New Delhi: Despite Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath proclaiming to have a “zero-tolerance policy” towards violence on minorities, minors, women and Dalits, a recent reply to an unstarred Lok Sabha question regarding the harassment of minorities and Dalits, including incidents of lynchings during the last three years, revealed that the state of Uttar Pradesh has recorded the highest number of such cases.
The minister of state for home affairs, G. Kishan Reddy responded to a question by MP Navaskani seeking information about the instances of harassment and victimisation of minorities and Dalits in the last three years.
According to a report in India Today, Reddy’s response revealed that Uttar Pradesh accounted for 43% of the total number of instances registered of harassment against minorities and Dalits.
In addition, the report also pointed out that Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh accounted for a whopping 64% of the total cases of harassment of minorities and Scheduled Castes.
In 2016-17, there were a total of 117 cases registered against discrimination against and victimisation of minorities, and 505 cases on the victimisation of people belonging to the Scheduled Castes throughout the country. Of the 117 cases regarding minorities, 42 were from Uttar Pradesh. As many as 221 of the cases dealing with injustice against Scheduled Castes were also from Uttar Pradesh.
Nationwide cases of harassment of minorities decreased in 2017-18 by 42%, from 117 cases in 2016-17 to 67. In Uttar Pradesh, cases against minorities decreased from 42 in 2016-17 to eight in 2017-18. Cases of victimisation and harassment of Scheduled Castes across the country decreased by 8% from 505 to 464. Uttar Pradesh, however, saw a marginal decrease of 2.7% in cases regarding Scheduled Castes, which fell from 221 cases to 215.
In 2018-19, nationwide cases of victimisation and harassment of minorities rose by 17% from 67 cases in 2017-18 to 79 cases in 2018-19. In Uttar Pradesh, cases regarding minorities rose by 137% from eight cases in 2017-18 to 19 in 2018-19. Across the country, cases of harassment of Scheduled Castes rose by 44%, from 464 cases in 2017-18 to 672 in 2018-19.
In Uttar Pradesh, cases regarding scheduled castes rose by 44% from 215 cases in 2017-18 to 311 in 2018-19.
Between April 2019 and June 2019, five cases had been registered on victimisation and harassment of minorities and 99 cases on harassment of Scheduled Castes across the country. In Uttar Pradesh, during the same period, one case had been registered regarding minorities and 52 cases regarding the harassment of Scheduled Castes.
Last year, Hate Crime Watch and NewsClick.in released data that claimed that the year 2018 saw the most hate crimes motivated by religious bias in India in a decade. Data showed that in 75% of these incidents, minorities were the victims.
Last week, the Uttar Pradesh Law Commission submitted a report and a draft bill on mob lynching to chief minister Adityanath. In the report, the State Law Commission recommended prison sentences ranging from seven years to life imprisonment for lynchings as well as imprisonment for a year for any policeman or bureaucrat who fails to prevent incidents of lynching in their jurisdiction.
In July 2018, the Supreme Court had directed parliament to enact a new law to punish those participating in incidents of lynchings.
FactChecker.in has estimated eight incidents and 41 victims of cow-related violence so far in 2019.