Religious freedom continues to deteriorate in India

"WAKE UP INDIA" a Protest Rally against the Violence & oppression on Minorities, Churches, Nun and Christians organize by Christian reform united people association along with Other Organizations, Churches and Institutions at Azad Maidan on Friday. Express photo by Prashant Nadkar, Mumbai, 27/03/2015

A human rights watchdog reported that religious freedom is deteriorating in India, citing the government’s failure to implement existing laws and its impunity for abusive police officers.

Human Rights Watch said that two years into the leadership of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, human rights and religious freedom have deteriorated, and it could get worse if the government will not establish measures to protect all citizens.

“Progress on human rights in India will continue to falter unless the Modi administration takes better steps to ensure justice and accountability for all citizens, protect vulnerable communities, and protect the free exchange of ideas and dissent,” said Human Rights Watch Asia Advocacy Director John Sifton, The Indian Express┬áreported.

Speaking at a hearing facilitated by Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on June 7, Sifton said the government continues to practice impunity for police officers who violate human rights. He urged the U.S. Congress to bring up the issue of injustice in future talks with Modi.

The hearing was held on June 7, the same day Modi met with Pres. Barack Obama in the U.S. It was participated in by human rights groups and some members of the U.S. Congress.

International Christian Concern president Jeff King said the Indian government’s silence on issues of human rights violations is “deafening,” according to The Indian Express.

Congressman Joseph Pitts, who co-chairs the commission, mentioned the “alarming trend” of increasing human rights abuse against the religious minorities. Even though the country has displayed economic growth in recent years, this achievement “overlooks an array of troubling human rights concerns,” Pitts said, according to another report from The Indian Express.

Human Rights Watch also said in a report that the government has not ordered state governments to launch investigations for the attacks on religious minorities. Additionally, the country has certain laws in place that allow authorities to violate human rights and restrict freedom of speech, and Modi has expressed support for such laws.

Ajit Sahi, investigative journalist and civil liberties advocate, recommended that the Indian government set up a mechanism that allows abusive police officers to be punished, according to Indian Express.

Source: The Christian Times

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