US report criticizes Pakistan, India over treatment of minorities
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its report has stated that the country continues to experience sectarian violence targeted towards the minorities despite that its armed forces are engaged in efforts to fight the Taliban. It also states that blasphemy laws of the country and anti-Ahmadi violate religious freedom.
The report also urges the government to promote religious tolerance through its textbooks and academic curriculum. It suggests the United States leadership to force their Pakistani counterpart to implement the orders of the Supreme Court regarding the formation of a special police formed ro protect religious groups and individuals from religious attacks.
On the other hand, the USCIRF report has also criticized Narendra Modi’s Indian government over its policies regarding the minorities. It mentions that the individuals who convert from Hindu to other religions face more reaction in the provinces who do not allow conversion laws.
The commission’s reports also criticizes Obama’s government by commenting that Muslim communities are also kept in undue detention and scrutiny due to US’ justification of eliminating terrorism from the country. It has suggested the U.S. leadership to “Integrate concern for religious freedom into bilateral contacts with India, including the framework of future Strategic Dialogues, at both the federal and provincial level, and encourage the strengthening of the capacity of state and central police to implement effective measures to prohibit and punish cases of religious violence and protect victims and witnesses.”
The report also states that “The Evangelical Fellowship of India has documented more than 38 incidents targeting Christians in November and December 2014 alone. In September 2014, police arrested nearly 150 people in the state of Gujarat after violence left dozens, mostly Muslims, severely injured.”
USCIRF has mentioned that the states of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan had the most number of religiously motivated attack.
USCIRF is government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act that monitors the universal right to freedom of religions or beliefs abroad.