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ICC Note: Human rights activists and leaders of religious minority communities in India wrote an open letter detailing escalating abuse to the UN’s Secretary General during his maiden visit. The letter detailed the erosion of political and religious rights of minority communities in India under the current BJP-led government. Will the UN take action following this visit?   

10/09/2018 India (UCAN) – United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s maiden visit to India opened up a Pandora’s box for a government accused of violating religious and ethnic minority rights.

During the Oct. 1-3 visit, U.N. collaboration to combat terrorism dominated the official agenda, but for many this aspect was overshadowed by the issue of communal strife.

Guterres met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, and the speaker of the Indian parliament’s lower house, Sumitra Mahajan.

On Oct. 3, some 250 rights activists wrote to him stating that religious and political freedoms have been eroded since the government of prime minister Modi came to power four years ago, dominated by the pro-Hindu Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

Their joint open letter to Guterres highlighted abuses faced by the country’s Muslims, Christians and socially poor Dalit people, formerly known as untouchables.

Many of the nation’s constitutional freedoms, and democratic rights – along with a sense of social coexistence and a national consensus on the need to achieve greater equality – had been undermined, it said.

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