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  • » 08/14/2009, 00.00

    INDIA-US

    The United States puts India on "Watch list": religious freedom at risk

    Nirmala Carvalho

    The U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom denounces the inertia of the Government of India before the serious discrimination against religious minorities. Angry reaction in New Delhi: "Undue Interference". For the Indian Church it is a sign of the international community’s concern over the growth of religious intolerance in the country.

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has placed India on the so-called Watch list, which includes countries in which religious and ethnic minorities suffer severe discrimination. The USCIRF are asking President Barak Obama put pressure on the government in New Delhi that "deserves" to be placed on the list for the "largely inadequate response" to fundamentalist violence against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 and Christians in Orissa in 2008 -- 2009.

    India’s reaction has been one of anger at finding itself compared to countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Indonesia, Somalia and Cuba. Vishnu Prakash, spokesperson for the Indian Foreign Ministry, described the inclusion in the so-called Watch List "aberrant" and an "undue interference" in internal affairs of the country.

    Fr. Babu Joseph, spokesman of the Indian Bishops' Conference (CBCI), explains to AsiaNews that the USCIRF decision "is a clear indication of the growing concern of the international community to the repeated failure of India to take decisive corrective measures to curb religious intolerance ".

    Relations between India and the U.S. in matters of religious freedom have long been troubled. The Annual Report on Religious Freedom by USCIRF presented in Washington May 1st spoke of "positive signals" from India. In July, however, the Commission asked to visit Orissa to check the situation of Christian refugees in the area and their conditions after the Hindu pogrom of August 2008. The Indian authorities denied entry visas arousing controversy. Now the government in New Delhi finds itself included in the Watch list.

     
     
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    See also

    19/09/2009 INDIA
    Law against sectarian violence: Indian bishops, appreciate but with some doubts
    The parliament will be discussing a law to avoid the persecutions against the minorities. Episcopal Conference: “ a good start”, but “more power” is needed in the prevention. The bishops have encouraged meetings with other Christian communities and Muslim and Sikh exponents. They will present a memorandum to the government at the end of October.

    18/06/2012 INDIA
    Orissa: 50 Hindu nationalists attack Christians. Fear of new pogroms
    The pastor of a Pentecostal Church and 12 families of his community were seriously wounded, in the district of Balasore. The police seized explosives and dynamite in another district (Puri) of Orissa. According to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), Hindu nationalists are preparing a "diabolical plan" to repeat the 2008 violence of Kandhamal.

    03/10/2013 INDIA
    Pogrom in Orissa: life imprisonment for seven innocent Christians
    Retired bishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar promises: "We will appeal". The convicted men are accused of the murder of a Hindu leader, which triggered the anti-Christian violence of 2008. Against them there is no evidence. The Maoists have always claimed reponsibility for the assassination.

    08/03/2010 INDIA
    Orissa: "To avoid being killed, we went days without food in the forest"
    One victim tells his story of the violence last June in Orissa. His father, a Christian pastor Biswanath Digal was beaten to death.

    24/08/2009 INDIA
    Cardinal Gracias: A year from the pogroms in Orissa, hope "for a new beginning"
    According to the Archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Catholic Bishops, the anti-Christian violence in Orissa was "one of the saddest moments in the history of India." The country "needs to restore its glorious multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-linguistic tradition”.



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