Religious minorities, Dalits face discrimination in India: A report by US commission for International Religious Freeom

An independent American body wishes to bring into spotlight the discrimination faced by minorities and dalits in India in recent times among other things

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Washington, February 9: An independent bipartisan American body has claimed the religious minority communities and Dalits are faced with discrimination and persecution in India where social boycotts, hate, crimes and forced conversion have escalated dramatically since 2014, requesting the US to put the focus on human rights when it comes to trade and diplomatic interactions with India.

According to a report released by US Commission for International Religious Freedom that monitors violation of religious freedom abroad,”Under Congress Party and BJP-led governments, religious minority communities and Dalits, both have faced discrimination and persecution due to a combination of overly broad or ill-defined laws, an inefficient criminal justice system, and a lack of jurisprudential consistency.”

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“In particular, since 2014, hate crimes, social boycotts, assaults and forced conversion have escalated dramatically,” states the report ‘Constitutional and Legal Challenges Faced by Religious Minorities in India’ which has been authored by Iqtidat Karamat cheema, director of Institute for Leadership and Community Development, Birmingham, England.

According to PTI, the report suggests the US Government, to place religious freedom and human rights at the heart of all trade, aid, and diplomatic relationships with India.

USCIRF Chair Thomas J Reese said,”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.”

“However, the reality is far different. In fact, Indias pluralistic tradition faces serious challenges in a number of its states,” he added.

Reese mentioned, “During the past few years, religious tolerance has deteriorated and religious freedom violations have increased in some areas of India. To reverse this negative trajectory, the Indian and state governments must align their laws with both the country’s constitutional commitments and international human rights standards.”

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Running into 22 pages, the report alleges constitutional provisions and state and national laws can be found in India that does not comply with international standards of freedom of religion or belief, including Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The report also alleges concerns have been mounting about the fate of religious minorities in India following the victory of BJP in May 2014 elections.

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The author also demanded, “As feared by many faith communities across India, threats, hate crimes, social boycotts, desecration of places of worship, assaults and forced conversions led by radical Hindu nationalist movements have escalated dramatically under the BJP-led government.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang