A year ago, after the three-day siege of Mumbai ended and people took to the streets with candles and banners, a group of young Muslim men, carrying a hand-written poster, walked quietly with the surging crowds.
Hindu nationalism, Muslim "vote banks", anti-Christian violence, caste rivalry -- Indian politics has more than enough interfaith tension to offer populist orators all kinds of "religion cards" to play. Coming only months after Islamist militants killed 166 people in a three-day rampage in Mumbai, the campaign for the general election now being held in stages between April 16 and May 13 could have been over- shadowed by communal demagoguery.
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.
The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the author’s alone. Matthew Weiner, the author, is the Program Director at the Interfaith Center of New York. He is writing a book about Interfaith and Civil Society.