No. 2 tag for religious hostilities
“Some restrictions result from government actions, policies and laws. Others result from hostile acts by private individuals, organisations and social groups,’’
12/30/2009 India (The Telegraph)-A US think tank has marked India the world’s second-worst country when it comes to hostile acts faced by religious groups (minorities), but has appreciated that private outfits and not government policy is to blame.
The findings by Pew Research Center come four months after the US Commission on International Religious Freedom placed India on its watch list for the first time, citing the 2002 Gujarat riots and the attacks on Christians in Orissa’s Kandhamal last year.
Unlike the commission, the Pew study on “Global Restrictions on Religion” classifies religious restrictions into two categories.
“Some restrictions result from government actions, policies and laws. Others result from hostile acts by private individuals, organisations and social groups,’’ it says.
The study has found India politically progressive with very little government-induced religious restrictions, and ranked it 40th out of 198 nations.
But it has also found India socially regressive, and cited Gujarat and Orissa to rank it 197 — only above Iraq — in the “Social Hostilities Index”. Even Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia fare better in this category.
“Among the world’s 25 most populous countries, Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and India stand out as having the most restrictions when both measures are taken into account, while Brazil, Japan, the United States, Italy, South Africa and the United Kingdom have the least,” the report says.