Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to break his “deafening silence” on religious intolerance, The New York Times said in an editorial today.
A day after President Barack Obama had said that religious “intolerance” in India would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi, the newspaper’s
Editorial Board asked in an editorial titled ‘Modi’s Dangerous Silence’, “What will it take for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak out about the mounting violence against India’s religious minorities?”
“Mr Modi needs to break his deafening silence on religious intolerance,” it said.
The attacks at Christian places of worship have prompted “no response” from the man elected to represent and to protect all of Indiaâ€™s citizens, the editorial observed, adding that nor has the Prime Minister addressed the “conversion” to Hinduism of Christians and Muslims.
“Mr Modi’s continued silence before such troubling intolerance increasingly gives the impression that he either cannot or does not wish to control the fringe elements of the Hindu nationalist right,” it added.
“Mr Modi has promised an ambitious agenda for India’s development. But, as President Obama observed in a speech in New Delhi last month: ‘India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith'”.
Obama yesterday said the “acts of intolerance” experienced by religious faiths of all types in India in the past few years would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi.
The comments by Obama came a day after the White House refuted suggestions that the US President’s public speech in New Delhi on January 27 during his India visit in which he touched upon religious tolerance was a “parting shot” aimed at the ruling BJP.
“Michelle and I returned from India – an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity – but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs – acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate that nation,” Obama said in his remarks at the high-profile National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
The US President, who has just returned from India, was referring to violence against followers of various religions in India in the past few years.
He, however, did not name any particular religion and said the violence is not unique to one group or one religion.