in 2019 USCIRF again places India on its Tier 2 for engaging in or tolerating religious freedom violations that meet at least one of the elements of the “systematic, ongoing, egregious” standard for designation as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). While the Indian government repeatedly has denied USCIRF access to India, the Commission welcomes the opportunity to openly and candidly engage with the government—including the chance for a USCIRF delegation to visit India—to discuss shared values and interests, including international standards of freedom of religion or belief and related human rights.

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