US report says minorities in India subjected to ‘violence’, ‘forced conversions’

10:05 PM | 2 May, 2015
US report says minorities in India subjected to ‘violence’, ‘forced conversions’
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NEW DELHI (Web Desk) – India has strongly reacted to a report by a US panel claiming that minorities in the country have been subjected to ‘violent attacks’ and ‘forced conversions’ after the Modi government assumed power in 2014, saying it does not take cognizance of such reports.

“The report appears to be based on limited understanding of India, its Constitution and its society,” a spokesperson for External Affairs said.

In its 2015 annual report, USCIRF (US Commission on International Religious Freedom) said, “Since the election, religious minority communities have been subject to derogatory comments by politicians linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and numerous violent attacks and forced conversions by Hindu nationalist groups, such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP).

It also said that despite the country’s status as a pluralistic, secular democracy, India has long struggled to protect minority religious communities or provide justice when crimes occur, which perpetuates a climate of impunity.

USCIRF said in December 2014, Hindu groups announced plans to forcibly “reconvert” at least 4,000 Christian families and 1,000 Muslim families to Hinduism in Uttar Pradesh on Christmas day as part of a so-called ‘Ghar Wapsi’ (returning home) programme.