India Insight

U.N. report says real risk of Indian religious strife

It did not get great publicity but a recent U.N. report on religious freedom in India offers a stinging image of a country suffering from communal divisions and mob-inspired religious persecution.

 It argues there is a very real risk of a repeat of a tragedy like the Gujarat riots of 2002, when more than 2,000 people, mainly Muslims,were killed by Hindu mobs.

The U.S. Special Rapporteur of religion or belief Asma Jahangir, a well-respected Pakistani human rights activist, travelled to India last March to prepare the report. It catalogues violence and discrimination faced by India’s religious minorities, whether Muslim or Christian or Sikh.

“Organised groups claiming roots in religious ideologies have unleashed all pervasive fear of mob violence in many parts of the country.” the report, released on Jan. 26, says.

 “There is at present a real risk that similar communal violence might happen again unless political exploitation of communal distinctions is effectively prevented,”

Does the White House think India is a Hindu nation?

The White House staffers charged with transcribing the every public utterance of U.S. President George W. Bush and his friends do not have an easy job. If they falter even for a moment in the constant war against What did you say?tape hiss, mumbling and ill-timed coughs, they risk putting the wrong words in some of the most powerful mouths on the planet.

And so, as I read today’s official transcript of remarks made by Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the G8 Summit in Japan, I wondered if the transcriber forgot to take a cotton swab to their ear that morning:

PRIME MINISTER SINGH: Mr. President, it is a great opportunity for me to once again meet you and to review with you the state of Hindu-American relations. (Emphasis added.)

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