Washington, D.C ,

The United States government has recently raised concerns about the state of religious freedom in India, just ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to America. The US administration, led by President Biden, has taken a bold stance by openly criticizing governments in various countries, including India, for targeting members of religious communities. In an effort to shed light on this issue, the US State Department released its annual report on international religious freedom, which meticulously documents the current state of religious freedom in countries across the globe.

According to the report, many governments continue to openly target religious communities within their borders, leading to a worrying suppression of freedom of religion or belief. The report serves as a comprehensive and fact-based assessment of the situation, covering nearly 200 countries and territories worldwide. Its ultimate goal is to promote accountability and drive progress towards a world where every individual can enjoy the freedom to practice their religion or belief without fear or hindrance.

While US Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not explicitly mention India in his remarks, the report highlighted India as one of the key countries where governments openly target religious communities. The section on India in the annual report outlines several incidents that occurred during the year, shedding light on violence by law enforcement officers against members of religious minorities in various states. One such incident took place during a festival in October, where Hindu worshipers were injured by plainclothes police in Gujarat. The report also mentioned the public thrashing of four Muslim men accused of rioting and the subsequent demolition of Muslim homes and shops by the Madhya Pradesh government following communal violence in Khargone in April.

It is worth noting that the report also recognizes efforts towards promoting communal harmony between Muslims and Hindus in India. In September, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat held discussions with five prominent members of the Muslim community to address their concerns and explore avenues for fostering better understanding and cooperation.

According to the report, Bhagwat publicly stated in 2021 that Hindus and Muslims in the country should not be treated differently based on religion. He also emphasized that killing non-Hindus for cow slaughter goes against the principles of Hindutva, a philosophy that seeks to unite Hindus.

The release of the annual report on international religious freedom by the US State Department demonstrates the importance of addressing religious freedom concerns on a global scale. By shining a light on countries where freedom of religion or belief is being suppressed, the report aims to raise awareness, encourage dialogue, and push for positive change.

In conclusion, the United States has expressed concerns about the state of religious freedom in India, among other countries, in the run-up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to America. The annual report on international religious freedom provides a comprehensive overview of the situation in various countries, highlighting instances of governments openly targeting religious communities. While it is crucial to acknowledge the challenges, efforts towards fostering communal harmony and promoting religious inclusivity should also be recognized and encouraged.


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