A senior United States official on Thursday cited a civil society organisation’s findings to state that India was at high risk of mass killings, the Hindustan Times reported.

Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain made the remarks at a panel discussion on religious freedom in India. He said that the Early Warning Project at Germany’s Holocaust Museum had listed India at the second place among countries at risk for mass killings.

The project had said that there was a 14.4% chance of a mass killing beginning in India in 2021 or 2022. Pakistan was listed as the country at the highest risk, with a 15.2% chance of a mass killing in the country.

Hussain said that there was a set of factors that threatened the rights of religious minorities in India, and added that Washington was speaking directly to New Delhi about its concerns.

“We have had attacks on churches, demolitions of homes, we have had the ban on hijab, we have got rhetoric that is openly being used that is dehumanising towards people so much to the extent that one minister referred to Muslims as termites,” he said.

In September 2018, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Amit Shah had described Bangladeshi migrants as “termites”, adding that they would soon be removed from the electoral rolls in India. Shah, currently the Union home minister, was then the BJP chief.

In June, the United States Department of State’s Report on International Religious Freedom for 2021 had said that attacks on minorities in India, including killings, assaults and intimidation, took place throughout last year.

The report listed scores of incidents of violence against minorities including incidents of cow vigilantism, attacks on religious places and properties owned by Muslims and anti-conversion laws in several states of India.

Over 200 incidents of anti-Christian violence this year: NGO

Meanwhile, non-governmental organisation United Christian Forum has said that 207 incidents of violence against Christians have been reported this year in India till May.

The organisation said that there were 505 incidents of violence against Christians in 2021. Out of these, more than 100 incidents were reported just from Uttar Pradesh, it said.

The United Christian Forum said that till May this year, Uttar Pradesh reported 48 incidents of violence against the community, closely following by Chhattisgarh (44 incidents).