India struggled to protect minorities – USCIRF

May 5, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Washington DC, May 02, 2014: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a US-govt body that monitors religious freedom in the world has critized India for its failure to protect its minority or provide justice to them.

Minorities in IndiaIn its annual report released today USCIRF said, “Despite the country’s status as a pluralistic, secular democracy, India has struggled to protect minority communities or provide justice when crimes occur due to a lack of political will, political corruption, and religious bias by government officials. This exacerbates the climate of impunity that already exists in the country. Based on these concerns, USCIRF places India on Tier 2in 2014.”

Commission puts those countries under Tier 2 where the violations perpetrated or tolerated by the government are serious and characterized by at least one of the elements of the “systematic, ongoing, and egregious” standard. India was first placed on this tier in 2009 and has remained in it since then.

The report on India make notes on Muzaffarnagar violence of last year, struggles of Christians & Muslim Dalits to get same benefits as other Dalits, slow pace of justice for victims of violence in Gujarat 2002 and Odisha in 2008. The Commission also criticized anti-conversion laws of Chattsgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Odisha.

Terrorist attack on Bodh Gaya also finds a mention in the report, USCIRF notes that National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Hindu priest Arup Brahmachari but released him after protest. No arrests have been made after tha.

The four-page report on India recommended the US government to include religious freedom concerns in its bilateral relations with India.

USCIRF recommends that the U.S. government should:

Integrate concern for religious freedom into bilateral contacts with India, 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;

Increase the U.S. embassy’s attention to issues of religious freedom and related human rights, including through visits by the Ambassador and other officials to areas where communal violence has occurred or is likely to occur and meetings withreligious communities, local governmental leaders, and police;

  • Urge India to boost training on human rights and religious freedom standards and practices for the police and judiciary, particularly in states and areas with a history or likelihood of communal violence;
  • Urge the central Indian government to press states that have adopted anti-conversion laws to repeal or amend them to conform with internationally-recognized human rights standards; and
  • Encourage the establishment of an impartial body of interfaith religious leaders, human rights advocates, legal experts, and government officials to discuss and recommend actions to promote religious tolerance and understanding.

– tcn

 

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