US State Department Antony Blinken Expresses Concern About Violence Against Religious Minorities India Cow Vigilantism Non-Hindus RSS

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New Delhi: The US State Department, in its annual report on international religious freedom submitted to Congress, has alleged that in 2021, there were attacks on members of minority communities in India throughout the year, including murders and intimidation. Released by Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters, the report gives its perspective on the situation and violations of religious freedom around the world and has separate chapters on each country.

India had earlier rejected the US Religious Freedom Report saying it had no right to speak about the constitutionally protected rights of its citizens by a foreign government.

The India section of the report refrains from giving any opinion on the situation of religious minorities, but documents various aspects of it as reported in the Indian Press and Government of India. The report also liberally quotes allegations of attacks on them by various non-profit organisations and minority institutions, but most of the time remains largely silent on the government’s responses to the results of investigations by the authorities.

“Attacks on members of religious minority communities, including killings, assaults, and intimidation, occurred throughout the year. These included incidents of cow vigilantism’ against non-Hindus based on allegations of cow slaughter or trade in beef,” said the India section of the report.

It also refers to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s statement that the DNA of Hindus and Muslims in India is the same and they should not be separated on the basis of religion.

“In July, Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the RSS, which is commonly considered to be the ideological parent to India’s ruling party BJP, publicly stated that Hindus and Muslims in India had the same DNA and should not be differentiated by religion,” the report said.

“There can never be any dominance of either Hindus or Muslims (in the country); there can only be the dominance of Indians,” Bhagwat said, adding that members of the Muslim community should not be afraid that Islam is in danger in India. He also said that killing non-Hindus for cow slaughter was an act against Hinduism, the report said.

“Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on September 12 publicly stated that earlier governments in Uttar Pradesh had favoured Muslim constituents in benefits distribution,” it said.

The report said that the police arrested non-Hindus for making comments on media or social media that were considered derogatory to Hindus or Hinduism.

(With PTI inputs)





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