Religious tolerance in India deteriorated in 2015: USCIRF report

Religious tolerance in India deteriorated in 2015: USCIRF report

Submitted by alvin on Tue, 2016-05-03 16:17 Washington: The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its latest report has said that religious tolerance in India deteriorated in 2015, and that the religious freedom of minorities was violated by Hindu nationalist groups, ' tacitly supported' by members of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. " In 2015, religious tolerance deteriorated and religious freedom violations increased in India. Minority communities, especially Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs, experienced numerous incidents of intimidation, harassment, and violence, largely at the hands of Hindu nationalist groups," the report said. " Members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tacitly supported these groups and used religiously-divisive language to further inflame tensions. These issues, combined with longstanding problems of police bias and judicial inadequacies, have created a pervasive climate of impunity, where religious minority communities feel increasingly insecure, with no recourse when religiously-motivated crimes occur," the report said. USCIRF, a bipartisan US federal government commission that makes policy recommendation to the US President, the Secretary of State, and the Congress also mentioned top BJP faces including party president Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath and Sakshi Maharaj in its report. The report comes down heavily on the current dispensation and its Sangh allies for 'numerous incidents of intimidation, harassment and violence' experienced by Minority communities, especially Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs. According to reports, the USCIRF was behind the U.S. government's decision to revoke Narendra Modi's tourist visa in 2005, then Chief Minister of Gujarat, three years after religious violence consumed the state. The watchdog body since 2012, has placed India amongst Tier 2 countries. The report added that India is on a negative trajectory in terms of religious freedom. The USCIRF has recommended that US should integrate concern for religious freedom into bilateral contacts with India. It has also urged Modi-led government to publicly rebuke government officials and religious leaders that make derogatory statements about religious communities. (ANI)