From 2012 to 2016, what the US report on religious freedom said about India

From "no large-scale incidents" to "negative trajectory", how United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) changed tone in five years

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 3, 2016 7:06 pm
saffron From “no large-scale incidents” to “negative trajectory”, how United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) changed tone in five years. (representative image)

Reacting strongly to a US report which said religious freedom in India was on a “negative trajectory” in 2015, India on Tuesday said it “fails to show proper understanding of India, its constitution and its society”. Here is a list of the findings made by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in the past five years.

2016: The key findings of the 2016 report places the strongest emphasis on deteriorating religious tolerance, violence caused by Hindu nationalist groups and the support these groups receive from the ruling BJP party. The insecurities faced by the religious minorities and the lower Hindu castes have been pointed out to. Additionally, the report draws attention to restrictive laws on cow slaughter and religious conversions. “Moreover, an Indian constitutional provision deeming Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains to be Hindus, contradicts international standards of freedom of religion or belief,” says the report while placing India among the tier 2 countries where the country has been since 2009.
READ | Cow slaughter ban to Dadri lynching: Here’s what the US report on religious freedom says

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2015: The report then also emphasised cases of communal violence, which it said was a recurring feature for the past three years. Placing an onus on the administration of the ruling party, the 2015 report had concluded that “since the election, religious minority communities have been subject to derogatory comments by politicians linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and numerous violent attacks and forced conversions by Hindu nationalist groups, such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP).”

READ | Religious freedom has deteriorated in India, says US report; govt disagrees

2014: While the report drew attention to increased activities of religiously motivated violence against religious minorities, the reason for it was reported to be the general elections which were held that year. “Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and religious leaders, including from the Muslim, Christian, and Sikh communities, attribute the increase to India’s general election and some politicians’use of religiously divisive language,” said the report.

2013: Unlike the reports of the three coming years, the report in 2013 mentioned that “There has been no large-scale communal violence against religious minorities in India since 2008, and in recent years the Indian government has created special investigative and judicial structures in an effort to address previous such attacks.” However, it stressed on the fact that very slow progress was being made in achieving justice for victims of previous cases of religiously motivated attacks.

2012: Similar to the 2013 report, in 2012 too the USCRIF had reported that no large-scale communal violence had taken place in the country since 2008. It had emphasised upon the slow judicial recognition of previous instances of communal violence, though it laid out that the government had in fact created structures at various levels to address these issues.

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  1. B
    May 3, 2016 at 9:27 pm
    1. S
      May 3, 2016 at 3:16 pm
      Why is the USCIRF report being treated as if it is gospel truth. In a way it is gospel truth as it is a bunch of stuff concocted and put together by a panel of Judeo-Christians. The amount of space given to the issue of conversions in India makes that clear. The treatment of minorities in stan and Bangladesh only gets covered seriously and in detail when Christians are involved. There is just one suitably subservient Muslim candidate among the commissioners of USCIRF. No representatives of eastern religions. And this vaunted report has nothing to say about religious freedom in Canada or the United States. Here is the list of USCIRF commissioners -- -- all but one are judeo- Christian. The latest appointee Katrina Lantos Swett is a church head. So the US evangelical agenda is writ large over this report. India should have a similar commission packed with representatives of Indian religions and produce a report on the violations and hate crimes in the US, Europe, Australia and Canada.
      1. H
        May 3, 2016 at 1:54 pm
        basically you should reject this report should not give any importance, but in india the media is a villain, they have agenda to perform, i am the the people will realised and give continuity of modi for another 10 years
        1. C
          May 3, 2016 at 2:45 pm
          Why you guys are giving much importance to this news at all?? Don't you understand this is the conspiracy to b India as communal internationally?? You media guys are so anti India and you work for others!!! Stop this kind of atudes and support India....
          1. D
            Denny Joseph
            May 4, 2016 at 2:13 pm
            Like i read somewhere.... Religion is like having genitals. its good to have one, and good to be proud of it, but for god's sake don't take it out in public. religion is a very personal attribute and everyone should limit its influence on public appearance and it is definitely not to be used as a factor in personal or professional decisions. we are experiencing an overdrive of religion in the country, which is sad because what you are and what you are capable of has nothing to do with your religion - it is you. in closing - all i want to say is if we made it a point to not introduce religion to our kids till they are 20 yrs of age, India would be a very different country.
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