NEW DELHI (INP) Religious minorities and Dalits face discrimination in India, says United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). “During the past few years, religious tolerance has deteriorated and religious freedom violations have increased in India,” said a report issued by the USCIRF.
The report recommended the US government to put religious freedom and human rights at the heart of all trade, aid and diplomatic interactions with India. “India is a religiously diverse and democratic society with a Constitution that provides legal equality for its citizens irrespective of their religion and prohibits religion-based discrimination,” said USCIRF chair, Thomas J Reese.
“However, the reality is far different. In fact, India’s pluralistic tradition faces serious challenges in a number of its states,” he said.
The report said there are constitutional provisions and laws in India that do not comply with international standards of freedom of religion or belief. It said that following the victory of BJP in May 2014 elections, concerns have been mounting about the fate of religious minorities in India.
“In particular, since 2014, hate crimes, social boycotts, assaults, and forced conversion have escalated dramatically,” says the report ‘Constitutional and Legal Challenges Faced by Religious Minorities in India’.
Majority of such incidents have been reported in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.
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