India is a diverse nation which has its citizen practicing different religion and belonging to a variety of caste and class. Secularism which means freedom to practice any religion is a fundamental right granted to all the citizen of the nation. India which is known for its morals, culture, tradition, and values is even known for its religion.
Religion is the most important aspect in developing nations like India where if any religion is attacked, the people worshipping and practicing that religion will assume it as a personal attack on them. Religion is not only a practice for its citizens rather than it associated with morals, emotions, and even upbringing of those people. People can accept flaws in themselves but when it comes to their religion they rage war for the same.
When the nation is developing on all grounds people have started to use religion as a medium to create violence, suppressing the minorities and even in taking the advantage of the vulnerable women. Cybercrime is at such hype where people spread hatred towards any religion by the medium of social media. Even where people go to worship in ashrams the Baba’s try to outrage the modesty of a woman. Religious crimes are mostly based on girls, politics, and minorities which are spread widely through social media. India stands on 4th position worldwide in terms of religious crimes and religious threats.
RELIGIOUS CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN
Religion is used as a medium in order to assault women, outrage their modesty, or even take undue advantage of the women. The vulnerable women are the major victims of such crimes where they go to ashrams or temples to worship and then the priest also is known as pundits or the guru in ashram manipulate them and take advantage of such women. They use religion as a medium to objectify women and to make them victims of their sexual favors.
The people have blind faith in them and they use this to attack such women. Earlier when this was done by people working in religious institutions women used to raise their voices but her voices were not being heard. Now even many women are victims of such heinous religious crimes but those who raise their voices have been granted justice by the legal system. Religion is used as a medium to scam the vulnerable women and these people run such scams by playing with people’s beliefs.
In the case of GURMEET RAM RAHIM SINGH V/S CENTRAL BEAURAU OF INVESTIGATION, the high court of Haryana convicted him of offenses relating to sexual exploitation of women and murdering a journalist who wrote in his column about the heinous crimes by the guru. Now he’s punished with life imprisonment and is serving 20 years of jail term.
In the case of SAINT SRI ASHARAM BAPU V/S STATE OF RAJASTHAN, the high court convicted saint for raping a minor girl who was a student in his ashram and murdering an eyewitness. Now he is punished with imprisonment.
RELIGIOUS CRIME AGAINST MINORITIES BY POLITICAL PARTIES AND MAJORITIES
In a nation like India where Hindus are considered the majority and Muslims are treated as a minority, there is always a war between the Hindu and the Muslim. Muslims are accused of storing cow beef which is worshipped by the Hindu’s as their godmother. The Muslims accused of storing beef and transporting cows have been murdered by the Hindu’s as they consider cows sacred. And when the families of Muslims seek justice by complaining they were being suppressed by the political parties.
Manipulation by Politicians
Some politicians give a speech in order to rage anger and sense of hatred among the religions which would benefit them in their career. They even manipulate them in order to win elections and come in power. Some ministers even give such statements which would hurt the sentiments of other religion and they can establish their power by giving them support.
Some of the politicians treat religion as a platform where they can play with the emotions and establish power by hurting the sentiment of some and giving hope to some. Politicians even use religion as a medium to scam in order to rule over everything. They induce people to cause mob violence by giving them a false statement. They provoke nationalist and anti-nationalist to rage war against each other. In 2015 there was a mob lynching case where a group of villagers attacked the home of a 52-year-old Muslim and kill him under suspicion of slaughtering the cows. Mob lynching is a crime as declared by the honorable prime minister of the nation.
On June 22, a video was viral where a Muslim man was beaten and tied up profusely by Hindu’s as he refused to chant “Jai Sri Ram” which is very sacred for the Hindu’s. He was beaten up continuously for hours till the time he refused and did not die. There are so many cases when Muslims are assaulted and push to death till the time they did not chant “Jai Sri Ram”
RELIGIOUS CRIME SPREAD ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media the biggest platform which gives people the opportunity to express their views and opinions and to reach the minds of all is used by some people to spread hate among the religions. People on hearing anything post their views, forward that to other people through social network like Whatsapp, Facebook without even confirming it from reliable sources for once.
This spread massive hate amongst the people and they consider it an attack on them and leave no table unturned to take the revenge. Recently, the Supreme Court of India has passed punitive and remedial measures in order to avoid rumors being spread. People spread communal hatred through social media and think by doing this their targets will be accomplished and they will not be punished for the same. But this is not true a Muslim man was arrested in Indore for spreading communal hatred through social networks like Whatsapp, and Facebook. They spread hate speech against religion through social media and even they spread false rumors to spread hatred and induce people in a raging war.
PENAL CODE FOR RELIGIOUS CRIMES
All persons are entitled to practice, follow any religion and those who try to violate are punishable under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Chapter XV of the Indian Penal Code prescribes laws for offenses relating to religion.
- Section 295 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with those who cause injury to any place of worship in order to insult the religion and punish the offender with imprisonment which may extend up to 2 years or maybe fine or both. Section 295a of Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with who maliciously outrage the religious feelings by insulting their or religion or beliefs would be entitled to imprisonment up to 3 years or maybe with fine or both.
- Section 296 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with those who intentionally disturb any lawful assembly when they are worshipping any religion or its ceremonies and would be entitled to imprisonment up to a year or maybe with fine or both.
- Section 297 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with those who maliciously trespass any burial grounds where the performance of funeral rites are set up and would be entitled to imprisonment up to 3 years or maybe with fine or both.
- Section 297 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with those who utter words deliberately to harm the religious feeling of any person and would be entitled to imprisonment up to a year or maybe with fine or both.
India is a nation where people believe in any religion, a culture where people have a fundamental right to practice any religion still face violation in this right. Religion is such a sensitive term as it is not only associated with their beliefs but it defines them and tends to maintain social order lawfully amongst all. Religion is also a reason to unite the people but the disparity among minority and majority has led to the opposite of it and rather than uniting its only dividing people of nations and various powerful people are taking advantage of this in order to come in power.
India is a divine nation that neglects the flaws or religion. Even though having codes enforced for religious crimes minorities are still suppressed by all and still, the guru’s of ashram try to take undue advantage of vulnerable women by sexually exploiting them. Religious crimes have not stopped rather than increasing hence people have to start treating all religions as equal and respect all religions and their beliefs. Vulnerable women who are exploited by such gurus have to stand strong and raise their voices against the same. United people have to stand and curb this crime that takes place in the name of religion and respect all beliefs and sentiments of people worshipping any religion according to their wishes.
Snigdha Singhi | Amity Law School, Noida