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ICC Note:

Religious tolerance in India is “deteriorating” Robert P. George, a former chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), told U.S. lawmakers. This comes after a congressional commission held a public hearing regarding the rise of religious intolerance in India last week. Many believe the rise of the BJP, a Hindu nationalist political party, is the cause of this deterioration in religious tolerance in India. Since taking power in May 2014, the BJP and its leader, Prime Minister Modi, have been questioned multiple times regarding religious intolerance and the government’s lack of action on behalf of religious minority communities. 

6/17/2016 India (Economic Times) – Religious tolerance in India is “deteriorating” while religious freedom violations are “increasing”, a rights expert has told American lawmakers.

“A pluralistic democracy, in India today religious tolerance is deteriorating and religious freedom violations are increasing,” Robert P George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at the Princeton University and a former chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing.

“Members of the ruling BJP tacitly supported these groups and used religiously-divisive language to inflame tensions further,” he alleged.

These issues, combined with longstanding problems of police bias and judicial inadequacies have created a pervasive climate of impunity in which religious minority communities increasingly feel insecure with no recourse when religiously- motivated crimes occur, George told lawmakers yesterday.

In his testimony, George said in the last year, “higher caste” individuals and local political leaders also prevented Hindus considered part of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Dalits) from entering religious temples.

The national government or state governments also applied several laws to restrict religious conversion, cow slaughter, and foreign funding of NGOs, he said.

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