India saw highest levels of Covid-19 related religious hostilities in 2020: Pew Research Center

Source: The post is based on the article “India saw highest levels of Covid-19 related religious hostilities in 2020: Pew Research Center” published in The Hindu on 5th December 2022

What is the News?

According to a Pew Research Center report, India saw the highest level of religious hostilities during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

About Pew Research Center Report

The Pew Research Center’s study on restrictions on religion around the world is published every year.

The report measures levels of restrictions in 198 countries and self-governing territories using two 10-point indexes: the Government Restrictions Index (GRI) and the Social Hostilities Index (SHI). 

The 198 countries included in the study account for more than 99.5% of the world’s population.

What is the Social Hostilities Index?

Purpose: To measure acts of religious hostility by private individuals, organizations or groups. 

Parameters: The index comprises 13 questions that measure hostilities both between and within religious groups, including mob or sectarian violence, crimes motivated by religious bias, physical conflict over conversions, harassment for attire for religious reasons, and other religion-related intimidation and violence.

Key Findings related to India: India saw the highest level of religious hostilities during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

At a score of 9.4 out of 10, India fared the worst in Social Hostilities Index in 2020, more than its neighbours Pakistan and Afghanistan.

India was also among the countries in which private individuals or organizations linked the spread of the coronavirus to religious groups citing the circulation of Islamophobic hashtags such as “Corona Jihad”.

What is the Government Restrictions Index(GRI)?

Purpose: It looks at laws, policies and state actions restricting religious beliefs and practices. 

Parameters: The GRI comprises 20 measures including efforts by governments to ban particular faiths, prohibit the conversion, limit preaching or give preferential treatment to one or more religious groups. 

Key Findings: China ranked the worst with a score of 9.3. 

– India was ranked 34th with a score of 5.8. India was categorized among countries with “high” levels of government restrictions. 

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