Definition of persecution
Religious persecution is defined as violence or discrimination against religious minorities, actions intending to deprive political rights and force minorities to assimilate, leave, or live as second-class citizen. In the aspect of state policy, it may be defined as violations on freedom of thought, conscience and belief spread by systematic and active state policy and actions of harassment, intimidation and punishment that infringes or threatens the right to life, integrity or liberty. The distinction with religious intolerance is that the latter in most cases is in the sentiment of the population, which may be tolerated or encouraged by the state. Denial of civil rights on the basis of religion is most often described as religious discrimination, rather than religious persecution.
Bateman has differentiated different degrees of persecution:
It must be personally costly... It must be unjust and undeserved [...] it must be a direct result of one's faith.
Persecution of Hindus
Four major eras of persecution of Hindus can be discerned:
- Violence of Muslim-rulers against the Indian population, driven by rejection of Non-Islamic religions;
- Violence of European Colonial rulers;
- Violence against Hindus in the context of the Indian-Pakistan conflict;
- Other contemporary cases of violence against Hindus worldwide