1. Religious tolerance in India deteriorating: US lawmakers

Religious tolerance in India deteriorating: US lawmakers

"A pluralistic democracy, in India today religious tolerance is deteriorating and religious freedom violations are increasing," Robert P George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at the Princeton University...

By: | Washington | Published: June 17, 2016 1:49 PM
religion In his testimony, George said in the last year, “higher caste” individuals and local political leaders also prevented Hindus considered part of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Dalits) from entering religious temples.(Reuters)

“A pluralistic democracy, in India today religious tolerance is deteriorating and religious freedom violations are increasing,” Robert P George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at the Princeton University and a former chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing.

“Minority communities, especially Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs, have experienced numerous incidents of intimidation, harassment and violence during the past year, largely at the hands of Hindu nationalist groups,” George alleged in his testimony before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organisations of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Members of the ruling BJP tacitly supported these groups and used religiously-divisive language to inflame tensions further,” he alleged.
These issues, combined with longstanding problems of police bias and judicial inadequacies have created a pervasive climate of impunity in which religious minority communities increasingly feel insecure with no recourse when religiously- motivated crimes occur, George told lawmakers yesterday.

In his testimony, George said in the last year, “higher caste” individuals and local political leaders also prevented Hindus considered part of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Dalits) from entering religious temples.
The national government or state governments also applied several laws to restrict religious conversion, cow slaughter, and foreign funding of NGOs, he said.

Moreover, an Indian constitutional provision deeming Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains to be Hindus contradicts international standards of freedom of religion or belief, George argued.

India has been on USCIRF’s Tier 2 since 2009. Given its negative trajectory, USCIRF will continue to monitor the situation closely during the year ahead to determine if India should be recommended to the State Department for designation as a Country of Particular Concern, George said.

In his testimony, George alleged that civil society in particular non governmental organisations receiving funds from overseas are facing difficulties.
In April 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs revoked the licenses of nearly 9,000 charitable organisations, he noted.

“For example, two NGOs, the Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), which run conflict-resolution programmes and fight court cases stemming from the 2002 Gujarat riots, had their registrations revoked,” he told lawmakers.

Additionally, the US-based Ford Foundation, which partially funds the Sabrang Trust and CJP, was put on a “watch list” when the Ministry of Home Affairs accused it of “abetting communal disharmony”, he said.

  1. S
    Sankar
    Jun 18, 2016 at 7:03 am
    Haha....What a joke...this coming from a country where 50 people just got inated by a very tolerant citizen of theirs. Get your own house in order before lecturing other countries.
    Reply
    1. S
      swaraj
      Jun 19, 2016 at 11:22 am
      Tell that to Mr.Trump u yankee s.
      Reply
      1. P
        Parth
        Jun 17, 2016 at 2:08 pm
        USCIRF is one of the most bogus insutes who can't give a about any Muslim dominated country but come to India for they pathetic biased research. Does Goergeie boy have balls to question violation of human rights or religious intolerance in Bangladesh, stan or for that matter US? Wipe your before smelling other's!
        Reply
        1. Praveen Singha
          Jun 20, 2016 at 4:38 am
          Financial Express I dare you to print. You all are lemmings , in the US , Copy cats quoting Special interests without doing your own Due Diligence.
          Reply
          1. Praveen Singha
            Jun 20, 2016 at 4:35 am
            Prof George it is easy to Pontificate and criticize intolerance in other Countries, Pray look back and see what is happening all over the US , especially near Princeton. Police Brutality discrimination, Shootings, Unlawful detention by police of minorities, Giving Tickets by trapping Tourists to fill county coffers. How about Prof George going and rectifying the wrongs that were and are being committed in the United States against natives, anese in Okinawa, Philippines, Veterans of United States, Old Tale of mistreatment of colored People. You are a Shill of the Corrupt Indian Politicians Special interest who pay toward your Trips and endowments.Lets hear your rhetoric against the Saudis, Jordanian, Israelis, stanis, UAE, China, Britain just a few where is the criticism of intolerance.mentioned in your hearing. How about macre in Africa, South Africa, Do I hear any of that. Shame on you
            Reply
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