Indian Americans Support USCIRF Report On Religious Freedom
“Everybody is entitled to his or her views, however, going by facts and statistics, the judiciary system of India is slow in delivering justice for Christian minorities.”
By John Malhotra
05/13/2011 India (Christian Today)-Indian American Christians organisations have expressed support to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) decision to place India on a “Watch List” for the third year in succession.
Calling the recent attacks against Christians “dastardly acts of cowardice”, the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA) said its board “supports the decision of USCRIF to put India on its watch list”.
The report, released April 28, includes a watch list of countries the US faith panel considers to require close monitoring because of violations committed or tolerated by their governments.
Others on the watch list include Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, Indonesia, Laos, Russia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Venezuela.
According to Leonard Leo, Chairman of the USCIRF, India has been put on the watch list because “incidents of religious violence are greater and the problem of impunity from such violence is heightened”.
“No doubt India is doing notable work in maintaining its secularism, however, the plight of Christians has not improved, if not worsened with justice being delayed, which is equal to justice being denied,” commented FIACONA President Abraham Mammen.
“Everybody is entitled to his or her views, however, going by facts and statistics, the judiciary system of India is slow in delivering justice for Christian minorities,” he said.
“They should go back to Gandhian values and respect the constitution that guarantees freedom of conscience. They should understand and recognize that belief in another religion would not make minorities less of an Indian.”
The USCIRF report, while noting that there has been no large-scale communal violence against religious minorities since 2008, said India‘s progress in protecting and promoting religious freedom during the past year continued to be mixed.
“Justice for the victims of large-scale communal violence that took place in Orissa in 2007-2008, in Gujarat in 2002, and against Sikhs in 1984 remains slow and often ineffective,” the report said.
In some regions of India, the report continued, law enforcement and judicial officials have proven unwilling or unable to seek redress consistently for victims of religiously-motivated violence or to challenge cultures of impunity in areas with a history of communal tensions, which in some cases has fostered a climate of impunity.