UN Report Slams Violation Of Indian Minorities’ Religious Rights

February 4, 2009

Author: Jawed Naqvi

Source: Dawn


A UN report has slammed the pervasive climate of fear and intolerance perpetuated by religious mobs in many parts of India, and asked the government to provide effective protection to the minorities of whom Christians and Muslims in particular were vulnerable, often helpless and increasingly ghettoised.

“Even though a comprehensive legal framework to protect freedom of religion or belief does exist, many of (the) interlocutors, especially from religious minorities, remain dissatisfied with its implementation,” a report on India by Ms Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief, said. A copy of the UN document was made available to Dawn on Wednesday.

“Organised groups claiming roots in religious ideologies have unleashed an all-pervasive fear of mob violence in many parts of the country,” Ms Jahangir said. “Law enforcement machinery is often reluctant to take any action against individuals or groups that perpetrate violence in the name of religion or belief. This institutionalised impunity for those who exploit religion and impose their religious intolerance on others has made peaceful citizens, particularly the minorities, vulnerable and fearful.”

She encouraged specific legislation to prevent communal violence but cautioned that it should take into account the concerns of religious minorities so as not to reinforce “impunity of communalised police forces at the state level”.