India on Thursday strongly reacted to a report by a US Congress-established 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.
External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “Our attention has been drawn to a report of the USCIRF which has passed judgement on religious freedom in India.
“The report appears to be based on limited understanding of India, its Constitution and its society.”
He further said, “We take no cognisance of the report.”
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.
It may be mentioned that US President Barack Obama had twice made a strong pitch for religious tolerance in India.(PTI).