Religious freedom is important part of the society. No country can flourish without giving freedom to its people. Some countries in the world are using religion as a political tool to get maximum political mileage. Religion card is being played in some countries at the behest of government by some religiously motivated organizations. India is one of the states who have been using religion (Hindutva ideology) in order to accomplish particular and politically driven objectives. The endorsement of which came from US this time around.
Religion card is being played in some countries at the behest of government by some religiously motivated organizations. India is one of the states who have been using religion (Hindutva ideology) in order to accomplish particular and politically driven objectives. The endorsement of which came from US this time around.
India has been designated as a country of particular concern (CPC) on religious freedom by US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan US federal government commission that monitors and reports on religious freedom issues around the world. India was designated as a CPC in the USCIRF’s 2021 annual report, citing concerns about Indian government’s treatment of religious minorities, including Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs. The report highlights incidents of violence against religious minorities, including mob violence and lynching, as well as discriminatory laws and policies that restrict their rights and freedoms.
The USCIRF has also been critical of India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was passed in 2019 and provides a path to citizenship for non-Muslim refugees from neighboring countries. Critics of the law argue that it discriminates against Muslims and undermines India’s secular constitution. However, Indian government has rejected the USCIRF’s designation as baseless and biased. The government has also maintained that it is committed to protecting the rights of all its citizens, including religious minorities. However, concerns about religious freedom in India continue to be raised by human rights organizations and other groups both within and outside the country.
Indian government has rejected the USCIRF’s designation as baseless and biased. The government has also maintained that it is committed to protecting the rights of all its citizens, including religious minorities
India has been witnessing massive crackdown against non-Hindu communities under the government of PM Modi. There have been concerns raised by some individuals and organizations about religious intolerance in India under ruling BJP and PM Modi. Critics allege that the government and its supporters (Radical Hindus) have been promoting a Hindu nationalist agenda that discriminates against religious minorities, particularly Muslims.
There have been incidents of violence against religious minorities, including mob lynching and attacks on individuals for allegedly consuming beef or transporting cows, which are considered sacred by Hindus. Critics also point to the passage of laws that they say discriminate against Muslims. In addition, some have raised concerns about the government’s actions regarding religious sites, such as the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, which was destroyed in 1992 by Hindu nationalists who wanted to build a temple on the site. In 2019, Indian Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hindu claimants to the site and ordered the construction of a temple, which some saw as a victory for Hindu nationalists.
Concerns about religious intolerance and discrimination in India continue to be raised by some individuals, organizations, and international bodies.
The Indian government and BJP supporters have rejected allegations of religious intolerance and argue that the government is committed to protecting the rights of all citizens, including religious minorities. They also argue that the government’s policies are aimed at promoting economic development and national unity. It’s worth noting that opinions on this issue are divided, and there are also many who do not see the situation in the same way. However, concerns about religious intolerance and discrimination in India continue to be raised by some individuals, organizations, and international bodies.
There are certainly concerns that the Indian government has not done enough to address incidents of religious intolerance and discrimination. While the government has taken some steps to address these issues, including passing laws against hate speech and violence, critics argue that more needs to be done to protect the rights of religious minorities.
Some have also criticized the government’s response to incidents of violence and discrimination, arguing that it has been slow or insufficient. In some cases, government officials have been accused of making statements that appear to justify or condone violence against religious minorities. It’s worth noting that the Indian government has denied allegations of religious intolerance and discrimination and has taken steps to promote religious harmony and tolerance. However, the issue remains a contentious and divisive one in India, with strong opinions on both sides. Ultimately, the situation in India is complex, and there are no easy solutions to the issue of religious intolerance and discrimination. What is clear, however, is that more needs to be done to protect the rights of religious minorities and promote religious tolerance and understanding in the country.
The addressing of issues such as religious intolerance and discrimination requires a collective effort from all stakeholders, including governments, civil society organizations, and individuals.
International organizations and governments can play a role in promoting religious freedom and tolerance through advocacy, monitoring, and providing support to local organizations and individuals working to promote these values. They can also use diplomatic channels to engage with Indian government to encourage Modi government to take action to protect the rights of religious minorities and promote tolerance.
The writer is an Islamabad based expert of strategic affairs.