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US Sustains Pressure on Modi as Blinken Accuses India of Religious Discrimination 

© Photo : Social MediaPM Narendra Modi meets Dawoodi Bohras
PM Narendra Modi meets Dawoodi Bohras - Sputnik India, 1920, 27.06.2024
Blinken's statement against India marks the first instance in Modi 3.0 of the US accusing the country. More specifically, Blinken is accusing PM Modi's BJP and its "Hindu nationalist" allies of discriminating against Muslim and Christian minorities.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that there was a "concerning increase in anti-conversion laws, hate speech, demolitions of homes, and places of worship for members of minority faith communities" in India.
The remarks were made during the International Religious Freedom Report Rollout in Washington DC on Wednesday.

Further, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Rashad Hussain, accused the Indian police of aiding law enforcement to target Christians.

"In India, for example, Christian communities reported that local police aided mobs that disrupted worship services over accusations of conversion activities, or stood by while mobs attacked them, and then arrested the victims on conversion charges," he said.

US Report Names BJP and Modi

The 69-page 'India 2023 International Religious Freedom Report', citing statements by critics and political opponents of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, raised concerns over alleged harassment of Christians and Muslims on "fabricated charges" for "lawful religious practices".
The report said that 10 of the 28 states in India have enacted laws "restricting religious conversions for all faiths." It stated that the Indian Constitution provided for "freedom of conscience and the right of all individuals to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion."
The US report notes that PM Modi reiterated his call to enact a Uniform Civil Code (UCC), instead of a system of separate personal laws.

"Muslim, Sikh, Christian, and tribal leaders and some state government officials opposed the initiative on the grounds it was part of a project to turn the country into a 'Hindu Rashtra' (a Hindu Nation)," it stated.

Additionally, the US report quoted Human Rights Watch (HRW) and other international organizations as criticizing the BJP officials for religious discrimination.

"Public celebrations of Hindu festivals sometimes resulted in communal violence, particularly when they included processions through Muslim-majority areas," the American report stated, adding that the celebrations were led by BJP and its allied groups, including the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

In the context of the northeastern state of Manipur, where violence erupted between two ethnic groups last year, the US State Department publication said that Christians have been attacked by Hindus.
New Delhi has consistently opposed "interference" by foreign powers in the Manipur situation, underscoring that the matter was India's "internal matter."
During a state visit to Washington in June 2023, Modi rejected reports of religious discrimination in India. However, the Biden administration has disregarded the Indian leader's assurances and continued to irk India on the matter despite strong responses from India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
India's MEA spokesman Randhir Jaiswal. - Sputnik India, 1920, 02.05.2024
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