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US report on religious freedom praises UPA, raps regional chauvinists

ICC Note

The US report criticizes Hindu extremists for attacking Christians and other religious minorities.

By Dibin Samuel

10/27/2009 India (Christian Today India)-The first International Religious Freedom Report of the Obama administration while praised the UPA government for its national policies regarding freedom of religion in India , sharply criticised the approach by those in state and local levels.

Citing various incidents of violence, including Kandhamal, the report underlined that although the Constitution of India provides for freedom of religion, some state level laws and policies have restricted this.

“The National Government generally respected religious freedom in practice; however, some state and local governments imposed limits on this freedom,” the report stated, adding “Some state governments enacted and amended “anticonversion” laws, and police and enforcement agencies often did not act swiftly to counter communal attacks effectively, including attacks against religious minorities.”

It continued that these Hindutva extremists had attacked Christian prayer meetings, assaulted pastors and lay persons, and confiscated and destroyed religious material.

Reminding the Kandhamal violence, the report noted that the large-scale violence, which included the August 25 alleged rape of a Christian nun, attracted worldwide media attention. “The police arrested 1,200 persons and registered more than 1,000 criminal cases” and “an estimated 3,200 refugees remained in relief camps, down from 24,000 in the immediate aftermath of the violence.”

Among the several sensitive issues, ‘religious conversion’ was one the report prominently mentioned about.

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