» 08/06/2012 INDIA - UNITED STATES Activists warn religious freedom in "serious danger" in India by Nirmala Carvalho In the 2012 U.S. State Department report, India is among the nations "under observation". China, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, countries of "particular concern". GCIC President: The Constitution guarantees the rights but it is "rejected". Atheist activist in Washington: we do not need lists, but "concrete support" for social peace.
Delhi (AsiaNews) - The Indian Constitution
"provides for freedom of religion", but in practice often minorities
"do not enjoy" the basic right and the concept of "state secularism"
is at risk, underlines Sajan K George, President
of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), in comments to AsiaNews about the recent publication of
the 2012 Report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (click
here to download PDF document), prepared by the U.S. State Department. Washington's
analysis, however, does not fully convince activists like Lenin Raghuvanshi,
director of the Peoples' Vigilance
Committee on Human Rights (Pvchr), who maintains that the the U.S.
government classification "is of no help."
to the document prepared by the U.S. State Department, India is placed among
the nations "under observation" for cases of violation of religious
contrast, nations like China, Vietnam, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi
Arabia are of "particular concern" for repressions against religions
or the deprivation of freedom of worship. A
note for North Korea, where the regime in Pyongyang is confirmed as a nation
where religious freedom is virtually "nonexistent."
activists record that in 2011 there were 136 incidents of anti-Christian
attacks, of which 49 in the State of Karnataka alone, the epicenter of the
violence against the minority also because of the policies promoted by the
local government, since 2008 in the hands of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP).
Constitution of India - Sajan K George explains to AsiaNews - guarantees freedom of religion." However,
we experience that "the reality is very different" and "it is
not wrong" to say that in many states, especially "those led by the
BJP," Christians "do not enjoy their full rights" or full
religious freedom. He
points to attacks against believers and places of worship and confirms that the
current scenario of "secularism" of the nation is often overlooked in
to a "rising nationalism" and the "federal State's inability to
act," says the Christian activist, it is possible to state that "the
secular character of Indian democracy is in serious danger."
contrast, Lenin Raghuvanshi shifts the focus to practical steps to promote
peace and to guarantee full religious freedom. In
this regard, he calls for the creation of movements and local initiatives,
which could help to revive the goal of harmony and peaceful coexistence. He
spares no criticism of the United States, which instead of processing documents
should "raise funds through various agencies " to support projects and
peace initiatives. Finally,
an atheist activist recalls the investment and development programs on U.S.
territory and, through these investments, Washington "should support
secularism and interfaith harmony," while ensuring "the supremacy of
the rule of law."