WASHINGTON - In India, police dressed in plainclothes in the Western state of Gujarat flogged four Muslim men accused of injuring Hindu worshippers during a festival last October. In the state of Madhya Pradesh, the government bulldozed Muslim-owned homes and shops last April, writes ASTHA RAJVANSHI in Time magazine.
And throughout 2022, police arrested Christians accused of forcefully converting others and even aided crowds as they disrupted worship services. These are just a few of the many damning instances highlighted in the U.S. Department’s newly released Religious Freedom Report for 2022.
The report annually surveys religious freedoms around the world and aims to provide a “fact-based, comprehensive view of the state of religious freedom” in nearly 200 countries and territories. The report expresses a number of concerns over India’s religious freedom.
It highlights how religious conversion is legally prohibited in multiple states, how religious minorities are attacked on a regular basis, and how Muslims have alleged systemic discrimination—including “cow vigilantism,” which often results in attacks for alleged cow slaughter or beef trade. At Monday’s press briefing, a senior State Department official told reporters how the report outlines “continued, targeted attacks against religious communities” that promote “dehumanizing rhetoric” and “hate-fueled violence.”
The official mentioned the international community’s response to the situation in India, including from the U.S. Holocaust museum and several human rights organizations.