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,”