Washington: Religious minorities in India have been subjected to “violent attacks, forced conversions” and “Ghar Wapsi” campaigns by groups like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) after the Modi government assumed power in 2014, a US Congress-established panel has said.
In its 2015 annual report, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) asked the Obama administration to press the Indian government to publicly rebuke officials and religious leaders who make derogatory remarks about communities and to boost religious freedom standards in India.
The panel said that despite the country’s status as a pluralistic, secular democracy, India has long struggled to protect minority religious communities or provide justice when crimes occur, which perpetuates a climate of impunity.
Incidents of religiously-motivated and communal violence reportedly have increased for three consecutive years, the panel said in its key findings.
The government on Thursday dismissed the latest report of the USCIRF, which noted that religious minority communities in India had been subject to derogatory comments by politicians linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party since the parliamentary elections in 2014.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a statement dismissing the report and stating that it was based on limited understanding of India.
“Our attention has been drawn to a report of the USCIRF which has passed judgment on religious freedom in India. It appears to be based on limited understanding of India, its constitution and its society,” said Vikas Swaroop, official spokesperson of the MEA. “We take no cognizance of this report,” added Swaroop.