» 05/07/2013 INDIA Jesuit: Minorities are second-class citizens in Gujarat by Nirmala Carvalho Fr. Cedric Prakash comments on the latest report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which analyzes the situation of the Indian state. The anti-conversion law in Gujarat imposes the civil authorities permission to change religion. For years, the U.S. deny head of the government a visa, for his role in the massacres of 2002.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "In 2013 minorities
are still treated as second-class citizens in Gujarat ": the complaint comes
from Fr. Cedric
Prakash, director of the Prashant Jesuit Centre in Ahmedabad for human
rights, justice and peace, commenting on the
latest report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
two days ago, the report has added India to level 2 of its ranking among the
countries where the violations and religious persecution are growing, focusing
on the situation in the State of Gujarat.
The priest noted that "the anti-conversion
decree [Gujarat Freedom of Religion Law 2003] of our state is one of the
most draconian laws across the country, because it forces anyone who wants to
convert to first ask the civil authority. Nowadays in different areas of Gujarat
police visit Christian churches and asks to examine the baptisms records".
Besides the current situation, the Jesuit
recalls attention to the fact that "the victims and survivors of the
massacres of 2002, are still struggling to get justice." On
27 February 2002 the Sabarmati Express carnage took place at Godhra when
a group of Muslims attacked and set fire to the train, on board which the
Hindus returning from Ayodhya were traveling. Ayodhya is the site of an ancient mosque seized by Hindus
years ago . The
attack - which killed 58 people - sparked violent riots in Gujarat, in which
the Islamic community paid the highest price, with nearly 2 thousand victims.
In this regard, he stresses, "the UCIRF
renewed its request to the U.S. government to ban the entry visa to Narendra
minister of Gujarat, explaining that there is sufficient evidence that
connects him to the 2002 massacres". Modi
has long been accused of conspiring in the fighting, for not taking any action
to stop it and failing to establish any investigation. The
U.S. denies him a visa to enter the country under the 1998 International
Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), which denies visas to those individuals who
have committed a serious infringement of religious freedom.