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India rejects USCIRF report on religious freedom
Thursday April 30, 2015 10:44 PM, IANS

New Delhi: India on Thursday said a report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) "appears to be based on limited understanding of India, its constitution and its society" and it would take "no cognizance of the report".

External affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said: "Our attention has been drawn to a report of the USCIRF which has passed judgement on religious freedom in India. It appears to be based on limited understanding of India, its constitution and its society. We take no cognizance of this report."

The USCIRF report says, among other things, that "incidents of religiously-motivated and communal violence reportedly have increased for three consecutive years".

"Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and religious leaders, including from the Muslim, Christian, and Sikh communities, attributed the initial increase to religiously-divisive campaigning in advance of the country's 2014 general election.

"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).

"Christian NGOs and leaders report that their community is particularly at risk in states that have adopted 'Freedom of Religion Act(s)', commonly referred to as anti-conversion laws.

"Based on these concerns, USCIRF again places India on its Tier 2 list of countries, where it has been since 2009," the report said.

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