2013-05-21 19:33:34

India has mechanism to address religious freedom violations: report

Washington, 21 May 2013: A recent US report on religious freedom has said that India has mechanism to address reported violations of religious freedom in the country. According to a report by the US State Department, 89 people died and another 1,846 were injured in 560 cases of communal violence in India in 2012.

"The country's democratic system, independent legal institutions, vibrant civil society and free press provided mechanisms that helped to address violations of religious freedom when they occurred," it said in the annual religious freedom report as mandated by the Congress.

The report designates eight nations -- Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan -- as 'countries of particular concern'.

Noting that there were reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice in the year 2012, the report said US officials discussed with religious freedom issues, including reports of harassment of minority groups and missionaries, and redress for victims of the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.

"Between January and October, there reportedly were 560 cases of communal violence in India, which led to 89 deaths and 1,846 injuries," the State Department said.

During several incidents in Karnataka, local authorities either acted in coordination with or failed to stop members of a Hindu nationalist organization from entering private residences to enforce a morality code based on their interpretation of Hindu traditions, including a desire to keep away Hindu and Muslim youths from fraternizing, it said.

In India, some state governments enforced "anti-conversion" laws and authorities reportedly arrested people under these laws during the year, although there were no convictions, according to the report. "Police reportedly arrested four Christians accused of proselytizing in March in Cheechgaon, Madhya Pradesh. Authorities released the four on bail and did not file charges by year's end," it said.

Source: UCAN

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