NEW DELHI (CNS) — A British parliamentary report criticized the Indian government for failing to protect religious minorities from violent Hindu hard-liners.
A report by the British All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief said the rise of nationalist “Hindutva” ideology — which defines “Indian” as exclusively Hindu — has led to an increase in religious oppression in the country, ucanews.com reported.
The Dec. 31 report, titled “Commentary on the Current State of Freedom of Religion or Belief” said anti-conversion laws in seven of India’s states also are used to threaten Muslims and Christians.
In its chapter on India, the report said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “has finally condemned mob violence against minorities, but his government has remained largely inactive in proactively tackling spiraling religiously motivated violence.”
The report said a “particularly worrying” situation emerges from media reports that some members of the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party, known as BJP, have close affiliations with the Hindu hard-line group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS.
Founded in 1925, the RSS draws its vision from a mix of Hindu legends and ancient Indian history. It claims that India is a Hindu land and religious minorities should accept Hindu supremacy if they want to live in the country.
Human rights activists agreed with the concerns outlined in the report. They have said that the situation for religious minorities worsened since the BJP came to power in 2014 because Hindu hard-liners see the party’s victory as a mandate to push for their goal of Hindu nationhood.
Adil Hussain, a New Delhi-based rights activist, said he feared that the violence targeting religious minorities will only get worse.
“Now with national elections due in April this year, there are fears that religious violence could spike,” Hussain said.
He cited recent meetings of Hindu groups pushing for the construction of a Hindu temple in Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh state. Hindu hard-liners demolished a mosque 26 years ago in the same location.
“The leaders of nationalist groups have openly asked Hindus to produce more children and train them in weaponry to fight Muslims,” Adil said. “This poison is spreading across the country and is leaving minorities in dire straits.”
Christian leader A.C. Michael told ucanews.com that numerous reports have revealed a clear pattern of rising religious intolerance against Christians in India.
Those involved in anti-Christians attacks have a certain level of impunity because of tacit approval from government officials and the police, Michael said.
A report by ADF India, an organization defending Christian rights in the country, stated there were 219 incidents of Hindu violence reported against Christians, mostly affecting women and children, between January and October 2018.
“Despite hundreds of anti-Christians incidents, police registered a crime in only 12 cases,” Michael said. “What is more shocking is the fact that the political leaders in the country have maintained a silence over the incidents and haven’t condemned a single one.”
India has about 170 million Muslims in a population of 1.2 billion people, according to official census statistics. In addition, 28 million Christians are scattered across the country.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Irish bishops urge Catholics to ‘resist’ country’s new abortion law
NEXT: Vatican: Investigation underway of bishop accused of abuse, misconduct
Share this story