US religious freedom panel slams Modi government for India’s ‘minority policy’

The report says Christians and Hindus who convert to Christianity or another faith have reported more frequent harassment.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Updated: May 1, 2015 6:01 am
US India religious report, india religious freedom, Church attack, church vandalised, india freedom of religion, india minority freedom, minority religious freedom, religious conversion, religious reconversion, ghar wapsi, RSS, VHP, USCIRF, Barack Obama, Barack Obama modi religious freedom, Barack Obama modi religious talk, Narendra Modi, BJP, Congress, BJP government, NDA government, Barack Obama Town Hall speech, india news, nation news An idol vandalised at St Mary’s Church in Agra on Thursday. (Source: PTI photo)

The 2015 annual report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has slammed the NDA government for its “minority policy” and expressed concern about “Ghar Wapsi” incidents.  However, it has conceded that PM Narendra Modi’s statement on religious tolerance at a Christian religious meet is a “positive development.”

Also Read: India rejects US report on religious freedom, says it’s based on ‘limited understanding’

USCIRF is an independent bipartisan federal government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.  It is among the organisations that had recommended to the US State Department to deny visa to Narendra Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots. In 2009 India refused to grant visa to USCIRF commissioners to travel to India. That stand has not been reversed yet.

The report also refers to US President Barack Obama’s Town Hall speech in which he underscored the importance of religious tolerance and reminded the Indian government about Article 25 of the Constitution.

The report has said since 2008 and 2010 – long before NDA came to power- “Muslim communities have reported facing undue scrutiny and arbitrary arrests and detentions, which the government justifies by the need to counter terrorism. In addition, for several years, Indian Christians, Christian missionary groups, and Hindus who convert to Christianity or another faith have reported more frequent harassment…particularly in states with anti-conversion laws.”

In its recommendations, USCIRF has said: “Integrate concern for religious freedom into bilateral contacts with India, including the framework of future Strategic Dialogues, at both the federal and provincial level, and encourage the strengthening of the capacity of state and central police to implement effective measures to prohibit and punish cases of religious violence and protect victims and witnesses…”
It also asked the US government to urge the Indian government to press states that have adopted anti-conversion laws to repeal or amend them to conform with internationally recognised human rights standards.

The report has also chronicled “violations” against Christians, Muslims and Sikhs.

“The Evangelical Fellowship of India has documented more than 38 incidents targeting Christians in November and December 2014 alone… In September 2014, police arrested nearly 150 people in the state of Gujarat after violence left dozens, mostly Muslims, severely injured,” says the report.

It has named Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan as states that tend to have the greatest number of religiously motivated attacks and incidents of communal violence.

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  1. A
    Achal
    May 3, 2016 at 11:49 am
    The report has a photograph of a vandalized church. The church was vandalized by a Muslim boy for taking revenge from a Christian girl friend who refused to marry him because of his religion. This itself is a proof that how without knowing the facts and the ground reality, foreign NGOs and so called secular jump the guns.
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    1. A
      Antony
      May 3, 2016 at 11:52 am
      Modi is now infamous in US but its bhakt are telling modi is por for development.
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      1. D
        Deshu
        May 3, 2016 at 11:51 am
        US must be told that religious freedom does not mean to convert poor people to other religion.Gone those days when poor people were converted to other religions due to their poverty.The people of India specially poor people enjoy all types of freedoms more than any other democratic countries in world including USAdia is a great country which respects other religion more than anyone other country in world.Take example of stan where potion of Hindus reduced by 85% whereas muslim potion in India after 1947 has been increased by 300% even sometime more.We respect all religions unlike others.
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        1. B
          banti
          May 3, 2016 at 11:52 am
          simple as clean water...no one is perfect and 100% deliverable. Are you in every field of your life or profession inspite of thinking or making commitments and politics? Answer will be a big 'No'...why? Because we all are human beings. Human Physco always attracts faster to negative news/thinking and it takes time to understand and digest positive similar to way if we don't water plants in our garden then weeds (negativity) will grow and to nurture healthy crop/plants we need to water and nourish them with soil nuitrents. Point is 'Modi govt' made lot of promises and it is not even half way through its 5 yr journey and still it has made so much progress (if you see with positive frame of mind) especially for poor people..whether it is bank account scheme for poor, girl child upliftment, pension yogna, soil healthcard for farmers to help them grow right crop at right time maximize their earnings, lifelong visa for OCI benefiting our overseas brothers and sisters, boosting tourism by allowing e-Visa for more than 100 countries, clean india initiative, improving GDP..overall economy and creating jobs by promoting 100% FDI and overall improving foreign relations to a lot better than ever India had. NOW tell me...is it all Goondaism, RSS is nationalism group that encourages and promotes brotherhood and cultural tolerance but at the same time doesn't mean they shut their mouths inspite of anyone saying or doing any nonsense on hindus. Hindu is most tolerant community (Btw, Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life as directed by H'onable Supreme Court of India) Yes, certain incidents do happen that are and must be condemnable but one should look into reason of why such things happen. it doesn't make sense to blame any particular community/religion just because they are either majority or minority, btw minority according to consution may be someone with less than 5% or something like that, muslims are not minority in India they are second highest community in world after Indonesia...more muslims than in our neighbor and middle eastern countries and they know they are happy and safe/secure more than any country in the world as Hinduism has/will always preach "Peace, Love, Harmony and Brotherhood among all" and so do other religions understand it well otherwise you won't see India as Largest Democracy in the world. With potion of over 1.25 Billion you can't expect 100% perfect :) as I explain in the beginning. Obviously, people have different mindsets and thinking and certain anti-social elements (irrespective of religion) does create atmosphere of unrest and then who gets blame..so called 'Govt' who is elected by people of this country including us. See the facts that this Govt has done in less than 2 years and compare it with previous govt's and even other countries speed of progress.lt;br/gt;Coming to topic 'US always acts as BIG BOSS' though it is under trillion dollar loan and debt it needs to pay to other countries BUT how they can subsidize or give loan/money to others that is out of my thinking...they doesn't have enough STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) background students compared to other countries especially Asians which India leads and they are jealous of that. you see Trump makes mockery of Indians and they themselves know what they did to other countries, invading and bombing them mercilessly just to enhance their defence manufacturing and economy by selling the same, so they always are somehow (directly or indirectly) involved in wars or cold-wars etc etc.lt;br/gt;Atleast India did some good by denying visa to this agency, and btw US denied visa to Modi even when he got clean chit from local, state/high courts and H'onable Supreme Court itself. And as he got pority news started of US may consider visa for Modi and when he became PM officially they send him visa by Superfast Courier/Post :D same day he is welcome to visit US anytime...see the difference here. Regarding conversion of religion, it has been continuous practice since ages and will carry on but the way it was and has been done in case of hindus was not only questionable but objectionable. Ghar wapsi was initiated by certain groups but that is not by force or greed of good things but only by choice BUT again this practice needs to be monitored (in one of India's western state recently lot of religious conversions were rejected by Govt), as certain anti-national elements especially our so called neighbors and others want to destabilize India because they just can't handle how come India being largest democracy in the world with so many languages and cultures and multiple religious communities can stay and live together as ONE. This is God's special grace on us BUT unfortunately lot many people don't even try understand this.lt;br/gt;It is well known phrase 'when you point one finger at someone (in this case US pointing to India), rest of fingers point at yourself (in this case it is US itself :D)...hope these facts will atleast help us understand from broader perspective, not just myway or highway types.
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          1. G
            GuestReader
            May 3, 2016 at 11:07 am
            The US needs to clean her own nostrils before pointing to India's wax in the ears
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