The United States Commission report on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has claimed that India had been subjected to violent attacks and forced conversions of the country’s minorities.
Responding to the claim, Vikas Swarup, the spokesperson of India’s external affairs ministry (MEA), said, “Our attention has been drawn to a report of the USCIRF which has passed judgement on religious freedom in India. The report appears to be based on limited understanding of India, its Constitution and its society.” He added, “We take no cognisance of the report.”
Earlier the organisation, in its annual report, had said that Indian minorities had been subjected to derogatory comments by the ruling NDA government, and several forced conversions and violent attacks had been carried out by Hindu nationalist groups such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP).” The report further placed India under its tier-2 list of countries for the seventh consecutive years.
The report further claimed that despite India being called a pluralistic and secular democratic country, it has struggled to protect the rights of the minority’s religious communities. The violence against minorities has increased, and the government has failed to provide justice in several such cases.
However, USCIRF has lauded India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his recent statement on protecting religious freedom in India. At an event honoring Indian Catholic saints in February 2015, the prime minister had said that he would ensure that there was complete freedom of faith and that everyone had an undeniable right to retain or adopt the religion of his or her choice.
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