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India rejects USCIRF report on religious freedom

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Dismissing the report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the Indian government on Thursday said, “The report appears to be based on limited understanding of India, its constitution and its society”.

The government further said that it would take “no cognizance of the report”.

Among other things, the USCIRF report said that incidents of religiously-motivated and communal violence in India have increased for three consecutive years.

The report claimed that religious minority communities had been subjected to derogatory comments by politicians linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

It noted that numerous violent attacks and forced conversions were launched by Hindu groups, such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP).

“Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and religious leaders, including from the Muslim, Christian, and Sikh communities, attribute the initial increase to religiously-divisive campaigning in advance of the country’s 2014 general election”, the report said.

Commenting on the report, External affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said: “Our attention has been drawn to a report of the USCIRF which has passed judgement on religious freedom in India. It appears to be based on limited understanding of India, its constitution and its society. We take no cognizance of this report.”

According to the report Christian NGOs and leaders reported that their community was particularly at risk in states that had adopted ‘Freedom of Religion Act(s)’, commonly referred to as anti-conversion laws.

“Based on these concerns, USCIRF again places India on its Tier 2 list of countries, where it has been since 2009,” the report said.

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