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Structural Violence Against Dalit and Tribal Christians in India


· Mani Sudhir Selvaraj King's College London (London, United Kingdom)


07/28 | 15:30-15:50 UTC+2/CEST


Using a unique case study of violence against Christians in India, this paper seeks to resurrect Galtung’s typology of violence to analyze contemporary communal conflicts in India. Galtung suggests that violence evolves from its cultural forms to its structural and ultimately, to direct violence.This paper considers the structural examples of violence against Christians in India, such as the denial of state resources to Dalit and Tribal Christians and the implementation of anti-conversion laws in several states in the country. Considering that conservative estimates suggest that up to 80 per cent of Christians in India hail from the margins of Hinduism (Dalit or Tribal), this paper finds that the denial of state resources to these groups because of their faith deprives them of their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion; amounting to structural violence. Using the southern Indian state of Karnataka as a case study, this paper will further explore how the structural violence links to cultural (justifications) and direct forms of violence. In demonstrating these links, this paper shows how the 2008 Church Attacks in Dakshin Kannada defied Galtung’s assumption that cultural violence leads to structural and ultimately, direct violence. In this case, we instead observe a flow from cultural to direct and eventually to structural violence in the form of the Karnataka Dharma Swatantrya Bill.