Social Issues

India tops index on Social Hostilities Index (SHI)

According to the Social Hostilities Index (SHI) published by the US think tank Pew Research Center in 2020, India came in first place.

Social Hostilities Index (SHI)

  • SHI tracks acts of religious bigotry committed by private citizens, organisations, or social groups.
  • The SHI tracks incidents of religious hostility committed by private people, groups, or organisations.
  • The index includes 13 indicators, such as mob or sectarian violence as well as military conflict or terrorism motivated by a particular faith.
  • The SHI was calculated by asking whether the nation experienced violence driven by religious bias or hatred, whether individuals experienced harassment or intimidation motivated by such bias or hatred, and whether there was mob violence directed at members of certain religious groups.

How bad has India fared?

  • India’s SHI in 2020, at 9.4 out of a potential 10, was worse than its neighbours Pakistan and Afghanistan, and it increased its own index rating for 2019, according to Pew research.
  • Due to its suppression on a “religious” gathering that defied the COVID ban in New Delhi, India has received harsh criticism.

Government Restrictions Index (GRI)

  • A second index, the Government Restrictions Index, places India substantially higher (GRI).
  • This index examines governmental restrictions on religious practises and beliefs.
  • With a score of 9.3, China came in last.
  • India was ranked 34th, which was sufficient to classify it among nations with “strong” levels of these government limitations.
  • The GRI consists of 20 measures, including efforts by governments to forbid conversion, restrict preaching, outlaw certain faiths, or provide special treatment to one or more religious organisations.

Official data for substantiation

  • The picture is more complex according to India’s own official crime figures.
  • Police records show that religious riots for which complaints were filed significantly increased in 2020 and then again fell in 2021.
  • However, there have been large fluctuations over time, and the numbers are too small as a percentage of all rioting episodes to reveal a clear trend.
  • Additionally, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) now only releases statistics on religious “riots” and the home ministry no longer provides data on “communal occurrences.”
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