India is a proud ambassador of diversity in religions, cultures, languages, and geography. But the largest democracy of the world is now at the receiving end of criticism for religious turbulence in India. USA is ‘very concerned’ about unrest regarding the lack of religious freedom in India.
On the release of the 2019 International Religious Freedom report of India, the following concern was showed by Samuel Brownback who is the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.
“We do remain very concerned about what’s taking place in India. It’s historically just been a very tolerant, respectful country of religions, of all religions”, he said in a phone call with foreign journalists.
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom or USCIRF is a US federal government committee that was formed due to the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. It has its headquarters in Washington DC. It mainly documents infringement of religious freedom all across the world.
India previously refused the US report on the religious status of India stating that foreign governments mustn’t involve themselves in the internal matters of India’s constitutionally protected religious rights as provided to the citizens. Indian Government had said,
“India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion”.
Indian Constitution has provided fundamental rights to every religion and minority groups residing in the country. Focusing on this point, any review from the foreign government was debunked. But that doesn’t change the fact that not every right is followed through by the government or by citizens and that must be questioned.
Ministry of External Affairs responded, “We see no locus standi for a foreign entity/government to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.”
Brownback referred to the communal problems in India where any particular religion or community is being blamed for the disease by other religions and vice versa. He said there must not be any discrimination in providing medical help or treatment to any community because the disease doesn’t discriminate between people.
He said, “It really needs a lot more effort on this topic in India, and my concern is, too, that if those efforts are not put forward, you’re going to see a growth in the violence and of the increased difficulty within the society writ large.”
According to reports, 7484 cases of communal riots took place in India between 2008 and 2017 which killed over 1100 people of different religions.
This data was recorded by the Ministry of Home Affairs which reassures it’s authenticity and highlights the fact that communal disharmony in India must be dealt with immediately and efficiently. The sentiments of any community must not be hurt in the process to reinstall peace in the country. Kindness and empathy must be the driving force to ensure equality among all. India must regain its status of being house to peaceful communities bonded by the brotherhood.